Friday , January 24 2020
Wolfgang Dauner: An obituary for the death of the jazz musician

Wolfgang Dauner: An obituary for the death of the jazz musician

At the German Jazz Festival 1968 in Frankfurt, his band performed a Mao Bible and fell into a kind of meditation sleep after a chaotic performance.

For the Donaueschinger Musiktage 1971 he wrote a work in which hundreds of ping-pong balls and a bright pink parachute were blown into the room while a choir mingled with the audience.

The British Virgin Jazz Encyclopedia therefore describes Wolfgang Dauner as "a musical parallel to neo-Dadaist artists like Josehph Beuys". Grotesque happenings were part of the stage performance of the Stuttgart-born pianist.

Dauner's permanent meaning is determined by his openness to new possibilities. The classically trained musician used various keyboards, synthesizers, prepared tapes and computers long before others. "We have the concept that we have no specific concept. It always depends on who is playing," he explained in 1972 the style of his band Et Cetera at the time, "at the moment we tend to rock a little bit".

Whether jazz, rock or classical – Dauner composed for film, television and radio play. He wrote church and theater music, developed a series of programs for preschool children with "Glotzmusik".

Wolfgang Dauner had piano lessons from an aunt when he was five. His apprenticeship as a locksmith was undoubtedly the basis for his unbiased handling of the possibilities of electronics. In 1958 he studied trumpet, piano and composition at the Stuttgart University of Music. He made good money in those years in US Army clubs and entertainment gigs. As a trumpeter, the young Dauner went on a bath tour with the Ufa star Marika Röck.

Umbilical cord from the United States

In his favorite music jazz He initially internalized US models such as Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson. Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer, head of the MPS label from the Black Forest, encouraged the aspiring pianist to play German folk songs in the style of Errol Garner. But then the umbilical cord from the United States began.

In 1963, Wolfgang Dauner founded a trio with bassist Eberhard Weber and drummer Fred Bracefull, an American who stayed in Germany after his army years. Instead of accompanying the pianist, bass and drums acted as equal instruments, and instead of performing in a solo order, the trio members mostly improvised collectively. That was considered free jazz.

In Dauner's trio, musicologist Ekkehard Jost recognized the "transition between the traditional design principles of jazz and between its new playing practices, between being influenced by American models and discovering one's own musical identity". At that time, Europe's jazz musicians were looking for inspiration in exotic music cultures instead of just in the USA. Dauner recorded a CD with his trio in London that was based on ragas, the basic melodic structures of classical Indian music – "the most beautiful processing of Indian music in the area of ​​German jazz", judged Joachim-Ernst Berendt.

The versatile Dauner took over the Radio Jazz Group of the Süddeutscher Rundfunk in 1969 and was one of the founders of the United Rock & Jazz Ensemble in 1977. This fusion band of top European musicians played compositions by members such as Albert Mangelsdorff, Volker Kriegel and Barbara Thompson. TV appearances helped the band find an audience well beyond the jazz community. It existed until 2002.

"Dauner's music is still powerful and pervaded by curiosity about how surfaces can be created from sounds, how harmonies, melodies and rhythmic impulses can reverberate," wrote Wolfram Knauer, director of the Darmstadt Jazz Institute, in his story published last year of jazz in Germany ".

Dauner had still composed and performed again and again – preferably with his son Florian ( "Flo"). As drummer he accompanies the Fantastic Four – and is also a first-class jazz drummer. Wolfgang Dauner died on January 10th at the age of 84.

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