It’s been a wee while since I was ready and able to begin posting again but here we go. Did life in Serbia take pull me down into an abyss of no return? Not quite, but it definitely opened up some interesting new rivers of experience in my life. In any case, what better way to return than with some sounds. Though my humble blog was mute throughout the last seasons there was plenty going on in the shadows and now, bit by bit, I will share some of the work. Here is a part of the 3rd Berlin concert I played with the wonderful Lula Pena.

A Portuguese- New Zealand Love Song


In a lonely little restaruant close to the beach of Porto
A Sardine proudly hangs in the blue sky
And its hard-earned crown floats gracefully above
And so too the wood, burning in the air.
The boats gently bob in the afternoon breeze.
the two-dimensional fisherman calmly mends his net
Oblivious to the gaze of the Kiwi
Bright lights and the scent of Sardines
Mark the spot where Europe finally fades into the sea.


Fighting off bouts of pre-concert exhaustion, the saxophonist hauls his middle-aged body onto another German Jazz stage, trying not to let the carbohydrate-laden backstage catering to pull him down. The smell of sweat, old wood,and western European perfumes prevail. The challenges of maintaining a healthy body and mind whilst on the road are not small and he knows it. Luckily his band mates share a common desire for locally sourced produce and a high fat intake. By night: swing; by day: gazing  out train windows and contemplating more than can be put into words. Acutely aware of the turbulence around, he hides in a little jazz bubble for bit, keeping low, swingin’ low.


Of the reasons I have been unable to post much in last months is because I am involved in 2 kinds of marathons, or “rather large tasks” as it could be put. They each share some similarities with long distance ultra running and I wanted to offer them as examples here as a small encouragement to those I have taught who sometimes feel o so small at the base of mountain when the peek seems unreachable; or half way up when the little voices in the head start whispering that it is better to turn back. I think we have all been there in some way. Now that peak could be a certain musical goal of something special on this Saxophone or anything conceivable. In my particular case at the moment these are a) completing my complete recording of Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” and b) learning the Serbian language at a point in my life when my head is already a veritable insalata mista of languages.

What do these particular undertakings have in common with ultra marathon running and what little gems of wisdom can I offer others engaging their own personal mountains?

– Nike, always Nike: Just do it.
– Chip away at the block, a little each day. Keep the momentum. Keep going.
– Glance up at that distant peak once in a while, but basically just watch the ground in front of you.
– Keep shoulders relaxed and breath steady.
– You will go from feeling like superman to feeling like a piece of turd in a moment. Just roll with it.
– Make pain your friend, this gives you a reliable running partner at your side.
– When the nagging voices in your head come, and come they will, the ones that tell you you are crazy, you should turn back, you’ll never make it, just breath through them. They will disappear like passing clouds. ( by the way they are a left-brain thing and a bit of cerebral knowledge can help to banish them)
– The dragons to be slain in the hero fables of old are your own mind- but you surely know that, n’est pas?
– Once you finish this madness, you are going to want more, I guarantee you. A bit of healthy pain can become addictive.

For me this means now diving into 600 odd pages of labyrinths like this:


“Eins within a space and a wearywide space it wast ere wohned a Mookse. The onesomeness wast alltolonely, archunsitslike, broady oval, and a Mookse he would a walking go (My hood! cries Antony Romeo), so one grandsumer evening, after a great morning and his good supper of gammon and spittish, having flabelled his eyes, pilleoled his nostrils, vacticanated his ears and palliumed his throats, he put on his impermeable, seized his im- pugnable, harped on his crown and stepped out of his immobile De Rure Albo (socolled becauld it was chalkfull of masterplasters and had borgeously letout gardens strown with cascadas, pinta- costecas, horthoducts and currycombs) and set off from Luds- town a spasso to see how badness was badness in the weirdest of all pensible ways.”

And then deciphering sentences like this:

So go on. Prove them voices wrong. Slay them dragons. Test what is means exactly to be human now on this good earth.


After some 20 years of dabbling with the Wake, reading in concerts and making some small attempts to record some pieces, the Saxophonist finally dives in fully, tackling the beast full on. A small theater in Belgrade located in Dorcol is the place where he has the chance to set up is microphone and spend night after night reading from Joyce’s work. On his side, the pianist Philip Zoubek prepares his strings and offers a complex bed of sound over which the invocations can ring out. The Saxophonist is fully aware of the other souls who have undertaken this task- he knows well what they have so far achieved and with all due respect to these brave readers, he now throws down a wine-soaked gauntlet into the same room. Come the time, he will pay them tribute. By day, he pours over the recently revealed archives of the author, picking clues from the handwriting and reveling in his innermost revelations. By night, the text verily becomes him, engulfing him fully, entering his dreams and accompanying his waking thoughts. Those who have dived into the nature of number and who have tasted the secret of the nine will know why the Saxophonist chooses to present page 108 up front- a tiny microcosm of the word Tsunami to come. Had Joyce known? Perhaps. Perhaps after long night of white wine inviting all his friends on the bill of his publisher. Who can know? In any case, he left the narrators to follow with an Everest to climb, an Everest with icy almost unsurmountable slopes but basked in moonlight.



Here is the original text of the latest passage from Finnegans Wake I have recorded. Clear to be seen is the man’s delight at tinkering with the English language. A slip of the pen, and we are dealing with “humid nature”. The audio features Philip Zoubek and Marcus Schmickler behind the words of Joyce.

Finn Page 597

Lok! A shaft of shivery in the act, anilancinant. Cold’s sleuth!
Vayuns! Where did thots come from? It is infinitesimally fevers,
resty fever, risy fever, a coranto of aria, sleeper awakening, in
the smalls of one’s back presentiment, gip, and again, geip, a
flash from a future of maybe mahamayability through the windr
of a wondr in a wildr is a weltr as a wirbl of a warbl is a world.
It is perfect degrees excelsius. A jaladaew still stilleth. Cloud
lay but mackrel are. Anemone activescent, the torporature is re-
turning to mornal. Humid nature is feeling itself freely at ease
with the all fresco. The vervain is to herald as the grass admini-
sters. They say, they say in effect, they really say. You have eaden
fruit. Say whuit. You have snakked mid a fish. Telle whish.
Every those personal place objects if nonthings where soevers
and they just done been doing being in a dromo of todos with-
outen a bound to be your trowers. Forswundled. You hald him
by the tap of the tang. Not a salutary sellable sound is since. In-
steed for asteer, adrift with adraft. Nuctumbulumbumus wander-
wards the Nil. Victorias neanzas. Alberths neantas. It was a long,
very long, a dark, very dark, an allburt unend, scarce endurable,
and we could add mostly quite various and somenwhat stumble-
tumbling night. Endee he sendee. Diu! The has goning at gone,
the is coming to come. Greets to ghastern, hie to morgning. Dor-
midy, destady. Doom is the faste. Well down, good other! Now
day, slow day, from delicate to divine, divases. Padma, brighter
and sweetster, this flower that bells, it is our hour or risings.
Tickle, tickle. Lotus spray. Till herenext. Adya.
Take thanks, thankstum, thamas. In that earopean end meets
There is something supernoctural about whatever you called
him it. Panpan and vinvin are not alonety vanvan and pinpin in
your Tamal without tares but simplysoley they are they. This-
utter followis that odder fellow. Himkim kimkim. Old yeaster-
loaves may be a stale as a stub and the pitcher go to aftoms on the
wall. Mildew, murk, leak and yarn now want the bad that they
lied on. And your last words todate in camparative accousto-
mology are going to tell stretch of a fancy through strength to-
wards joyance, adyatants, where he gets up. Allay for allay, a
threat for a throat.


Often seasons will pass before Lula and I get a chance to play and sing together. This time around, it is now almost 9 seasons that we have had to patiently wait for a chance. And it just arrived. We will perform on March 14 in Berlin again at the Roter Salon.


In the winter ice of Belgrade a group of musicians came together and together found a way to make a small bridge between the song forms of Serbia and the textures of the saxophones. The warmest place to be found for rehearsals were the little “Kafanas” in which the smoke often hung heavily over the epic lyrics of the songs. As brandy and coffee flowed, slowly the soul of these songs and the places they sprung from gradually revealed themselves.

Marko Krajlevic rises early
He rises early to hunt
Yet he hasn’t caught what he needs
Instead he catches a six-winged snake
And the snake has wrapped itself around his neck
Marko cries out so God may hear him
The fairy on the mountain has heard him
And the fairy speaks
“Snake, leave my brother alone
Come and wrap yourself around my neck
I will carry you to the green garden
I will put you under the red rose
I will feed you honey and sugar”


Here are pages 597-598 of Finnegans Wake I recorded via telepathy for the wonderful chaps at Waywords and Meansigns. These two pages were a tricky wee beast, order hence the thought method was easier than actually speaking into the microphone.

Finnegans Wake Pages 597-598 from Hayden Chisholm on Vimeo.


After years of working with the German producer and composer Burnt Friedman it was a joy when he first made the the plunge and busted out some of his percussion collection on stage in Berlin in last months concert. From my side the sonic contribution is a Fibonacci chord which cuts, tadalafil dices, and serves the piece as such:


Here is a little version of the first 200 decimal places of PI. It is made on the lonely railway track which circles Belgrade. As the pipes are limited in range the note 9 and 2 are interchanged, anyway being the same note. When a 0 comes up the note is simply held.


My dear friend and critic Ahmet Shabo from NYC decided to write the latest Root70 liner notes in sonnet form, The results are lovely, so lovely I decided to make an audio version.
I wish all the readers ( ie my Mum) a happy 2017. There is much in the pipes soon to be released and presented here after several months of humming along in low gear.

9 Sonnets

9 Sonnets for Root70

How the Bones man must take delight,
To hear his band move past mere deeds of youth;
Lesser men made lame by Luxury Habits’ dearest spite;
Now can he rejoice in their worth and truth;
For whether beauty, swing, wealth, or wit
Or any host of grooves, meters and more,
Entitled in the band’s canon, as crowns sit,
I craft my notes engrafted to this store,
Of life’s experience encoded in sound;
By poets patently in the middle of their journey,
As life just like the planets comes round,
And Apollo moots to deem them worthy;
Of carrying the torch of jazz by night,
Above Olympus’s receding white.

When Bone and Sax jump o’er octaves as now,
With Time’s injurious hand crushed and o’erworn;
By a wry grin and To Don’t Lists etched on Chisholm’s brow,
With lines and wrinkles, when his youthful morn:
May well have moved to sleepy night,
Yet the smile remains set like a diamond king;
Critics of his breath long vanished from sight,
Never assailing the treasure of his spring;
Exploding into swing and retreating into song,
Folding into itself like layers of a rose;
To the curious maiden inviting, smooth, yet strong,
At his core a diamond as this critic well knows,
And Wogram knows and Ellington too,
How jazz can ignite a jewel so true.

With such start of Bone, making appetite keen,
Eager compounds of 15/8 our palates urge;
As, to prevent maladies unseen,
And lapses of listeners doth purge.
Aflame now the band, in ne’er coy delight;
Replete with classic horn unison hearts,
Rehearsing the Future in full flight,
The sum now set to be more resplendent than the parts.
Thus, policy in jazz to anticipate;
The choices that were not, grow to rests assured,
And brought to medicine a healthful state;
Which, rank of goodness, would by swing be cured;
For no good health could conjure forth such fury,
Yet Pan’s madness yea e’er convinced the jury.

Which string is it that says most, can the E say more,
Than this rich A, or is it D, or G,
In whose confine immured is the core;
Which should vibrate and grow like a tree?
Or can the unison to follow leave,
Such bass beauty in Flattery’s gorgeous pace,
Belittling all who dare to from the octave thieve,
And clumsily bundle notes to swing in haste?
Yet Penman’s slow Four, so dignified the story;
or Rueckert swinging yonder his Teutonic curse,
A soft jazz drum beater coaxing beats to glory;
Could more golden jazz nuggets flood his purse?
I cannot decide, I love thee all in such sort,
‘twixt string, horn and stick, mine is good report.

With the clockwork God rhythm of tides and leaves;
So too a modest Wogram motive bears melodic fruit,
From three seeds fall a hundred apples as he weaves,
Harmonic thread held tight by the rational tailors of Root.
When as I perceive that ideas as plants increase,
Cheered and checked by the same Swiss sky;
Brave in 5/4 time, then at drum solo decrease,
And wear their brave state out and die.
Then the tragedy of this inconsistent stay;
Sets the piece most rich in jazz before my sight,
As It’s Arrogant to Call Me Arrogant doth decay,
through sweetly suspended fourth, a sunset bright;
I can let the tiny motive return to the night,
Having flourished for a moment in eclectic delight.

Was the dull substance of a Zurich suburb,
Which could not figure to thee a true spirit,
Now set free to speak with register;
That may express swing and 4/4’s merit?
Wogram peered into the hollow of their mind,
And that in guess measured by their deeds;
Then, penning his metric modulations so kind,
cleanses his garden from inspirational weeds.
In form simple from afar to behold, quarter tones,
Wistfully beckoning the onset of new parts;
Before she turns swiftly away, swinging to the bone,
Struck in the heart by his melodic darts.
To lazily sit with pencil in Zurich’s evening sun, all he did,
And harken the sound of the irksome Rich Kid.

No, dealers could not offset the pain,
Rising o’er decades cutting up Manhatten’s lines;
When no pill nor high nor low nor pierced vein,
Party Anxiety could offset, not even natural wine.
And yet a form she doth take, albeit askew,
In a 17/8 bar scribbled, a microtonal horn line,
Not white but golden and rife with clues;
Anent the force that animates the drummer’s spine.
So that urban motion in this up-town case,
Weighs not the fear and injury of age;
Nor gives to jazz-lion’s wrinkles place;
But makes antiquity for aye his page.
For all pain is trumped by the ding ding a ding
Of a literate drummer who doth write with a zing

As an imperfect alto on the stage,
Who, with his breath is put beside his part;
Or some fierce reed relates with too much rage,
Whose cane’s abundance weakens his own heart:
In Starting from Zero he dares to weave
The perfect line of a ballad’s rite;
And with the fragility of a lover about to leave,
Or an endearing word soon to decay,
His breath doth give voice to passions’s nest,
O, let us behold then the sonic eloquence;
Piercing into these humble slash-chords’  breast,
Who, pleading for honest sound, longs only for recompense,
O, learn to hear what outward breath on reed hath writ,
To hear with hearts belongs to jazz’s fine wit.

But how could not the Bones man find a new way,
To playfully wrestle with this slippery tyrant, time?
And strengthen his chops in its decay
With licks more deft than the critic’s rhyme?
With Piazza we reach the happiest of hours;
As a slow line snakes it way to speed
And changing rhythms bear living flowers;
Deep gut strings beneath the two horns’ lead.
And so the trombone lines buzzing with loaded air
Peppered with sticks and brushes: time’s jazz quill
Neither by inward groove nor outward fair
Failing to coax a sigh, a chill.
To blow all asunder whilst keeping mind still,
to be the very jazz, drawn by his own sweet skill.

Ahmet Shabo
NYC 2016


finally back home
sruti,sax, lump in my throat
just so damn gorgeous



A blast from the past: my mid-term performance bachelor exam from the Cologne music school, a piece I wrote called Infernal Necromancy. Deep in the middle of my saxophone studies I was looking for ways to break out from the constricts of the school.and luckily I was blessed with other musicians around me who were willing to risk something and even don dog collars as was the case with Antonis Anissegos. These days my lats would likely burst that lycra body suit. The question marks on the Jury’s face remain to this day.

Performance Bachelor Mid-term Exam Hayden Chisholm from Hayden Chisholm on Vimeo.



A distant monastery in France offering a sound transparent and divine. A week of in depth conversations around bees. A team of New Zealanders frantically trying to resolve all the technical issues in time for the final performance. The saxophonist reaching back to his years of high school Latin to finally put it all to use as he attacks Virgil full on. The New Zealand photographer carefully handling the tiny bees in her hand as the light illuminates their figures only to be transformed and projected onto the vast interior stone of the Abbey. Song Sting Swarm:


The Rabbit’s Dream of the Inner Mongolia

by the time I reach the autumn peaks
moons will have passed
I hop over plains gently in quiet song
precious cargo in my heart

The Rabbit’s Dream


Worlds away from the “Sport FC” Hotel of Freiburg the Saxophonist completes a residency in a Cistercian Abbey in the heart of France. Surrounding the abbey grounds were seemingly endless fields of dying sunflowers, their darkened heads hanging listlessly and gently swaying in the cold breeze. Autumn had hit the prefecture of Berry swiftly and the Saxophonist enjoyed the visceral sensation of his energy returning, he had always considered himself a creature born of cold. Four days of singing overtones beneath white cupolas of the Monastery were more than enough to make him forget the incident with the Finn and he found a new friend in the form of a white owl who had nested on one of the higher arches in the abbey and often liked to engage in a strange singing dialogue with the harmonics produced by the Saxophonist, sometimes swooping in a low trajectory through the monumental interior, defecating out of joy on the stone floor in the process.

Alongside the owl, the Saxophonist delighted in submerging himself into the consciousness of bees as it was his particular appointment to create music to accompany their sounds. After meticulously collecting all manner of sources, from the delicate beating of wings to cool the hive in summer to the last cry of the dying queen, the Saxophonist was more than happy to lose himself in a world natural intent and beauty that left him blissfully detached from the world of security checks, airports, and the drudgery and stench of traveling in the age of petroleum.  After a small but ecstatic group of elderly locals had warmly received his final presentation in the Abbey he boarded a train to Paris on the following morning. Upon arriving in Gare Austerlitz he elected to take the Metro number 5 to Gare du Nord. It was in one of the many underground connecting tunnels beneath the later station, the ones he likes to curse at whilst lugging his bags up all of their many stairs, when he was suddenly thrown back violently to the nighttime Operetta of Freiburg.

In between the posters of French comedians and American Blockbusters a photo had been crudely taped to the wall. To the Saxophonist’s utter astonishment, the portrait was a striking resemblance of the Finnish Transsexual. The figure which had confronted the Saxophonist was several years older and his face had been viscously beaten by time, weather, and the bottle, but it was without a doubt the same man. The  Saxophonist immediately made a photo of the photo, perhaps so as to prove to himself later that he was not going mad. As he was framing the shot with one hand, his other hand was carefully wrapped out of habit around his Saxophone case and suitcase. It was precisely in that moment of digital capture that he remembered something odd from the days preceding the midnight encounter which had, from the enduring shock of the encounter, slipped entirely from his memory.


Some days leading to the nighttime incident the Saxophonist had used his balcony to construct a small “mesa” adorned with incense, rose water, and a small candle.

A side note on the “mesa” : Some 12 years ago the Saxophonist had found himself in the mountains of Colorado supporting the building of a Buddhist Stupa with his music. As alcohol was strictly prohibited in the Buddhist community the Saxophonist had walked miles with his guitar to search for any kind of Inn or the like. Upon finding a roadside dive he then imbibed in some wine and was buoyed enough by the fermented sugar to play some of his original country songs guitar on his bar stool next to the pool table. The staff were ecstatic and encouraged the Saxophonist to return that same Friday to “play a real gig for our local crowd”, an offer which the Saxophonist with his dubious skills on the guitar accepted, thinking in the main of the free wine. Needless to say , the full and boisterous Friday night Mid-west crowd gave the Saxophonist with his limited skills and no microphone a hostile reception and the “gig” was swiftly terminated by the bar staff spraying juice and Cola on the Saxophonist and his guitar with two of their serving pistols. Wet, sticky, and demoralized, the Saxophonist elected to take his remaining bags and walk as far away as he could, leaving behind him the Buddhists and the Cowboys. It was then, shortly after that he stumbled across a Peruvian Shaman guiding a group through the mountains of Colorado to build “energetic transmitter stations” he termed “Mesas”  consisting of cloths laid on the ground covered with stones, feathers, and activated by song. The Saxophonist was encouraged to join the group with his music which he did, albeit still sticky from the cola and juice. In the following days the Saxophonist listened carefully to the teaching of this mysterious Peruvian without thinking much more of it.  It was 11 years after that when the Saxophonist was guided back by invisible hands to rekindle the Peruvian wisdom tradition. Watching with horror as he perceived the world slipping back into the old patterns of war and mindless destruction he was  inside desperate to do anything he could to save the earth below his feet which day by day was becoming more venerated to him but at the same time more endangered of senseless destruction. Even he was forced to admit that the breathy sounds from his saxophone and vocal chords could not, on their own, save the planet. And so it was that the teachings of the Peruvian came back to him and he began to take a small cloth with him on his travels, laying it down in hotels and whenever he could, lighting incense and giving simple offerings in the form of song to “Pachamama”, in other words doing everything possible to honor and even save this beautiful spinning orb.

And so it was on the balcony of room 7 on the three days leading to the nighttime encounter the Saxophonist had begun to sing and light aromatic woods including “Palo Santo”. And each time, as the Saxophonist whilst looking at the shocking photo portrait now recalled, he remembered hearing moaning sounds from the adjoining room- as if someone was suffering under the weight of spirit the Saxophonist was “calling in”. At the time he thought nothing of it but now, amongst the din of the Paris underground, they came back to him. They were the subdued cries of a tormented soul, a traumatized bundle of paradox who must have been, as is often the case, extremely sensitive to subtle changes in the energetic field surrounding the “Sport FC” hotel. Were these shifts in the field invoked by utterance, flame, and scent responsible for the Finn’s severe breakdown by night? The Saxophonist, swiftly walking down the dirty passage way of Gare du Nord, was content to never know the answer.


Mid September, the middle-aged saxophonist was relaxing in his spartan low-budget hotel room on the outskirts of the town of Freiburg. A late summer had recently kissed the province and as the clock ticked over midnight the air was still warm and most pleasant, he thought to himself. His balcony door was slightly ajar and he was enjoying the last pages of a book arguing that the “Younger Dryas” period of Earth’s history some 14,000 years ago was indeed bought about by a severe meteor impact causing catastrophic global flooding. The fact that this event is so widely encoded in world myth resonates with the saxophonist and as he felt his eyelids gradually growing heavier (the last days were taxing on him to say the very least), he pondered just what this impact must have been like so long ago. Tales of galactic precession and long-forgotten ancient star-lore encoded in stone were perhaps just what he needed so as to forget that he was in butt-f@ck nowhere in a complete dive with the sole toilet on the corridor, no internet, the nivea cream/sweat stench of a youth hostel, and no one at reception by night.

It must have been no longer a few minutes into his first phase of alpha sleep when the screaming began, the kind of ur-cry one could expect from hunter-gatherers if several 2 kilometer wide cosmic rocks would smash through the atmosphere at high speed. Naturally the first thought of the Saxophonist was that he was dreaming. A male voice in the adjoining room was suddenly screaming out as if something was terribly, terribly wrong. There was something demonic in the cries. It sounded like someone was either about to be killed or the screamer would soon be dying himself. As the Saxophonist was jarred awake a chill shot through him. There was nothing comprehensible in the screams but they could well be infernal necromantic incarnations- there was something powerful and immensely unsettling behind them. Then suddenly the cries would stop and spitting sounds, stamping and the smashing of wood could be heard in the room. Then utter silence for some minutes. Then the screaming would begin again, lasting minutes on end even as his voice could be heard cracking and failing. The Saxophonist lay frozen.

The hotel was virtually empty. Around it was a deserted Tennis club with grass growing through the faded clay and some distant hills. The Saxophonist was juggling thoughts of knocking on the door or calling the police as the blood-curdling screams continued with small windows of eerie silence in between. The Saxophonist felt pumped from his recent training and ready to break down a door and a man if need be. But for the first time in years (since stumbling by night into a lion pride in Kenya) he felt the red hairs on his arms stand up and he remembers how the clinically insane can produce almost superhuman strength when pushed. This leads to him immediately ditching the break-down-the-door option. As for the calling-the-police option, he quickly decides against it knowing he will not survive the next day without some sleep at the very least. Sirens and reports lie beyond the Saxophonist’s capacity at that moment.

The screams are such that as the Saxophonist lies and stares at the wall separating him from a surreal mental meltdown, half expecting the wall to be smashed down any moment. After some minutes of the darkest of limbos he quietly gets up fro the bed and slips on his jeans and a t-shirt. He stretches his neck, flexes his lats and shoulders, splashes some cold water on his face, and opens his door.

Seconds after knocking on the adjacent room number 8 the door is opened and musty air tainted with vodka vapor is immediately released directly into the Saxophonist’s face. By the subsequent babbling and sputtering the Saxophonist identifies the man/woman/thing as Finnish. His frame is large, her face pitted, scarred and unshaven, its long blond hair is untidy and greasy, his breasts are huge and imposing, her complexion is pale and seedy, its feet are struggling to balance on back high heels. The Saxophonist is 90% disorientated and dazed and 10% ready to kill. The dreamlike figure begins a monologue in which the phrases are soaked with a heavy Finnish accent “the room- the dark presence- it not leave me alone- it is huge hole- cannot escape- you cannot help- you cannot know how deep is the hole- suck me into the hotel wall- cannot overcome- I have told you now I must not repeat myself- please- I must not”

The Saxophonist upon waking the next day cannot recall how long the figure spoke for, the whole episode smacked of a waking nightmare. The figure itself seemed in its size and appearance straight out of hell and yet in enigmatic ways cried out for empathy. Behind him, room 8 had been turned on its head and utterly trashed. The Saxophonist will later never be entirely sure if the small axe on the bed was a figment of his imagination or not.

The Saxophonist, whether from fear or wisdom or shock, said nothing. His gaze met that of the deranged Finn. No amount of Vodka could possibly dig a rabbit hole this deep, this the Saxophonist knew for sure. Perhaps enough vital information was exchanged between the pairs of eyes, for after the Saxophonist returned to his bed, still dazed but also oddly calm, no more screams were heard that night. Strange knocks, incessant spitting,and the humming of Finnish folk melodies, yes- but no soul-wrenching screams.

After lying awake for some time the Saxophonist was troubled to hear his shower suddenly turn itself on, spray water for 20 seconds, and then fall silent.

At the sun-bathed breakfast buffet at 0730 am, the meek receptionist informed the Saxophonist that the “pleasant Finnish businessman in room 8 was always cheerful at breakfast during his one week stay which terminates today”. The Saxophonist poked at his eggs and salmon, quickly finished reading about Hilary Clinton’s strongly suspected Parkinson’s disease, and checked out of the hotel with slightly more urgency than usual.


My short list of the “person of the year” is as follows. Qualities they all share: honesty, bravery, innovation, and simple awesomeness. They are all a huge source of inspiration for me. And so we have a nutrionist, a UFO researcher, a mountain runner and a political commentator.

Nora Gedgaudas
Richard Dolan
Anton Krupicka
The Saker


Slowly the Balkan “Expres” train winds it way north through Yugoslavia of old, revealing in its path stories aplenty. From the boarder of Greece, smoking is not only actively encouraged, all the staff and passengers are either puffing away or surrounded in smoke, once in while blown away by the wind when the panting locomotive manages to break 40km/h and lose the sprinting sausage-sellers trainside.. In Serbia the pattern continues con gusto. In Croatia, where the fading stars of the European (still) Union wave in the wind, the smoking continues but passengers warn their friends when the conductors comes as burning cigarettes should not be revealed; the plumes of smoke are dwindling slowly. Come Slovenia and the last butt is extinguished and all forms of nicotine based lung assault are thoroughly put out by vigilant patrols. We are back in austere blue of Europe- what’s lurking below the pristine surface goes beyond the scope of this humble blog.

As she chugs along merrily I reflect on the past months in the Balkans:

-players are naked when they are blowing over simple forms. A Blues, a simple pentatonic melody- there is nothing for them to hide behind. Over and over I’ve heard, oftentimes deep in the night, a revered player reveal to my ears that though their fingers and instrumental faculty has come a long way, their life has not yet. This is but a humble observation or perhaps more a homage to these forms themselves for being such clear transmitters of who we are and what we feel exactly. Plus it is Parker’s birthday so I allow myself to mention it.

-Greece is crying even if you can’t see the tears. I saw them in the tiniest of signs. I don’t understand the fine mechanics of international banking and debt repayment but I smell rats aplenty and it is the average person who is footing the bill of some pathological bipeds. When the music starts the faces shine but nonetheless there were grey clouds inside and out and I wish upon a star they can be blown away in the coming moons.

-prime numbered overtones have been my fare of late and I have ascending the overtone ladder once again and made some wonderful discoveries. Currently it is the 3/11 moon-to-earth ratio which has inspired me for some new sounds which I hope to include in the Saxophone book I’m readying now. Though the rabbit hole of cosmic geometric ratios runs deep once entered, I was gifted with many clear sonic dreams which made sense upon waking and clarified for me in a sound way how some of these immediate relationships can be translated into perceivable sound.

– mixing in complete beginners with more advanced players in a group is full of challenges but can be made to work. For the more advanced players to observe how beginners learn and to have them explain themselves some aspects that for them are self explanatory, many insights can be gleaned.

Casting the invisible Runes in an empty still-smoky train compartment tells me my Saxophone book must be completed by the end of this year- it has occupied me fully for the last several moons and needs to see the light of day. Wish me luck!


Under the many stars on the mountain of Pelion saxophones again vibrate the air of the village. Marching slowly through the stone paths we intone overtone chords and “Aura Lee”, slowly spiraling towards the central Platea where the nights are long and the early mornings gloriously tranquil. Once again the many voices in the music village inspire in strange and wonderful ways. This time around it has been the 3/11 ratio, or the one encapsulated by the moon to the earth, which has gifted me with a new trove of colours to be played.

Cassiopeia moves slowly above in the heavens and as she slowly dances my music of choice: a delightful Japanese singer form the 50’s whose name remains a mist-airy to me…

Mist Airy


The Epicenter of Madness

The Euro Night Train steams out of Berlin on its 13 hour journey to Vienna. The wagons are aged and faded and the windows can be opened all the way as the train chugs through the East of Germany. Alone in the cabin I look out at the sunrise over Austria as the grumpy conductor brings in a soggy croissant and weak coffee, served with a minimum of pomp in broken German In Vienna I ready myself for the next night train which is another all night ordeal heading to Belgrade through the Budapest. This is the Europe of old- smoking wagons, broken toilets, passport and customs officers, shady figures of all varieties. My treasures are well hidden in a large German army bag and it and my Saxophone are strapped to my body on the upper bunk as the train creeps through the Balkans. I have to admit I still prefer this to sleek airports with endless security lines and 6 Euro dry baguettes. I’ve traded Calvin Klein breezes for those of aged leather and smoke and I’m happy about it. Within my sax case I am armed well for sensual assault. Should anyone open a vile smelling box with some McDonalds inside I can quickly and effortlessly open my case I pull out some Palo Santo, Jerusalem anointing Oil, Cinnamon sticks or Lavender and offset the assault. Once in Belgrade I argue with the Taxi driver in broken Serbian about the fare and my 4 huge bags in his tiny Yugo car. Encircled by marauding Gypsies a new chapter for me in the Balkans begins, one which I will document on this blog, having been just a little in hibernation in this past year. What happens when one sets a lone Kiwi loose in the heart of the Balkans? What is it like to be just outside the the fortress of Europe? And most importantly, why do Tomatoes taste so much better here than in “civilized” Europe?


Gent- backstage at another festival
The bass drum sound checks vibrate the hastily-made back stage
M and Ms tremble and grapes fall

Exhausted musicians drape over cheap sofas
Looking up to the grey sky
Weariness and melancholia prevail

On stage at one with my horn
75 minutes of liberation
Then back to staring at the sky through heavy eyelids



Played yesterday in the beautiful church in Frauenfeld, sickness Switzerland. A warm even reverb mirroring the pristine appearance in sound. A delight to play here and my favourite acoustic space in dear Helvetia thus far.




Together with the percussionist Evi Filippou in 2015 I worked on a series of new pieces for percussion and saxophone. After several concerts in Greece and in New Zealand we recorded this album in the chamber music hall of Deutschlandfunk in Cologne. Here is a short video documentary of that session, find beautifully filmed by the Klangmalerei team:


The theme this year at the Stelzen Festspielen is extra-terrestrial life in various forms. And so it was with pleasure that I offered some words for the program to be presented by Mr Lubbe in the small village church. My German is certainly best when spoken but once it a while it does me good to dust it off and try and put some of it down to writing:

Wer in den letzten 8 Jahren beim Landmaschinen Symphonie dabei war konnte sicher nicht überhören dass ein kräftig gebauter junger Mann kosmischen Klängen mit seiner Bratsche, Stimme, und Melk Machen hervorgebracht hat. Dieser begabter federloser Zweibeiner heisst Gareth Lübbe und stammt ursprünglich aus dem Galaxie M87, eine elliptische Riesengalaxie in Sternbild Jungfrau, etwa 54 Million Licht Jahre entfernt von Stelzen bei Reut-  eine Galaxie wohlgemerkt welche ganz besonders viele “Luftvibrationskünstler” wie Lübbe ins Universum gebracht hat.

Lubbe wählte als Mensch in Süd Afrika geboren zu werden und hat früh den langen Weg zu den Stelzender Festspiele begonnen in dem er schon als 8 jähriger solo Klavier Konzerte gespielt hat. Obertöne und universelle Klang Gesetze sind ihm vertraut durch seiner Herkunft und er selber ist ein organische, lebendige Brücke zwischen Bach, Zulus,  und Improvisation. Dazu ist der Mann ein hoch respektierte Professur. Das ” Messier Vibrational Review” beschrieb Lubbe als “ein Phänomen der kurz davor ist sich in Klang aufzulösen”.

Eingeladen hat unser Protagonist zwei wunderbaren Klang Künstler. Uxia Martinez Botana bringt Kontrabass mit von Ihr Zuhaue in der Cassiopeia Zwerggalaxie mit Zwischenhalt in Spanien wo sie als 6 jähriger schon mit Musik begeistete. Mit Lübbe hat sie im 2015 ihr erstes Konzert gespielt in Stift, Holland- etwa 25000 Licht Jahre entfernt von unserm galaktischen Zentrum. Diese erste Begegnung ist immer noch hörbar für alle die unsere Zeit Ebene durch Musik, Schwingung, und Wissen überwunden haben.

In der gleichen Begegnung ist auch eine geheimnisvolle artmende Kiste zu hören. Viele Menschen auf Erde bringen Sie in Verbindung mit der Musik Argentiniens, dort wo der dritte Musiker herkommt. Das Instrument aber ist von einem Deutschen erfunden- Heinrich Band, und Sie heisst Bandonien. Marcelo Nisinman gilt als Meister dieses Instrumentes und erzählt gerne dass es ebenso geschätzt wird in seiner Heimat Galaxie Andromeda (die sogar sichtbar ist  an klaren Stelzender Nächten mit blossen Augen) wie hier auf Erde. Wer ganz genau hinhört über die 2.5 Millionen Lichtjahre kann sogar sanfte Bandonien Klängen wahrnehmen- diese dienen als Wegführer nach Hause für den Musiker nach dem Trio Konzert. Manche Reisender von dort sagen dass selbst mitten in Schwarzen Lochen sind Nisinman’s Bandonien Klängen Kristall klar zu hören , wohingegen Licht keine Chance hat.

Zusammen werden sie in der wunderbaren Stezener Dorfkirche Kompositionen von Bach, Buxtehude, Pianola, und Nisinman spielen, sowie vom Intergalaktischen Komponisten 1056b und 112358f – beide Uraufführungen auf Erde. Das ein Stelzener Festspiel Held  wie Lubbe die Chance hat, zwei ebenso weitgereisten ausserirdischen Musiker in Stelzen vorzustellen ist eine wahre Freude für alle die bereit sind auf völlig neue Klangreisen zu begehen und für eine kurze Zeit eine andere Dimension zu reichen und schmecken.




The first program I wrote for the Lucerne Jazz Orchestra Mute Density was experimental in nature, I wanted to test how some of my microtonal and overtone based work could be transplanted to the big band sound. I also worked with different kinds of notation together we put together a work which I still enjoy playing and listening to.

For the second program I wanted to something completely different. My first idea was to adapt some Korean temple music for the band but the cost and effort of arranging the temple gongs was beyond our scope. I then decided to write a swing program for the band as I had never tried something of the kind before, I suppose one could call it “learning by doing”. This is how Ace of My Heart was born.

I wrote all the songs in the summer of 2013 with the voice of Lucia Cadotsch in mind. Once I had the sound of the band with her vocals on top in my head the music and words flowed easily.

Naturally there is a kind of cosy quaintness in the lyrics- some have remarked they’re even a little bit naive. I’ve also been asked my some wise radio producers who know my first work for the Lucern Big band if this program is in any way ironic. Well, it isn’t. Once I am in the zone of creating something using sounds I mean exactly what I write.

All the lyrics can be found in the cusp section of this blog.



You Stepped out of a Dream is a song I’ve always loved to play on. This is a version we made together with Root70 in which in the horn lines weave all the way through:



The first poems from the which the first lines form the title of the first piece of the album. The rest of the poems have now all been added to the cusp section of this site.

the soft hum of the murderous century

still hovers around my ears

and in a world where there is no escape

from Vico’s wheel dripping with our blood

what can I do but order a double shot

and under stone by fire

look out smiling at the oncoming  storm


MT25 Oracle Hymns (New Pieces for Saxophone and Sruti Boxes)

My first Sruti Box which came to me in 2011, cheap so dear to me, sildenafil had suffered from all of my travels. She was broken in parts, the wood had fallen off, as she had taken several knocks along the way. Still though she sounded out beautifully as ever.

A special person in my life observed that my Sruti box was perhaps in the dusk of her life and kindly gifted me with a new one. Now, for the first time I was able to enjoy the sound of the two Sruti Boxes together and how glorious that was.

It so happened that at this time I was experimenting with mixing two tonalities in a single piece. The two Sruti Boxes were ideal for this as I could underscore the tonalities with the drones and improvise on top. Thus, these pieces are a kind of natural extension to my first work for Saxophone and Sruti Box The Well Tempered Sruti Box (MT11).

Usually when playing I just use my first impulse to choose two keys at random. Then I quickly set the drones and kick off without thinking too much about the melodic strategy to unify them within the piece. Generally speaking, it feels that the art lies in choosing the right notes to omit. As with my earlier work though for the saxophone and Sruti Box, the satisfying part is mediating the sonic dialogue between bamboo, metal, wood, and air. The rest seems to fall into place on its own.

These pieces were recorded in the warm sounding space of the P4 Studios in Berlin. Pedja Avramovic has done a wonderful job of capturing the Srutis in stereo. The Sruti Boxes are played by Evi Filippou.

Listen to the music here.


Here are my original liner notes and cover design for MT17 Finn Again Wakes which I will archive in the “cusp” section of this blog.

On another note, clinic for my essay of the day I would link to link to is this piece on Europe written by one of my favorite contemporary bloggers “The Saker”.


Musings on an improvisation over the Wake

It is just a little bit like a dream, cialis this book is. Since when can we clearly remember the narrative journey through our unconscious adventures in the night? More likely we recall certain fragments and moments, perhaps a word here and there. Sometimes it feels like time itself is warped and that in a single moment we have experienced entire stories and voyages. And then all of a sudden, unless we get it down on paper, the whole story that just flew by in our sleeping heads is gone forever.

Well this man managed to get one hell of a dream down on paper and what he left us with is a breathtaking book that is surely overwhelming in its scope for most readers on first reading – Finnegans Wake” by James Joyce. Joyce spoke of his work as “a nocturnal state…That is what I want to convey: what goes on in a dream, during a dream.This stands in contrast to his previous novel “Ulysses”, which clearly traces the course of different characters in Dublin in the course of a single day beginning with breakfast and ending in bed in the evening. Finnegans Wake” is a beast of a read mixing some sixty languages and on the surface it seems not to have a plot at all.

I owe my love of Joyce to an English teacher at New Plymouth Boys’ High School who gleefully revealed to us all the delightful and intriguing parallels between our 1990’s provincial New Zealand boys’ school and Joyce’s youth in 1890’s Dublin. Back then “Dubliners” and “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” were on our desks and we often read aloud. It was then that the small seed of vocalizing Joyce was sowed which now finds form.

Over the years I had often returned to Finnegans Wake”, usually picking it up for a bit, reading some pages, and then putting it back down. But it was only a few years ago, when I started to read it aloud, remembering fondly that distant English class, that the text suddenly came alive for me. It didn’t matter so much about the meaning of the words, most of which are purposely misspelt or rearranged (the whole book strikes me as a 334 page long pun), rather it was all about the sound. Something clicked and I began to have enormous amounts of fun reading aloud on my own.

A natural progression of this “fun” was to take it on stage. For this, I asked the superb Viennese pianist Philip Zoubek to join me. I selected a few sections of the Wake from my readings that had a sonic quality I liked. Next to me I had the full text and sometimes read randomly from a given page. I also asked the audience to randomly select a page for reading. The book itself is circular in nature without a real beginning or end, just like a dream. On the cover of this CD my etchings connect the last word of the book “the” to the first “riverruns”. And so in a sense the dream of the Wake can be joined anywhere and at any time.

And so we put together our “Finn Again Wakes” performance, which we presented three times in Cologne. This recording is a document of these concerts and we play with the texts in different ways. For example, at minute 4’08” I “play” the text – I read the text and play my saxophone, articulating and intonating as if I was reading aloud. Around 18? I chant the famous fall

(bababadalgharagtakamminaronkonbrontonerontuonthuntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoorden enthurnuk!)

in the Khoomei style of Overtone singing, something I had picked up over the years from singers from Tuva. I found this very fitting for such anurknall kind of word as this one. The melody on the flute I play and loop at 33’36” is one I heard once in a pub in West Ireland – alas, the title I have never found. Sometimes I repeat a phrase or word and even change the order of the words. It is, after all, an improvisation on the text. The last word of the book  (“the”) is the last utterance of this recording.

I admit I get a bit excited when I read Joyce. This means I move around a bit, hence some inconsistencies in the distance to the two microphones I used, which may cause some recording purists to cringe and moan. Apologies for that.

Naturally I dedicate this CD to the man himself- someone who continues to inspire in wondrous ways.

Hayden Chisholm

PS: Of the many pilgrimages I have made over the years, one was to the house of Joyce in Trieste. It is now a shoe shop and the shoes I purchased there I have worn for years, so much so that they are all but worn out.


A stream of WordPress update issues really took away all my desire to update this page as I was on the road, that was until a kind soul on “fiver” offered to fix things up for me. And so it now stands that this blog can more or less resume normal operation. I say more or less because the audio player still needs to be copied into a new link but at least the great trove of tracks is not lost in the ether.

I am adding above a section entitled “Cusp” which will contain all the texts relevant to my latest 13CD set “Cusp of Oblivion” and I will get things kicked off there tomorrow with the addition of the liner notes I composed for the “Finn Again Wakes” recording.

But before I do that I’d like to post the second little road report I shot on the Root70 tour in central america. After my cam died most of this was shot on an old iphone with a steady cam built using a water bottle taped to my tripod, McGyver style.


On the road in central America I made a little road report of the band. Here we go:


After a long period of carrying the spark of an idea in my head I finally managed to capture it in the form of a short film. This is only part of a larger story about resistance.

“After King Sisyphus had descending into the underworld and tricked Hades, viagra the god of death, discount using his own chains, no mortal on earth could die for several days. Zeus was furious and determined to punish Sisyphus. But first he would have to catch him.”

More info at www.sisyphusruns.com

"Sisyphus Runs"- Hayden Chisholm (Trailer)


The fighters in Aleppo see the same sky as I do
I’m o so close to them
We share exactly the same sunsets and stars
A matter of kilometers between
Only the wars around me are on the inside
There’s nowhere to take cover
And plenty of firepower beneath my solar plexus


A short Saxophone Instructional shot at my favourite bridge to play under in Cologne:


Out of nowhere a reed close to perfection touched my toungue
Golden like the New Zealand dawn
Airy and rough on the outer edges of her voice
But within her sound the core was sweet and round and robust and clear as day
Her size belied her power
She lived and sang out for 4 almost 5 days
Before she passed the threshold of oblivion and shall never be heard again
Dearly remembered mind you and captured softly by the polished wood of the Berlin studio
Immortalised far beyond her short bamboo life
One in a hundred she was
And after she left me, healing ceasing to vibrate
I stared into the late afternoon sun for hours
Smoked a cigarette and smiled



The kind Turkish musicians play Apollo-like on the lyra and ney
Then joke outside the theater under the bright Autumn sun and smoke smooth e-cigarettes
Inside the cathedral where French kings were crowned
The Priest chants and the space overwhelms my tiny flying overtones
A team of New Zealanders is on hand to film and open the wine bottles
For a fleeting moment, treatment topped with an avocado, the world is at peace again.


At the heart of a once booming river harbor
The boom times long since gone
The signs faded and the buildings worn and crumbling away
Youths roam the filthy streets looking for action
Light rain and black skies frame the urban apocalypse
Emptiness and desperation prevail
The only hope the destination signs of the neon-lit trains and buses

In groups they approach me, viagra 60mg sniffing prey
Then quickly they move on into the dirty blanket of rain
Sensing like animals that their timing or luck was off tonight


Dateline Moers

I arrive in the bright morning sun to the old coal mining district of the town, now a museum in which today improvised music is on the cards. As lady luck would have it, there is a bikers’ convention directly outside- later in the day the roaring engines would do their utmost to drown out the acoustic instruments playing amongst the relics of the mine. As I had a good hour to kill I wandered around and observed the circus. Some of my observations:

– the bikers are predominantly overweight, oftentimes morbidly so. I put this down to a lack of movement and diet. As far as the second point goes, the only food on offer was carbohydrates in their most nasty form- popcorn, fries, bread complimented with the general stench of overused sunflower oil. The bikers seem to wear their extra weight with pride though.

-a plethora of  faded and dubious tattoos.

– a bonanza of leather, patches, vests, and beards though I thought that if one could quickly replace the leather with some plain suits they could all immediately pass as bank clerks.

much ado about nothing bikes where decibels seems to take priority over true power and speed.

– the music amplified through the PA is, I suppose, to underscore the general “toughness” of this whole meeting. But what exactly is tough here? When you listen through the walls of distortion to the actual chords and rhythms ( rather not mention the lyrics)- it is watered down, weak, mild, meek, tasteless, flat, repetitive in the worse sense, and without the slightest hint of cajones. Does the music they listen to reveal their true nature? I posit that it absolutley does. I was certainly very damn tempted to tip one of the harleys and take some on though this could have simply been the music’s effect on me. The toughest creatures I could spot anywhere were the spiders spinning some truly awesome webs on the iron stairwells.

And so: not impressed. Shortly after the improve gig began and a lively crowd turned out to take it in despite the throttles outside. Just another day in the fascinating landscape of the Nieder Rhein.


As the heat gradually subsides and the early Autumn sun shines down I have a couple of precious moments to reflect on the last month. My running sandals got me through some of the rougher weeks in August and luckily the mountains were in the main close by. Now that I’m back in Cologne and Moers I have to make do with strutting up and down the Rhein which is easy and sweet in the September sun.

Here is a new film of the “Well Tempered Sruti Box” shot by Fabio Dondero:

Hayden Chisholm – The Well Tempered Sruti Box – Live in Cologne from Plushmusic on Vimeo.


I’m going in. It’s been a while but I am finally heading down to Nis in southern Serbia to do some playing with my Serbian Accordion friend Christo Armani. Posted on my website, it is unlikely that anyone will make the pilgrimage to the Cika Duca Cafe in Nis to listen to us play on Saturday night but one never knows. Hot like hell could well be, the days are spent here hiding in the shadows whilst the balkan scents drift past: squashed fruit on asphalt, perfumes, diesel, cigarette smoke and grilled meat. My only modest goal is to learn a few more songs and come back home in one piece, in some mysterious ways a task of mythical proportion.


Each small candle lights a corner of the dark.

When I remember the great John Taylor I’ll remember much more than a brilliant pianist and composer. I’ll remember a kind, gentle, and generous man who was full of light, always cheerful and ready to give- a truly beautiful soul who will be dearly missed by so many.



I was delighted to read that Ahmet had again written for our latest Root70 Release coming this Fall. Here are his liner notes:

 BETWEEN THESE COVERS lies the hard-won harvest of a journey through the collective minds of these now staunchly middle-aged jazz gentlemen making up the group “Root70”. It is a journey in which beauty and darkness, sweat and blood, pleasure and sorrow are to be gleaned along the way; for this mind is a strange land, endowed with a glow of genius yet beset by all the trials and tribulations that life on the eternal jazz road brings with it, a road which these lads have been roaming since more than two decades.

 Root 70’s career has been an erratic one, gregarious months of playing in the likes of Cave 61 in Heilbronn or the “Caipi Bar” in Bedburg-Hau and a plethora of other faceless German towns, alternating with lonely Goethe Institute tours of every almost every country ending with the suffix “stan”. For all the inconsistency of their march to fame, they’ve managed to earn the unanimous admiration of their contemporaries and to forge an ineradicable place for themselves in the international jazz microtonal and odd-meter jazz hall of fame. 4 Marriages, 8 children, and 2 mortgages down the track, the lads are still firing and their decision to cut an album of standards in these times of musical hyper-inflation of complexity is nothing less than bold.

It has been several years since I last had the pleasure to write about this band. This time an ailing kidney ( I kid thee not) has kept the author this side of the Atlantic and a black and white photo of the band and the studio sides are all the author has to work off. The faces are still recognizable, though I can clearly discern the marks left by a life dedicated to jazz. Rückert strikes me as whimsical and reflective and I can almost see the title of one of his masterpieces “Sadness surrounds us” etched into his pupils. Penman comes over as quietly confident, a man who knows his bass inside out from spike to tuning pegs. Wogram is serenely relaxed as ever and alto man Chisholm could easily pass as an IRA hitman or a coiled python ready to strike.

The premise for these sides was a simple one: each member of the combo bought with him his favorite standards and the selection was to be honed by some club dates in Berlin, one of which bassist Penman had to miss due to NYC traffic. Immediately after 2 smoking hot nights in the A-trane Club, the band hit the Funkhaus Studios at Nalepastrasse Berlin and cut the songs into the tapes- once again giving us the pleasure of enjoying almost exclusively first takes- that always was how these men like to roll in the studio.

The album “Wise Men can be Wrong” ( a title gleaned from the gorgeous lyrics of “I concentrate on You”) is a wonderful take on the great American songbook. With every song, the deep love and respect of these musicians for the tradition shines through and dare I say, fills me with hope. Having taken their jazz to such daring extremes on past albums like “Fahrvergnuegen” and “Root70 on 52nd 1/4 St.” it is delightful and deeply satisfying to hear them return to some of the music that surely first inspired them as young jazz cubs.

There is no irony here, there is simply profound and nuanced musicianship returning to simple song forms and breathing new life into them. If my notes for this gem are briefer than others, it is because I believe the band has made a statement with these sides that needs little if any justification or explanation and I for one will have this baby spinning for a good while to come.
Many of us set out on life long journeys and never return- it is a joy to hear some wayfarers arriving back home.

Ahmet Shabo
NYC 2015


After a whirlwind of a month I finally have a day in Moers to write a few words here. At last night’s beautiful concert int he Ritter hall of the Museum I noticed a few sad faces as they asked me why I hadn’t written at all, why I hadn’t been here so much, and why I didn’t answer any of the emails they had sent me. It seems that I had disappointed a few with my erratic communications.
The last 4 weeks have been packed with several tours and recordings. During times like these when I am forced to write a lot of music I tend to fall behind in day-to-day communication. I plan to catch up in the coming weeks so count on me, dear music fans of Moers, to be right back at you.
Coming up we have the “Fete de la Musique” in the wonderful Schloss Park on the longest day of the year and one I always like to celebrate, the 21st of June. As some of you know, I am in to my natural wines and am delighted to have Surk-ki from La Vincaillerie coming from Cologne to set up a Natural wine Bar next to our Jazz. Jamming in a sublime park on the solstice with a natural wine bar right there? Will that make up for me not answering your mails? Ich hoffe ja ihr Lieben!





A recent request and my response:

Dear Mr. Hayden Chisholm, pilule

My name is xxxxxxxxx and I am a really big jazz music lover from Croatia, 65 years old.
Just now I am told (JAZZ ´N´ MORE Nr. 3/2015 from Switzerland) you have a new album entitled ”BREVE” and I have a big interest in this CD.
Mr. Chisholm, maybe you can send me an free copy of the CD (physical copy)?
I´d be really very grateful for it.
I will do my best in promoting the CD here in Croatia.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and help.

Best regards,

Also, have you any chance to send an autographed picture of yourself (with saxophone)?

Dear xxxxxxx

thanks for the mail. I am happy to send you a a Cd and also the signed picture. I can also send you 2 CDs or even 3 or even 5 but I would like to ask you to do something for me in return if possible. I see you are from Croatia – I am a big fan of Rakia in all its forms. Would you be able to send me 3 bottles of Rakia in exchange for the CDs?

Thanks and Greetings,



Kilometers traveled since the last post on this blog: 13700
Number of International flights taken during this time: 17
Air miles Collected: 0
Number of Countries visited: 7
Number of bus transfers to terminal and number of direct air-bridge disembarkation from these flights: 16 – 1
Average loud on-stage feedback per soundcheck: 2.5
Number of times WordPress refused to upload photos to this blog: 6
Number of attempted and aborted blog updates: 6
Average number of espresso’s drunken per day: 3.5
Most expensive one: Tegel Airport €3,80
Average number of parallel dips, pull- ups, and hanging leg raises per day: 17
Average number of Avocados consumed per day: 1.5
Number of times I was asked if I enjoy what I’,m doing: >10
Cost of two pencils and pencil sharpener in Lucern: CF 15.80
Pages of Music Manuscript paper semi-legally copied: 160 Read the rest of this entry »


It is with great pleasure that I can announce my two summer master classes and workshops. The first will take place in France in a wonderful little village in late July and all the infos can be found here.

The second will be my annual class in Greece on Mount Pileon and this year we celebrate our 10th anniversary of the Music Village. All of the infos can be found here. Please also contact me directly at haydenkchisholm@gmail.com




Just spent a week in the wonderful acoustic spaces of the Abey de Noirlac in France. The main focus during the time was on working with bee sounds as the installation next year with New Zealand photographer Anne Noble will revolve around the theme of the bees. However we were also able to spend some nights in the abbey and record to our heart’s desire. Here are a couple of pieces from the space. We were often joined by some owls in the background.


Evi Filippou and Hayden Chisholm in Abbey Noirlac, France from Plushmusic on Vimeo.


O my goodness- I believe for the first time in my life I actually enjoyed a Theater rehearsal. This could be to do with the fact that the Moers City theater is the smallest in Germany which proudly employes a grand total of 5 Actors. The rehearsals of the Kleist piece “Michael Kohlhaas” involve one actor, click the director, viagra order and yours truly. The sentences of Kleist are a wonder to behold and they often finish with 3 or 4 verbs in a row to get you thinking. Premiere is next Monday.

Moers Theater

Following the rehearsal I marched the main drag of Moers up and down a few times- really just to let off a bit of steam and get to know some of the locals. Pipes can be a good ear ice breaker in certain situations.