Jim and Paul Play Glenn and Ludwig Jim Gelcer - Paul Hoffert Trio feat. George Koller
- 1Moon Light05:41
- 2The Other Fifth05:57
- 3Vitamin B5103:50
- 4Vitamin B5204:58
- 5Vitamin B5304:33
- 6Vitamin B5403:34
- 7First Path04:13
- 8Second Path05:29
- 9Day Light04:35
Info for Jim and Paul Play Glenn and Ludwig
Much in the same way as is the case with the Beatles, in 2018 it is hard not to take Beethoven for granted. His greatest work has become so ubiquitous that numerous motives, most famously the opening four-note riff of the 5 th Symphony, have become little more than cultural clichés. That certainly was Glenn Gould’s opinion. In a legendary article, entitled “Glenn Gould Interviews himself about Beethoven,” he mused, “ …you… have clearly developed a resentment pattern in relation to those tunes… You resent the fact that… those motives … can be sung, whistled, or toe-tapped by anyone–any laymen” ( The Glenn Gould Reader , 1990). Despite such strong opinions, Gould realized that, with the right interpretation, there were ways to make those “clichés” come alive. In fact, over the course of his storied career, Gould recorded a whopping 27 Beethoven pieces.
Drummer/percussionist Jim Gelcer and pianist Paul Hoffert know this all too well, having listened to all of Gould’s recordings of Beethoven while engaged in the process of choosing repertoire for this, their second CD, Jim and Paul play Glenn and Ludwig. They both had interesting previous connections to this repertoire. Hoffert was lucky enough to have actually met Gould while the late pianist was working on the music for the film The Idea of North in 1970. In an odd twist of fate, Gelcer fell in love with Beethoven as a young boy via Hoffert’s work with the iconic Canadian jazz-rock band Lighthouse in 1970. “One of the first times I ever heard a classical piece being used in another context was by Paul,” smiles Gelcer. “And, in fact it was Beethoven. As a kid I remember hearing a Lighthouse track that started with Paul playing [Beethoven’s] Sonata Pathetique, and then it morphed into a rock song and the whole band came in. That certainly made an impression on me!” The recording Gelcer is referring to is “Every Day I Am Reminded" from the Lighthouse LP Peacing It All Together . Gelcer was eight years old at the time and a school mate of one of Hoffert’s children. Ironically, as part of a group of students from that same school he sang on another song on that very same Lighthouse album called “The Chant.” Although it would be many years before the two musicians would play together, from 1970 onwards they were a part of each other’s life, first via Gelcer’s relationship with Hoffert’s son and later as business partners in an experimental streaming service that was a little bit ahead of its time. Forty years after first meeting they finally began making music together, forming a jazz trio and releasing their first CD, How High the Bird , in 2011 . The world is indeed a small place. Both musicians knew the executor of Glenn Gould’s estate, Stephen Posen, from their time serving on the board of directors of the Glenn Gould Foundation. Struck by the Gelcer/Hoffert Trio’s inventive playfulness that was so evident on their debut CD, Posen suggested to Gelcer over lunch that it would be a great idea if Jim and Paul made a jazz recording of Glenn Gould’s music.
Gelcer was intrigued and took the idea to Hoffert. “Of course we knew that Gould was most famous for his Bach recordings,” recalled Gelcer. “However, we are both personally more partial to the music of Beethoven. So, I started work on finding out the scope of Gould's Beethoven repertoire.” To both Gelcer and Hoffert’s surprise, there was a lot to work from. After detailed listening and discussion, the two musicians settled on the short list of heavy hitters that they adapted for this CD.
A week was spent in Florida working out arrangements, the amply talented and nimbly fingered George Koller was seconded to play bass on the project and then the fun began. Gould was typically playful but he was also electrifying in his intensity. During the sessions for Jim and Paul play Glenn and Ludwig , Gelcer, Hoffert and Koller managed to deftly capture both of these aspects of Gould’s playing while, at the same time, creating wholly original interpretations of some of the most well-known music in the Western world. Gould loved Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” often referring to it as a masterpiece. Dig the way Gelcer, Hoffert and Koller turn the first section into a polyrhythmic tour de force as they inexorably spin out Beethoven’s absolutely beautiful ascending arpeggiated chord progression. As the piece moves forward Hoffert slowly introduces increasingly dissonant notes, in the process spicing things up while making the listener hear the venerable Beethoven chord progression in a whole new light. As the track develops, things get even more interesting. Hoffert explains: “After the first section we added new piano and flute sections in a fusion jazz style. That serves as a bridge to the second section which features guest Bill McBirnie playing a new and different melody (in homage to Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo and Miles Davis) that soars over the de-emphasized Beethoven Adagio.” The result is a recording that turns what could have been a hoary chestnut into a sparkling new take on a masterful work. Gould’s interpretation of Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 5” inspired this CD’s “The Other Fifth.” Again featuring Bill McBirnie on flute, Gelcer and Hoffert have constructed an arrangement that flits from languid jazz ballad with lots of 4 th chords to a straight ahead mainstream jazz shuffle in a new tempo. A minute later, with Koller on bowed bass, time is suspended for a transitional section that brings the ensemble back to the original tempo. As is clearly audible in the remaining pieces, the Trio’s treatment of the Pathetique Sonata and the Liszt piano transcription of Beethoven’s 5 th Symphony, this approach to arrangement, juxtaposing clearly opposing sections of music, provides a through-line for much of this CD. The treating of such opposites is what Gould fervently believed lay at the foundation of Beethoven’s greatness. In 1974, in a typically poetic manner, Gould told Jonathan Cott of Rolling Stone that, “ The development section in the classical sonata was there in order to crystallize the potentialities of opposite forces, and it was precisely Beethoven, whose whole structural notions were based on the collision of opposites, who wrote developments until you begged for the return to some kind of sobriety.” I am not sure that any of the players on this CD were aware of that particular statement but, nonetheless, they intuitively manage to capture this aspect of what Gould loved about Beethoven’s aesthetic and spirit. The result is a CD that continues to offer fresh rewards with each listen and does justice to Gould, Beethoven and the venerable tradition of the jazz trio. Bravo!
Jim Gelcer, drums
Paul Hoffert, piano
George Koller, double bass Guests:Bill McBirnie, flute (on tracks 1, 2, 9)
Ifield Joseph, guitar (on track 3)
has led dual careers in music and technology. As a musician he’s an internationally acclaimed composer, producer, and recording artist. As founding partner of Gelcer Myhr Productions, a Toronto-based production house for film, television, and advertising music, Jim produced work for clients including CBC, Bell Canada, MuchMusic, Warner Music, McCain’s, Dentyne, Reader’s Digest, Virgin Records, and Labatt. He is currently composing with film and tv music veteran, Donald Quan, at their company, Gopher Lunch.
In his tech career, specializing in Internet technologies, Jim has managed cross-functional teams and projects for Internet Direct, EveryWare, Bell, Apple, IBM, Cisco, and Open Text. He was on the executive team of Harvard startup Noank Media Inc., a next-generation copyright licensing system for the legal distribution and transmission of digital works over the Internet, where he was instrumental in raising startup funding and signing critical content license agreements. Jim has acted as fundraising consultant to non-profit organizations including Canadian Spinal Research Organization and Small World Music. He has served on various boards including Glenn Gould Foundation, Toronto Summer Music, Via Salzburg, and Mariposa In The Schools.
From 2003-2013, Jim chaired the organizing committee for “Because God Loves Stories: The Alec Gelcer Memorial Storytelling Concert”, an annual evening of stories and music at the Toronto Festival of Storytelling. Keynote speakers included Michael Wex, Simcha Jacobovici, Ralph Benmergui, and Sandra Shamas.
From 2012-2016, Jim was Music Director of Shri Fest, a yoga and music festival in Collingwood, Canada.
Paul Hoffert (Poli)
was born in Brooklyn, New York and studied classical piano when he was a young boy, but he was drawn to the popular music of Fats Domino, Little Richard, and the doo-wop vocal groups that were popular then. His first band was the Boptones, which released two singles, “I Wanna Love You” and “Betty Jean”, when Paul was just 13 years old. All the band members had nicknames—nickibop, johnibop, stevibop and, his own moniker, polibop.
He moved with his family to Toronto when he was 14 and, influenced by his older brother Marty’s love of jazz, took up the vibraphone (vibes). Within a year, his musical muse had become Milt “Bags” Jackson, the vibist with the Modern Jazz Quartet, and he was performing regularly at coffee houses and on network television. The popularity of the Paul Hoffert Jazz Quartet led to a record deal for his first album, “The Jazz Routes of Paul Hoffert”, which was released when he was 16.
Hoffert studied music composition, arranging, and orchestration with Gordon Delamont for six years and, by the time he was 22, he had composed several feature film music scores and written an Off-Broadway musical, “Get Thee To Canterbury”. He played regularly with jazz greats Moe Koffman, Ed Bickert, Guido Basso, and Rob McConnell. He worked with and performed the music of 20th century classical composers such as Harry Freedman, Harry Somers, Gunther Schuller, R. Murray Shafer, and Louis Applebaum. He was a percussionist with the Toronto Symphony for recordings of contemporary classical music.
In 1969, when he was 26, he co-founded the rock band Lighthouse with Skip Prokop. He toured with Lighthouse playing keyboards, vibes, and congas.
[For Lighthouse information , please visit www.lighthouserockson.com]
Poli stopped touring with Lighthouse in 1973 and turned to record producing. He founded Rock and Roll Records and produced artists such as Bob McBride, Bill King, Flower Traveling Band, Snakeyes, Robbie Rox, and Flying Circus as well as executive producing Lighthouse recordings. During that period, he was a founder of CIRPA, the Canadian Independent Record Production Association.
In 1975, he became music director, arranger, and pianist for Craig Russell, internationally acclaimed impersonator and star of the feature film “Outrageous”, for which Hoffert wrote the Genie Award winning film score. Poli conducted Craig Russel’s jazz orchestra in performances around the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Los Angeles’ Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Berlin’s Theatre Festival, Sydney’s Opera House, and Toronto’s Massey Hall.
Hoffert returned to Lighthouse in 1982, for its Ontario Place reunion, and since then has remained a performer with the band.
Hoffert has composed and conducted original music for more than thirty feature films, hundreds of television programs, and for orchestral music including his Concerto for Contemporary Violin, which won a Juno Award. He is the recipient of San Francisco Film Festival Award, Genie Award (best film score) as well as Gemini, Clio, and four SOCAN Film/ TV Composer awards.
He conducted orchestras for Lighthouse’s collaborations with symphonies, and composed, with Skip Prokop, the music for Lighthouse’s North American Ballet High concert tour with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet company and for the South American Noah tour with the Desrosiers Dance Theatre, He has conducted recordings and performances of Orchestras in Canada, the United States, England, Germany, and the Czech Republic, including a Sony recording featuring Placido Domingo. In 2009, he conducted the children’s opera “Brundibar” at Koerner Hall in Toronto.
On the academic front, Hoffert was music director of the Blue Mountain School of Music 1975-77 at George Brown College. He was appointed adjunct Professor of Fine Arts at York University in 1984 and Research Professor at Sheridan College in 1999. Hoffert was a founder and Chair of the Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television and executive producer of the Gemini Awards in 1985 and 1986. He was Chair of the Ontario Arts Council 1994-97 and is currently Chair of the Guild of Canadian Film and Television Composers and Chair of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund.
In 2005 he was appointed Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Law School (copyright) and in 2007 was appointed a director of McGill University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology. He has also taught at Beijing University and the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi.
Hoffert has served on many other boards including the Canadian Performing Rights Society (1984-90); SOCAN Foundation (1993-2009); Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (1998-2003); Virtual Museum of Canada (2000-2005); Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (1999-); the Glenn Gould Foundation (2000-), and the United Nations World Summit on Information Societies.
Hoffert spent much of 2006-8 in China, working with Harvard University and the Chinese government to monetize music file sharing in that country. During that time, he toured China as a performer with world music diva Dadawa (Zhu Zheqing).
He is the author of five books, including The Hoffert Guide for Synchronizing Music with Media and Composing Music for Videogames, Web, and Mobile. In 2005 Poli received the Order of Canada for his contributions to music and media.
This album contains no booklet.