Austria 2018 aftermath

While mitigating circumstances impacted my travel/acclimation — at times to the point of absurdity/embarrassment — the music and camaradarie at the core of my recent visit to Austria more than compensated for these “difficulties”. I am extremely grateful to Siegfried (Holzbauer) and Fritz (Novotny), who provided the means to get me to Austria, and, from there, lodging in Gmunden, local transportation and those fulsome meals. Additionally, my deep appreciation to Christoph Huber/Porgy & Bess for my upscale accomadations in Vienna, and to Albert & Anita Malli (and their children, Alma and Emile) for an absolutely lovely evening of food — Albert being a brilliant chef — and conversation surrounded by his late father Walter’s artwork. Stories of Walter and the circle around the Reform Art Unit/Masters of Unorthodox Jazz abounded, to say nothing of examining, as Albert termed Anita’s inclinations, “interesting topics”; meaning politics (she spent a decade working for the Green Party) social concerns, psychology, and, of course, the nature of improvised (and other) music(s). Particularly poignant for me was, thanks to Albert, the opportunity to have a brief chat over the phone with bassist Toni Michlmayr. (Walter’s ex-wife/Albert’s mother has been Michlmayr’s partner for some time.) Michlmayr is credited as essentially being the godfather of improvised music in Austria; starting down this road in the late 50s; that’s right, the late 50s. And, at that time, it was no easy road. Lest he lose his work in the classical field, he had to keep these “experiments” a secret. And, while, given his ill health — both physical and psychological — he most certainly didn’t remember our short exchange for more than a few minutes — it was a pleasure to hear the deep resonant voice of someone whose roots in free jazz/improvised music go back to the “super nova” of such thought and action.
The concerts in Gmunden and Vienna (at Porgy & Bess) were extremely pleasurable and rewarding. Thanks to Albert (and Siegfried, who did all the hauling), playing Walter Malli’s kit at the former event in part constituted a personal homage to a musician/visual artist whose work I hold in high esteem. (Unfortunately, due to a set of ironic circumstances, Siegfried did not end up participating; his “shards action” having taken place two days earlier.) The Vienna concert — Three Motions followed by the reformARTseven — featured expansive interactions with Paul, Fritz, Raoul (Herget) Johannes (Groysbeck), Rina (Chandra), and for the first time after having been in communication with him for decades, Franz Koglmann. (My first concert experience with Raoul was in a 2016 event in Vienna. And, previously, I had only played with Johannes and Rina in the context of the reformARTorchestra; a 2010 concert with the former at Porgy & Bess and with both at a 2016 recording sessions of small groups.)

Siegfried has posted the Gmunden set on YouTube (see subsequent post), and there is also the likelihood that at least some of the Porgy & Bess concert will make its way on-line. (Additionally, I should note that the photo of me appearing here in the Porgy & Bess calendar was taken by Frank Schmitt during my visit to Hamburg in 2016.)

The opportunity to travel and play music are relatively rare for me. Given my position in the “hierarchy” — one determined by the “choices/consequences” paradigm — the circumstances are almost always a bit dicey. But the experiences are, without exception, deeply rewarding; as is the ongoing work here at home. So, back to it…