Franz Koglmann: Viewing Jazz through Other Arts
FK: No. From a PR point of view it was not so bad. I'm sure that this was the idea of Uehlinger's.
AAJ: At that point you were aiming for the Third Stream, marrying elements from jazz and modern music...
FK: This was always interesting for me. From the beginning I had a great interest in literature, visual arts, films and so on, and I always saw one through the other. I understood more of music through good literature, sometimes more than through listening. I did a lot of works based on novels, pictures, films.
AAJ: Was it because jazz was not satisfying enough for you any more?
FK: Jazz is typically a creation of the twentieth century, maybe the greatest of that century, but it's finished more or less. That is my impression, but maybe I'm wrong. But jazz lives in other kinds of music, its influences, and this is the way that jazz goes on. Jazz, a priori, its development is finished.
Jazz is only part of my life. For me, Jazz is reflected in so called serious music and reverse. So maybe my music is not Jazz pure but today we are free of all dogmas and this kind of freedom I enjoy much more than every kind of strict styles. I am a traveller between worlds and my music uses up different influences. It is more interesting to combine jazz with elements of so-called serious music, because my own music is a combination of different influencesfirst, the composer Franz Schubert; second, the second Viennese school of (Arnold) Schoenberg, (Alban) Berg and (Anton von) Webern; and the third influence is the sound of cool jazzChet Baker, Jimmy Giuffre, Lennie Tristano. These three things, maybe, give the Koglmann line.
AAJ: In your later compositions and playing you are not referencing any more the free jazz?
FK: You are right. Maybe I lost the so called free thing. I became a composer who likes to play trumpet and flugelhorn, with a strong affinity to the sound of the old Cool things. I don't know why. Maybe it's like old wine. Good old cool jazz is like a good Bordeaux.
The HatHut Label Years
FK: It started because Uehlinger wanted to do a record with Bill Dixon and he read in a magazine that I had recorded with Dixon. He called me and asked me if he can use my recordings and I said no, I'm not interested in that, but we can make a new recording.
I played in 1985 in the Salon du Jazz in Paris and Uelinger had a presentation of his label in the Salon. We invited him to my concert at the cultural forum in the Austrian embassy. It was the first time that he heard me live and after the concert he said to me, now it's the time to make a new record. Ich was my first record and from this point we worked for ten years. Werner is one of the most important persons in my life.
AAJ: Did he gave you a complete freedom with your own projects?
FK: More or less. We discussed each project and I have to say that he had a lot of ideas for projects. Some were good and some I modified a little; I liked those discussions. This is a good situation if you have producer. He has to do two thingsfirst, to keep all the money things away from the artist, and tell the artist, do it; it's a hard way but don't think about it; second, the producer has to think in artistic ways, to discuss ideas with the artist, but to give him freedom to say no. In the ten years we had two or three really big fights and after the last fight I stopped working with him, but mostly it was a good thing.
AAJ: Do you know when the rest of your recordings for HatHut will be re-released? Do people ask you about out-of-print recordings such as Cantos I-IV?
FK: I don't know exactly. When disc are out-of-print for a long time Uelinger likes that people ask him for a re-release. Cantos I-IV from my point of view is my best record, one of my personal favorites, but no body was interested in it. The selling was incredibly bad, I don't know why. Maybe because it's too long, like a symphony, and people normally like to listen to the length of a pop song.
The making of O Moon My Pin-Up
Koglmann's most ambitious project for HatHut was his last for the label, an outstanding interpretation and arrangement of Ezra Pound's "The Pisan Cantos LXXIV-LXXXIV," O Moon My Pin-Up. The eleven poems were written in 1945 when Pound was accused of high treason by the Liberators of Italy and interned near Pisa in a wire cage under the open sky. Jazz writer Peter Niklas Wilson wrote in the liner notes: "the poetat least in some passagesopened the hermeticism of his thought, broke away from the mask-like quality of his language, and found his way to an unknown directness of expression, an immediacy of feeling, moreover to an attitude of humility.