GUAJIRA FOR MY MOODS is the optimum title for this disc.
The great flutist and baritone saxophonist Beate Kittsteiner leafs through her life throughout twelve tunes. No details are given, of course! Whoever wants to know anything definite has to know her personally. But, by the way the pieces are named and the way the atmosphere comes across, anyone can listen into them and sense the things Beate had in her mind and feelings when she sat down and wrote the music. Everything is by her! Aside from Lloyd McNeill’s ‘Choro’ – Lloyd knows her and has admired her since her stayin’ the USA, where, around 1981, she studied at and collaborated with Karl Berger’s ‘Creative Music Studio’. At that time she had another important encounter in Woodstock with Don Cherry, who is fond of experimenting and at whose side she gave a few concerts.
Her musical roots go a good way back. After the obligatory recorde for children Beate began playing the flute at the age of fourteen and became enthusiastic about jazz through her friends. The result: She had hardly left home when she found herself at Joe Haider’s Munich Jazz School at sixteen. Moreover, she had discovered her first leading musical figure. Being as thorough as she is (a glance at her handwritten scores confirm that virtue), Beate attended the Munich College of Music for four years. One notices that in her mature flute tone… Although, if you have her tell you what musicians she prefers to listen to, you might be amazed. Names like Lee Morgan, Pepper Adams, Joe Farrell, Yusef Lateef, Eliane Elias, Billie Holiday and Gerry Mulligan turn up. To be sure, not all these idols are flutists, but they showed her how jazz can be shaped.
There are also a number of principles Beate adheres to. Number One: The tone, the sound, has to be right. Careful playing is of primary concern. Number Two: Don’t just toot off some borrowed licks or other, but produce your own musical property. Number Three: Demolish barriers, let impressions in. Jazz is a kind of basic concept for Beate, which is enhanced, though, by ethnic elements from Japan, India, Brazil and Poland, for example. Number Four: Feel the music. Don’t construct things abstractly. She requires just that from the men playing along in the band: sensitivity.
Rick Hollander, Rocky Knauer, Walter Lang and Borel de Sousa are very well known musicians. Together with Beate they work out what sounds good. They can depend on one another if something spontaneous happens while improvising. They know how to translate Beate’s ideas, who composes and arranges and…, wih style. The atmosphere is relaxed, harmonious and close.
There are apparently convincing reasons why Beate Kittsteiner has staked her bets on these four people. Rick Hollander is an accomplished aesthete when it comes to sound, one who regards his instrument at least as much from the point of view of sound as from the ‘percussive’ angle – a creator of both rhythm and sound. Knauer is distinguished by his utler dependability; Lang has a fantastic capacity for feeling his way into things that Beate admires. De Sousa from Bahia, Brazil, is an agile percussionist who carefully handles this sound coloring – and who ideally enhances the normal quartet sound. Beate almost goes into ecstasy when she talks about her colleagues. A close group has come together here.
Right at the beginning, in GUAJIRA FOR MY MOODS, Beate Kittsteiner reveals a lot about herself on the alto flute – melancholy warmth and her eroticism become apparent. Just as her moods change, an A part in the minor is followed by B part in the major.
Shinagawa Station is a subway station in Tokyo – a tour with a Munich Theatre led her there. It quickly became clear to her how difficult it is to fit in western clichés about a contemplative Japan of meditation, peace and aesthetics with industrial bustle of a modern big city. At first, the Japanese Shakuhatchi flute seems to be heard, followed by the C-flute in the up-tempo part.
The ballad MAYBE I’M CRAZY tells about critical moments, phases when questions carried more weight than answers. The song is based on changes of ‘Spring is Here’.
Beate Kittsteiner brought along GIN TAKI from Woodstock. Because the story is so amusing this title simply has to be explained: GIN TAKI has an African rhythmical graduation, and is divided into 2 and 3 beats. Karl Berger said ‘ga-ma-la’ for 3 and ‘ta-ki’ for two. Entirely by coincidence, there is a Mexican tomato drink called ‘Taki’. Voilá – Beate was once quite fond of Taki mixed with gin. Aside from that, the 12/8 time runs its course according to a 33222 progression. Just to mention that, too…
Lloyd McNeill recorded CHORO in 1979 for his LP ‘Elegia’. Beate borrowed it from him, becaused she finds it „so beautiful“ – „the sun rises in it“. Formally speaking, it is indeed a choro, a favorite Brazilian musical style, played like GIN TAKI on the C-flute, accompanied only by percussions, without drums.
During THE DAY BEFORE Beate had a bamboo flute in mind and an alto flute in her hand. The message is positive. Other than in the pessimistic words ‘the day after’, she would like to say that there is still time to do things differently. Quite in accordance with the Sufi realization that ‘it’s never too late’. No doubt about it, pragmatism is the key word.
IDEOLOGY is homaged to Charlie Parker, without simply emulating melodically. She thought homage to Bird was due, because ‘he was an idealist, who tried to survive on jazz’. Beate rarely plays straight ahead Bebop, but in honour of Bird she did this time, on the alto flute.
‘TANGO FOR T is dedicated to a person very dear to me.’ There is nothing more to say about it… But there is – Walter Lang brought his accordion extra for it. He puts his whole heart into it. For Beate ‘playing with Walter is playing with a brother’.
It’s admirable how the rhythm group does POLSKY DANCE. The changes in time 4/4, 7/4, 8/4, 10/4, 14/4 are outrageous, but apparently not for these musicians. This piece has been recorded on the present CD for the second time: it was already on Hermann Martlreithers CD ‘Live in Neuburg’ (Birdland Records).
BELIEVIN’ used to be called ‘I Believe in you’. This ballad presents the seldom heard sound of the bass flute. What a breathtaking beatiful sound it is!
As a composer she has also played around with forms in the last entry, HUNGARY WOMAN is a game with minor-key emotions in Swing and Latin over a twenty-bar song pattern. The minor chords change every two measures. The song is dedicated to Katalin, a girlfriend.