Ed Partyka, nuBox & Concept Art Orchestra
Bigbandtronics – Prague Edition
Six Movements of Sonification
A unique combination of modern big band and electronic club music called BIGBANDTRONICS is being released.
On his new album, Bigbandtronics – Prague Edition, American conductor Ed Partyka combines jazz big band with contemporary electronic dance music. In cooperation with the best musicians of the young Czech jazz generation he has picked up the threads of a similarly ambitious 1970s project, Nová syntéza (New Synthesis), in which the Czechoslovak Radio Jazz Orchestra joined forces with the Blue Effect. While that project presented a rock band, the creators of the sound on this new record – the members of the German nu-jazz ensemble, nuBox, Alois Kott and Peter Eisold – are well known in the area of electronic music. The big band playing here is the Czechoslovak Concept Art Orchestra. On the Bigbandtronics – Prague Edition CD they jointly present a series of brand new compositions called Six Movements of Sonification combining electronic dance music with the jazz orchestra sound.
“The older I am, the more I study the history of jazz. However, I also love experiments, which is why it is interesting for me to combine electronic music with a big band, integrating solos and improvisation into pre-composed music in a new way. I think that besides history it is always very important to push music forward and create new sounds, which is the future of big band music,” explains the project’s conductor, Ed Partyka, who was a member of the famous Vienna Art Orchestra for a long time.
All compositions were written by double bassist Peter E. Eisold and drummer Alois Kott, who have been pursuing the combination of electronic music with jazz since the 1980s. Since 2008, as members of the German nuBox quartet, they have also been performing with jazz orchestras (e.g. the HR Bigband). Bigbandtronics – Prague Edition is the second record of the international Concept Art Orchestra (whose eponymous CD from 2011 was focused on rendering Charles Mingus compositions). This big band was put together by Ed Partyka during his stint at the prestigious Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland. Its members then were his Polish, Czech and Slovak students.
“I think that jazz in Europe, and, in fact, in each country has its own sound. In larger countries, such as Germany, there are even regional differences: jazz in Berlin sounds different from jazz in Cologne. Thanks to my teaching experience I know that a wonderful generation of young jazz musicians has arisen in Central Europe,“ says Partyka.
The current line-up that recorded this new CD consists of today’s generation of musicians in their thirties who belong among the most remarkable representatives of the current Czech and Slovak jazz scene (such as Ondřej Štveráček, Oskar Török, Jan Jirucha, Štěpánka Balcarová, Vít Křišťan, and others). “They are great. I think that within the next decade their names will be well known on both the European and the world scene,” adds the conductor.
The connection of the Concept Art Orchestra and the electronic nuBox is a protest against all the common practice of the traditional big band and the typical work with jazz solos. The rhythmic base remains solid while being connected with precise riffs and electronic samples based on dance music and sound art. “It is simply a new kind of sound, unusual even for most current CDs,“ says the guru of Czech jazz journalism, Lubomír Dorůžka, in the booklet.
The Bigbandtronics – Prague Edition album was recorded by the big band in Czech Radio’s well known Studio A in Prague. Filip Jelínek (J.A.R., Illustratosphere) participated in the mixing while the mastering was done by “Ecson Waldes“ in the Biotech studio (which has contributed to albums by David Koller, Kryštof, J.A.R., and DJ Witch). The design has been created by the UV Cat studio (Toxique, Sato San-to, Jaromír Honzák).
ED PARTYKA is an American composer, arranger, conductor and bass trombone player, who has been working in Europe. In 1990 he graduated from Northern Illinois University and moved to Germany, where he continued to study jazz trombone playing and composition. He has also won several competitions. In 1997 he began to play in the Bob Brookmeyer New Art Orchestra and between 2000 and 2008 he played in the famous Vienna Art Orchestra. He has also performed and recorded with Carla Bley and Steve Swallow, the WDR Big Band, the NDR Big Band, and others. He leads the Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra and co-creates the sound of the Flip Philipp/Ed Partyka Dectet. He has worked as a music teacher at many European universities and he is currently teaching at the University of Music in Graz.
NUBOX is a nu-jazz quartet whose roots date back to the 1980s, when it began – as a trio called Blue Box – combining electronic music with jazz. In 1985 their music became more widely known due to their winning the Best Record award at the Berlin Jazz Festival. At that time they contributed to the official signature tune of the German Olympic team at the Soul Olympics, among other things. They are still active nowadays, the line-up being: Reiner Winterschladen – trumpet, Alois Kott – double bass, Peter E. Eisold – drums. However, now, with the addition of DJ Illvibe, the trio has been extended into a quartet and the band’s new name is nuBox.
THE CONCEPT ART ORCHESTRA was founded as a modern big band at the Academy of Music in Katowice, Poland, in 2010. Apart from Polish students, there was the largest number (unexceeded as yet) of Czech musicians studying jazz there at that time. Moreover, some of them had already been regarded as remarkable players on the Czech jazz scene (Oskar Török, Štěpánka Balcarová, and others). Ed Partyka called the ensemble the Concept Art Orchestra Katowice, which was also the name of their record released in 2011. On the new CD, Bigbandtronics – Prague Edition, the orchestra only consists of Czech and Slovak musicians and German guests, Peter Eisold and Alois Kott (i.e. nuBox).