In 2011, Klare – Platz – Kneer – Elgart’s Modern Primitive album was released on Evil Rabbit Records, with Jeff Platz on guitar, Jan Klare on alto saxophone, clarinet, and flute, Meinrad Kneer on double bass, and Bill Elgart on drums.
The album of improvised jazz includes “Beekeeper’s Song,” “Can You Here The Rain?,” “Meat Dress,” “A Gently Sloping Knoll,” “Blank Mask,” “Grain By Grain,” “Puppet Party,” “Impish Episode,” and “Mutual Agreement.”
Each composition is credited to the Europe-based quartet of veteran jazz players.
A video for Klare – Platz – Kneer – Elgart’s “Meat Dress,” the third track on the album, is on YouTube:
Modern Primitive was recorded 29 October 2010 at a live concert in a former World War II bunker that has now been re-imagined as a top jazz nightclub in Bielefeld, Germany.
Bassist Meinrad Kneer recently agreed to answer a few questions about the making of the album.
Blue Note: Who came up with the idea for this project?
Meinrad Kneer: Jeff Platz and Jan Klare, who had worked together in the past, came to the Netherlands to perform with me in Utrecht. This was a few years back when I organized a free improv concert series at the SJU Jazzpodium (a club which doesn’t exist anymore, unfortunately).
From that moment, we stayed in touch and planned further projects. Jan Klare invited me several times to come and perform with him in Münster and with Jeff Platz I did a little tour in the eastern part of Germany. When I started to play with Bill Elgart, the idea of coming together in this quartet was born.
BN: Approximately how many times did the four of you play and rehearse before cutting the free improvisations found on Modern Primitive?
MK: If I remember correctly, we had a series of three concerts set up and the third one was recorded live at a Bielefeld venue, Bunker Ulmenwall. There was no rehearsing at all, because we wanted to keep the interaction and the improvisations as free, fresh and open as possible.
Several reviewers have referenced the fluid chemistry between German bassist Kneer and American expat drummer Bill Elgart on tracks like “Puppet Party” and “Meat Dress” including Dave Wayne of allmusic.com who commented in a November 2012 review:
“Elgart has worked extensively with bassist Meinrad Kneer, which is evident in their deeply connected playing throughout.”
Klare – Platz – Kneer – Elgart’s “Puppet Party,” featuring Jeff Platz on guitar, Jan Klare on alto saxophone, Meinrad Kneer on double bass, and Bill Elgart on drums, is on SoundCloud:
BN: How did you first meet Bill Elgart?
MK: I grew up in a little town in the south of Germany and started to listen to jazz music around the age of 11. So, whenever I went to Ulm, the nearest city to listen to concerts, I often saw Bill who was involved in most activities since he lived there. He’s always been one of my favorite drummers, up there with the greats such as Paul Motian, Ed Blackwell, etc.
Friends and colleagues of mine, including pianist Achim Kaufmann and reed player Michael Moore who had played with Bill before, encouraged me to ask him to come and play at an Evil Rabbit Records festival in the Bimhuis in Amsterdam and the SJU Jazzpodium in Utrecht (both in the Netherlands).
So I dared to ask him to be our special featured guest and to play with other artists including Dutch pianist Albert van Veenendaal, Gianni Lenoci from Italy, and reed player Ab Baars from my duo … From that moment the duo was now a trio!
BN: Are there any anecdotes or memories that come to mind from the making of this German-American affair?
MK: Not really. But I remember, that we had a really nice time together… I hope that we will have many possibilities to perform together again.
In 2006, Meinrad Kneer and Dutch pianist Albert van Veenendaal founded Evil Rabbit Records. Modern Primitive is the label’s 18th release. In 2013, the label released Give No Quarter by Baars – Kneer – Elgart, a trio made up of Ab Baars, Meinrad Kneer, and Bill Elgart.
A video for Klare – Platz – Kneer – Elgart’s “Impish Episode” is online:
BN: Besides playing the bass, composing, and leading your own quintet, you’re the co-founder of a record company. How is this going?
MK: Well, my friend and colleague Albert van Veenendaal and I started this venture in order to create a platform for ourselves and our fellow musicians, where our releases can be presented in a professional and unique design (by Lysander Le Coultre, strangelove creatives). I think we managed to reach this goal. On the other hand, the CD market went down of course. There we would love to change things, but this is beyond our reach…
The remainder of the exclusive interview with Meinrad Kneer, which includes highlights from several of his music-related projects, is located HERE.
At this time, there are not any more tracks from Modern Primitive available on YouTube or SoundCloud. However, “Beekeeper’s Song,” the opening track from Klare – Platz – Kneer – Elgart, is available as part of Ken Waxman’s definitive review of the album at theshop.free-jazz.net.
The album is currently found in CD format at most major music retailers, including Amazon and Discogs. Modern Primitive is also available as a digital download, as well as in CD, from Evil Rabbit Records.
More Music from the Artists
The Platz – Klare Quartett
Two years before recording Modern Primitive, a quartet fronted by Jan Klare and guitarist Jeff Platz played a few tracks in Duisburg, Germany.
The Platz – Klare Quartett’s “Hymnal,” featuring bassist Alex Morsey, drummer Christian Schönefeld, saxophonist Jan Klare, and guitarist Jeff Platz is on YouTube:
Baars – Kneer – Elgart Trio
Around 2011, Meinrad Kneer and Bill Elgart joined Ab Barrs to form Baars – Kneer – Elgart. The trio, featuring Baars on tenor saxophone, clarinet, and shakuhachi, Kneer on double bass, and Bill Elgart, on drums, has played gigs in and around Germany for several years.
Baars – Kneer – Elgart also released Give No Quarter in 2013 on Evil Rabbit Records. The album was recorded in 2011 after playing a series of well-received concerts in the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany.
The title track from Baars – Kneer – Elgart’s “Give No Quarter” is on YouTube:
In May 2013, the Baars – Kneer – Elgart trio were one of the featured acts at Jazzatelier Ulrichsberger in Kaleidophon, Austria.
A video clip from that performance was uploaded to YouTube.
Baars – Kneer – Elgart live at Kaleidophon, with Ab Baars on clarinet, Meinrad Kneer on double bass, and Bill Elgart on drums is here: