Cover Closer

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  • 1Hurt04:31
  • 2Nika's Dream03:59
  • 3Deep Dive03:48
  • 4YaYaYa05:11
  • 5Beyond the Bavarian Sky03:52
  • 6He Who Counts the Stars05:10
  • 7It Won't Be Long04:29
  • 8So Close to You04:39
  • 9The Great He-Goat04:00
  • 10Let's Go Out Tonight05:03
  • Total Runtime44:42

Info for Closer

Harmony and tension, gentleness and strength - rarely are contrasts so palpable and close as in a pair. In the active dialogue of the musical duo, in the constant give and take, listening and communicating, demanding and encouraging, the two ECHO Jazz Award winners Nils Wülker and Arne Jansen now invite us to their first joint duo album. The ten pieces on "Closer" are delightfully different and pleasantly surprising, telling exciting stories with new original compositions, interpretations from the repertoire of the two leaders and cover versions of some of their favourite pop and rock songs, from Nine Inch Nails to Ry X to The Blue Nile. With every note, they take the listeners for themselves, accompanying them like good friends on a journey through new and exciting soundscapes. Sometimes empathetic and intimate, then again cinematic and atmospherically dense, from the ultimate reduction in a duet to almost orchestral sound, the two exceptional musicians and close friends explore their commonalities and live out their idiosyncrasies in the music on "Closer". It could hardly be closer.

The trumpeter Nils Wülker and his guitar colleague Arne Jansen have known each other for well over twenty years, for almost fifteen of which they have been making music together. In addition to their enormous artistic quality, they have always been united by their love of improvisation, this immediate creativity through which they determine the moment in reaction and interaction. Already in 2019, Wülker and Jansen played a Germany-wide duo tour under the name "Closer". "Only friends can do it like this", the press praised on the occasion of their concentrated joy of playing, recognising "weightless jazz dialogues" as well as "virtuosity and balladic calm", also because they added plenty of effects and loop stations to their main instruments in this context. With "Closer", the seventh album on which they can be heard together, they now bring this affair of the heart to the point.

Even the opener is a statement: Johnny Cash's dark version of "Hurt", originally by Trent Reznor and his band Nine Inch Nails, served the two as inspiration for their very personal excursion, initially still raw and direct, it increases over almost three minutes with delays, reverb and distortion into a pleasant intensity. It is a joy to listen to the two musicians, to lose oneself in their sound worlds, for example when they reduce the melodic rush "Nika's Dream", dedicated to Wülker's daughter and recently a highlight on Wülker's orchestral album "Continuum", to its musical essence, less opulent, not a bit less impressive. Even when they take turns in the role of soloist and accompanist, for example in the funky "Deep Dive" or their version of The Blue Niles' melancholy "Let's Go Out Tonight", their musical closeness is transmitted quite directly. "Beyond the Bavarian Sky", a hymn-like new composition by Nils Wülker, completely pure with flugelhorn and acoustic guitar, is a bow to one of the most beautiful duo albums in recent jazz history: Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden's "Beyond the Missouri Sky".

Which brings us to another important topic of the album: its great sound. Because Nils Wülker and Arne Jansen made no compromises in terms of sound with "Closer": the album was recorded by Nils Wülker himself in his Ear Treat Studio in Munich, mixed by the American Grammy winner Jay Newland, known for his work for Norah Jones, John Scofield and, of course, the above-mentioned "The Sound".

Scofield and of course the above-mentioned duo album "Beyond the Missouri Sky", and finally mastered by Mark Wilder, who got his Grammys for remasters of Miles Davis, Billie Holiday or Bob Dylan, at Battery Studios in New York. The whole is clearly more than the sum of the parts, a versatility and abundance of sounds and moods that fascinates and touches in equal measure. A real experience in which one can participate directly by just listening.

Nils Wülker, trumpet & flugelhorn Arne Jansen, electric & acoustic guitars

Recorded by Nils Wülker at Ear Treat Studio, Munich
Mixed by Jay Newland
Mastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios, New York
Produced by Nils Wülker

Nils Wülker
erhielt ab dem siebten Lebensjahr Klavierunterricht, ab dem zehnten Lebensjahr Trompetenunterricht mit klassischer Ausrichtung. 1994 besuchte Nils Wülker für ein Jahr als ASSIST-Stipendiat eine Privatschule in den USA. Dort entdeckt er den Jazz und wurde vom Acid-Jazz und Miles Davis geprägt. Zurück in Deutschland spielte Wülker bald im Landesjugendjazzorchester NRW, mit dem er 1996 und 1998 an zwei Tourneen nach China teilnahm. 1998 studierte er nach dem Abitur an der Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" Berlin, die er 2002 erfolgreich absolvierte. 2005 gründete Nils Wülker sein eigenes Plattenlabel (Ear Treat).

Während des Studiums spielte er im Bundesjazzorchester, vertretungsweise in der RIAS Big Band, ab 2001 im Ensemble seines Hochschuldozenten Nicolai Thärichen ("Thärichens Tentett"), aber auch in der Judy Niemack Group und im Berlin Jazz Orchestra von Jiggs Whigham. Bereits vor dem Ende des Studiums ging er mit seiner eigenen Gruppe ins Studio, um Aufnahmen zu produzieren. Die daraus resultierende CD "High Spirits" ging als die erste Veröffentlichung eines deutschen Jazzmusikers bei Sony Music in die Firmengeschichte ein; als zweites Album erschien "Space Night Vol. 10" bei Sony. Wülker nahm die Veröffentlichung weiterer Platten seiner Band auf seinem eigenen Label vor. In seinem Quintett spielt er mit Jan von Klewitz am Saxophon, Lars Duppler am Piano, Dietmar Fuhr am Bass und Jens Dohle am Schlagzeug. 2010 wurde die Band um den Gitarristen Arne Jansen und Edward Maclean am E-Bass erweitert.

Aufmerksamkeit erregte er auch durch seine auf CD veröffentlichten Kompositionen für das Nachtprogramm "Space Night" des Bayrischen Rundfunks. In seinen Kompositionen vereint er die rhythmischen und harmonischen Finessen des Jazz mit dem melodiösen und groovebetonten Spiel von Funk, Rock und Pop.

Neben der Tätigkeit mit der eigenen Band spielte er auch mit Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Don Grusin, Wolfgang Schmid und William Kennedy als "Hang All Stars" und mit Omara Portuondo, Dominic Miller, Joe Locke, Silje Nergaard, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Ute Lemper und Samy Deluxe, für dessen Album "Dis wo ich herkomm" er 2009 auch den Track "Sprech wie ich sprech" produzierte.

Booklet for Closer

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