Music journalist, author and sound artist Michael Rüsenberg invites jazz greats to an interesting exchange at "Speak Like A Child." The title of the series goes back to the title track of the legendary Herbie Hancock album from 1968 and is a reference to the musical primary color of the Stadtgarten. Now the popular interview series is also available as a podcast, to be heard here on this website, Spotify and iTunes.
He still has a suitcase in Cologne's Südstadt, no it's more, it's a room near Chlodwigplatz after all. From time to time he still spends time at the Rhine, for example to exercise his teaching position for jazz piano (and synthesizer) at the Musikhochschule Köln.
In 1981 Hinrich Franck, born in Hanover in 1956, came to Cologne from Berlin to study jazz piano at Jiggs Wigham's jazz seminar. He has lived back in the capital since 2013. Early on, he found his way to the Initiative for jazz music ("Initiative Kölner Jazz Haus e.V.", even before the foundation of the Stadtgarten. He also found his own style quickly: funky, grooves on an American level; with the rhythm section Claus Fischer (bg) and Hardy Fischötter (dr) and virtuoso soloists, e.g. Frank Gratkowski (as) or Wollie Kaiser (ts).
He himself cultivates understatement, in his own words an "oddball" style: non-artistic singing, black humor in the lyrics ("pubescent and philosophical"), insinuating at times, always flirting with the self-chosen image as a "looser". It is no coincidence that one of seven CDs by the Franck Band (1989-2007) is titled in this way.
The Franck Band - although American listeners were amazed in 1991 at their quasi-re-import of funk - has failed to achieve lasting success, as have Hinrich's ironic, twisted adaptations of standards ("Überm Regenbogen", 2006) or of Rammstein, Christian Morgenstern & Bill Evans ("Nützjanix", 2018).
The conversation with Hinrich Franck took place following his concert in the series "Past & Present" on 13.09.2021. In the first part the Franck Band, followed by Simon Nabatov with a highly virtuosic solo performance of Hinrich Franck's 11 "Bauerntänzen". Finally the Franck Band, reinforced by the Cologne Contemporary Jazz Orchestra conducted by Jan Torkewitz.
text: Michael Rüsenberg