Twelve   1 Murals

Twelve 1 Murals

Philipp Gerschlauer | Gebhard Ullmann

Label: Between The Lines
Format: CD
Barcode: 0608917125221
Catalog number: BTLCHR 71252
Releasedate: 26-04-24
- "I was interested in finding other tones on the tenor saxophone, more colours...."
- ... the desire to find my own sound on the tenor saxophone by playing some notes a little higher or lower ..."
- The music has a peculiar beauty and radiates a mysterious charm.
"Intermediate tones are only cramps in class struggle," the folksinger/songwriter with left-wing politics Franz-Josef Degenhardt once criticized.

The two saxophonists Philipp Gerschlauer and Gebhard Ullmann see this very differently. They even deal in detail with the realm of microtones on "Twelve 1 Murals". Gerschlauer entered the cosmos of microtones in 2017 on the album "Mikrojazz" with David Fiuczynski, Jack DeJohnette, Giorgi Mikadze and Matt Garrison, and Gebhard Ullmann plays in the band Mikropuls with Hans Lüdemann, Oliver Potratz and Eric Schaefer; the album under the same name was released in 2019. The common musical interests of Gerschlauer and Ullmann led to a collaboration that began a few years ago, however was slightly slowed down by Corona. "For me, Philipp is one of the best alto saxophonists in Berlin," Ullmann states enthusiastically about his co-musician. "During the first Covid year we tried out microphones and positions to achieve an optimal recording result for a saxophone duo." Thus an album was produced, and when mastering the sound engineer said: ‘This is one of the best recordings I ever heard’.

We can now listen to it in the 13 pieces of "Twelve 1 Murals", which obviously have something to do with murals. "This is an association aid," says Ullmann, "not only for us, but also for the audience. Because at our concerts, we don't just talk about music, but also about philosophy, history and art."

Many people do not know that there are other tones between the tones of the scale we know (in other music cultures this is of course different – a wide field). The duo focuses on this among other things.

Although it is easy to understand that there is still space between the frets on the finger-board of a string instrument, it is more difficult for saxophonists. "You actually choose an instrument by feeling because you love the sound," Ullmann explains. "Then you get taught which keys to press to produce the different notes. However, Philipp can also se-lectively control many tones between 'c' and 'c#'. We have both developed fingering charts for this, and many instrument makers can modify the saxophones accordingly to-day.
Originally I wanted to find different sounds on the tenor saxophone, more colors. For Mikropuls, I combined this with the normal functional harmony. For example there is a microtonal version of 'Freedom Jazz Dance'."

Nevertheless, this advanced duo project sounds very accessible on "Twelve 1 Murals"; the music is of a peculiar beauty and exudes a mysterious charm. It has nothing to do with an intellectual mind game. "For many organizers in jazz and also for some audienc-es, brainy music is pretty much the worst thing you can say about music," Gebhard Ullmann states. "For us, however, the concept is not intellectual at all. Instead it comes directly from what we feel. For me, first it was simply the desire to find my own sound on tenor by playing some notes a little higher or lower. The sounds change with different harmonics, lip pressure or alternate fingerings or by working with bended tones."

The intuitive approach that their music has is very important to Philipp and Gebhard. It is not aimed at supposed know-it-alls, but at an audience that is open to music by a  listen and feel approach.
"The music is directly accessible through listening, you don't have to know anything about microtonality," Gebhard Ullmann says "If you want to deal with the topic more de-tailed, you are free to do so."

The only thing a well-disposed listener needs for "Twelve 1 Murals" are open ears.
Perhaps even Franz-Josef Degenhardt, who was by no means as coarse as the opening quotation sounds, would have liked it.