Blue for a Moment - Event

Film Premiere / Vinyl Box Set Release / Live Music Performances

17 March 2017
Centre Culturel Régional Opderschmelz
Dudelange (Luxembourg)

An evening of musical exploration and discovery featuring Antoine Prum’s new documentary Blue for a Moment, a portrait of the Berlin-based Swedish avant-garde composer, musician, poet and visual artist Sven-Åke Johansson, followed by a series of live performances with Alexander von Schlippenbach, Rüdiger Carl and Barcelona Series.

7 pm Ciné Starlight: SCREENING  

Luxembourg film premiere of

With the support of the Centre National de l’Audiovisuel   

8.30 pm Foyer: BREAK

Nibbles and Drinks   

9.30 pm Grand Auditoire: LIVE MUSIC

Hudson Songs
Alexander von Schlippenbach – piano
Sven-Åke Johansson – voice

Barcelona Series with Rüdiger Carl
Andrea Neumann – inside piano, electronics
Axel Dörner – trumpet
Sven-Åke Johansson – percussion
Rüdiger Carl – clarinet



LUX 2017, 82 min., Dolby 5.1, German with English subtitles

Blue for a Moment maps the life and work of the Berlin-based Swedish avant-garde composer, musician, poet and visual artist Sven-Åke Johansson. The portrait completes a trilogy of films retracing the history of free music movements, starting with free jazz and its migration from the USA to Europe, where it found a new breeding ground in the libertarian mindset of the 1960s and branched out into countless variations, sub-genres and regional particularisms. By turning its attention to a musician whose career both follows and transcends these historic developments, Blue for a Moment explores how the spirit of freedom and anti-conformism has survived and evolved over nearly half a century. By turning its attention to a musician whose career both follows and transcends these historic developments, Antoine Prum’s latest documentary explores how the spirit of freedom and anti-conformism of free and improvised musics has survived and evolved over nearly half a century.
In the late 1960s, inspired by the experimental, non-conformist approach of Fluxus, Johansson embarked on a deconstruction of his own practice by transposing his music into other artistic fields. Assuming the roles of performer, visual artist, poet and composer, and switching effortlessly between media and genres to play with the public’s expectations, he turned the jazz drummer into a Gesamtkunstwerk.
In his performances and compositions, Johansson frequently explores the musical relics of 1950s and ’60s modernism, among others through the use of ‘scarce’ materials such as cardboard and foam. The Austrian composer Peter Ablinger has termed his approach musica povera, in reference to Arte povera, the 1960s artistic movement that elevated seemingly banal objects to the status of art and promoted the use of unconventional, or ‘poor’, materials.
As a musician whose practice embraces improvisation as much as arranged or notated music, Johansson not only reunites the American and European traditions, but his stubborn refusal to be categorised into any musical genre has enabled him to work with successive waves of musicians and help shape the musical landscape of Berlin and beyond.
With Peter Ablinger, Burkhard Beins, Peter Brötzmann, Nicholas Bussmann, Rüdiger Carl, Axel Dörner, Norbert Eisbrenner, Aris Fioretos, Thomas Millroth, Andrea Neumann, Alexander von Schlippenbach, a.o.

Release of the Blue for a Moment - Vinyl Box Set with a collection of recent recordings by Sven-Åke Johansson, made during the shooting of the Blue for a Moment film portrait, as well as historic material, including a concert by the Schlippenbach & Johansson duo recorded in the late 1970s.


Alexander von Schlippenbach – piano
Sven-Åke Johansson – voice

‘As a foundation there is, of course, the very German classical genre of the Lied. A melody suited to singing and set to a piano illustrating the lyrics with comments. But here, tradition, song and instrument clash. A sort of recitative was cultivated, the lyrics were more or less improvised, melodies were crumbled into tiny bits to be joined together in exhilarating sound shocks. Like letting Schönberg’s recitatives clash with ditties and rhymes.’– Thomas Millroth

Alexander von Schlippenbach
The pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach is one of Europe’s most influential free jazz bandleaders. He studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Cologne with composers Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Rudolf Petzold before playing with Gunther Hampel in 1963 and in Manfred Schoof’s quintet from 1964 to 1967. In 1966 he formed the Globe Unity Orchestra, in which he remained involved into the 1980s. After 1967 he headed various bands, among which a trio with Evan Parker and Paul Lovens and a duo with Sven-Åke Johansson. In the late 1980s he formed the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra and in 1999 started performing and radio-recording Thelonius Monks’s complete works with Rudi Mahall and his group Die Enttäuschung. He is known for a style that mixes free and contemporary classical elements with incisive solos.


Andrea Neumann – inside piano, electronics
Axel Dörner – trumpet
Sven-Åke Johansson – percussion
Rüdiger Carl – clarinet

A mechanistic, almost non-expressive playing stance, with the aesthetics of renouncement or of leaving out instead of filling in.
Sven-Åke Johansson

The Barcelona Series Trio have been active since 1998. This concert will be the first occasion to hear the trio performing with guest star Rüdiger Carl, another long-time companion of Johansson.

Andrea Neumann
Andrea Neumann is active as an improviser and composer in the areas of experimental and new music. In the process of exploring the piano for new sound possibilities, she has reduced the instrument to strings, resonance board and metal frame. Using electronics to manipulate and amplify the sounds, she has developed numerous new playing techniques, sounds, and ways of preparing the dismantled instrument.
Neumann has worked intensively in the crossover area between composition and improvisation, and in the field between electronic and handmade sounds, with Berlin musicians such as Annette Krebs, Ignaz Schick, Axel Dörner, Robin Hayward and Burkhard Beins. She has composed for inside piano and for interdisciplinary projects including film, dance, performance, etc.

Axel Dörner
Axel Dörner has developed a totally unique style of trumpet playing based in part on unusual, often self-invented techniques. He has been an integral part of the Berlin scene of new improvisational and experimental music since the mid-1990s. Besides his solo work and his trio Toot with Phil Minton and Thomas Lehn, he has played with numerous artists and bands, including Otomo Yoshihide, Ken Vandermark’s Territory-Band, Hedros (with Mats Gustafsson, Günter Christmann, Barry Guy, and others) and the London Jazz Composers’ Orchestra.
A versatile musician, he is also able to work in idiomata such as bebop. He played on pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's album Monk’s Casino, featuring interpretations of the complete compositions of Thelonious Monk.

Rüdiger Carl
Rüdiger Carl has been involved in improvised music since 1968, recording his first LP in January 1972 and subsequently playing with a wide range of musicians including Arjen Gorter, Makaya Ntshoko, Louis Moholo, Maarten van Regteren Altena, Tristan Honsinger, Johnny Dyani, Han Bennink and Irene Schweizer. From 1973 to 1976 he was also a member of the Globe Unity Orchestra. He began to give solo performances in 1977 and started two other long-term professional partnerships with Sven-Åke Johansson and Hans Reichel in 1978, including as part of the Bergisch-Brandenburgisches Quartett.
Carl made a striking contribution to improvised music when he dismissed the tenor saxophone for the accordion (although he continued to play the two instruments virtually side by side, in addition to clarinet), among others on the recordings of the COWWS Quintet,(with Irene Schweizer, Philipp Wachsmann, Jay Oliver and Stephen Wittwer).
From 1988 to 1992 he was the concert organiser of Musik im Portikus in Frankfurt/Main, where he has also been leading the F.I.M. Orchester since 1994. More recent involvements include the ironic electronics trio Blank with Oliver Augst and Christoph Korn, which worked with the American painter and poet Raymond Pettibon over a three-year period.