Ensemble 5

Heinz Geisser - percussion
Fridolin Blumer - double bass
Reto Staub - piano
Robert Morgenthaler - trombone


Ensemble 5, from left to right Robert Morgenthaler, Fridolin Blumer, Heinz Geisser, Reto Staub.

Over the past decade the working band around Swiss percussionist & composer Heinz Geisser - best known for his longstanding collaboration with William Parker in the Collective 4tet - has developed a telepathically attuned and radical, musical expression.

The different musical backgrounds of the four musicians, their broad vocabulary and their groundbreaking interplay make up the seeds for their vibrant and colorful music - created in real time and on the edge of the unknown. Their daring swarm intelligence doesn’t leave anybody unaffected in their audience.

Since 2014 the Ensemble 5 has organised the "Wednesday 4+1 concert series" at WIM Zürich. In their monthly shows they routinely invite a different guest to join them for an evening of improvised music. Over sixty concerts have been held by now.

The distinctive identity of the Ensemble 5’s music has developed in particular due to regular meetings with guest musicians forcing them to deal with the ever-changing wild card of the unexpected. Unheard sound textures settle in the band’s collective memory and prepare the field for explorations of new musical territory.

The Ensemble 5 toured Japan in 2013 and in 2019. Their six albums on the critically acclaimed British label Leo Records have been praised by the international press. "The Summary of 4" (2014) and "The Collective Mind" (2019) have been listed among "BEST OF THE YEAR" by the magazine The New York City Jazz Record. A live recording from a performance in Tokyo will be released in 2020.


Ensemble 5, from left to right Heinz Geisser, Robert Morgenthaler, Reto Staub, Fridolin Blumer.

Biographies:

Heinz Geisser (*1961 in Zurich, Switzerland) musician and composer, studied classical guitar with Ermano Maggini and classical percussion with Horst Hofmann at the Zurich Music Conservatory. By his mid-twenties he was awarded the soloist diploma on classical guitar. Self-taught on jazz guitar his first recording was in 1988 with Swiss saxophonist Urs Blöchlinger. In the early 90’s however, drums and percussion became his main instrument and further on he has been focusing on improvised music. During an extended visit to New York City he formed the Collective 4tet with Mark Hennen, Jeff Hoyer and William Parker in 1992. Their half a dozen albums on Leo Records have received outstanding reviews including several four star ratings in the Penguin Guide to Jazz. For the last two decades Heinz Geisser has performed and recorded with many leading artists in the USA, Europe and Asia including Guerino Mazzola, Sirone, Mat Maneri, Rob Brown, Arthur Brooks, Scott Fields, Elliott Levin, Alfred Zimmerlin, Shiro Onuma, Eiichi Hayashi, Takayuki Kato, I Wayan Sadra, among many others. Heinz Geisser has produced over 30 albums released on US and EU Labels such as Leo Records, Black Saint, Music&Arts, Silkheart Records, Cadence Jazz Records, Ayler Records etc. A collaboration with Indonesian filmdirector Garin Nugroho has led to the music documentary "Teak Leaves at the Temples". The movie premiered in 2008 at the international filmfestivals Rotterdam and Hongkong. 2012 marks the release of his first album with Ensemble 5 on Leo Records.

Fridolin Blumer (*1984) is a freelance bassist. As an improviser and performer, he is often on stage and plays topical and new music.
At the age of eight he began playing violoncello and switched to bass at age of 15. Since 1999 he explores the musical tradition, the acoustic events of today and the related way of playing the bass. From 2003 to 2008 he studied at the music academy of Basel, jazz department.
Major inspirations are the black american music, european classical music and various folk musics.

Reto Staub (*1979) studied piano with Tomasz Herbut at the Bern University of the arts. He did chamber music classes for contemporary classical music with Reinbert de Leuw, Maurizio Kagel and Ensemble Modern and graduated theater music courses with Georges Aperghis and Françoise Rivalland. 2006/2007 he was scholarship holder at the International Ensemble Modern Academy in Frankfurt/Main. Further artistic animations from Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Peter Donohoe, Thomas Larcher, Andreas Staier and Verena Bosshart, Pierre Sublet.
Reto Staub is pianist in Ensemble Linea, Strasbourg since 2007 and he is part of Ensemble Nikel. He participated in several projects and premieres in Western- and Eastern Europe, USA, Canada, Kuwait, South Korea, Brazil and Israel with Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Nikel and Ensemble Linea. Festival performances include Wien Modern, Klangspuren Schwaz, Champs Libre Strasbourg and Ultraschall Berlin, Contempuls Prag, Festival Darmstadt, Tzlil Meudcan Tel Aviv and 30. Konstanzer Jazzherbst & Landesjazzfestival 2009.

Robert Morgenthaler (*1952), trombone player, alpine horn player and composer studied at the Zurich Music Conservatory and Swiss Jazz School Bern. Since 1979 he is professor at the „Hochschule für Musik und Theater“ in Bern. Worldwide activities as a high-level improviser, soloist and project manager.
Robert Morgenthaler has performed and recorded with Carla Bley, Victor Lewis, Steve Swallow, Bob Stewart, Joe Haider, Mel Lewis, Robin Eubanks, Michel Godard, Gunter Schuller, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Günter "Baby" Sommer, Lee Konitz, Hannibal Marvin Peterson, Kenny Wheeler. In 1994 he founded "Roots of Communication". The group toured Europe, Africa, Asia and USA. Robert Morgenthaler took part in various interdisciplinary projects like World Expo 2000 in Hannover with Peter Zumthor, 2001 "Novemberland" with Günter Grass, Swiss Expo 02, Wuppertal 03 and 04 with Pina Bausch and World Expo 2010 in Shanghai with Erika Stucky.
Since 1989 the magazine „Jazz“ has elected him several times trombone player of the year.


Ensemble 5, from left to right Fridolin Blumer, Reto Staub, Heinz Geisser, Robert Morgenthaler; Photo by Bettina Scherz.

Discography:

2012
SOLSTICE
Ensemble 5
featuringVincent Daoud
Leo Records LR 649
Liner Notes
Music Sample 1
Music Sample 2
2014
The Summary of 4
Ensemble 5
Leo Records LR 694
Liner Notes
Music Sample 1
Music Sample 2
Music Sample 3
Music Sample 4
2014
The Summary of 4 Vol.2
Ensemble 5
Leo Records LR 710
Music Sample 1
Music Sample 2
Music Sample 3
Music Sample 4
2017
Live - featuring Elliott Levin
Ensemble 5
Leo Records LR 784
Music Sample 1
Music Sample 2
Music Sample 3
Music Sample 4
Music Sample 5
Music Sample 6
2019
THE COLLECTIVE MIND
Ensemble 5
Leo Records LR 858
2019
THE COLLECTIVE MIND Vol.2
Ensemble 5
Leo Records LR 864

Contact: heinz@geisser.com