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Fritz Renold

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Fritz K Renold
Background information
Born (1960-02-27) February 27, 1960 (age 60)

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Fritz K Renold (born February 27, 1960) is a saxophonist, composer, bandleader, teacher and festival director based in Aarau, Switzerland.

Early years[edit]

Fritz K Renold was born in Wettingen, Switzerland. His father Rolf an accordionist, introduced him to tango, dixieland and swing. As a young clarinetist, he played Mozart's Concerto, "Saints", gospel, and Beatles songs. To learn alto sax, he joined the school marching band at 14. His discovery of Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" and "My Funny Valentine" in Montreux's LP bins hooked him on jazz, especially hearing Cannonball Adderley. At the Montreux Summit in 1977 he experienced music by Benny Golson, Dexter Gordon, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Shaw, Billy Cobham, and Stan Getz. He played mainly Rock’n Roll with his high school band, but loved "Blues March" and began transcribing jazz tunes. At 18 he joined the Boswil Big Band playing jazz like Sammy Nestico's Count Basie book. An ad in DownBeat led him to study arranging and composition via correspondence course with drummer/educator Les Harris. Renold's big band scores — "Take the "A" Train", Thus Spoke Zarathustra and "Blues for Susy" — earned him the Quincy Jones Award and a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. He took composition courses with Herb Pomeroy, Bob Freedman, and Greg Hopkins. His saxophone teachers included Joe Viola and Bill Pierce, and he studied improvisation with Gary Burton and John LaPorta. Renold graduated in 1987;[1] through 1990 he served as Berklee's first Swiss faculty member.

In Boston, Renold co-founded a band called Bostonian Friends with Christian Jacob. They debuted at Berklee's Performance Center with guest percussionist Greg McPherson, saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi, bassist Bruce Gertz, and drummer Ian Froman. When manager Ed Keane sent a tape to WCNY-TV's All American Jazz, it made their Top Ten.[citation needed]

Touring years[edit]

The Bostonian Friends's first European tour in 1989 led them through Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland. After a 1992 tour brought the Friends back to New York, Washington, and Boston, they recorded their debut album for EPM, Peace for Africa.

In 1993 Renold toured Switzerland and recorded another album for EPM with bassist Gildas Boclé, drummer Tommy Campbell, and Bergonzi and recorded a second EPM CD. His Aarau school ensemble performed with the jazz masters, and Renold helped create the Jazz Orchestra of Canton Aargau. The student band traveled throughout Switzerland, applying the Renolds' system of "Bandstand Learning”, a concept that blossomed into one of Europe's first music festivals featuring student/profession interaction, Jazzaar Concerts Aarau.[2]

The 1994 Bern Jazz Festival invited Renold to host an international band with Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous, Jacob, and Nussbaum, a Bostonian Friends edition that has worked annually—in various forms—to this day. For Swiss National TV's Jazz In, hosted by Peter Jaques and featuring New York pianist Mark Soskin, Renold led The Empire State Group, featuring Brecker, Bergonzi, drummer Victor Lewis, and bassist Harvie S. Renold toured with Bob Berg, Benny Golson, Brecker, Cecil Bridgewater, and Buster Williams, and in 1997 became the first Swiss jazz musician to record for Sony Columbia. The Friends played in Glasgow, London, Paris, Bordeaux, Krefeld, Kaiserslautern, Basel, Milano, Vienne, Lustenau, and Stuttgart.

1999 was a turning point when Renold quit touring to stay with his family, with one noteworthy exception. The Swiss Embassy in Thailand commissioned Renold and Jacob to collaborate on "The 6th Cycle", a composition for jazz quintet and symphony dedicated to King Bhumibol of Thailand, a well-known amateur clarinetist. Thai Kings are celebrated as having 12-year life-cycles; when Bhumibol turned 72 he made it to his sixth cycle. Each 12-year period was depicted as a movement. The recorded performance sold out a pressing of 5,000 CDs.

Switzerland and Jazzaar Festival[edit]

File:Jazzaar Concerts 2006.jpg
Jazzaar Festival 2006

In 1998 at the inaugural Jazzaar Festival, Bostonian Friends and the Aargauer Symphonie Orchestra premiered the Jacob/Renold collaboration "Helvetic Suite for Jazz Quintet and Symphony". Commissioned by Möbel Pfister Stiftung, the 50-minute suite re-enacts scenes from Swiss history. The work caught the ear of Sony Classical's European CEO Norman Block, who was in the audience.

In 1999 at Jazzaar, Renold united the living Ellington band alumni with alto saxophonist Bobby Watson cast as Johnny Hodges. The band performed "The Queen's Suite", "Far East Suite", and "Such Sweet Thunder". Eight Ellington alumni filled the brass and rhythm chairs: trumpeters Benny Bailey, Bill Berry, Barrie Lee Hall Jr.; trombonists Buster Cooper, Art Baron, Britt Woodman; Aaron Bell (as 'boy pianist'), John Lamb and Charlie Persip on drums.

In 2000, Renold organized and produced and featured in the Saalbau Jazzorchestra's performance of Jacob's jazz adaptation of Kurt Weill's Three Penny Opera. Saxophonists Watson, Renold, Shelley Carroll, Walt Weiskopf, Bernd Konrad; trombonists Bergeron, Gardner, Cooper; trumpeters Hall and Brecker; Chris Albert, Tom Garling, Vitous, Lewis and Jacob played the keystone piece commemorating Weill's centennial. Aarau's Youth Orchestra played Weill classics ("Speak Low", "Mack the Knife").

In 2001, Jazzaar presented Benny Golson's All-Star Big Band on a program with Renold's first Gospel oratorio, "Ecclesiastes", with Helen Renold as librettist. The band featured a Baptist church choir from Houston, Texas and a line-up, including Soskin, Lewis, Valery Ponomarev, Brecker, Dave Taylor, Cooper, Williams, Gardner, Bergeron, Vincent Herring and Dennis Montgomery III. The piece was aired on Swiss television and released on DVD.

In 2002 Renold's oratorio "Proverbs" was premiered, with Montgomery's performance on Hammond organ drawing praise. The work derived from Biblical texts of King Solomon and wise men of Israel for coping with world affairs post - 9/11; free vocal and instrumental improvisation urged mankind to seek wisdom for practical living and to tap the source of creativity — the Creator.

The Renolds' 2003 commissioned work "The Euphrates & Tigris Suite" featured Jim Snidero, Frank Green, Steven Bernstein, Amir Elsaffar, Julian Joseph, Bergeron, Tommy Smith, Weisskopf. The 4-hour work drew on themes of the tree in Mesopotamia and The Fall of Babylon (from the universal Judaic, Muslim, and Christian roots of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans), tracing historic threads in describing the struggles of 'the powers that be'. The piece was recorded on 48-track digital and DVD.

Airto Moreira and Flora Purim performed with the Aarau Youth Orchestra – "A Night Of Jobim" in 2004, with Donny McCaslin, Oscar Castro Neves, Cooper, and Jacob, who wrote string arrangements for this Brazilian project.

2005's African Heritage program brought back to Aarau old friends from Boston Jamshied Sharifi and Werner "Vana" Gierig. Renold later recorded his first big band project, The Cube, with texts by Helen Renold, released on CD in 2008.

Jazzaar 2006 saw a full-scale Beatles Revival. "The Beatles in Symphony" featured a 'Fab Four' tribute band from Colorado with the Aargauer Jugend Pops Symphony Orchestra conducted by Renold. Ian Darrington, Wigan Festival Director and IAJE representative, wrote: "This concert truly represented what musical performance is all about. It had… every emotion from laughter to tears and everything in between. It had people tapping their feet to the faster tunes and swaying to the slower tunes. It featured outstanding musical arrangements performed to an extremely high level...[and] great rapport with the capacity audience, every one of whom must have gone home that evening knowing they had been a part of such a special evening."<2>

In 2007, Jazzaar 15 premiered “The New Song” an oratorio featuring Whitney Houston's band and the Swiss Youth Gospel Ensemble. A later concert recreated Gil Evans’ arrangements of Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain with Randy Brecker on trumpet. Also featured were longtime Boston friends Gary Burton and Makoto Ozone in duos and joining the Jazzaar Alumni Band.

"Visions of Music" in 2008 showcased women in traditions vital for musical progress: singers Tierney Sutton and Kamaria Ousley and saxophonist Tia Fuller with the Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Swiss Youth Funk Ensemble. The Renolds' work “Grooves and Moves” was premiered with Whitney Houston's band.

"Reflections and Reverie" in 2009 comprised two concerts. In "Louis and the Good Book" the Swiss Youth Gospel Orchestra unfurled a kaleidoscope of Louis Armstrong's 1958 work, and "Concerto Double Novel" with Swiss Youth Chamber Orchestra featured pairs of virtuosi. Renolds Concerto for two Violins was performed by Yehudi Menuhin's protégé Volker Biesenbender and Swiss jazz violinist Tobias Preisig, himself a Jazzaar alumnus.

Swiss Youth World-Music Ensemble at Jazzaar 2010 promoted cultural diversity in a mutually respectful musical dialogue between India, Brazil and Afro-American roots. "India Night I" aired original music by Jacob, Renold and Moreira. Roseanna Vitro sang from the Great American Song Book with arrangements by Bob Freedman.

In 2010, Jazzaar was presented in Malaysia, home of Helen Savari Renold. Nusantara, Renold's "Suite in 5 Movements" as well as Ellington's Symphonic “Night Creature” with soloists Brecker, Renold, Jacob, Reggie Hamilton, Gottlieb and Steve Reid.

Jazzaar presented two culturally diverse productions at Aarau and Baden in 2011. On a second Indian Night, Renold led the new Swiss Youth World-Music Ensemble with vocalist Karthik Kumar and Carnatic classical musicians meeting jazz legends Chico Freeman (reeds), Lew Soloff (trumpet), Steve Prosser (vocals), Kai Eckhardt (bass), Jacob and Kotoun. An Art Blakey Night presented the all-star sextet (Benny Golson, Valery Pomonarev) with symphonic arrangements by Freedman.

Jazzaar's 20th anniversary (2012) gathered tenor stars Chico Freeman and Rick Margitza and talented youth, powerful women drummers (Terri Lyne Carrington, Camille Gainer Jones) and successful alumni (MP4). "Quincy’s Joint" presented 50 years of Quincy Jones’ music, impacting funk, R&B, rap and hip-hop. Gil Goldstein (conductor, accordion) directed the SYJO, with Eddie Henderson on trumpet and Jazzaar alumni Marques Young (trombone), Eric Miyashiro (trumpet) and George Robert (alto sax) with Terri Lyne Carrington’s Quartet.

In 2013 Jazzaar presented a premier and a reunion in venues and hangouts to lend Aarau a festival atmosphere: jams at Jazzclub Aarau, Roschtige Hund, Einstein Restaurant, and at the Kultur & Kongresshaus (KUK) the Brecker Brothers Band Reunion. The Renolds' new oratorio “The Unseen Hand" was premiered with new artists.

Jazzaar presented two programmes in 2014 focused on "Bandstand Learning with Role Models", headlined by Richard Bona and Randy Brecker. “Bona Bonanza” featured Cameroon master bassist Bona with his trio with chamber ensemble Chaarts. Together they rehearsed for a full week with the Swiss Youth Chamber Orchestra, performances at KUK and the Würthhaus in Rorschach, St. Gallen. “Future Steps”, a production inspired by Manieri's 1980s jazz fusion group Steps Ahead, invited founding members vibraphonist Mike Mainieri, Alphonso Johnson and drummer Rodney Holmes to perform Steps Ahead classics and Renold originals.

In 2015, Jazzaar hosted John Abercrombie (guitar), Antonio Hart (alto sax), Ryan Quigley )(lead trumpet) and Igor Butman (tenor sax) to lead the SYJO in the 23rd edition of ‘Bandstand Learning with Role Models’ celebrating Billy Strayhorn's centennial. “Caravan Quest” featured the Swiss Youth World-Music Ensemble (SYWE) directed by Etienne Stadwijk premiering a work in the Jazz Manouche (Gypsy Jazz) style.

2016: Jazzaar presented the Swiss Youth World Music Ensemble (SYWE), in “Sounds of the Caribbean” directed by Gil Goldstein. The SYWE explored Latin music styles—Salsa, Mambo, Reggae, Cha Cha, Calypso, Merengue, Bolero, Afro-Cuban Jazz Rhumba, Mini Jazz Haitian Gospel. A Soul Night brought Billy Cobham to play Soul Era Classics together with Tony Lakatos, Neil Jason, Oli Rockberger arranged and written by Tim Akers, Bob Freedman and Gil Goldstein.

Jazzaar 2017 paid tribute to Role Models in Afro-American Music: cool jazz icon Dave Brubeck and legends of the Electric Blues era. The SYJO showcased his classic “Take Five”, in 5/4 time. “A Funky Blues Night” presented the Swiss Youth Blues Band applying 1940s blues to the modern era in songs by Booker T, the Blues Brothers and contemporary blues and funk tunes.

2018 Jazzaar Festival's productions focused on cultural exchange: “Gumbo with Chutney” and “Transatlantic Rhapsody”, with performances, workshops and open jam sessions in Aarau and Lugano. The first blends Calypso's African beats and West Indian ‘pitch-bends’ with a backdrop of brassy New Orleans jazz timbres. In the latter Renold directs the SYJO in dialog between Jazz, European folk and popular music to reflect unity in diversity.

Productions - Discography[edit]

Year Leader Title Publisher/Label
1976 Exodus Changing Life TCB Records
1979 Thomas Kiefer Band Edoardo Antonius Eumel Records
1983 Misty Mag Lover Man Picadilly Records
1986 Cennderawasih Volume 3 EMI
1988 Bostonian Friends All American Jazz PBS - USA
1988 Bostonian Friends Shanti Berklee Library
1989 Bostonian Friends Live at Radio Prag Radio Prag
1989 Bostonian Friends My Monkey Berklee Library
1992 Bostonian Friends Peace for Africa EPM
1993 Fritz Renold 4tet plus 2 Shanti & Sri EPM
1993 Renold/Jacob Duets Zimmermann Verlag
1993 Christian Jacob Trio Jacob/Vitous/Stewart EPM
1994 Herb Pomeroy Quartet The Maestro Plays EPM
1994 Bostonian Friends Live at Jazzfestival Bern SRG
1994 Empire State Sextet Jazz in Concert SRG
1994 Empire State Sextet Remembrance Shanti Records
1995 Markus Hauser There is no Way Out Hausertonne
1995 Ruth Juon Paradise Paradise Records
1995 Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra Live at Estival Jazz SRI
1996 Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra Live at Estival Jazz SRI
1996 Fritz Renold & The Bostonian Friends Starlight Columbia Records
1997 Fritz Renold & The Bostonian Friends Anothen
1998 Empire State Sextet Benjamin Sujesh Anothen Records
1998 Bostonian Friends & ASO Helvetic Suite SRI
1999 Fritz Renold & Bostonian Friends with the Royal Thai Navy Symphony Orchestra Six Cycles Anothen Records
1999 Ellington Legacy Orchestra Suites Shanti Records
2000 Renolds Jazz Orchestra Three Penny Opera Bootleg
2001 Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra Live @ Jazzaar Festival SRG
2001 Benny Golson All Stars Live @ Jazzaar Festival SRG
2001 Renolds Gospel Orchestra Ecclesiastes Oratorio Shanti Records
2002 Renolds Gospel Orchestra Proverbs Oratorio Shanti Records
2002 Renolds Gospel Orchestra Peace in Heaven Shanti Records
2003 Renolds Jazz Orchestra Euphrates & Tigris Suite Shanti Records
2005 Renolds Jazz Orchestra The Cube Shanti Records
2007 Jazzaar Festival Orchestra Tribute to Miles Shanti Records
2007 Renolds Gospel Orchestra The New Song Shanti Records
2008 TSB & the Jazzaar Festival Orchestra Cole Porter
2008 Renolds Gospel Orchestra Grooves & Moves Shanti Records
2008 Renolds Gospel Orchestra Look What You've Done Shanti Records
2009 Jazzaar Festival Orchestra Louis Armstrong Shanti Records
2009 Jazzaar Festival Chamber Orchestra Concerto Double Nouvel Shanti Records
2010 Jazzaar Festival Pops Orchestra Great American Songbook Shanti Records
2010 Jazzaar World Music Ensemble India Night I Shanti Records
2010 Malaysian Youth Symphonie Orchestra Nusantara Suite
2011 Jazzaar World Music Ensemble India Night II Shanti Records
2011 Jazzaar Festival Pops Orchestra Art Blakey with Strings Shanti Records
2012 Jazzaar Festival Gospel Orchestra R & B Night Shanti Records
2012 Jazzaar Festival Orchestra Quincy Night Shanti Records
2013 Jazzaar Festival Orchestra Brecker Brothers Band Reunion
2013 Jazzaar Festival World Music Ensemble The Unseen Hand Shanti Records
2014 Richard Bona & Jazzaar Festival Chamber Orchestra Bona Bonanza
2014 Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra Future Steps Shanti Records
2015 Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra Jazzaar Summit Shanti Records
2015 Swiss Youth World Music Ensemble Caravan Quest Shanti Records
2016 Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra Heaven Help Us All Shanti Records
2016 Jazzaar Festival World Music Ensemble Sounds of the Caribbean Shanti Records
2017 Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra Take Five Shanti Records
2017 Jazzaar Festival Funk Ensemble A Funky Blues Night Shanti Records
2018 Swiss Youth Jazz Orchestra Transatlantic Rhapsody Shanti Records
2018 Jazzaar Festival World Music Ensemble Gumbo & Chutney Shanti Records


  1. "Alumni Directory". Berklee. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
  2. Small, Mark. "The Jazzaar Festival marks 15 years: Alumni Fritz and Helen Renold direct one of Europe's most celebrated jazz education festivals". Berklee. Retrieved 2010-11-01.

External links[edit]

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