Klaus Lessmann (Clarinetist, Saxophonist, Composer, Arranger, Conductor) Originally from Burghausen (Germany), he studied classical music and jazz at the Musikhochschule Graz (Austria) and has lived since 1986 near Siena in Italy. He teaches jazz (clarinet, saxophone, combo, big band, arrangement) at the school of the Siena Jazz association and in other schools and workshops, and is regional coordinator for Italy of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ). He also teaches music to kids in regular schools. He performs with all sorts of groups, from dixieland and gypsy jazz to contemporary stuff. Ten years ago he founded the Siena Jazz Big Band, which ever since has dedicated much space to two great musicians: Duke Ellington (with transcriptions of the originals, mainly of the thirties and forties) and Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley (with original arrangements of the band's greatest hits). He also writes a lot for his clarinet quartet, and has had two books of phrasing studies published by Ricordi.
KLAUS LESSMANN, THE MUSIC OF JELLY ROLL MORTON
From Italy comes Klaus Lessmann’s homage to the music ot one of Jazz’ founding fathers. Morton’s was among the first Jazz Lessmann heard and, despite Lessmann’s being an obvious modernist, it had a profound effect on his music. Among the reasons Lessmann was attracted to Morton was the multi-partite structure of the music. Morton frequently wrote employing different sections (or strains) which was a compositional holdover from the ragtime era. In general, since Morton’s time, small group Jazz composition has become more "simplified." Lessmann felt that these more elaborate compositions might present his improvisers with new challenges and force them not to rely on personal cliches that may have developed.