2016 WhyPlayJazz (RS026), CD + MP3 Album Download
Uli Kempendorff (ts, comp, arr), Ronny Graupe (git), Jonas Westergaard (b), Oliver Steidle (dr)
Recorded November 10 - 11, 2015 by Benjamin Spitzmüller at Studio H2, Berlin, Germany. Mixed by Benjamin Spitzmüller. Mastered by Klaus Scheuermann. Produced by Uli Kempendorff. Co-produced by Christian Weidner, Ronny Graupe, Jonas Westergaard and Oliver Steidle. Artwork by Sophia Martineck. Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Senatskanzlei für Kulturelle Angelegenheiten, Berlin.
With its directness and clarity the music on FIELD’s new album offers an antidote to the plagues of our time. Just as good music does and wants to do, it confronts us with the real, the essence, the matter, the hidden and makes head against alienation processes. It thus leaves the surface.
FIELD‘s new album is called »Heal The Rich«. An album with a title that references such delicate humanity must be about more than just pure art. On many levels it is rather a call for a reversion and reflection process. The issues are urgent and the time is running. If the next step in evolution is a shift of consciousness, we will have to prepare ourselves.
For Uli Kempendorff jazz and improvisational music have a very special potential. They represent an offer of return for both listener and musician that can be the beginning of a healing process. A return to a meaningful life, away from the alienation from ourselves and our environment. A confrontation with the real, the essence, the matter, the hidden.
This music – so clear, straight-forward and honest – offers directness as an antidote. It thus leaves the surface.
Dieser geradezu philosophische Überbau widerspiegelt sich in der raffinierten Instrumentalmusik von Field und macht diese Jazz-Band zu einer Formation, die nonverbal, also ohne ein einziges Wort, Botschaften transportiert, die von hoher politischer Brisanz sind. [...] Da war nichts vorhersehbar, und jede instrumentale Reaktion der Musiker barg eine gehörige Portion Überraschung, so dass es zu keiner Sekunde musikalisch öde wurde.
Paramount in its unforced musical sophistication, Heal the Rich is one Field trip many will want to take.
Overall this is a very solid statement by excellent musicians, who know exactly how to express their ideas and how to play in ensemble setting, sharing responsibilities and inspiring each other. The atmosphere may sound cold and alienated at first, but in time the listener is drawn into the internal universe these musicians create.
Die vier Musiker erreichen mit einer scheinbar beruhigend distinguierten Distanz zum Geschehen eine einzigartige Gruppendynamik. [...] Der grafisch interessant gestalteten CD würden noch die philosophischen Gedankensplitter Kempendorffs guttun, die er auf der Webseite des Labels publiziert hat.
FIELD lässt die Avantgarde wieder swingen. Jedes Stück auf HEAL THE RICH überrascht mit unerwarteten Tempowechseln und immer wieder neuen Rhythmen.
Throughout, the group's lightning quick interactions and reactions keeps the music flowing and exciting. The comfort and ease the members of Field have playing together is a treat to hear.
HEAL THE RICH richtet sich denn auch nur vordergründig an einen kleinen Personenkreis, in Wirklichkeit ist es gedacht für alle Menschen, die da Ohren haben zu hören.
FIELD plays Jazz. Period. Of course one feels invited to delve into the metaphor-laden accolades which have become the all-too familiar tune of reviews everywhere such as “the eruptive drum attacks spur on the sheer endless cascades of notes by the saxophone to leap to new ground while being gently carried by the warm guitar…” and so on.
I feel like this would not do FIELD’s music justice, because above all this band’s music is clear, straight-forward and honest. Its directness always keeps the listener close. Uli says he firmly believes that music in general and this music in particular could serve as an antidote to the ubiquitous and systemic processes of alienation encroaching upon us from all sides. When I listen to this record, I believe it, too.
FIELD’s new record is called “Heal The Rich”. It’s not called “Kill The Rich”, not least because this invitation (from which our title sets itself apart with such gentle humanity) would decimate a part of our audience and probably, ourselves, too. Besides, music is a formidable means of healing. And while there is no shortage of instruments of death in our world, there is a dire need for healing the alienation from ourselves and our environment which is currently ailing us. Music seems destined to help here, to serve as a potential instrument for a return to a meaningful life. A healing process or a process of reversal and reflection is urgently needed in many areas. In the Western world we are perfecting a kind of schizophrenia alternating states of an idle, click-driven empathy for the misery of the “other” and the simultaneous perpetuation of said misery by one’s own habits and (consumerist) behavior. In this context, our perception of the world, or everything of which it is made up - nature, weather, history, the environment, time - as a linear process instead of a complex system just exacerbates the problem. It facilitates the illusion that we are isolated from the rest of the world and from the consequences of our actions. This would explain the foolish yet constant call for more (economic) growth even though we should have known better since at least 1972 and should act accordingly. Plus, the trip we get from that daily pill of everlasting and beneficial growth will not just prove to be fatal but is, in its lack of vision, also endlessly boring and dull.
I feel that music and especially a music like jazz has a lot to offer in opposition to this. Its genesis doesn’t (primarily) follow a commercial objective, but revolves around pure content, it’s predestined to look at all sides of a coin: the process is always a part of the product. Jazz and improvised music harbour a special promise to be agents for a return, a repatriation of sorts, which could be the beginning or part of a healing process. Healing starts with cleansing and cleansing always entails a confrontation with the genuine, the essence, the concealed. Let’s leave the surface presentation.
Instrumental music is always absolute - without words as part of a performance, none of the above can be derived from or read into the music. Still, the music you will hear is played by four individuals who coalesce and coalise with one another, who have no mind for self-affected gestures of consternation or the withdrawal to an allegedly safe inner place. The topics of our time are pressing. If the next evolutionary step of humanity should be one of greater consciousness, we ought to start preparing for it.