Jazz n Spirit Session
Dirk Piezunka
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Dirk Piezunka Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Flute, Percussion
Martin Flindt Classical Guitar
Jens Piezunka Contrabass

Jazz ’N’ Spirit is a trio made up of - the saxophonist Dirk Piezunka, the guitarist Martin Flindt and the double-bassist Jens Piezunka. This top-class ensemble devotes itself primarily to the re-working of early choral and secular music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and combines this early music with modern jazz elements. The arrangements are imaginative, but also respectful of the original compositions. Jazz ’N’ Spirit thus opens up new perspectives for well-known clerical pieces and clothes their spiritual strength and vibrancy in a new light. The trio wishes to do more than just re-harmonise and update the work. It aims towards a fusion of early compositional skills with modern improvisational practice, and creates out of this dichotomy a new inimitable acoustic sound. Returning to the musical quintessence, the ensemble succeeds in introducing its own style. It brings together the centuries between the original composition and the present day, and that in a virtuoso and, in the best sense of the word, “playful” way. The multiplicity of forms of expression, which reach from almost spherical chimes to groove, makes for an entertaining, exhilarating, and above all, thrilling musical experience. The aim conscious aim is to break through established listening practice, and constantly surprise the audience. Through the rhythmic handling of the arrangements, the perfectly attuned trio evokes an inspiring joyous spirit.  As experienced jazz musicians, Jazz ’N’ Spirit  can  strive for an acoustic depth and multiplicity, which extends far beyond the borders of standard jazz. The pieces are presented with nuance, and have their own character and clear musical profile.

Dirk Pienzunka studied saxophone from 1996 – 2000 in the Netherlands, with Ferdinand Povel at the Hilversum Conservatorium and at the Amsterdam Art School. Alongside many CD recordings, he has played in concerts, amongst others, with the Dusko Goykovich Quintet, Dough Sides, Dejan Terzic, Martin Gjakonovski, Claus Raible, Thomas Stabenow, Ken Norris, Ed Kröger, Florian Poser, Cezary Paciorek and Oliver Groenewald. He appeared with his quartet at many different jazz festivals, and since 2001 has taught saxophone at the Bremen Art School. He has been artistic director and organiser of  “Jazz on Board” festival in Bremen since April 2005.

Martin Flindt studied jazz guitar in Arnheim and Hilversum, (Netherlands), and has always had a preference for small acoustic ensembles. In the last few years he has performed mainly with duos and trios. Alongside his own trio “Flindtstones”, he has performed in concert with  such musicians as Ken Norris, Florian Poser, Joe Dinkelbach and Hanna Jursch. He is also guitarist for the “Nordwest-Bigband” [Northwest Big Band], and has collaborated with many different theatre companies (including the Oldenburg City Theatre), and he works as a lecturer.

Jens Piezunka began playing the cello as a seven year old, and has played guitar since he was 13. After studying musical education at Oldenburg University, with the guitar as his main subject, later also double bass and song, he extended his musical spectrum, studying jazz at the Hilversum Conservatorium in the Netherlands. He lectures at the Sachsen-Anhalt  State Music Academy, and teaches at the Oldenburg Music School, where he has also been choirmaster since 2001. Alongside Jazz ’N’ Spirit he is active in other ensembles such as “String Thing” and “Tri au Lait2.


CD Cover Jazz'N'Spirit Continuum

Greetings from Jazz'N'Spirit

Dear Music Friends

The choice of music had been made, the arrangements completed and intensive weeks of practice were behind us, as in July 2010, we were to about embark on our two days of recording in the Marienmünster Abbey near Detmold. Our luggage: instruments, music scores, lots of enthusiasm and much positive anticipation of our first CD production with our new ensemble. Still, there were some open questions. It was quite clear to us during the preparations that we wanted to play without amplifiers and with room microphones rather than one for each instrument. Furthermore, we wanted to achieve as pure as sound as possible for our CD “Continuum” with the undiluted acoustic sound of saxophone, guitar and double bass.  The as yet unknown acoustics of the concert hall were also a real challenge:  but it became clear after just a few bars - this is the right place and the ideal stage to express perfectly the musical intentions of Jazz ’N’ Spirit. Inspired by the very special atmosphere of the historic building, and excellently supported by our sound engineer Holger Schlegel, who brought the production on with sensitivity and expertise, it was now down to putting things to practice. The result was 12 pieces of music, which bridged jazz and classical, fixed notation and improvisation. Capturing the special atmosphere of the moment, these pieces helped animate us to play with a concentrated, complex dynamism.
We hope through our interpretation of these Baroque and Renaissance pieces that we have been able to create for you an inspiring and above all thrilling musical experience.

Best regards,
Jazz ’N’ Spirit

A musical journey of discovery through the centuries

Like a good wine, music needs air to breath. This also applies to the creative processesof compositional development and musical arrangement, and also to the place in whichthe music is played. We have found a special environment for our first CD production –Continuum: the concert hall in the picturesque Marienmünster Abbey. This time-honouredmonastery was the perfect space for us. It inspired, and motivated us. Again and again it firedus to new heights. The result is our repertoire of spiritual and secular music of the Baroqueand Renaissance, mixed with elements of jazz, which we present to you on this CD.

We have chosen both well known, and lesser-known pieces, which we would like to present to you in this “Jazz ‘N’ Spirit adaptation. Join us on a musical journey of discovery, which takes us through the centuries, ending in thepresent day. It is a diverse journey of discovery, which overarches classical music, jazz, world music andsometimes Pop - attractive, emotional and manifold - and a pure sound experience.


1. Nach Grüner Farb mein Herz verlangt [For green shades my heart does yearn] (Michael Praetorius from 'musae sioniae' 1610 / Arrangement: Martin Flindt)

This arrangement was created just before the recording. The special energy and cheerful mood of the original piece appealed to us.

2. Becker-Psalm 58 (Heinrich Schütz 1585-1672 / Arrangement: Martin Flindt)

This arrangement is really closer to „Pop“music – all three instruments follow the transcribed theme. We have distanced ourselves here somewhat from the gist of the text, which is about the thirst for revenge against an unjust ruler, who should be serving God.

3. Lobet den Herren [Praise to the Lord] (1665 unknown composer. Text by Joachim Neander 1680/ Arrangement: Dirk Piezunka).

Perhaps the best known of choral melodies. In this re-harmonisation we play the piece in the style of a standard jazz classic.

4. Nun ruhen alle Wälder [Now all the Woods are Sleeping] (Paul Gerhardt 1647 / Arrangement: Martin Flindt)

The singer Hanna Jursch brought this piece to our attention and we dedicate this arrangement to her. From the start we knew this would be last piece in our recording session, played in the late evening, as it gets dark outside, when the impression looms that the work is already done

5. Pavane (Toinot Arbeau 1589 / Arrangement: Dirk Piezunka)

This is also well known choir music; one of the most beautiful mediaeval love songs. It always deeply moves.

6. She moved through the Fair (Irish song, composer unknown) First published 1909/ Arrangement: Dirk Piezunka)

The inclusion of this traditional Irish piece in the repertoire is thanks to one of those special moments: Dirk’s partner Aike-Sofie sang it in a small Danish village church, and it created a moment of memorable intensity. The text describes unfulfilled love, as with many other traditional Irish songs, and evokes a deep melancholy, like the mist, which hangs heavy over the Ring of Kerry.

7. Andantino from Opus 35 (Fernando Sor 1778-1839 / Arrangement:  Martin Flindt, for Hanns Nacken)

“I began playing classical guitar as a young boy – and Fernando Sor is a typical composer of Etudes with which one almost inevitably comes into contact. Since then I have always loved this particular piece… “ says Martin Flindt. Originally written in 2/4, it takes on a completely new dynamic in 3/4 beat.

8. Come again (John Dowland 1563-1626 / Arrangement: Dirk Piezunka)

... a wonderful and well known love song by John Dowland. It is often heard in its choral arrangement, but here our orchestration sets free the musical substance of the work. For us, this shows how music can withstand time. Whenever we play it, we rediscover the youthful freshness and emotionality of this musical declaration of love by John Dowland, who died hundreds of years ago.

9. Lobt Gott ihr Christen alle gleich [Praise God now Christians, all alike] (Nikolaus Herman 1554 / Arrangement: Dirk Piezunka)

One of the best known Christmas chorales. The uneven groove of the arrangement is carried by the bass clarinet. This creates space for a exchange of roles: Jens Piezunka bows the choral melody on the double bass. A quote from Joni Mitchell “I had a King” is embedded into the piece.

10. Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott [Strong Tower & Refuge us our God] (Martin Luther 1528 / Arrangement: Martin Flindt)

The original choral arrangement appealed to us a lot, and so we had the idea of arranging the four voices so that the soprano plays the 1st, the guitar the 2nd and 3rd and the double bass the 4th parts. At the recording, we spontaneously built in some collective improvisation, which works with contrapuntal voices, and which develops slowly from baroque to jazz. At the end we develop the arrangement back to the starting point.

11. Das alte Jahr vergangen ist [The Old Year now hath passed away]. (Johann Steuerlein 1588 / Arrangement: Dirk Piezunka)

This poignant and melancholic melody describes the winter mood at the change of year. The free improvisation at the beginning used the excellent acoustics of the room and lead to a tapered, harmonic interplay.

12. Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten [If you but permit God to prevail]. (Georg Neumark 1657 / Arrangement: Dirk Piezunka)

Not every choral melody is appropriate for jazz re-harmonisation. This melody however inspired us all und stimulated us to create something new.

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Press Quotes

John Sunier, audaud.com

"...One of the surprises is the unique arrangement of Luther’s A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, which starts out in Baroque style and ends up thoroughly modern jazz. The enveloping acoustics of the recording space probably are even better captured with the optional 2+2+2 speaker playback setup..." - 

Quebec Audio

"On their debut album, Continuum, the jazz trio dives into early music with a sense of creativity and enthusiasm like no one has done before."