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Theo Jörgensmann

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German clarinetist/composer Theo Jörgensmann is one of the most advanced modern free improvisers on his instrument, combining moody chamber jazz with hints of a modal hard bop sensibility. Born in 1948, Jörgensmann made his first recordings in the late '70s, including 1978's quintet outing Go Ahead Clarinet and 1979's quartet Song of Vowage, both issued on CMP. During the late '80s and early '90s, he played with the experimental Dutch big band Contraband, and also led a group called the Werkschau Ensemble, which featured violinist Albrecht Maurer and percussionist Achim Krämer; they recorded an album for Konnex in 1993, Aesthetic Direction. Jörgensmann next formed a regular quartet featuring vibist Christopher Dell, bassist Christian Ramond, and drummer Klaus Kugel, which would play a major role in bringing Jörgensmann's music to the attention of the international improvised-music community. Their first album, Ta Eko Mo, was recorded for Z.o.o. in 1997 and released to positive reviews; the following year, the quartet worked with veteran trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. 1999 was a breakout year: the quartet's first album for hatOLOGY, Snijbloemen, garnered Jörgensmann his widest recognition yet, and again received overwhelmingly complimentary reviews. Jörgensmann toured North America with his quartet, playing the Du Maurier Festival in Vancouver and the Montreal Jazz Festival that year; he also recorded two albums with poet Michael Klaus. Jörgensmann's next project was a collaboration with bass clarinetist Eckard Koltermann; teamed as the German Clarinetduo, they issued Pagine Gialle on hatOLOGY in 2001. ~ Steve Huey

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Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s, '00s