Willingen is a very special place for music lovers in Canada. Mainly because the great pianist Oscar Petersen found his second home here almost 60 years ago and spent many years recording at Villa Brunner-Schwar.
VS-Willingen – Petersen (1925 to 2007) is still an undisputed cultural institution in North America and the music he composed in the Black Forest, which was recorded by Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer, is still legendary. This is one reason why the top class “Canadian Jazz Collective” stopped for two days in Willingen as part of the European tour. Canada’s best jazz musicians have come together in this band to make Canadian jazz better known internationally. A project developed under the leadership of saxophonist Kirk MacDonald, funded by the Canada Council of the Arts.
And it was almost logical that the top formation had to visit the Black Forest during its first trip to Europe. Willingen’s journey came through good contacts with jazz producer Friedhelm Schulz. In addition to the major jazz clubs in Paris, Vienna and London, a concert was held at the traditional Willinger Jazzkeller, a spectacular experience for the enthusiastic audience on Saturdays.
On Sunday, as per the old tradition, sound recording was done on the tape machine in MPS studio. The highlight of the Canadians’ stay in Willingen was a short visit to Villa Brunner-Schwarr, where they were warmly welcomed by the lady of the house, Marlice Brunner-Schwar. The historic rooms, in which the legendary house concerts took place with Oscar Peterson but also with many other musicians, particularly impressed the guests. The atmosphere there was particularly touching for guitarist Lorne Lofsky, who played in the Oscar Peterson quartet in the 1990s.
Neil Swanson, bass player in the band of English pianist George Shearing, was also impressed. There were also good friendly contacts with the Schering and the Brunner-Schwar family.
Marlis Bruner-Schwar told many of the stories from the 1960s. At the time, he remembered, every musician who wanted to be something in jazz had to be in Willingen first. “It’s beyond impressive,” said Toronto-based bandleader Kirk McDonald.
Music recorded by the Canadian Jazz Collective in Willingen should be available on disc next spring. And Judy Humanick, the project’s Canadian manager, believes the jazz liaison between the Black Forest and Canada will continue.
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