In July 2017, the Christian Hassenstein Trio released Cause & Consequence on Germany’s DJAMtones label. The album of jazz originals and standards features Christian Hassenstein on guitars, Sven Schuster on bass, and Bill Elgart on drums.
The dozen tracks include compositions by trio leader Christian Hassenstein: “Strong Room,” “Sambaeolia,” “New Blues,” the title piece, “Polygon,” “Soul Bossa,” and “Minor 5,” as well as Sven Schuster’s “If Stones Could Talk.” The remaining cuts include interpretations of Thelonious Monk’s “Monk’s Dream,” Jerome Kern’s “The Song Is You,” George Fragos, Jack Baker, and Dick Gasparre’s “I Hear A Rhapsody,” and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s “Falling In Love With Love.”
Christian Hassenstein provides background information for each cut in the liner notes that accompany the CD. He describes the opening track:
“Strong Room” is a harmonic complex minor blues with room for collective interplay and expansion. I recorded this tune with David Friesen for the album Textures (DJAMtones DT 1011).
A video for Christian Hassenstein’s opening track, “Strong Room,” with Hassenstein on guitar, Sven Schuster on bass, and Bill Elgart on drums, is on YouTube:
The Christian Hassenstein Trio recorded Cause & Consequence in January 2012 at Fattoria Musica in Osnabrück, Germany. Although the album was the first time the three have recorded together, Hassenstein and Sven Schuster have done a number of projects, both as a duo and as part of larger ensembles, including a pair of albums Point of No Return in 1997, a trio with Joost Lijbaart on drums, and Lost Paradise in 1999, a quartet with saxophonist Rutger Molenkamp and drummer Laurens Miedema.
Christian Hassenstein and Sven Schuster first met in 1982 when they were both studying at the Musikhochschule in Graz. This is also where Hassenstein and Bill Elgart first crossed paths. Hassenstein comments in the liner notes on his fellow trio members:
My old sidekick Sven Schuster is a sharp listener, fine soloist and expert time-keeper.
I know and have enjoyed Bill Elgart’s playing since my musical studies in Graz, more than 30 years ago. It is evident that his unorthodox and highly individual style contributes to the groove and interplay of the trio.
This site recently had a chance to ask Christian Hassenstein a few questions about how the album came together:
Blue Note: Did you study with Bill at Graz?
Christian Hassenstein: No, I just had a short encounter with Bill while I was a student at the Graz conservatory. Bill was living in Salzburg at that time and played with another band. He never taught at Graz conservatory.
BN: Was that the first time you jammed together?
CH: We played in 2011 at the Düsseldorf Jazz Rally (a jazz festival) in a trio led by bassist David Friesen. We did a couple of trio gigs with Friesen in Germany later in 2011. I then formed the trio with Sven Schuster and Bill to do the tour and CD recording in 2012.
BN: After your gig at the Jazzschmiede in Düsseldorf, Germany last December with Sven and Bill, are there any more plans to tour as a trio?
CH: Yeah, I am planning to set up a tour supporting the CD. Hope to get started booking ASAP for spring 2018.
Note: Once dates are confirmed, this site will include this information in the “concerts” section.
The title track is an example of Christian Hassenstein’s “new waltzes, with modern non-functional harmonies,” in the words of the composer, and features Bill Elgart on drums, Sven Schuster on bass, and Hassenstein on acoustic guitar:
Besides the group’s eight original compositions, the album showcases four standards selected by trio leader Christian Hassenstein. This includes Thelonious Monk’s “Monk’s Dream,” the title track on his 1963 LP on Columbia.
Christian Hassenstein comments on the Thelonious Monk track:
“Monk’s Dream” is a tune I noticed first on the great album UNITY by Larry Young, and is still a favorite of mine.
The Christian Hassenstein Trio also covered “The Song Is You” by Jerome Kern, “I Hear A Rhapsody” by Fragos-Baker-Gasparre, and the Rodgers-Hart composition, “Falling In Love With Love.”
The Cause & Consequence CD from DJAMtones (DT1012) (LC 30264) is currently available at leading retailers including Amazon.de, JPC, and directly from the distributor NRW Vertrieb. The album is also available as a download at Christian Hassenstein’s Bandcamp page, which also includes a complimentary digital copy with the purchase of the CD. Audio previews of each track are available at jazzworks. A German language review of the new album by Alexander Schmitz is HERE.
A video for Thelonious Monk’s composition “Monk’s Room,” featuring Christian Hassenstein on guitar, Sven Schuster on bass, and Bill Elgart on drums, is online:
More from the Musicians
Born in Berlin in 1960, Christian Hassenstein first picked up the guitar at age 15. In 1982, he began to study jazz and classical guitar at the conservatory in Graz, Austria. Among his fellow students was double bass player Sven Schuster. In 1986, Hassenstein moved to the Netherlands to complete his diploma at the Hilversum Conservatory, studying jazz guitar with Wim Overgaauw and ear training with Kenny Napper.
Over the last three decades, Christian Hassenstein has performed and studied with Tim Armacost, Jasper Blom, David Friesen, John Engels, Gil Evans, Lee Konitz, Dave Liebman, Ruud Ouwehand, Ferdinand Povel, Toon Roos, Ack van Rooyen, Ernie Wilkins, Phil Wilson, Volker Winck, and Attila Zoller, among other noted players. Since 1983, his own trio and quartet have been regulars at jazz clubs and at festivals across Europe.
Hassenstein has been active with electronic instruments and computers (MIDI) since 1992. He also began teaching in 1980, including a stint at his alma mater in the Netherlands from 1987 through 1992. Since 1990, Christian Hassenstein has been a director and teacher at his own Jazzschool DJAM located in Amsterdam. These days Christian Hassenstein is back in Germany, teaching as well as playing in clubs and touring regularly. He also founded and runs DJAMtones, a jazz-focused record label established in 2013.
On 6 October 2010, the Christian Hassenstein Trio, with Ruud Ouwehand on bass, Franc aud dem Brinke on drums, and Hassenstein on guitars, plus guest Jan Verwey on harmonica, performed Henry Mancini’s classic “Days of Wine and Roses” live:
Born in Wolfsburg, Germany in 1965, Sven Schuster studied double bass with Wayne Darling at the University in Graz, Austria. He also attended the Hilversum Conservatory, getting a diploma in 1991. Schuster still lives in the Netherlands.
One of the busiest players on the Dutch jazz scene, Sven Schuster has recorded and performed with musicians that include Steve Altenberg, Han Bennink, Lydia van Dam, John Engels, Mike del Ferro, Roberto di Gioia, Wolfgang Haffner, Mel Lewis, Ricky Margitza, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Alan Praskin, and Harry Sokal. Schuster has toured throughout Europe, Africa, the Carribean, and the United States.
In 1999 the Sven Schuster Quartet released their first album Three Is A Crowd on the Via Jazz label. A partial discography for Schuster is found at the music marketplace Discogs.
A live performance of Shooster at Theater Mirliton in Utrecht playing “Ready for Freddy,” composed by Sven Schuster and featuring Victor de Boo on drums, Anton Goudsmit on guitar, Efraïm Trujillo on saxophone, and Schuster on bass, is online:
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1942, Bill Elgart received his first drum set at age 13. In the early 1960s, he enrolled at what was then called the Berklee School of Music, studying with master drummer Alan Dawson. After two semesters, Elgart left school to start his career as a professional musician. He first made a name in New York’s New Jazz Scene in the mid-1960s, playing with Carla Bley, Marion Brown, Mike Nock, Sam Rivers, and was a member of the New York Art Quartet, along with Roswell Rudd, John Tchicai, Eddie Gomez, and Buell Neidlinger. In 1968, Bill Elgart joined Paul Bley and Gary Peacock on Mr. Joy, Elgart’s recording debut, his first of more than 75 albums as a leader or sideman. A closer look at Bill Elgart’s career in music is found on this site under “bio.”
These days, when not recording or touring, Bill Elgart is a professor of jazz drums at the University of Music Würzburg. He also finds time to hold workshops and clinics all over Europe.
In 2016, Bill Elgart joined vibraphonist Dizzy Krisch, bassist Karoline Höfler, and guest vocalist Lauren Newton on their Lonely Woman album released by JazzHausMusik.
A closer look at Krisch – Höfler – Elgart featuring Lauren Newton’s Lonely Woman album on this site includes several videos as well as an exclusive interview with bass player Karoline Höfler. See the “albums” section at the top of the page.
“Green” from Krisch-Höfler-Elgart feat. Lauren Newton’s Lonely Woman (2016) JazzHausMusik with Dizzy Krisch on vibraphone, Karoline Höfler on bass, Bill Elgart on drums, and Lauren Newton on voice, composed by Krisch is here:
Select Discography of Christian Hassenstein
- Christian Hassenstein Quartet – Lost Paradise (1999) Mr. D Music
- Christian Hassenstein with David Friesen & Joost Lijbaart – Conversations (2010) AO-NRW
- Hassenstein/Verwey Quartet – Rays of Light (2013) DJAMtones
- Christian Hassenstein – David Friesen – Joost Lijbaart – Textures (2014) DJAMtones
- Christian Hassenstein Trio – Cause and Consequence (2017) DJAMtones
Cause & Consequence Album on SoundCloud
A sound clip from the Christian Hassenstein Trio’s Cause & Consequence with excerpts from “Strong Room,” “Sambaeolia,” written in a 7-4 time signature, Thelonious Monk’s “Monk’s Dream,” a Brazilian piece, “Soul Bossa,” and an uptempo take on Jerome Kern’s “The Song Is You” is on SoundCloud: