Each of the artists brings more to the team than just their talent – together they create a high octane mix that will blow away not just fans of jazz and improvised music.
The groups consists of American saxophonist Mars Williams, German master drummer Klaus Kugel, American bass player Hilliard Greene, and the talented Polish clarinetist Wacław Zimpel. Williams, Zimpel, Greene and Kugel all create improvised music, although each of them has a different take on it. Luckily, these four mavericks managed to strike a musical alliance, one that defies predictability and set patterns.
The musicians have been playing together for some time now. In 2015 they released a live recording of their performance in Dresden in 2013. The 57-minute album consists of four compositions. Listening to it is really the best way to get acquainted with Switchback. Free jazz dialogues between the saxophone and the clarinet, lined with ethnical flavours, are backed by the robust – yet elegant and intuitive – sounds of Kugel’s drums. Musical discussions between the melodies of Zimpel’s clarinet and Greene’s elaborate double bass are an oasis of tranquility. Simply put, Switchback is a band that knows when to put listeners through the wringer, and when to let them unwind.
Mars Williams (USA) – tenor, alto, soprano, sopranino saxophones
Wacław Zimpel – bass, alto, clarinets, tarogato, flutes
Hilliard Greene (USA) – double bass, bass ukulele
Klaus Kugel (Niemcy) – drums, percussions
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“In many ways he has succeeded in redefining what versatility means to the modern saxophone player” said John Zorn about Mars Williams. The charismatic American musician is a man of varied musical experiences and tastes. He’s close to the Chicago improvisation scene and free jazz, but he’s also known for his collaborations with The Psychedelic Furs and Liquid Soul. He’s also recorded with, among others, Bill Laswell, Ministry, Power Station, Die Warzau, The Waitresses, Kiki Dee, Pete Cosey, Billy Squier, Wayne Kramer and Friendly Fires. He’s also one of the founders of Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet. Williams played Krakow Jazz Autumn last year, together with Michael Zerang.
The talented graduate of the Munich School of Jazz has worked with, among others, the celebrated Lithuanian saxophonist Petras Vysniauskas, but also with Karl Berger, Tomasz Stańko, Charlie Mariano, Kent Carter, Michel Pilz, Theo Jörgensmann, Kenny Wheeler, Vyacheslav Ganelin, Bobo Stenson, Glen Moore, Steve Swell, Sabir Mateen, Robert Dick, Peter Evans, Perry Robinson, Hilliard Greene, Charles Gayle, John Lindberg, Louie Belogenis, Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Bobby Few, Roy Campbell and Jemeel Moondoc. Over the last 30 years he toured throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America.
The Indiana-born double bassist is a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music. He’s collaborated for many years with Jimmy Scott, who performed the unforgettable “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool. He has also worked with Cecil Taylor, Don Pullen, and a multitude of other free jazz virtuosos, who have built upon the solid
foundation that is Greene’s bass playing. He is also a part of The In&Out Band, a trio which uses jazz standards to explore improvisation. Greene also teaches upright and electric bass.
The Polish clarinetist’s career has, from its very beginnings, generated positive reviews and prestigious awards. He’s not afraid of challenges and continually sets new goals for himself. This is evidenced in his many international projects, reaching to the musical traditions of, among others, India, Japan and Morocco.
Zimpel received a solid musical education, obtained at the Music Academy in Poznań and at the Hochschule für Musik in Hannover. His talent and abilities have been noticed by Mikołaj Trzaska and Ken Vandermark. This year saw the release of his album “Lines”, made up of six compositions.