Wolfgang Engstfeld / Peter Weiss
Tracklist (CD 1)
- Last chance
- Samba du Commerce
- We’d rather like it cash
- All the things you are
- Darn that dream
- Mr. Max
- Completely different
- Ode to Sammy Davis
Tracklist (CD 2)
- Upside down
- Cat and mouse
- Bus stop
- Song without words
- Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
- Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen
Wolfgang Engstfeld / Peter Weiss
Philipp van Endert
Since 1971 the two Düsseldorf institutions Wolfgang Engstfeld and Peter Weiss have balanced between I and We, held the arc of tension between closeness and distance, somnambulistic familiarity and refreshing forays into other bands (such as ›Jazztrack‹, ›Changes‹, the All-Star-Formation ›Jazzpool NRW‹).
This mutual nurturing of acoustic Modern Jazz connects the almost fused with his instrument tenor saxophonist and the passionate drummer as the style-forming pillars in various formations – first for a long time in a trio with bassist Gunnar Plümer, for many years now with double bassist Christian Ramond and pianist Hendrik Soll.
And if there is another ideal complementary relationship, then with this pair that means marathon twosome tours: Engstfeld always loads the powerful Hardbob with sparklingly imaginative self-compositions. Weiss drives the desire for development forward with tirelessly organised performance prospects. This pair has shared innumerable hotel rooms, in the meantime they have given some 3,000 concerts and gigs on both large and small stages – ›bringing down‹ local clubs as much as gaining international performance experience in Australia, the townships of South Africa, in Brazil or Japan, and most recently at the Expo in Shanghai. 15 joint CDs (in addition to their own and with others) are the yield preserved on disc from this stable as well as animated jazz-partnership.
»That’s just how the cymbal must sound, dark, loose, easy!« is how Wolfgang Engstfeld valuates the acoustic samples that sounded from the rehearsal cellar in an old case room in the early seventies. A short time later Peter Weiss sat at the drums in the legendary Downtown in the Düsseldorf Altstadt and, with the man he admired on saxophone, founded the sound that 40 years later is rated as unmistakable: Wolfgang Engstfeld named it ›Jazz-Jazz‹, so as to highlight the original roots of this energy-loaded music with African rhythmicity, and without denying any reverence to the greats of American jazz history nor the necessity for experimentation, for lyrical and harmonious melodies.
How harmonious the workaday consonance in the men’s-music flat-share was with Engstfeld/Weiss and Co. during the beginnings in the Oberkassel old building is not known. What is known is that there was a rehearsal plan written on the wall with honey and heated discussions about music between the twenty year olds.
They have long lived in separate apartments, but still under one roof. And these traditionalists, in the best sense of the word, have also remained loyal to the creed of continually played and consistent quality. Authentic, open to influences, but without ever having chased after a time trend. Changes in the trademark Engstfeld/Weiss lie in the details, they are not composed strikingly. Eruptive free play of the strengths, ballads for the blue hours of modernity and ad-lib Schumann arrangements are not contradictory. Thereby, the sensitive and complex interplay of the group is more than the sum of the individuals.
Whoever has lived through and helped shape almost half of the German jazz history, they also leave traces with others – through their playing as well as through their teaching on courses, such as at universities, and they position themselves in the CVs of colleagues. »We have thrown open doors«, recalled Weiss. »We were heroes for the generation that was close behind us« remarks Engstfeld, who teaches at the Cologne Academy of Music, looking in the rearview mirror.
40 years of Engstfeld/Weiss: No resting on their laurels. Their secure anchoring in playful, compacted experience, and the joy of being able to do one’s own thing, that strengthens their attitude to life today.