Among jazz fans, you can have a lot of fun arguing whether “European Jazz” is a useful counterpoint to the American tradition, an original supplement thereto or “is worth less than American jazz on the mar¬ket” as it can be read in a Wikipedia forum. There is no doubt that there have been and are gifted mu¬sicians this side of the Atlantic, who have molded and formed jazz for decades. They have developed very unique playing styles by merging European music traditions with American influences. To give the¬se pioneers of European jazz a stage was the idea for the series of articles “European Jazz Legends”, which has been launched in the magazine Jazz thing in their 100th issue in September 2013. We can now look back on 18 issues. The symbolic stage has now become a real one, and it is in Gutersloh in the middle of Europe. Accompanying each edition of the magazine appearing five times a year, a con¬cert planned especially for this occasion is being organized in cooperation with the label Intuition, the city of Gütersloh and Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln with current protagonists of the series, hosted by our author Götz Bühler. Each concert including an interview with the artist will be broadcast by West¬deutscher Rundfunk (WDR 3) at a later time, and the musical highlights of the concert will be released on a CD.
In other words, five concerts and five CDs in the series “European Jazz Legends” are planned for each year in the future, until end of 2017. In addition, a book will be published, in 2018, for which the artic¬le from the magazine will be revised and supplemented, among other things, to provide impressions from the concerts and discussions. The CD of Günter “Baby” Sommer is the ninth publication in the “European Jazz Legends” series. We from Intuition Records are very proud of this and would like to thank all part¬ners and especially the musicians – and hope that you enjoy this series.
„We are called „Günter Baby Sommer’s Quarteto Trionfale“, the 73 year old drummer from Radebeul near Dresden said right before this concert to make sure the band would be announced correctly. „You know, like „Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers“.“ The fact that Sommer feels a deep connection to the African-American roots of Jazz also resonates in his nickname, which can be traced back to Louis Armstrong’s drummer „Baby“ Dodds. It is no contradiction, that this „Baby“ belongs to the generation of East German musicians, who, some forty years ago, caused a stir with their mostly improvised music in and around what was then the GDR. As a sound artist in general and a percussionist in particular, as a soloist or an instrumentalist in an ensemble, Sommer is and has always been interested in widening the instrumental range of his drumset and discovering new repertoire. "If you ask the African-American colleagues where they come from, they say, 'Mother Africa.' And where do we come from? This search began with the Zentralquartett with Uli Gumpert, and so we found the medieval songs. For West-German colleagues like Brötzmann and so on, the thought alone was impossible. For us, “free“ stood for freedom in every direction.“
For his concert in the series "European Jazz Legends" at the Theater Gütersloh on October 31, 2016, presented by WDR 3, Jazz in Gütersloh, Intuition and Jazz thing, Günter "Baby" Sommer (almost) reunited a band he first played with at Jazzwerkstatt Peitz in 1979. In order to „counter“ the possibly compromising influence of trumpeter Manfred Schoof from West Germany, the cultural bureaucracy demanded that the band also included Gianluigi Trovesi, bass clarinet and alto saxophone, from Italy and the American double bass player Barre Philips. For a while now, the latter has been aptly replaced by Antonio Borghini, an Italian from Berlin, who previously can be heard in this series in the band of Alexander von Schlippenbach.
The New York City Jazz Record:
"Best Album 2017" and "Best Live Album 2017"
Inside Outside Shout
Interview with Günter Baby Sommer (by Götz Bühler)