With his debut album afterglow the 32-year old German pianist and composer Philipp Teriete transcends various stylistic and cultural boundaries, from jazz to classical music and West-African music. The quintet takes the listener on a musical journey to Norway, Ghana, the USA and on imaginary trips through stardusts and to the sun. Philipp Teriete spans a bow that reflects a synthesis of the various influences that shaped him.
He is a cosmopolitan, a well-rounded and versatile musician, a passionate educator and researcher. Philipp Teriete studied classical piano and music theory in Freiburg (Germany), Paris (France) and London (UK) as well as jazz piano and composition in Oslo (Norway) and New York City (USA).
In 2017, he recorded a selection of his compositions and arrangements for jazz quintet in New York City. These pieces were inspired by the “afterglow,” i.e. the pleasant memories and feelings of past journeys and experiences. The pieces of the album live from the well-balanced, dynamic interplay of the ensemble and the original improvisations of each soloist. With Dave Pietro (alto saxophone and flute), Martin Wind (double bass), Elias Meister (electric guitar) and Joe Hertenstein (drums), Philipp Teriete brought together established names of New York City’s jazz scene who contribute equally to the subtle shades of the individual pieces and express the various moods and colors in their own way.
Teriete, Philipp. “From Leipzig to St. Louis: Einflüsse deutscher Musiktheorie und -pädagogik auf die Entstehung des Ragtime, Blues und Jazz.” In: Beiträge zur Popularmusikforschung 44, Bielefeld: transcript, pp. 121-146.
Ragtime and blues are considered to be direct precursors of jazz. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, generic distinctions between ragtime, blues, and jazz were less marked than they are today. In fact, the terms were often used interchangeably. In this paper, Philipp Teriete suggests a widening of our historical lens in order to see how certain European traditions played an important role in shaping these three iconic US-American styles. While relatively much is known about the biographies and oeuvres of the creators of ragtime, blues, and jazz, music-theoretical contexts and educational backgrounds of composers do not receive the same scholarly focus. Who were these musicians’ teachers? What exactly did they learn? Analyses only rarely address such topics and often ignore music-theoretical questions. Philipp Teriete’s research into previously unknown textual and musical sources suggests that the creators of ragtime, blues, and jazz were not only strongly influenced by a certain European repertoire but also by European (and particularly German) music-theoretical concepts. Teriete demonstrates that the interaction between African-American musicians and German music teachers and traditions such as the »Leipziger Konservatoriumslehre« may have played a significant role in the shaping of ragtime, blues, and jazz.
Check out the jugglers of Bryant Park Juggling. Juggling is a great example of practicing in real time without stopping. Like jugglers, musicians have to loop sequences of motions until they can ‘do it.’ And: You have to do it in order to be able to do it! 🙂 However, it’s not only important to improvise and repeat patterns. It is equally important to reflect about the (finite) mathematical options involved and to try them out practically. Applied to music this means: thinking about the number of possible permutations of rhythms, melodic and harmonic structures, the possibilities and combinations etc. In other words: music theory and improvisation!
Long live trial and error: fake it ’til you make it! Long live thinking, mathematics and music theory!