Andreas Schaerer – The Big Wig (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 52:08 minutes | 577 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Booklet, Front Cover | © ACT Music
“The Big Wig” by multitalented Swiss vocal marvel Andreas Schaerer is a landmark work that situates him quite clearly and definitively among his generation’s most important composers and interpreters of contemporary music. This performance was recorded live at the Lucerne Festival in September 2015 and features the small ensemble Hildegard Lernt Fliegen and the Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy conducted by Mariano Chiachiarini.
The award-winning Schaerer is considerably more than just a singer: he uses his voice in the manner of a juggler, like a magician. Switching at will from songster to crooner to scatter, he can also produce various sounds, do beatbox percussion, imitate a whole range of instruments, or he can stack up polyphonic vocal parts on top of each other in a way which seems unfeasible.
Listen to any of Andreas Schaerer’s work, and you can hear that he thinks orchestrally. The phenomenal Swiss vocalist and composer – also human trumpet and beatboxer – can conjure the effect of several people at once when he performs solo. His sextet Hildegard Lernt Fliegen, works cleverly wrought scores that often make them sound like a much weightier ensemble. Here, on a CD billed as “Hildegard Lernt Fliegen meets the Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy”, he takes his orchestral ambitions to a new level. The Academy is a 60-strong conglomeration of international music students up for anything, and a lynchpin of the Festival. They join the sextet for six exuberant pieces commissioned from Schaerer, and recorded live in 2015. Three have been heard before on Hildegard’s splendid 2014 release The Fundamental Rhythm of Unpolished Brains. Seven Oaks opens both CDs, and immediately signals that the new project delivers rich dividends. Expanding it for ten times as many players creates a stupendous sound, but with no loss of rhythmic energy. You can even still hear (most of) the words, though the printed version supplied with the earlier CD, but not by ACT, helps if you want to follow the sometimes clotted lyric. The risk of the regular band being overwhelmed looms large. Yet through the whole set, Schaerer revels in the depth of resources at his command, but still succeeds in deploying them so that the jazz sextet sound like a natural part of the orchestra. The soloists – Andreas Tschopp on trombone, Matthias Wenger on saxes and flute and Benedikt Reising on baritone sax and bass clarinet, have gorgeously textured new settings which nevertheless leave them plenty of room to stretch out. Thus Tschopp gets to duet with the enormous brass section on one of the new pieces, Preludium, while Wenger is suitably inflammatory on Der Zeusler, the fire raiser. Reising’s best moment comes on Wig Alert, a feature for the orchestra’s six percussionists, with Christoph Steiner’s and the vocalist’s own percussion effects spurring on the energetically virtuosic youngsters.
01 – Seven Oaks
02 – Preludium
03 – Zeusler
04 – Wig Alert
05 – If Two Colossuses
06 – Don Clemenza
Produced by Andreas Schaerer. Recorded by Moritz Wetter for Radio SRF 2 Kultur.
Recorded live in concert on September 5, 2015 at Lucerne Festival, KKL Lucerne concert hall.
Edited by Christoph Utzinger and Andreas Schaerer. Mixed & Mastered by Martin Ruch at Control Room, Berlin.
Andreas Schaerer – voice, beatboxing & human trumpet
Andreas Tschopp – trombone
Matthias Wenger – alto & soprano saxophone, flute
Benedikt Reising – baritone saxophone & bass clarinet
Marco Müller – bass
Christoph Steiner – drums & marimba
+ Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy – Conducted by Mariano Chiacchiarini