Thomas Agergaard Danish tenor sax, soprano sax and flute player,
composer and band leader, born June 23 1962 performed with a specially
assembled international octet at the JAZZPAR 2002 Event and with Prize
Winner Andrew Hill's JAZZPAR 2003 Nonet.
From an early age Thomas was determined to be a jazz musician. At his
cousins house he listened to Coleman Hawkins Encounters
Ben Webster, Roy Haynes Out of the Afternoon,
Weather Report, Brazilian music and Frank Zap-pass The Grand
Wazoo records that made an enormous impression on him.
We all need teachers; but in art, you must free
yourself from them, dare to lose self-control ... you must throw yourself
at life and let chaos rule for a while, Agergaard says in a interview
(Jazz Special First Int Ed). You have to be able to abandon yourself
to and be in one note, as the self-taught musician
phrase it. Agergaard, almost seven feet tall, is a giant radiating authoritative
He loves playing and composing for dancers, and in 1995
he created a project with live music to live boxing. He has played birthdays
and weddings and been a replacement at dance jobs where Klezmer was played.
For Agergaard dance music is as important as listening-music. As far as
classical music goes, Agergaard is fond of Bach and Bartok, whereas Mozart
makes him agitated and impatient. For shorter periods Agergaard has gorged
himself on Ligeti, Stravinsky, Alban Berg and Charles Ives, and Ravels
La Valse has been of great importance.
The octet is a familiar format for Agergaard. His group
Ok Nok ... Kongo features bouncy, post bop-ish themes and
killer walking bass lines that emphasize the hard-edged meter and clever
horn arrangements. Some tunes have a hybrid African-Latin beat, others
have a horn section speaking authoritatively over a heavy funk-rock beat.
They dont hesitate taking off into swing territory with
nods to free jazz, or making textural arrangements on upbeat, odd-metered
funk. Most arrangements are multi-layered and captivating. The confidence
and originality is profound.
Agergaards musical language may be characterized
as slightly atonal employing strange lines, complex, far out chromatics,
flattened ninths and so on. His way of using disharmony and tonal collisions
can be very beautiful. He may also use ugliness as a contrast like
wildness or pure energy.
So, Agergaard can easily capture a mood, and a sound
that fits, and he is willing to do a lot to help the audience follow him
on the trip. For Agergaard the question is not to think about the music
but to be in the music. The Art of Being, as one his CDs is
called. When he plays or composes complicated structures out of a simple
melody its also a consequence of a spiritual dimension in his music.
The results are profoundly rewarding!