The Dieter Bihlmaier Selection is founded in 1972 by the trio Dieter Bihlmaier, flute, Gerhart “Hartchen” Ziegler, drums, and Harry Rettenbacher, bass. In 1973 Jan Jankeje takes over the bass. In this lineup the present recordings were made on 21.12.1973 in the SWF U1 studio in Baden-Baden. Numerous concerts and live radio recordings, gigs at festivals, occasionally with well known soloists, followed suit. Augmented to a quartet with Gerhard Dietz on the vibraphone, the Dieter Bihlmaier Selection recorded two albums: “Maskerade”, released in 1974 on Creativmusic-Records, and in 1976 “Manipulsation” for the label Pläne (Jazz S3004). Here, apart from the founding members Bihlmaier and Ziegler, Wolfgang Bauer played the bass and Wolfgang Lackerschmidt was on the vibraphone. In the aftermath (from 1978 on) Bihlmaier and Ziegler played as a quartet, together with bass clarinetist Michel Pilz and bassist Buschi Niebergall, or with saxophonist Heinz Bauer in Pilz’s place. In 1980-1981 Bihlmaier played as a duo together with bassist Wolfgang Lauer. His tragic death in February 1981 at the age of forty put an abrupt end to an exciting life as a musician.
born in 1941, studied in Stuttgart, Zurich and Berlin, ultimately with flutist Aurèle Nicolet. His preference for jazz is initially manifested in his playing the trombone in various dixiland bands, until he discovers that his calling is much rather the flute and the new resp. modern jazz. He participates in various formations, for example with Harry Rettenbacher, Peter Kowald and Karl Berger. Apart from the “normal” flute he plays the piccolo, alto flute, bass flute and bamboo flutes. He was first flutist at the opera house in Aachen and with the Municipal Symphonic Orchestra Heidelberg. In 1970 Bihlmaier takes up a teaching position at the Federal University Conservatory of Music Heidelberg. Shortly after he teaches the flute at the Music Institute Erlangen, where he is in charge of the Jazz Forum he initiated - an integrated department for new jazz. The Jazzpodium describes his mode of playing as follows: Bihlmaier’s flutes, six in number, from the piccolo to the bass flute, not forgetting the bamboo flute, possess both a melodic and a rhythmic function. With his various blowing techniques he elicits numerous forms of expression from the individual flutes, and adjusts the classic-beautiful sound of the flute to the expressive jazz intensity. This results in diversified sound qualities that combine a large variety of moods.
born in Bratislava, Slowakei, in 1950, starts playing the violin at the age of four, under the influence of his very musical father. He makes his first steps in the direction of modern jazz with the Ragtime Jazz Band Bratislava, where he plays the double bass and the violin. In 1966 he studies the violin for two years at the Conservatory of Music in Bratislava, but eventually changes over to the double bass (his hands being too large for a delicate violin). He gives his first public jazz concerts at the age of 15 and in 1967 he is awarded the first prize as “most likeable festival participant” at the jazz festival Pserove, former CSSR. In 1968 he immigrates to Germany. Due to his extraordinary musical talent he quickly lands an engagement in the legendary Atlantik Jazz Club in Stuttgart and has jazz sessions with Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodmann, Eugen Cicero and Horst Jankowski, to mention a few. Once he discovers his love for new jazz, he takes four semesters of studies in the double bass and composition a the Music Conservatory and Jazz Academy Graz/Austria. In 1971 he founds his first band with Harry Rettenbacher. To further improve his technical skills in the double bass he studies for another 8 semesters at the Conservatory of Music in Stuttgart, where he is the first among the students of classical music to play jazz. During this period he plays all classical and jazz styles and meets Dieter Bihlmaier, as well as numerous other representatives of new jazz. Apart from playing with the Dieter Bihlmaier Selection he gives many concerts in various lineups, e.g. with Lionel Hampton. In 1974 he founds his legendary and very successful band Jan Jankeje Mlada Muzika, with, amongst others, Peter Garattoni (Zero, Nexus, Jonathan, Eulenspygel, etc). Noting down all his musical activities would fill many pages, and so we would just like to mention that he participated in the first LP of the united Rock and Jazz Ensemble, was awarded the German Phonoacademy award in 1980, worked as musical accompanyist in the Württemberg State Theatre Stuttgart, composed the soundtrack to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s last film “Querelle”, toured the world with the most famous jazz musicians and is still making music today. For further information please visit his website www.jankeje.de.
born in 1939, designer and offset printer by profession, became interested in jazz in 1958, after having learned the classical piano for four years. That same year he starts playing the drums and already one year later he joins traditional and modern jazz groups. Apart from the usual drummer equipment he uses a large variety of percussion instruments, which he includes in the rhythmic process. In the late 1970’ies, early 1980’ies, after the break-up of the Dieter Bihlmaier Selection, he plays in a trio together with saxophonist Heinz Sauer and bassist Buschi Niebergall, as well as in his son Jörg Ziegler Bhakta’s sextet, together with Wolfgang Lackerschmidt, Thomas Stabenow and Jürgen Wuchner, to mention a few. In 1982 he founds the group WAVE, a sextet with alternating lineups consisting of flute, saxophone, violin, guitar, bass, drums, with, amongst others, Leszek Zadko. In 1994 Ziegler ends his career as a musician. The Jazzpodium writes about Gerhard Ziegler: Gerhard Ziegler is probably unique in his field, since he lost his right arm in an accident and plays the drums single-armed. However, the mere acoustic impression of him does not betray this shortcoming. He plays the drums with powerful intensity, displaying a large complexity, density of rhythm, exact timing. His most important rhythmic design elements are pulsation and playing about and concealing the main beats to the measure using semiquavers, triplets, sextuplets and strong syncopes.
The musicians on their music
We play a kind of free jazz. The term “free” in our music is best paraphrased as “flexible” or “versatile”. This flexibility refers primarily to an extension of the musical form, which, although attributed to the simple coaction of tension and release, aims for the most rhythmic-metric-dynamic complexity possible. This means that a point of maximum musical tension and rhythmic-metric density can be in pianissimo, and vice versa its release can end in forte with a simple line of melody returning to the dominant-tonic. Our music, which is based on jazz, is a consistent attempt to unearth the musical material in us and develop it in an individual communicative process. Like the founders of new jazz in the 1940ies, for us composition in the traditional sense of writing down fixed parts is nothing but a substrate of the experiences gained by improvising, which is then further developed in joint improvisation.
Band and music in the press
….the Bihlmaier Selection is one of the most remarkable new German ensembles. The rather unusual lineup produces a very inspiring variation of free jazz, which possesses a lyric quality even in its explosive parts beautiful technique on six flutes. The improvisations display a high degree of sensitivity and precision modern contemporary jazz, intensive dynamics, variable tone colours, dense rhythm and varied arrangements, large musical spectrum, ranging from floating lyric passages to an explosive collective.
These recordings go beyond the usual musical scope of our label Long Hair. With our enthusiasm for progressive-, psychedelic- and Krautrock we are all ears to outstanding musical achievements. The music of the Dieter Bihlmaier Selection possesses genuine power, where explosive eruptions alternate with lyric moments. On repeated listening the music develops an irresistible pull that we wish to share with all lovers of “good music”. These recordings are without any doubt not only of high musical value, they are also an absolute rarity, since, unlike the other two albums of the Dieter Bihlmaier Selection, they were recorded in the trio formation flute, bass and drums (without the participation of the vibraphone
Translation: Dr. Martina Häusler
01. Ovation (Ziegler) 05:47
02. Roulette (Bihlmaier) 06:19
03. Echoes (Jankeje) 08:35
04. Maskerade (Bihlmaier) 04:42
05. Gertuschka (Jankeje) 05:13
06. Free and Romantic (Bihlmaier) 07:48
07. Arco Oriental (Bihlmaier) 05:03