Michael Mantler and The New Songs Ensemble

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August 2024



To celebrate the release of my new CD (Sempre Notte, Dark Companion Records) of songs recorded live at Porgy & Bess last year, I return with Annie Barbazza, John Greaves and the New Songs Ensemble.


Although some of the original material (songs with texts by Samuel Beckett, Ernst Meister, Giuseppe Ungaretti and Harold Pinter) will of course be included, it will not be a repeat performance of last year’s concert, but also feature new versions of other previously recorded but unperformed songs with texts by Samuel Beckett and Philippe Soupault (in French, from Many Have No Speech), Paul Auster (Hide and Seek) and Edward Gorey (The Hapless Child).


I had met John Greaves way back in 1976 when I was working with him on recording his iconic Kew Rhone album at my Grog Kill studio in the USA, then met again in 1987 for my Live project (with Jack Bruce, Nick Mason, Don Preston, Rick Fenn), and he also participated in my sort-of-an-opera School Of Understanding in 1996. We had always stayed in touch over the years and he was instrumental suggesting Himiko Paganotti for my Comment C'est album, and now, for this new project he has introduced me to Annie Barbazza, an enormously talented singer and a particularly good choice, since the program includes a number of songs with texts in Italian by Giuseppe Ungaretti.


Bjarne Roupé has been my favorite guitarist ever since I had returned to Europe, starting with performances and recording of my Cerco Un Paese Innocente in 1994, then as a member of my Chamber Music and Songs ensemble for a portrait concert at Porgy in 2006, and eventually participating on practically all my continuing projects/albums: School Of Understanding, Songs And One Symphony, Hide And Seek, Concertos, For Two, The Jazz Composer's Orchestra Update and, finally, my last album Coda.


David Helbock, another of my much valued contributors with an exceptional understanding of my music, has been involved in all my projects since The Jazz Composer's Orchestra Update.


And last, but certainly not least, the multi-faceted bass clarinetist Gareth Davis, who alone was responsible for initiating the original songs project and tirelessly continues attempting to present this music.


Supporting the singers and soloists will again be four string players, this time in the form of the Koehne String Quartet, one of today’s outstanding interpreters of contemporary music, founded in 1987 by Joanna Lewis, who has also participated in many of my projects in the past.
- Michael Mantler

Program and cast

Michael Mantler: trumpet
Annie Barbazza, John Greaves: voices
Gareth Davis: bass clarinet
Bjarne Roupé: guitar
Davd Helbock: piano
Koehne Quartet
Joanna Lewis: violin
Anne Harvey-Nagl: violin
Anna Magdalena Siakala-Teurezbacher: viola
Melissa Coleman: cello

PORGY & BESS Jazzclub

Porgy & Bess (actually, Jazz and Music Club Porgy & Bess ) is a jazz club in the Riemergasse 11 in the 1st district of Vienna. The club , founded in 1993 is considered " the most important jazz organizer and trendy meeting point " of the Austrian capital .

The program of Porgy & Bess speaks to a very large audience , about 70,000 guests a year ; is accordingly Jazz " understood very pluralistic ," and the program " even in fringe areas , such as electronic music , contemporary music and world music penetrated . " Many international artists , particularly from the U.S. space , see also Austrian musician here an opportunity to perform . The club also offers the stage for events, such as the award of the Austrian World Music Award.

Musicologist Christian Scheib According to the Porgy & Bess " at the same time essential for the development of the musical ( jazz ) reality of a City" and needs and uses ' plain commonplace as urban space music. " It creates itself " through artistic preferences, acoustic quality , capacity and real capacity, the necessary exclusion of other clubs. " Here, the different areas of the jazz clubs allow - the area in front of the stage with tables, upstairs gallery , a lateral area with a bar at counter - different intense concentration on the concert scene . For Jazzthetik Porgy & Bess is even a " traditional club . "

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