Frank Gratkowski

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Frank Gratkowski, moers festival 2010
Frank Gratkowski Alte Druckerei, Ottensen, Hamburg 2019

Frank Gratkowski (born March 30, 1963 in Hamburg ) is a German jazz clarinetist , saxophonist and composer.

Live and act

Gratkowski began playing the saxophone at the age of 16 and received his first lessons at the Hamburg University of Music . In 1985 he began studying saxophone at the Cologne University of Music with Heiner Wiberny , which he completed in 1990 with the concert exam. Further studies u. a. at Charlie Mariano , Sal Nistico and Steve Lacy followed suit .

The collaboration with Klaus König and the Grubenklangorchester began when he was still studying , later Gratkowski a. a. with the WDR big band . From 1990 he appeared with his first solo programs (1991 on the CD articulations ). Since 1992 he has been playing in a duo with the pianist Georg Graewe , and since 1999 also as a trio with the drummer Paul Lovens . He also works closely with the pianist Achim Kaufmann . In addition, Gratkowski plays in various trio and quartet line-ups. a. with Sebastian Gramss , Philip Zoubek , Gerry Hemingway ( Double Blues Crossing ), Dieter Manderscheid , Wilbert de Joode and Paul Lovens. He is also a member of the Zeitkratzer ensemble . He taught at the music academies in Cologne, Hanover and Berlin.

Steve Lacy , Evan Parker and Anthony Braxton are the main influences on his playing . The purity of his tone is particularly noticeable in his solo appearances and in small ensembles. At the same time, Gratkowski is also considered a talented sound researcher, to whom the expansion of the sound arsenal of his clarinets and saxophones, the exploration of sound possibilities beyond the classical sound generation, is very important. His z. He also performs partially microtonally oriented compositions with the Multiple Joy [ce] Orchestra .

Gratkowski is co-founder and composer of the ensemble Fo [u] r Alto (with Christian Weidner , Benjamin Weidekamp and Florian Bergmann ). The ensemble sees itself as the quadrupling of the alto saxophone as a unified body of sound. Collective improvisations are combined with Gratkowski's compositions. A wide variety of techniques are used, such as B. Spectral analyzes, intervallic microtonal concepts, various advanced playing techniques as well as shimmering, dense sound bands, which are created by the multiplication of instrument-related multiple sounds. The conception of spatial music plays an important role. If the venue makes it possible, the musicians position themselves around the audience in order to convey a multidirectional musical enjoyment.

Recordings (selection)

Frank Gratkowski with Wilbert de Joode in February 2009 in the cult in Niederstetten
  • Articulations (2nd Floor Edition, 1991)
  • Gestalten (with Dieter Manderscheid, Gerry Hemingway ) ( JazzHausMusik , 1995)
  • Quicksand (with Georg Graewe, Paul Lovens) (Meniscus, 1999)
  • Spectral Reflections (with Wolter Wierbos , Dieter Manderscheid, Gerry Hemingway) ( Leo Records , 2001)
  • Arrears (with Georg Gräwe, John Lindberg ) (Red Toucan, 2001)
  • Loft Exil V - Frank Gratkowski Project "Live the 32nd New Jazz Festival Moers 2003" (Leo Records, 2003)
  • Kwast (with Achim Kaufmann, Wilbert De Joode) ( Konnex Records , 2003)
  • James Choice Orchestra Live at Moers (moers music, 2005)
  • Live in New Orleans (2009), with Hamid Drake
  • Fo [u] r Alto: Four Compositions by Frank Gratkowski (Leo, 2012, with Florian Bergmann , Benjamin Weidekamp , Christian Weidner )
  • Le vent et la gorge (Leo, 2012, with Dieter Manderscheid, Wolter Wierbos, Gerry Hemingway)
  • Frank Gratkowski / Sebi Tramontana : Live at Spanski Borci (Leo, 2016)
  • Frank Gratkowski / Simon Nabatov / Dominik Mahnig : Dance Hall Stories (Leo, 2020)


Web links

Commons : Frank Gratkowski  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Website of the ensemble