Willy Ketzer - drums
Martin Sasse - piano / organ
Jens Foltynowicz - bass
Paul Shigihara - guitar
Tony Lakatos - saxophone
special guest appearance
Helge Schneider - B3 Hammond Organ on 5 / 11
A drummer paying tribute to a pianist - that might seem
somewhat unusual at first sight. But in our story we are not dealing with run-of-the-mill musicians. In this homage a hell of a Rhinelandish drummer meets the creator of soul jazz
from Chicago with an absorbing, perceptive and highly entertaining R&B revue as a result. During his career of more than three decades, Willy Ketzer has
regularly been ranked as Germany's most popular jazz drummer, but he's equally skilled at playing easy-listening and pop music.
As early as 1977 the Cologne musician joined Klaus Doldinger's famous Passport band and toured the world with it. In addition to that, he has featured in many different line-ups: Ketzer headed the rhythm section for important German big bands, such as Peter Herbolzheimer's orchestra and the WDR Big Band, and in 1990 he founded his own orchestra. In the States, Ketzer has played with a wide range of artists, among them Helen Schneider,
Tom Jones and Lisa Minelli. But he is also ideally suited for work in a trio, teaming up with Eugen Cicero and, of course, Paul Kuhn, with whom he has worked for 30 years. With his close colleagues
Martin Sasse (p) and Jens Foltynowicz (b), Ketzer formed his own trio. It is the very same team of three that functions as the nucleus of his new project. "Compared to my last album on In & Out, the swing orientated Carnegie Society is a completely
different world", says Ketzer. "I've always been into rhythm 'n' blues and soul and I thought: This record is just for me." The hero to whom he pays tribute is Ramsey Lewis. "I'm a very sportive guy with a surplus of energy", he confesses, "and with Paul
Kuhn I always deliver the beautiful accompaniment, the delicate brushes. But here I'm allowed to whoop it up!"
And thus we can listen to Lewis's showpieces, the gospel-drenched "Wade In The
Water" and the irresistible "The In Crowd", which Ketzer describes
as "groovy, powerful and thrilling." For his 60th birthday Willy augmented his trio by inviting some more friends - namely the
WDR Big Band guitarist, Paul Shigihara, and saxophonist Tony Lakatos, one of the best of his trade in Germany and beyond. Eventually the group was joined by Helge Schneider, the famous
comedian whose jaw-dropping jazz skills at the keyboard are often underrated: "We've known each other for thirty years", says Ketzer. "But this is the first time I'm working with him on tour. He is an out-and-out jazzman!" Schneider, also a Lewis fan,
returns Ketzer's favour by contributing two spontaneous organ interludes. Besides the well-known Ramsey Lewis tracks, the ever trenchant and enthusiastic Ketzer and his team step into other fields. The album opens up with a muscular version of the
Beatles? "A Hard Day?s Night", leading into a sensual, soulful and rocky "Son Of A Preacher Man" with a brilliant battle between sax and guitar. Central to the set list are the "animal- titles The
Cat", featuring Helge Schneider's keyboard wizardry and the funky "The Chicken", before they put into another "soul port" with "Knock On Wood". An intimate and hymn-like composition, "Moment", is provided by Ketzer's long-time companion, Mike
Herting, and, together with Paul Shigihara's composition "Goin Home", it provides a ballad counterpoint. "3 2 7" is a marvellous blues, which came to Ketzer's mind as he lay awake in a hotel room which had the same number. With Schneider on the airyfairy
organ, Gershwin's "Summertime" provides an unexpectedly
fiery end to the album. ?I wanted to demonstrate Lewis?s style by simulating his energy and joy of playing explains Ketzer. "You
don't need to depend exclusively on the songs he was famous for, his spirit can be equally demonstrated with a lot of traditional
repertoire." Willy Ketzer and Ramsey Lewis: two jazzmen,
whose highly evident love of rhythm 'n' blues vividly informs this magnificent tribute CD.
| Audio-CD / 17.50 € |
WILLY KETZER > A Tribute To Ramsey Lewis < IOR CD 77106-2
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A Hard Day's Night
Son Of A Preacher Man
Wade In The Water
Knock On Wood
The In Crowd
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