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BIGGI VINKELOE
Retrospective | Unreleased recordings 1999-2011

Release date: 18.06.12
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NOTES: The Audio Files

"For a complete biography and a listing of my released recordings, please go to www.biggivinkeloe.com"

Studio recordings and live recordings never released during the past 10 years, with musicians from Sweden, the UK, Denmark, the USA, Congo, India, Canada, Germany. I had my own trio with drummer Peeter Uuskyla and different bass players for over 10 years. Since a few years I experiment with found sounds and words, electronics and accoustic instruments. At the same time, I continue to explore instant composition and improvisation. I like to play in small settings, because of the intimacy and the intensity and the tension created in a duo or trio.

 

The Musicians

Lisle Ellis (New York) / Bruce Eisenbeil (New York) / Don Robinson (Oakland) / Paul Obermayer (London) / Harry Gilonis (London) / Jake Tilson (London) / Edo Bumba (Gothenburg) / Peter Friis Nielsen (Copenhagen) / Jair Rohm Parker Wells (Phuket) / Peeter Uuskyla (Gothenburg) / Peter Kowald (Wuppertal) / Sumathi Murthy (Bangalore) / Joe Anthony (Bangalore) / Ramakrishna Shikaripura (Bangalore) / Nema Vinkeloe (Gothenburg*) / Rex Casswell (London) / Wayne Lopes (New York)

 

History and concepts

The music I send covers a variety of styles, from duo to small ensemble. I like to explore different directions, different sound spaces, accoustic or electronic, with pre-recorded sounds or sounds created just here and then. I like to adapt the music to the space I am in, and take in account the audience as a vital part in the performance / concert. Even with the same material as a starting point, the music can turn out to be very different from one time to the other

The basic idea is always to perform a spontaneous composition, with a motiv, a rhythm, chord changes, recorded sounds (environmental, street sounds, people, words, cars, ambiences...) as a starting point. I have worked with many different musicians from four continents. The most consistent group I ever played with was my own trio, Biggi Vinkeloe Trio, with drummer Peeter Uuskyla and different bassplayers. We have traveled in Europe and North America and recorded many times, cd's and radio shows, for more than 15 years. We had different bassplayers, Peter Kowald, Barre Phillips, Ken Filiano, Georg Wolf, Peter Friis Nielsen. all great musicians....
at the same time, I had different projects, duo to bigger ensembles, just to experience different settings and to develop new perspectives. I have collaborated with visual artists, poets and dancers, just to try to capture all the different angles of artistic expression. Peeter Uuskyla, painter Ebbe Pettersson and myself have had a long collaboration, under the name of Vario. We performed and invited other artists from all over the world to perform with us, in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, England, Italy, Finland.

Music is like life, you never know where it will take you, and there are wonderful surprises and not so wonderful surprises!

Some highlights: in 1988 I participated in the Workshop Orchestra of Cecil Taylor in Berlin, along with musicians from Germany, Sweden, USA, Canada. Two years later, I was part of a similar orchestra with Cecil Taylor, and that time we performed at the prestigious Documenta Kassel Germany. The performance was recorded but never released.

Many years later, my friend guitarrist Bruce Eisenbeil, New York, took me to Ornette Coleman, we played more than two hours straight all the three of us at his house in Manhattan. It was great to sit right next to him and feel the sound of his beautiful melody lines pouring directly into my ear!

I have recorded a duo CD with Barre Phillips in a little chapelle in the south of France – a magic place and magic moments.

There are many memorable times, the Vancouver Jazz Festival, the CBGB Gallery and the Kitchen in New York, Röda Sten and the Opening Project Over the Ocean, five weeks as a Artist in residence at the Headland Center for the Arts which gave me the opportunity to think about my music and to meet some of the creative musicians in the Bay Area. Recordings and projects came out of this period. Other highlights of my life as a musician: a tour in the East of Germany with Peeter Uuskyla and Barre Phillips, a performance at the Milano Central Station in the middle of the rush hour, a house concert upstate New York, the Cosmic Legends by Sylvie Degiez and Wayne Lopez, with musicians, actors, poets from the city and performed at some of the hip places in New York, big concerts for small audiences at the downtown music gallery NYC with trombonist Steve Swell, a tour along the californian coast with donald robinson and lisle ellis (we work on a new exciting project!), meeting Indian Hindustani singers Sumathi Murthy and Ramakrishna, recording in a basement with African musician Edo Bumba, performing with kotoplayer Miya Masaoka and violonist Mary Oliver - playing at the Noise Festival Brighton England, curated by Thurston More with drummer Paul Hession and Finnish saxophonist Sami Pekkola – as the only accoustic group and wildly acclaimed to play longer than anyone else (the average concert at that festival was 10 to 15 minutes per group!).

 

The first sound

For me, music is very much about communication. Your first sound is like your initial statement, or your first question. And then you get a reaction, hopefully, and the music goes from there. To me it is important to always think in terms of composition, which means in terms of structure and form. there has to be a clear beginning, a development, a climax and an ending which is connected somehow to the beginning. It is important also that the musicians on stage (or in the recording studio) use the same language – you need to know your vocabulary, besides knowing very well the technique of your instrument.

 

Creative process

I love to listen to a lot of different styles of music and I have many CD's at home. I love to go to a store and just try to find new things, surprises.... I practice every day, on both instruments, flute and alto saxophone. So I can actually execute the ideas that come to my mind when I start playing, I like to expand my limits as often as possible, I like the challenge.... that is how I accepted an invitation to play some solo phrases as a guest of an Indian Rock band, with young musicians, on a big stage with smoke and lights and video screens behind.... no time to rehearse, just get up on the stage, get a paper with the chords, some instructions from the keyboardist and then play! Interesting.

Lately, for the past five years, I got very interested in the collection of sounds, besides being very much interested in electronic sounds. I like to use street sounds as a part of the creative process, as these sounds are always there but we try not to hear them, we try to abstract from all the sounds we don't like or we can't control.... I am thinking of creating a 'Museum of Everyday Life, opened every day'. This idea is born in Kirkenes a few years back, when I did a visual project on this theme.

 

How improvised music and jazz impacts in your life?

I am an improviser. My life really is just one wonderful big surprising improvisation! Most musicians do improvise, in all kinds of genres. But I chose to learn and study jazz, the vocabulary, the history, the rhythms, the harmonies... improvisation and jazz are very much related to each other for me. I am a jazz musician ... and I work mainly with jazz musicians, although I love the challenge to work with musicians from other fields, classical music, heavy metal, indian traditional, electronics / noise, rap / hip-hop....

 

Why you decided to become a musician?

I think I always wanted to be a musician, I could not really think of anything else. I like the communication part, you can meet people from anywhere and just get something going, even when you don't know the language – amazing! Unfortunately, I also realized very early that it is almost impossible to make a living as a jazz / improvising musician, at least not if you value your integrity as an artist and your ability of saying 'no' to projects you don't want to do.

So I also have studied at the university in order to be able to work other jobs, as translator, teacher, music therapist, among others.

 

Advantages and disadvantages of independent curatorial spaces

I think it is great that there are a lot of different spaces, small ones and big ones. The big ones often have a staff with technicians, administrators and organizers and need to be profit-oriented – or get fundings from the state, the region, the city... that means that they have to plan a long time in advance, which is not always so good, it does not really rhyme with spontaneity and improvisation..... On the other hand, the big spaces can come up with more solid fundings for projects, and you can get a decent paiment for your work.

Independent spaces are often smaller and they have a light structure - they can react faster and can invite people at the last minute too. Therefore there can be more room for new things, spontaneous ventures, musicians and artists coming together and creating something vibrant, unexpected, surprising.... I think that independent spaces can match much better the idea of supporting and facilitating creative processes and improvisation. Most of the time, the small independent spaces don't have money, and you end up very often to perform for no or very little money.

In any case, spaces are needed, along with enthusiastic organizers.

Thoughts:

It is almost not possible to play jazz / improvised music and have a family to take care of..... there is not enough money to make.... so I am dealing with a 'bread job' – and of course, it is hard to keep up as an active musician when you have to work full-time and take care of a family... practicing helps....and whenever I can I spend some time in New York, where I can play with the most amazing musicians you can imagine, whenever possible I like to do recordings, which can much more easily travel around the world.... and now I am not so young anymore, but there is still a lot of music I want to create and compose and play and share, but not at any price....

Experience as female improviser in Sweden and around the world

Before I came to Sweden, I lived in France. I have performed many times in all the major cities in France. Most of the time I have worked with male musicians, just because we shared the same ideas about music. And there are not as many women around as there are men!

At first it seemed easier to be a woman musician in Sweden – but no, not really....
Generally speaking, it is not easy to be a woman player, you always have to prove that you play at least as well as your male colleagues, you have to be a step ahead.... I also want to say that I often have been very lucky to find male musicians who had a more relaxed attitude and who helped me: when rehearsing it was sometimes hard to communicate my ideas directly, so I asked my more open minded male musician friends to communicate my ideas to the other musicians.... sounds strange, but it worked out well! The person who has supported me the most is drummer Peeter Uuskyla.

Generally speaking, the situation seems to change little by little and there are more and more female players – I think that is very positive! It was hard to get recognition.... today I feel that I am part of the international community of jazz musicians.

It has been often difficult to put a tour or a bunch of concerts together: male organizers are more likely to support male musicians, and female organizers often do the same! Some female organizers are supporting strongly female musicans – if they are feminists! For me music is about communication, not about gender... I don't care if I play with men or women, young people or old people.... if the music we create is strong and has a good structure.

Female improvisers and noise musicians;

Miya Masaoka, koto, New York City
Mary Oliver, violin, viola, Amsterdam
Marie Selander, voice, Stockholm
India Cooke, violin, Oakland
Angela Wellman, trombone, Oakland
Lotte Anker, tenor saxophone, Copenhagen
Gail Brand trombone, London
Sara Schoenbeck, bassoon, New York City
Erika Dagnino, voice texts, Genova
Nina de Heney, bass, Gothenburg
Sylvie Degiez piano, New York City
Karin Nelson, church organ, Gothenburg
Dorle Ferber, violin, voice Konstanz
Dina Emerson, voice, wine glass Oakland
Sumathi Murthy, hindustani singing, Bangalore
Sukkanya Ramgopal, ghatam, ghata tharang and konnakol (indian rhythm instruments) Bangalore
Susanna Lindeborg, piano electronics, Halmstad
Vanja Holm, drums, Gothenburg
Cecilia Wennerström, sax, Stockholm

I have performed with all these wonderful women creating beautiful music in different styles... they are all improvisers and composers.

 

 

Biggi Vinkeloe, 18th May 2012

 

 

Musician credits | Tracklist and Biggi notes

01. Out! 12:43 (recorded in Trollhättan 1999)
This is my trio I had had for 10 years. Always with Peeter Uuskyla, but with different bassplayers. Umeå no 3 features also my trio.
This recording is a live recording during a festival , European Echoes, we had in a Smith's Factory - the owner cleaned up a few spaces for us,
and brought in chairs and benches to sit on. It was a very magic event with dancers, musicians, painters....
Year 1999, in Trollhättan, 50 km north of Gothenburg and home of SAAB.

Biggi Vinkeloe, sax, flute
Peeter Uuskyla, drums (SE)
Peter Friis Nielsen, electric bass (DK)

02. Samphrey 3:58 (Studio recording. Gothenburg 2000)
The musicians came together to work on a one week project for the re-opening of Röda Sten (red stone), an art gallery in a huge
factory space in the harbor of Gothenburg. The event was called Over The Ocean, funded by Kulturfonden (Culture Fundings) Sweden.

Biggi Vinkeloe, sax
Jake Tilson, found sounds (UK)
Paul Obermayer, electronics, keyboard (UK)
Wayne Lopes, chapman stick (USA)

03. Umeå no 3 | 13:40 (recorded in Jazz Festival Umeå, North of Sweden 2000)
Biggi Vinkeloe, flute
Peter Kowald, bass (DE)
Peeter Uuskyla, drums (SE)

04. Chiff-Chaff | 2:33 (Studio recording. Gothenburg 2000)
Over The Ocean, funded by Kulturfonden (Culture Fundings) Sweden. Biggi Vinkeloe, flute
Harry Gilonis, voice, low grade electronics (UK)
Paul Obermayer, electronics, keyboard (UK)

05. Smältverket | 16:46 (recorded in Trollhättan 1999)
European Echoes, live recording. a quartet, just that time.... We played together again a few times, as we did double bills
with my trio and the trio Bark!

Biggi Vinkeloe, sax, flute
Paul Obermayer, electronics, keyboard (UK)
Rex Casswell, electric guitar (UK)
Peter Friis Nielsen, electric bass (DK)

06. What Are You Thinking? | 5:12 (recorded in New York 2007)
Recorded in a studio we rented for just a few hours, in Brooklyn.We had worked together before, just not as a quartet.

Biggi Vinkeloe, sax
Bruce Eisenbeil, electric guitar (USA)
Lisle Ellis, bass (Can)
Donald Robinson, drums (USA)

 

BONUS TRACKS

07. Kungu | 5:56 (recorded in Gothenburg 2006). This is a song by Edo Bumba. He asked me to improvise. I really liked the connection between his singing and my sax...

Biggi Vinkeloe, sax
Edo Bumba, guitar, percussion, voice (Congo / SE)

08. Night in Bangalore (excerpt) | 6:36 (recorded in Bangalore 2011) Original track: 9:51* min. Contact Biggi Vinkeloe if you're interested in publish the complete track
"I recorded the sounds in Bangalore, in the street and in different public places.It translates so well the auditive impression you get when you are downtown Bangalore
- it is a huge downtown area, too big to walk from one end to the other... the music is recorded live on the roof top."

Biggi Vinkeloe, sax, found sounds
Sumathi Murthy, voice (India)
Joe Anthony, claypot (India)
Ramkrishna Shikaripura, harmonium, voice (India)
Nema Vinkeloe*, violin (SE)

09. January Avenue | 6:55 (recorded in Gothenburg 2008-2010). Found sounds in Gothenburg, year 2008. Sax and electronics are recorded in 2010

Biggi Vinkeloe, found sounds, sax
Jair Rohm Parker Wells, electronics, electric bass (USA / S)

10.Guillamon | 3:15 (recorded in Gothenburg 2000). We improvised to the found sounds of Jake Tilson. Another of the pieces we recorded as part of the project Over The Ocean. year 2000. We came together a few more times after that, in Gothenburg and Copenhagen.

Biggi Vinkeloe, sax
Jake Tilson, found sounds (UK)
Harry Gilonis, voice, low grade electronics
Rex Casswell, electric guitar

 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL DATABASE 2010-2015

[ar071] BIGGI VINKELOE
Unreleased recordings 1999-2011

ar071

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RELEASE CREDITS:

Promotional compilation curated by Biggi Vinkeloe and Julian Bonequi.

BiggiVinkeloe, alto saxophone, flute, found sounds, words, composition.

Studio recordings and live recordings never released during the past 10 years. Each track has the credit of the artists.

Special thanks to Biggi Vinkeloe and all the musicians involved. Thanks to Peeter Uuskyla, Peter Friis Nielsen, Jake Tilson, Paul Obermayer, Wayne Lopes, Peter Kowald [1944-2002], Harry Gilonis, Rex Casswell, Bruce Eisenbeil, Lisle Ellis, Donald Robinson, Sumathi Murthy, Joe Anthony, Ramkrishna Shikaripura, Nema Vinkeloe, & Edo Bumba. Picture at the Konstmuséet Göteborg by Nema Vinkeloe. Design by Aniana Heras.