Tobias Rüger Quartet
"Interlude" (Zama 002)

With his fully acoustical quartet Tobias Rüger explores the musical possibilities of the most classic of jazz outfits. Traditional in set-up and modern in musical language, spontaneous expression and improvisation blends into precisely arranged compositional ideas. Tobias Rüger has taken on three outstanding musicians for this project: Daniel Stelter, ( guitar, is neither a Jazz, nor Pop nor Classical guitarist although his playing is borne out of all these styles without being eclectic. His playing is exceptionally gentle both in sound and harmony and thus provides a perfect link between melody and rhythm. Hanns Höhn, bass, is a member of numerous Jazz projects, including those of German jazz masters Oli Bott and Thorsten de Winkel. His tone is voluptuous and smooth. Furthermore his uncannily secure intonation allows him to apply his bass frequently for melodic purposes. Kay Lübke, drums, has recorded with Efrat Alony and Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky. He is an exceptional drummer in the sense that he makes the very most of the whole range of sounds and sound effects the drum-set has to offer. At the same time his playing is of enormous rhythmical precision without ever regressing to mere time keeping.

Tobias Rüger on his new album (liner notes)
To write music a composer needs to keep in mind those who are supposed to perform it - at least in Jazz - since Jazz compositions are merely frames that need to be filled in. I was lucky to find musicians such as Daniel Stelter, Hanns Höhn and Kay Lübke for my quartet - all of whom have creative as well as expressive musical personalities. Adjusting my compositions to their musicianship became a responsibility, a responsibility to translate the spectrum that exists between solo performance and accompaniment, between formal composition and uninhibited improvisation.
In "Zeitloch" (Timewarp) or "Die Stimme der Vernunft" (The Voice of Reason), Hanns casts new light on the motives introduced by the saxophone in wide solo passages, whereas the guitar and double bass almost merge into one in "Im Zimmer der Zauberin" (In the Room of the Sorceress). In "Der Besuch der alten Dame" (The Visit of the Old Lady), Kay explores the melodic potential of the drum set, accompanied by guitar and bass, while I use some so-called new playing techniques such as multiphonics and circular breathing on the sax. The snapshots of my compositions on this album, recorded in an 18-hour studio session, are the result of this particular interaction of four personalities and their ideas.


Tobias Rüger was born in Berlin in 1965. From 1978-82 he was a pupil of Frankfurt's legendary saxophonist Alfred Harth. From 1988-94 Tobias Rüger studied concert saxophone with Detlef Bensmann at Universität der Künste (University of the Arts) in Berlin as well as Musicology at Freie Universität Berlin. Starting playing music in the early '80s, being involved in a project by Heiner Goebbels at the Moers Jazz Festival 1985. In 1989 he wrote music for saxophone trio for a radio adaptation of "Yes, peut-être" by Marguerite Duras recorded by West-Berlin's radio station SFB. With his band Die Schwindler he recorded an album of German Cabaret songs from the '30s in 1992 for Sony-Columbia. In 1997 he performed "Die Dichterliebe" by Robert Schumann with Die Schwindler featuring singer Phil Minton in Frankfurt, Berlin and Düsseldorf.

During the '90s he participated in several recording sessions of Berlin's Radio Symphonic Orchestra, (among others on Dimitri Shostakovich's "Golden Mountains" and Franz Waxman's "Hemingway Suite").

In 2001 he and singer Yahli Toren were invited to perform the programme tradición y modernidad with his arrangements of Jewish-Spanish songs. The event took place in the synagogue of Porto, Portugal as part of the event "Porto - Cultural Capital of Europe 2001".Beginning in 1999 he recorded the complete works for saxophone by John Cage with the Berlin-based ensemble intersax. The CD "A Cage of saxophones Vol. 1" was released in 2001, Vol. 2 in May 2006 by mode records, New York. "Stratosphères" - a concert piece for saxophone trio based on the music of '89's radio production of "Yes, peut-être" - was premiered at the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove in Venice in January 2006 by intersax. In 2003/04 he participated as sideman in BBC-award winner Shantel's projects, playing several saxophone tracks on his albums "The Great Delay" and "Bucovina Club Vol. 1 & 2". Since 2004 he also worked as musical director for projects of Frankfurter Kammeroper (Frankfurt Chamber Opera) and Schauspiel Frankfurt (Frankfurt's municipal theatre).



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