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Kurt Ellenberger

Kurt Ellenberger is a pianist, composer, and author whose work includes music for a wide range of ensembles. His writings include a jazz theory book, other pedagogical writings, and many essays that appear in his arts blog entitled Also Sprach FraKathustra, which is published by The Huffington Post–Arts and Culture. He has recorded on Innova Recordings, Ghostly International, and Challenge-A Records (the Netherlands), among others, and has been hailed as "a gifted pianist who combines the lyricism of Bill Evans with the energy of Keith Jarrett." He is a member of the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble, whose recent recordings of Terry Riley’s “IN C: Remixed” and Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” have been featured in The New York Times, as well as in many of the nation’s leading publications, including The New Yorker

ARTICLE: PROFILE

Jack Hues and His Muse: The First Thing I Need is Music

Read "Jack Hues and His Muse: The First Thing I Need is Music" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

In the world of rock and pop music, the most successful musicians and groups tend to emerge in their early 20s with a burst of creativity that few can sustain past a handful of recordings. Unlike in classical music and jazz, where musicians and composers continually develop and evolve well into old age, rock musicians generally ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

The Touch of Your Lips, Part III: The Essential Touch in Jazz Piano

Read "The Touch of Your Lips, Part III: The Essential Touch in Jazz Piano" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 It would be nice and tidy if the development of tone color as a primary in jazz piano matched its development in the other instruments, but that is not the case. From early on in jazz's history, composers and bandleaders like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Cab ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

The Touch of Your Lips, Part II: Touch and Tone Color in Jazz Piano

Read "The Touch of Your Lips, Part II: Touch and Tone Color in Jazz Piano" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 As mentioned in Part I, tone color took on a prominent role in classical music in the 19C. The Romantic composers like Wagner, Strauss, Berlioz, Chopin and many others were, I think it is fair to say, somewhat obsessed with it. The composers before them were ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

The Touch of Your Lips: The Colors of Jazz Piano

Read "The Touch of Your Lips: The Colors of Jazz Piano" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 The idea that pianists are able to create different tone colors and different timbres is generally accepted. For some performers, the sound can be a musical identifier on par with a fingerprint, which is a strong argument for their ability to coax a wide array of ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn, Part 3

Read "Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn, Part 3" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Part 3: U.K.'s First Album U.K.PrologueIn the second part of this series, I laid out my criteria for what would constitute a fusion of jazz and rock that remained true to both styles, which, in my definition, means that the resultant music would have to appeal ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn, Part 2

Read "Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn, Part 2" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Part 2: Steely Dan's AjaI ended the first part of this series with the question that prompted these articles: “Why is there so little music that genuinely fuses two styles together and does so in a way that maintains the integrity of the stylistic contributors?" I ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Wouter Turkenburg: Jazz Education in the New Millennium

Read "Wouter Turkenburg: Jazz Education in the New Millennium" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 All About Jazz and Wouter Turkenburg would like to dedicate this interview to the memory of saxophonist Michael Brecker (1949-2007). In addition to his prodigious accomplishments as an instrumentalist and band leader, Brecker was an exceptional worldwide ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Kurt Ellenberger Trio: Songs From The Far West

Read "Songs From The Far West" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Pianist Kurt Ellenberger has turned in a dandy here! With a nod to the Bill Evans’ school of piano or perhaps similar in “presentation” to some of Steve Kuhn’s recent work for ECM, comparisons or analogies do not allude to any sense of derivation........... Beautifully recorded at the Lawrence University Chapel in Appleton Wisconsin, Ellenberger and ...


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