Merkle Kulturkonzepte
Unsere Künstler Referenzen Unser Label Konzert Highlights Kontakt / Impressum

auf Englische Sprache wechseln Momentane Sprache: Deutsch           zurück zu unseren Künstlern                       Besuchen Sie uns auch auf Facebook Besuchen Sie uns auch auf Facebook



"...the four of you seemed like old friends on stage having a lot of fun and, in fact, surprising each other. ... like a collective which was astonished about its own performance. I saw the smiles between you; they were contagious. created so many perfect moments and ideas which seemed so right, as if you had played together forever already. It was all fresh, nothing re-heated or playing safe. ... I understood what you were playing and I felt like I was a part of it.
You weren't artists up there on stage and the audience down here. We were all connected like a big family, sharing a great moment and philosophizing about life. The music was an expression of lust for life, energy and lightness of being."

- Lisa Walser, a new listener and fan.


This is an all-star 4tet of internationally recognized musicians. The group, consisting of Chico Freeman (tenor and soprano saxophone), Antonio Farao (piano), Heiri Känzig (bass) and Michael Baker (drums), are setting a new standard for eclectic and innovative musical improvisation from a band comprised entirely of composers and virtuoso instrumentalists.
The musical concept embodies at once the timeless classical elements of the past with an innovative eye to the future while taking full advantage of the explosive and immediate gift of the present, painting a picture of our times and all of it’s variances. The music is original in its inception, its conception and its perception and honest in the deliverance of its view of the world.


Chico Freeman's musical journey has been one akin to that of an alchemist, provid­ing the Midas touch to not only his projects, but also helping to create gold for others within the jazz, rhythm & blues, pop and world music musical realms.

A legendary concert at Lincoln Center in June 1982, by The Young Lions, a group critics hailed as the brightest hopes of jazz in the 1980's - Chico Freeman , Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D'Rivera, Kevin Eubanks, Anthony Davis, and others - pro­duced an album on which Freeman plays nearly every cut. His 14-minute composi­tion “Whatever Happened To The Dream Deferred?” was called “one of the best of the album” by the New York Times.

In 1991, during the 150 year anniversary celebration of the invention of the saxo­phone by Adolphe Sax, the band Roots was formed. This band consisted of interna­tionally known saxophonists Nathan Davis, Benny Golson, Arthur Blythe, and Chico Freeman. Adding Buster Williams (bass), and Ed Thigpen (drums), this band toured the world, and delighted audiences with their unique arrangements, and brilliant improvisation.

More recently Freeman has recorded and performed with: McCoy Tyner Trio w/ Chico Freeman (5 years), Dizzy Gillespie, Elvin Jones (4 years), Reggie Workman, Herbie Hancock, Bill Cosby, Don Pullen, Sam Rivers, Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition (5 years), Dewey Redman, Dave Holland, Don Cherry, Sonny Rollins, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, Muhal Richard Abrams, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Chucho Valdes, Irakere, Paquito d'Rivera, Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, Cassandra Wilson, Arturo Sandoval, among many othersFreeman has performed in many types of jazz and world music collaborations: Antonio Gades, Paco de Lucia and other artists in flamenco music, traditional Japanese Shakuhachi flute music, Indian music, various styles of African music, as well as Afro-Cuban and Brazilian musical forms. Was a featured VIP artist at the “Festival Mondial des Arts Negres” (Black World Arts Festival) in Senegal Dec. 2010.


“I'm not often surprised by the recordings of musicians the way I was overwhelmed the first time I heard Antonio Farao on one of his recent CDs. What amazed me was what I felt inside of me. There is so much warmth, conviction and power to his playing. I was immediately attracted to his harmonic conception, the joy of his rhythms and swing feel and the gra­ce and ingenuity of his melodic improvisational lines. Antonio is not only a fine pianist but a great one.” (Herbie Hancock)

He is considered to be one of the greatest pianists by the inter¬national critics.

Antonio Faraò was born into an extremely musical family. His mother was a known painter, his father was a jazz drummer. However, both of them had a great affinity and introduced him to the jazz music. By means of that he grew up listening to musicians such as: Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke El¬lington, Frank Sinatra and last but not least Ella Fitzgerald.

Based on his early interest in Afro-American jazz music Antonio Faraò had idols such as Oscar Peterson and Errol Gardner until he discovered musicians like McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarret, Bil Evans, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. Just to name the most important examples. Among the musicians influencing him there also is to mention John Williams, composer of the famous film music for ET, Stars Wars Indiana Jones...

Continuing with his first recordings for the German label “Enja records” three tremendous al¬bums were released: “Black Inside” (1998), Thorn (2001) with Jack DeJohnette on drums, Chris Potter on tenor sax and Drew Gress on bass. 2002 the album “Next stories” went public.
Together with André Ceccarelli and the London Symphony Orchestra Antonio Faraò did a fur¬ther recording at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London for the soundtrack of the movie “Anthony Zimmer” conducted by Jérôme Salle and with the French actress Sophie Marceau in January of 2005.

Franco Ambrosetti, Andrè Ceccarelli, Daniel Humair, Gary Bartz, Lee Konitz, Steve Gros¬sman, Tony Scott, Chico Freeman, Miroslav Vitous, John Abercrombie, Richard Galliano, Toots Thielemans, Jack Dejohnette, Dave Liebman, Didier Lookwod, Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, Ge¬orge Garzone, Charles Tolliver, Eddie Gomez, Chri¬stian Mc Bride, Wallace Rooney, Mike Clark …and with the famous italian pop singer Mina.


Heiri Känzig

Born in New York, bassist Heiri Känzig has been a long-term player on the international scene. Already at age 21, he has accompanied the great bebop trumpeter Art Farmer and since has played with innumerable and illustrious colleagues in Europe and the USA.
He is a virtuoso technician whose sound comes to the fore in the widest range of contexts from jazz and improvisation to World Music. He has received international acclaim as the long-standing bassist of the Vienna Art Orchestra, with which he has played since 1978. In high demand as a freelancer, he has played on over 150 CDs on Blue Note, Verve, ACT, Virgin, and WB.
He has regularly toured worldwide and recorded with a variety of musicians and, most notably, has played with such musicians as John Scofield, Billy Cobham, Pierre Favre, Adam Nussbaum, Bob Mintzer, Charlie Mariano, Kenny Wheeler, NENA, Ralph Towner, Betty Carter, Art Farmer, Johnny Griffin, Andreas Vollenweider, Christy Doran, Andreas Vollenweider, George Gruntz, Jerry Bergonzi, Mark Feldman, Didier Lockwood, Franco Ambrosetti, Thierry Lang, Richard Galliano, Gerry Allen und Billy Hart.
In the early 90s, Heiri Känzig formed his own quartet with Art Lande, Kenny Wheeler and François Laiszeau. Afterwards, he undertook projects with Kenny Wheeler, Charlie Mariano and Paul McCandless before joining up as bassist with the Thierry Lang Trio, with whom he recorded six CD's for the American Label Blue Note.
Most recently, he has gained major recognition with the project "Tien Shan Schweiz Express", which blends musical elements from Central Asia, Mongolia and Switzerland.
Currently he is touring with his own band DEPART (Jojo Mayer/Harry Sokal), Billy Hart/Charlie Miklin, Thierry Lang, Glenn Ferris, Lyoba, Jean Christoph Cholet Trio and is involved in a world music project with the Algerian Smahi Brothers and Billy Cobham a.o.
He is also working on his new Project " Buenos Aires" featuring Michael Zisman - Bandoneon and Matthieu Michel - Flugelhorn a.o.

Michael Baker

Serving his 18th years as pop-icon, Whitney Houston's Music Director and drummer, has a distinguished resume playing, producing and arranging.
He is a multi-platinum productions and a world-renowned drummer. He has performed with some of the world's top recording artists:
Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Christina Aguilera, James Taylor, Elton John, Celine Dion, Ricky Martin, Brandy, Candy Dulfer, Aaliyah, Ray Charles and Italian superstars Giorgia, Karima Ammar, Zuccerro and jazz artists Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Branford Marsalis, The Zawinul Syndicate, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Childs, Freddie Hubbard, Dianne Reeves, Clark Terry, The Ellington Orchestra and many others.
Under the direction of Clive Davis, Michael was the Music Director and Arranger for the Aretha Franklin segment of Arista's 25 th Anniversary Special.
Michael has been associated with producer David Guest as drummer for numerous shows and benefits at Madison Square Garden, including Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Special in 2001.
Michael performed with Sting at Carnagie Hall in his ‘Save the Rain Forest' concerts; a UNICEF concert showcasing the late Aliyah, Taylor Dane, Simply Red, and Celine Dion; and in the late eighties, Michael was part of a short lived power trio with ex-Police guitarist Andy Summers and Bassist Jerry Watts.


Press Photos




click for bigger picture

Copyright 2011 by Merkle Kulturkonzepte