Multi-instrumentalist Klaus Gesing is a writer, player, bandleader and teacher on the vanguard of jazz.
He got into improvisation at the age of 10, listening to an English clarinet player who regularly played on some music-minus-one tunes – coming from a battery-run speaker – in the pedestrian zone of his hometown Düsseldorf/Germany.
After some years under the inspiring guidance of his first saxophone and improvisation teacher, Johannes Seidemann at the Clara-Schumann Music School in Düsseldorf, he continued to be professionally trained at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague in Jazz (John Ruocco) and Classical (Leo van Oostrom) Saxophone – and finished his studies with a special remark for his compositions and artistic expression.
He had additional studies with David Liebman.
Gesing has been awarded Best Soloist at the Jugend Jazzt Competition in Germany/NRW (1988), Best Soloist at the Middelzee Jazz Festival (1994), the Van Merlen Jazz Prize (1995) and Best Soloist at the Vienne International Jazz Competition (1996).
He published several CDs in Duo with Glauco Venier (“Klaus Gesing and Glauco Venier play Bach”, “Klaus Gesing and Glauco Venier play Songs”) and began to collaborate with Norma Winstone in 1999.
As a leader, the well received debut album “First Booke of Songes”, was followed in 2006 by “Heartluggage”, recorded and performed by Gwilym Simcock on piano, Yuri Goloubev (bass) and Asaf Sirkis (percussion).
Described in a recent review in All About Jazz as “one of those hidden gems that commands attention from the get-go”.
His long-standing partnership with Italian pianist Glauco Venier led to the stunning trio with Norma Winstone and five critically acclaimed albums on Universal and ECM.
“Chamber Music” (2004, Universal Universal);
“Distances” ( 2008, ECM 2028),
“Stories yet to tell” (2010, ECM 2158) and finally
“Dance without answer” (2014, ECM2333).
“Descansado – Music for Films” (2018, ECM 2567)
The second album, Distances, earning a Grammy nomination and a prestigious
Académie du Jazz award.
Another appearance on the Label ECM is marked by the publication of Anouar Brahem’s “The Astounding Eyes of Rita” (2009, ECM 2075), a CD that is dedicated to the memory of the lately deceased Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish.
On this album Klaus Gesing appears playing only Bass Clarinet, an instrument that has become increasingly important during recent years.
2014 saw the publication of a new album by the Tunisian Oud player Anouar Brahem,”Souvenance”, (2014, ECM 2423/24) featuring Francois Couturier on piano, Björn Meyer on bass, and a 18piece string orchestra on which Klaus Gesing delved further into the combination of bass clarinet and live electronics.
2011 showed the publication of the „loopspool“, a video made in Switzerland, where he presents his duo with American born percussionist Jarrod Cagwin. This project focuses on extended live-looping on a purely acoustic basis, bringing the use of computer in the process of acoustic music making to an all new level.
The work on “loopspool” led to Klaus Gesing’s first Solo project “reaLTime”, that was published on his own label, Edition TonSpuren, in 2015.
A critic remarked that Klaus Gesing “on reaLTime elicit[s] from it [the bass clarinet, (KG)] a range of expression not heard since John Surman.” (Tyran Grillo, All about Jazz)
In 2016 he published his new loop-solo work “sound of mind” (2016, Edition TonSpuren) on which he put the focus on the compositional possibilities of live looping. The piece was commissioned by the Italian organisation Consorzio Il Mosaico. They are co-funding the work of the African Gregoire Ahongbobon, who has created a network of alternative treatment for the mentally disturbed in Ivory Coast and Benin/Africa.
2016 also saw the publication of “amiira” (2016, arjuna-music, AMAC-CD711//AMAC-LP711) by the trio “Gesing_Rohrer_Meyer”.
This ensemble – featuring Swedish bass player Björn Meyer on his six-string electric bass, and Swiss drummer Samuel Rohrer – concentrates on crossfading improvisation and composition on a very contemporary level, using live electronics with an analog approach.
In 2017 “amiira” has been licensed and published on Hermes Records, an Iranian Label concentrating on improvised music in all its forms.
As a composer – next to writing the main body of the musical material for his own projects and contributing extensively to the music of the ECM releases with Winstone / Gesing / Venier – Klaus Gesing‘s commissions have included a music soundtrack
composed for the the Stadtmuseum Gmunden, Austria.
He has also composed a soundtrack to the 1928 silent film, “Joan of Arc” by the Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer, in collaboration with italian organist and director Paolo Paroni.
As a member of the ‘Jazz Big Band Graz’, two of his compositions appear on the album “A Life Affair” released by Universal Music (2004).
In 2013 he has been commissioned “Vom Himmel hoch” by the Coro Friuli Venezia Giulia / Italy to a piece for 40 voices mixed choir, soprano saxophone and bass clarinet.
Klaus Gesing has so far collaborated with (among others): Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, Björn Meyer, Anouar Brahem, Samuel Rohrer, Francois Couturier, Paolo Paroni, Khaled Yassine, Gwilym Simcock, Asaf Sirkis, Yuri Goloubev, Glauco Venier, John Taylor, Johannes Berauer, Dave Liebman, Christian Muthspiel, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Uli Rennert, Jazz Big Band Graz, Paolino dalla Porta, Wolfgang Puschnig, Peter Herbert, Jarrod Cagwin, John Hollenbeck, Henning Siewerts, Helge Andreas Norbakken, Mario Brunello