In the hear and now, after 400 years:
NOW: lutenist Axel Wolf and saxophonist Hugo Siegmeth
The duo is distinguished by a very special musicality, a mutual sensitivity and a common breath in every piece. Straight away, their music sounds organic at means extraordinarily natural or even self-evident. But that is the very thing it is not. For the two musicians in the duo are not exactly well-known from the same musical worlds: One: a lutenist specializing in Early Music The other: a saxophonist from contemporary jazz. The duo consists of Axel Wolf und Hugo Siegmeth.
They discovered musical common ground by coincidence: through a few notes the very jazz- versed lutenist played in the dressing room the two musicians were sharing. Soon, they sat down together, rehearsing pieces with each other e result was the duo programme ´Flow´, released on CD by OehmsClassics in 2015, with evergreens from both sides, from John Dowland’s Flow my tears up to Gershwin’s Summertime.
And with the two of them, the pieces sounded as if a
400-year-old, long-necked lute (or a replica) had always been the ideal accompanying instrument in some old damp jazz cellar. And as if Monteverdi’s Lamento d’Arianna, the only surviving fragment of an otherwise lost opera about the mythological gure of Ariadne, simply sounds best when it also sobs in sublime plaintiveness with a jazz tenor saxophone played in the modern manner. No wonder! The feat of the two musicians is that they do not perform superficial and scintillating classical-jazz crossover with fast effects for the fast (and quickly forgotten) market, but show the convergence of two musicians who especially appreciate shades of sound. And both of them also venture to improvise in the other’s idiom. It is sensitive empathizing with very subtle fingertips. This is the music by Axel Wolf and Hugo Siegmeth, and it has been celebrated by the music press, always with special reference to joy in musical encounter and the empathy they demonstrate.
Roland Spiegel, BR-Klassik
"Pieces by Georg Muffat are seldom heard in th Unterfahrt. Or Bach, Handel, Ligeti and other classical composers. Not until someone like Hugo Siegmeth comes along and discovers an improvisational dimension in the luminaries of the neighbouring disciplines. And because this Munich saxophonist possesss a fine sense of balance between the musical elements, he avoids the crossover trap of sympatic adaption, rather managing to transfer the sound concept of these others coherently to his own world of sound."
Ralf Dombrowski, Sueddeutsche Zeitung
"Saxophon player, composer and arranger Hugo Siegmeth is one of the most pleasing new discoveries in Munich´s Jazz music scene. The Jazz fan not only comes to know a full-blooded professional in him, but also and first of all an extraordinary, independent-minded producer of ideas, who shows profile and personalitiy without clichés and formalisms. Besides his virtuosity, his way of dramatizing in colourful sounds rises from his disarming naturalness."
Joe Kienemann, BR-Klassik
"For all its freedom and openness however, the sound of the Hugo Siegmeth Ensemble never loses structure and clarity, a picture-rich rhyme, sometimes colorful, lively, sunny,
sometimes meditative, reassuring, introverted, always inspiring."
"FLOW is the title of the CD, which is a very successful combination of jazz and classical music... Both Axel Wolf and Hugo Siegmeth are excellent and sensitive instrumentalists and archmusicians, whose meeting can be described as a stroke of luck. A wonderfully light and at the same time deep CD."
"... Clark Terry, by trading with question (trumpet) and answer (flugelhorn), both instruments in his hands, realizes his typical Terry's wink. By the way, Hugo Siegmeth is also in his solo element, developing his melodious lines in direct succession and connection to Terry in his uptempo swinger ´Spaceman´".
"Congratulations - Siegmeth succeeds in translating Bechet not only into the idiom of modern jazz, but also but also in connecting with European listening habits, which Bechet
has always sought in his exile in Paris.
Did "Summertime" sound ever more beautiful than in this transatlantic translation?
NOW – Jazz and Renaissance Improvisations - inspired by poems and pictures is the title of their new album, released on OehmsClassics in association with BR-Klassik.
But first, we´ll let lutenist Axel Wolf and saxofonist Hugo Siegmeth transport us to the wondrous world of renaissance and jazz improvisation.
Wolf and Siegmeth play two instruments that we don´t expect to hear together. On one hand the saxophon, invented in the 19th century, a mainstay of 20th and 21st century jazz, on the other the lute, which goes way back in the history of western music.
Klassikcast online, Goethe-Institut
"When Hugo Siegmeth (born Romania, 1970) set out to pay homage to Sidney Bechet (born New Orleans, 1897), his intention was to present Bechet's music using contemporary
vocabulary. The result is fascinating. To avoid any imitation of the original, he does not play soprano saxophone, Bechet's main instrument, concentrating instead on the tenor and clarinet. Some
of his transformations are quite magical. Bechet's haunting 'Petite Fleur', for instance, surrounded by some fairly dissonant strings. As for 'Les Oignons', the crowd-pleaser with which Bechet
usually ended his shows, it emerges as an ideal vehicle for Sonny Rollins."
"...one forgets the Bach portrait with the stern expression and it is wonderful what begins to unfold for the open minded listener"
"...wonderful music, sophisticated music, soulful music, enthralling music, witty music, not jazz, not baroque."
Hugo Siegmeth is a gifted melodist with a touching and approachable sound... In his music, the epochs meet quite
harmoniously, captivatingly logically and yet soundfully surprising. The ideal of classical music is reflected in the technical perfection and the beauty of sound, combined with the spontaneity
and improvisational spirit of jazz."
Music Award of the City of Munich 2015
"Siegmeth creates a colour scheme that hardly any other saxophonist in Germany currently succeeds in - a sculptural, warm, powerful, independent profile. His idiosyncratic blues
eventually lead the listener to the Danube Delta, the Banat, the Carpathians instead of the Mississippi."
"Passing through the centuries - Hugo Siegmeth´s Jazz in European tradition
"I was looking for an ensemble sound that is rooted in classical music on the one hand, and which is open to jazz, improvisation and the flow of passacaglia on the other hand. I like to play jazz, which also refers to the European musical tradition."
"The Munich-based Hugo Siegmeth comes from the Romanian Banat and in many of his compositions he refers to the musical traditions of his homeland, sometimes pairing the
dance-like quality and the rhythmic concepts of Eastern European folk music with the sublime harmony of modern mainstream jazz."
"I do many different things over here, a lot of things with big bands and a lot fo workshops and a lot of stuff, but I can tell you in all from my heart that there is nothing that I would rather do than this. This is the best, well it´s because this is what this music is really all about. Those of us that are involved in this music, we live for one reason and that is to get a chance to come in a situation with a combo like this and really play with this much freedom and with such great musicians to back you. I fell like I´ve died an gone to heaven, you know."
Bobby Shew about the concert tour with the Hugo Siegmeth Qunintet