"Fat sound from forceful saxophones." Lübecker Nachrichten "...this evening is going to be fun!" Die Norddeutsche
The Toughest Tenors Hip Tip CD The Toughest Tenors
"Elegant and highly relaxed" CD-Tip Berliner Morgenpost "The balance between sophisticated virtuosity and atmospheric density convinced me a lot" Jörg Konrad "Nostalgia, but of a harmonious and charming kind" Macky Ellenbruch
Rückseite CD The Toughest Tenors "What´s happening" Cds The Toughest Tenors Hip Tip Rückseite
Press release of LAIKA-Records: This is the heartbeat of Hardbop. The Berlin-based jazz quintet, lead by the two tenor saxophonist Bernd Suchland and Patrick Braun, plays hardbop jazz fresh and virtuosic, honest and direct. Without top-heavy flourishes Suchland and Braun along with Dan-Robin Matthies (piano), Lars Gühlcke (double bass) and Ralf Ruh (drums) goes to the point of jazz. They take it seriously, the music that was in the 50s and 60s part of everyday life and prove sustainable energy a handmade, pure jazz feeling. Since fifteen years, The Toughest Tenors convince the audience and the press with an expertly selected program of the timeless jazz history. " The Toughest Tenors have it all: a catchy band name, talent, maturity, a clear attitude to music and now another great album: "HIP TIP". Late 50s to early 60s high class albums have been produced, which hardly anyone knows himself in musical circles. A cornucopia from which we pick out the best pieces and they awaken with fresh arrangements to life ," explains Suchland the approach of the band. This involves him and his saxophone partner Patrick Braun not in a musical contest, but in juxtaposition with each other. THE TOUGHEST TENORS: Bernd Suchland tenor-saxophone Patrick Braun tenor-saxophone Dan-Robin Matthies piano Lars Gühlcke bass Ralf Ruh drums
Liner Notes: This Band is going to knock you out. Why? To find out you will have to last the full ten rounds of this CD. Don´t fret through, “What´s happening”, the first punch pulled by the quintet “The Toughest Tenors” won´t give you a black eye, it´s aimed straight at your ears. And that´s where this work will register. It offers prominent, exceptional and rare arrangements from a time before jazz was panting in its corner waiting for resuscitation by musical historians. The most effective tool of the trade in these times was the tenor sax. Tales of the exploits of the heroes of the age have become legion... About a night in early 1934 for instance, when Coleman Hawkins was tirelessly defending his title, way into the small hours of the morning, against challengers Lester Young and Ben Webster. Or Dexter´s 1947 session with Wardell Gray that became known as “The Chase” after it was released on the LP of the same name. Or last but definitely not least the countless duels between teammates Johnny Griffin and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. These two battle-hardened players have just been appointed to the position of unofficial strategic consultants for “What´s happening”. Seven out of the ten pieces are based on arrangements that Griffin and Davis used for their sessions in the early 60´s. Under the competent hands of Bernd Suchland and Max Hacker - “The Toughest Tenors” from Berlin these charts become at times pleasurable callisthenics for your facial muscles, at other times tricky workouts for the brain. When the rough-and-ready Suchland and the sophisticated Hacker pit their wits against each other, it´s never about who can play higher or faster or louder. They support and enhance each other, give each other a leg-up in the head of Monk´s “Misterioso”, or in the intro to “Abundance”, deliver a well-oiled and -trained relay race through the changes, and are a shining example of fair play in today´s world of performance-enhanced music. In the title track “What´s happening” we find the two tenors locked in combat. Cheered on by their training partners, pianist Sebastiabn Wittstock - always attacking from a secure position, bass player Marc Muellbauer - equipped with a boxers heartbeat, and referee Ralf Ruh on drums, the two front men go all out. The overused phrase “Tenor Battle” seems out of place in this context. It´s not about combat (Folks who are into combat should join the foreign legion!). If there is a showdown to this recording, it features our two heroes riding peacefully into the sunset in the final vamp of “How am I to know” There are no winners or losers, because there never was a fight. It´s only the listener who finds himself happily knocked out, waiting for the count. text: Josef Engels
The musicians of this CD: Bernd Suchland tenorsax Max Hacker tenorsax Sebastian Wittstock piano Marc Muellbauer bass Ralf Ruh drums
CD Info 2
“This Berlin-based Quintett transports you back to the times of smoke-filled clubs where hard bop was still dance music, and the coolest of the cool wore skinny ties and swung glittering saxophones.” JAZZTHING “With its first-class sound and edgy arrangements, this Jazz Quintet from Berlin stakes a claim to the classic tunes of a legendary jazz era.” Concerto
The Toughest Tenors Well-Kept-Secrets
„I know I'm not from this planet; I can't be. I must be from someplace else in the universe because I'm a total misfit.“ Johnny Griffin Secret Dossier: “American Jazz” The Toughest Tenors are about to drop their third Album, “Well-Kept Secrets.” The five undercover agents from Berlin (Bernd Suchland - Tenor Sax; Patrick Braun - Tenor Sax; Dan-Robin Matthies - Piano; Lars Gühlke - Bass; and Ralf Ruh – Drums) once again divulge some of the arcane musical knowledge they’ve managed to smuggle out of the Land of Opportunity (where Jazz developed as a unique cultural treasure). The Toughest Tenors, who have been in action for two decades now, operate covertly in the last few remaining Jazz Cellars in this world, where they live out their own personal American Dream. They’re an insider’s tip; they exist outside the spectrum of social media, cultural sponsorship, and European jazz fashion. They use their sensitive antennae to receive and decode original Jazz data that had long been given up for lost and they revive and represent it in the face of modern Crossover. They’re cool, they’re incorruptible, and they know their business. They plug into a time where Jazz still had an earthy style, swung hard, was packed with blues and soul, and reached a public that turned up the radio, swung along, and couldn’t stay in its seats. The pair of tenor personalities Suchland and Braun, though unified in their mission, manage to find completely distinct paths in sound and phrasing: two independent intelligent operatives who complement and inspire each other. With flair that rivals Fleming’s creations, they’ve put together a CD with 10 selected top secrets. Their bugging operation into almost completely unknown rarities by the likes of Gene Ammons, Johnny Griffin, or Melba Liston has put a bug into music critics and NSA alike, and passed the spirit of this music onward to reach an audience that’s still amazed – after over 350 concerts – to find that it can’t be heard anywhere else anymore. The Toughest Tenors broke the code long ago. And they continue to rewrite it. With this CD, they’re sending their message over the air, into the ether, perhaps out into space, past stars to faraway planets where Jazz just might be more at home than it is here on Earth. Maybe there’s a reunion with their heroes, the Jazz Greats of Old, waiting for them out there somewhere.
The Toughest Tenors Flagge
"This is a SUPER-disc" Bert Noglik - MDR Kultur "Well done" JAZZTHING