Lüdemann, Hans & Reiner Winterschladen - Porgy's dream CD

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Lüdemann, Hans & Reiner Winterschladen - Porgy's dream CD
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Referring to a musical work of the century such as George Gershwin's popular opera "Porgy and Bess" entails enormous risks. This is especially the case when this popular work has spawned many ubiquitous song classics. Hans Lüdemann also believes: "You have to have a good reason to tackle this" and, of course, a coherent concept for a new, own approach. This has succeeded brilliantly with "Porgy’s Dream". The very personal homage of Lüdemann and trumpeter Reiner Winterschladen is not content with competent interpretations in the usual jazz style. The duo is based on selected themes and unfolds an intense atmosphere in its freely interpreted pieces, which thoroughly lives up to the original work.

The starting point for this project was an "old love". Hans Lüdemann, the German pianist, composer and arranger with decades of stylistically far-reaching experience, is one of the countless fans of the great "Porgy and Bess” album by Miles Davis, recorded in the summer of 1958. At that time, arranger Gil Evans had designed the orchestral accompaniment for his trumpet with his extraordinary trademark. "I have had this album for an eternity and always liked it very much!," Lüdemann stated enthusiastically. When he was commissioned to compose the score for a musical at the Oper Köln in 2019, he came back to this album as inspiration, reference and motivation. In the course of the intensive examination of Gershwin's original work and, in parallel, with the Davis album (for which a good dozen pieces were taken), the desire for his own interpretation grew – as a matter of the heart. It was clear to him that a special approach was needed. "The question was: how can I handle the material respectfully, but find a way to access it in my own style?" Lüdemann opted for an intimate form, a reduction in several respects. The connection with Reiner Winterschladen was obvious – especially since he had already dealt with "Porgy and Bess" (and the arrangements by Gil Evans) in the role of the feature soloist of the NDR big band. Lüdemann and Winterschladen have known each other since the mid-1990s. They have collaborated time and time again since then, one of those constant connections that even longer breaks cannot disrupt. Previous highlights include their duo recordings, which resulted in two wonderful album productions ("Mysterious Call” in 2001 and "Heavy Hearts” in 2013). Small biographical curiosity: Lüdemann is a native of Hamburg, but has been living in a small village near Bergisch-Gladbach for three decades; Winterschladen comes from Bergisch-Gladbach, but has been living in Hamburg for a long time.

They developed the final concept together and experimented with it. "Porgy's Dream" is a ballad album. Individual tracks were also created during production that deviated from this – and were discarded. Lüdemann and Winterschladen felt that their approach did not require any of the usual tempo and mood variations. "I think ballads have always been a strength of ours. We wanted this calm, basic ambiance; we wanted to leave room and not let the music get too dense. The ambiance was to be an essential guide.” In this context, Lüdemann emphasizes the emotional dimension of Gershwin's work and his story, into which he has delved deeply. "These are pieces that vibrate something in me, that are very close to people, that touch people."

That's exactly what you feel in every moment of this music. The wonderfully intimate duo moves freely within the material. Sometimes themes and harmonies are only played briefly. Nevertheless, the bond to the core is always there. One of the many qualities of this album is Winterschladen's narrative play on trumpet and flugelhorn, his "narrative tone", as Lüdemann says with a smile. This voice and Lüdemann's emotionally associative piano playing complement each other to create an all-round coherent, completely unique "Porgy and Bess” homage.

Concert dates with this program are in planning. Meanwhile, Reiner Winterschladen has recorded a new album with his regular band, the Nighthawks. Hans Lüdemann continues to keep an eye on his TransEuropeExpress Ensemble with an international lineup. In addition, he is putting the finishing touches on the opera "Manhattan Moon", whose premiere had to be postponed due to the coronavirus years. The same major work that also benefited from his involvement with Miles Davis' "Porgy and Bess” album.

1. Indian Summertime
2. Gone, Gone, Gone Away
3. I Love You, Porgy, Forever
4. Bess Meditation
5. Praying
6. Oh Bess, You Are My Woman
7. Fisherman and Strawberry Market
8. Porgy's Dream
9. Boat Trip