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ruf der heimat

"30 years after the fall of the wall, much has changed in Germany.
The mood is completely different. It is no longer a time of change
and exploration, and now uncertainty and radicalisation dominate.
What has remained of the Heimat? Of its original idea.
Two members are no longer there - a new line-up is playing."

ruf der heimat

»» tour dates

Thomas Borgmann - reeds     Christof Thewes - trombone
Jan Roder - bass     Willi Kellers - drums



The music sounds different, but remains just as brilliant. Polyphonic melodies and rhythms characterize the sound. Jazz becomes even more of a home. The metamorphosis succeeds!
The music fits into the new era.

"Thewes is not merely a replacement for the free-jazz veteran, but infuses the music with a completely new dynamic with his trombone." ~ Wolf Kampmann, Jazzthing 2018

"The men have the groove and the blues." ~ Fränkische Nachrichten

What could be more obvious now than a new CD. It's time.
RUF DER HEIMAT is and remains the state of art!!!!.

~ Willi Kellers, November 2020 @ from liner notes for new CD Secrets, Jazzwerkstatt JW 202



"...wild und aufbrechend war diese Musik und das ist sie auf anderer Weise immer noch.
Freejazz jenseits der Klischeevorstellungen..."
"...wild and rising was this music and it still is in a different way. Freejazz beyond the clichés..."

~ Bert Noglik @ SWR2 NowJazz 04-02-2021


"The signs are bad: Petrowsky is no longer performing, Borgmann is sick, his tenor sax needs an overhaul, he hasn’t had much time to try out the alto, Kellers’ is in bad mood. I get to know all that beforehand when i smoke.
But the cellar is packed and on stage everything is blown away. To the club owner's usual, tiringly meandering foreword, Kellers and Winckel come up with a groove, Thewes comments ironically on the trombone, at some point they all play over the speaker, who stoically finishes his text.
The energy created by friction lasts through the whole first set. ‘Ruf der Heimat’ is an electric field, with power surges from four spots. Sparks go back and forth. You really do need to get used to Borgmann on the alto, but his playing along motifs, without the singing, hymnic tone, unexpectedly pushes everything over to Ornette.
Thewes takes over the hymnic part, the rhythm section roars and swings, makes waves, takes breaks. Something takes off, so quick.

The second set is more lyrical, they’ve already played out their punch lines, thumb piano, in 80 bars around the world, children's songs with fragile voices. But the bad-tempered Kellers (he smiles from minute 2 on) bounces the thing through the room, a strangely idiosyncratic swing, nevertheless of course sufficiently informed. i know few better (german) drummers.
The evening is lots of fun, somehow a mix of church and playground in one. And in the end everybody goes home healthier. Although I take the train in the wrong direction. So even a bit further."

~ Jan Künemund about concert at Aufsturz, Berlin 12-01-2018

...und das Original in deutsch +/-



A legend lives about 28 years:

"Ruf der Heimat" was founded in 1992, initially only with Petrowsky as second saxophonist, then for some years with Peter Brötzmann, or again and again in the extended formation with Petrowsky and Heinz Sauer. In between there were also tours with Charles Gayle, Roy Campbell, Johannes Bauer and Olaf Rupp.

At the end of January 2020 the quartet presented itself in Berlin for concert & recording in a new line-up. After "Luten" Petrowsky hasn't been able to give concerts for a couple of years...Christoph Winckel has now also left the quartet, because it became a bit exhausting to travel with the bass in old age.
With Christof Thewes on trombone and now Jan Roder on bass two wonderful voices were integrated into the ensemble

Christof Thewes has been musically active for years as the leader and composer of countless ensembles of his own - covering everything from solo to big band - and as sideman of such well-known groups as the Globe Unity Orchestra and the Uli Gumpert Workshop Band. In more than thirty years, he has performed with many well-known and legendary jazz musicians such as Alex Schlippenbach, Evan Parker, Rudi Mahall, Albert Mangelsdorff, Gerd Dudek, Paul Lovens and many others throughout Europe, Central and South America and Canada, developing an unmistakable sound.

Thomas Borgmann founder of the quartet "Ruf Der Heimat", "is actually a conservative. He belongs to the narrow section of a descendant generation that preserves the heritage of those who, inspired by Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and others, demanded and pushed through radical turns in jazz in the sixties and are far from having reached the end of this attitude."(Eric Mandel).
His many years of trio work with Wilber Morris & Denis Charles and (after Charles' death) Reggie Nicholson 'BMN', as well as his various collaborations with musicians such as Borah Bergman, William Parker, Peter Brötzmann, Roy Campbell, Thurston Moore and many others have been extensively documented on CD's and presented at numerous international festivals. He is one of the most active and sought-after saxophonists on the scene. Thomas also works with Willi Kellers in the Trio Boom Box.

Willi Kellers studied music at the Universities of Münster and Detmold. He worked as a composer at theaters in Bochum and Cologne, Basel, Hamburg, and at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Heard he was Luten at numerous concerts and tours with Peter Brötzmann, Tony Oxley, Frank Wright, Willem Breuker, Albert Mangelsdorff, Peter Kowald, Keith Tippett, Lol Coxhill, Marylin Crispel, Manfred Schoof, Fred Frith, Charles Gayle, Cecil Taylor, Petrovsky, Barre Phillips and many others

Jan Roder studied music in Hannover. He started his career as a rock musician and lived in Brazil for longer periods. In 1995 he came to Berlin, where he played concerts with musicians such as Ulrich Gumpert, Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, Manfred Schoof, Uschi Brüning, Joachim Kühn, Aki Takase, Alexander v. Schlippenbach, Gunter Hampel, Axel Dörner, Thomas Borgmann and Peter Brötzmann. Roder is involved in projects such as Monks Casino, Die Enttäuschung, Soko Steidle, Squakk, Die Dicken Finger (on electric bass), Silke Eberhard Trio, Ulrich Gumpert Quartet / Workshopband, JR3 (with Rudi Mahall and Olaf Rupp) and many others, performs as a soloist and works from time to time as a studio musician.


Excerpts from reviews:

Stuttgarter Zeitung : "... Petrowsky responds to Borgmann's distinctive tenor saxophone in his own way: highly energetic and very sensitive. The drummer ignites true thunderstorms. All of a sudden the roaring thunderstorm of sound fades away, the drum brushes sound like rain, and the woodwinds close their eyes, become quite lyrical and string one pastoral euphony after another. Free music that does not carelessly reveal its beauties ... "

Weser-Kurier : An explosion of sound's ".... ends in a monumental intoxication of sounds. Free jazz of the highest quality was offered to the audience in the Kito. But the quartet makes demands not only on itself but also on the audience: "Follow us", they seem to call musically. They use tempting tones, suddenly rush forward, are completely absorbed in their playing and offer jazz fans an incredible experience of creative and experimental playing. A performance that deserved a huge applause".

...und das Original in deutsch +/-




ernst-ludwig petrowsky talking about ruf der heimat (german) (4'36)


"Es ist hinreißender, hymnischer Free Jazz, den das Berliner 4-tet Ruf der Heimat spielt, nein: zelebriert. Vielleicht liegt das daran, dass Bandleader und Saxofonist Thomas Borgmann sich stets als »wertkonservativ« bezeichnet hat. Seine eher traditionelle Spielauffassung zündet aber in diesem Free Kontext: Sein melodiöser Sound verleiht der Musik erst das unwiederstehlich-euphorische Element." (Stadt Revue, Köln 03.2003)

"The whole thing is (and remains) ravishing, hymnic free jazz, which the Berlin 4-tet "Ruf der Heimat" plays, no: celebrates. Maybe this is because bandleader and saxophonist Thomas Borgmann has always called himself a "value conservative". His rather traditional way of playing ignites, but in this free context: His melodic sound gives the music its irresistible euphoric element." (Stadt Revue, Köln 03.2003)

" Emotionen aus dem Fegefeuer" (Münstersche Zeitung 19.02.03)

"Kuschelig wie Glaswolle" (Westfälische Nachrichten 18.02.03)

...kreativ,experimentierfreudig & verspielt...

Jazzdimensions [20.09.06] "Die Heimat rief ... lautstark, leise, verquer, bellend, schön: Viele kamen und fühlten sich heimisch, offenbar wohlvertraut mit dem Gebotenen. Das ist nicht wenig, ging es doch um die freie Form, also "Jazz für Jazzer": impulsive, explosive Kompositionen vom Fleck weg, die Musikern und Zuhörern einiges abverlangen..."


Es bricht hervor. Klanggewaltig. Wie eine Druckwelle. Das Ich und das Es und das Wir. "Ruf der Heimat" läßt eine Kollektivgesinnung wach werden, die nichts mit arbeitsteiligen Bastelstunden zu tun hat.
Die Energie des Spielflusses entwickelt ihre eigenen Formen. Große Spannungsbögen und filigrane Ziselierungen der mächtig in die Arena geworfenen Tonstücke. Ein archaisches Ritual, gleichwohl ein Griff nach der Utopie.
Schließlich ganz gegenwärtig: die Unmittelbarkeit des Musizierens, des Musik-Machens. Physische Direktheit und emotionaler Aufschrei, Qual und Lust des Erschaffens aus dem Moment.
Ganz in der Tradition des "sound of the cry", des Jazz als Lebens- und Überlebensmedium. Lautstark persönliche Setzung gegen offizielle Verlautbarungen. Entgegensetzung und Selbst- ohne Schutzbehauptung.
Heimat meint wohl für immer" mehr immer weniger konkret Geographisches. Sofern es überhaupt sinnvoll erscheint, den Gruppennamen thematisch zu deuten, wäre nach dem Assoziationsfeldern der musikalischen Heimat zu fragen, nach den Wurzeln in Jazztradition und den Verzweigungen im Gestrüpp der freien Improvisation.
Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, den der Klang des Jazz bereits in den fünfziger Jahren herausgefordert hat, kann am weitesten zurück- und doch in enger Tuchfühlung mit Thomas Borgmann, dem Jüngeren, zugleich vor-ausblicken.
Sie alle, auch Christoph Winckel und Willi Kellers kamen in den Turbulenzen des Free Jazz zu neuen Ein- und Aussichten. Kaputtspiel und Ganzheitserlebnis. Vertrauen in die vorbehaltlose Selbstäußerung. In die Kraft, den Augenblick zu gestalten. In die Fähigkeit, den Ruf zu beantworten. Nicht als Echo, sondern mit eigenen Stimmen und eigenen Liedern auf den Lippen.
Auch die Bläser machen in diesem Quartett den Rhythmus, auch der Baß und das Schlagzeug singen und schreien. Im Spektrum der Holzblaskombinationen kommt die Ballade ebenso ins Assoziationsfeld wie die Materialerforschung.
Der Erzählgestus ebenso wie die Sound-Collage. Heimatlinien führen zurück zu den hitzigen Jahren des schwarzen Aufbruchs und zu den Befreiungsprozessen des europäischen Jazz. Eine Emanzipation mit Folgen.
Free Jazz nicht als Schimpfwort und ohne die Vorsilbe "post-". Rück- und Vorausgriff. Aktuelle Musik, die weder einer Erklärung noch einer Rechtfertigung bedarf. Musik deren heißer Atem auf der Haut brennt.
Bert Noglik

the final statement about the Berlin Jazzfest 2013

"Auf der Bühne macht es sich ein Dackel namens Theo neben dem Schlagzeug bequem. Womit bewiesen wäre, was man in Berlin schon immer wusste und in diesem Jahr fröhlich verdrängt hat: Freejazz ist keine Katzenmusik."
"On stage a dachshund named Theo makes himself comfortable next to the drums. Which would prove what has always been known in Berlin and happily repressed this year: Free jazz is not cat music."
~ Joseph Engels, die Welt, 5.11.2013



Ost und West und der Ruf der Heimat

Wenn es herbstelt, wird in der Esslinger Dieselstraße Avantgarde-Jazz gemacht. „Expressionistisch" nennt Programmgestalter Manfred Müller diese Konzerte im letzten Jahresquartal. Den Auftakt machte am Sonntagabend ein legendäres Quartett aus Berlin, das sich paarweise aus west-und ostdeutschen Musikern zusammensetzt und auf den Namen Ruf der Heimat hört. (...)

Kenner schnalzen bei solchen Namen mit der Zunge. Doch leichte Kost aus West und Ost wird da beileibe nicht gereicht. Bei den Protagonisten handelt es sich immerhin um Leuchttürme des guten alten Free Jazz. Eimerwerfer und dilettierende Krachmacher sind das allerdings nicht! Auf dieser Szene kann sich nur halten, wer sein Instrument und die Kunst der Interaktion beherrscht. Wer auf Egotrip ist, fliegt.

So ein Konzert mutet an wie ein Werkstattbesuch. Man wird Ohren- und Augenzeuge eines Entstehungsprozesses. Es handelt sich bei den Improvisationen um Einzelfertigungen, um einmalige und unwiederholbare Hör-Ereignisse. Denn Vorgefertigtes und Versatzstücke sind verpönt. Wer - wie die recht erkleckliche Schar in der Dieselstraße - dem Ruf der Heimat folgt, trifft auf das Trio von Saxofonist Thomas Borgmann mit Willi Kellers am Schlagzeug und dem sehr hörenswerten Christoph Winckel am Bass
Petrowsky antwortet auf Borgmanns markante Tenorsax-Stimme auf seine Weise: hoch energetisch und sehr einfühlsam. Der Schlagzeuger entfacht wahre Donnerwetter. Urplötzlich verklingt das dröhnende Klanggewitter, die Schlagzeugbesen klingen wie Regen, und die Holzbläser schließen die Augen, werden ganz lyrisch und reihen einen pastoralen Wohlklang an den anderen. Doch die Ruhe nach dem Sturm ist die Ruhe vor dem Sturm. Schon wetterleuchtet und grollt es wieder in der Ferne . . .

Freie Musik, die ihre Schönheiten nicht leichtfertig preisgibt, ist offen: Sie hält viele Antworten bereit.
~ Thomas Stoiber (Stuttgarter Zeitung 17. Oktober 2004)



the 90ies (translated with DeepL)

>The musicians merge with their tools in an acoustic intoxication. (...) The spectators either flinch along, sit rigidly on their chairs with a glassy gaze or shake their heads in disbelief in the face of the elemental force that breaks over them. Two comments are: 'Punk is shit against it' or 'before I go deaf, I'll die of a heart attack'. Nevertheless: The free jazz enthusiasts are highly satisfied after one and a half hours.<
(Oberhessische Presse 12'96)

>What these four individualists presented in finely tuned interplay was the collective creation, evocation and negation of the fleeting moment, was freely improvised music as a continuously flowing stream of energy. A jazz concert to refuel, in which even the soft tones were extremely appealing.<

>In addition, a jazz quartet that appears elsewhere under the grotesque code 'Ruf der Heimat' (call of home) unleashes a battle inferno stirred up by the merciless haunting of Peter Brötzmann on the saxophone.<
(DIE WELT 3'97)

>One of the strongest moments of the Mulhouse Jazz Festival was the participation of the German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann (...) Enormous, total, feverish energy. It has lasted for more than thirty years. Peter Brötzmann and Thomas Borgmann charge their saxophones with it. They immediately prepare themselves for the climax. They do not climb it, they are already there. A constant surge, caused by bass (Winckel) and drums (Kellers); an overwhelming hour, perhaps even more, time has become meaningless. The saxophones detach themselves, mix, call each other (...) Magnificent sounds, shining outbursts.<
(LE MONDE 9'95, Titelseite!)

>It was eruptive jazz, it was brute punk, it was techno, swing, folklore, it was great<

>The 'Ruf der Heimat' has no roots that suck nutrients from the popular thirds, fourths, fifths and four-fourths, but from nothing and its own energy streams. That is art! And requires courage!<

>'Ruf der Heimat' is like a fountain of youth in cold, lonely days<

>Guaranteed are two hours full of sexual energy, lust, passion, catharsis.<

>All in all, Ruf der Heimat is a formidable set of European style free improvisation<
(CADENCE 1'96)

>... made the audience react adequately, they did not duck away, but held their ears to the wind and forced the four musicians to give two encores<
(die tageszeitung 11'95)

>Hardly anyone else declines free improvisation so consistently, so historically aware and, well, nevertheless so carefree as these four gentlemen. And poof! here fails even stale journalistic prose (...) Jazz record of the year!<
(SPEX 12'95)

>The quartet presents a one-hour powerplay, which is breathtaking in its density and intensity<
(Wolf Kampmann in TIP-Magazin, Berlin 14/95)

>The musicians create a space for themselves in which subtle, concentrated processes are possible, where one has to ask oneself whether they are possible because of or in spite of the high-energy level. In any case, no tone is played too much (...) In short: the CD is not so good because Brötzmann is playing here, but because it is form 'Ruf der Heimat'<
(SPEX 6'96)

>Thus the improvised performance of these four musicians was a polarizing event at the festival and at the same time a happy model of the integration of expressivity and elaborate form-giving playing attitudes<

>And where in the past a piece of damaged life always seemed to resonate with Brötzmann & Co., as soon as it became quiet and tender, there now prevails secure virtuosity in a refined interplay. Another Wiskey, please.<

> The four presented unvarnished HardCoreFree, brand Machine Gun (...) an unleash, an amphetamine boost.<

>a collective homage to the wild beauty of anarchy. Free Jazz lives!<
(BREMER - Stadtmagazin 11'94)

>Musical storm to ever higher peaks<
(Westdeutsche Zeitung 2'94)

>Dedusted Free Jazz<

>Free, shrill and comfortable<
(Schwäbische Zeitung 2'94)

>Imagination and powerful improvisation - enthusiastic listeners always wanted to hear more encores<
(Nürnberger Nachrichten 2'94)

>Freedom of the sounds. During a guest performance in the well-attended Jazzstudio Nuremberg, Petrowsky& Co. paid homage to the wild beauties of the past (...) Of Petrowsky's young accompanists, saxophonist Thomas Borgmann, who has a versatile, powerful tone and long breath, was the one who attracted most attention. The bassist Christioph Winckel and the drummer Willi Kellers turned out to be rather lustful berserkers, who with elemental forces sometimes crushed everything that got in their way.<
(Nürnberger Nachrichten 2'95)

R U F • D E R • H E I M A T

>...In the meantime, a Brötzmann also blows runs, explores melodies and plays beautifully. At least sometimes, when the quartet is still building up a new piece. In Thomas Borgmann, the wild Peter Brötzmann has a form-conscious partner who builds on soprano and tenor saxophone themes, keeps them alive in the interplay with bassist Christoph Winckel and drummer Willi Kellers, and who is hardly put off by Brötzmann's free play around on alto or clarinet. This contrast between the winds creates tension, and Willi Kellers' permanent high-energy playing spices it up. Filigree tonal structures are thus created, but before they become too beautiful, "brötzt" the senior in between, lets his saxophone howl and squeak as if it had the piston seizure: the pure euphony would then be too beautiful.<
(Stuttgarter Zeitung, 4.2.98)

>THE SHEER ELEMENTAL FORCE OF FREE JAZZ: An intensive guest performance of the combo 'Ruf der Heimat' in a jazz club, ...Let's hope that the listeners get away with an addiction to this music.<
(Badensche Zeitung 30.1.98)

>The rhythm section was responsible for the tremendous force of this natural sound with which the collective improvisations came to you. Drummer Willi Kellers and Christoph Winckel (bass) were supporting pillars, offered excellent free play with virtuoso technique and found a swinging drive even at short notice. Thomas Borgmann played lyrically, more sensitively and with more hymnic gesture than Brötzmann...<

>...In constant alternation, the two rush vehemently over the rhythmic course so brilliantly laid out by Kellers and Winckel. While Borgmann kept his solos close to the rhythm, Brötzmann played virtuously through all the highs and lows of atonal art. For a few in the Sauschdall too much of expressionist art, but for most it was a musical delight.<
(Schwäbische Zeitung 3.2.98)

>If FREE JAZZ is a style or school, then one of his most aspiring students and protagonists today is the German saxophonist Thomas Borgmann, and if this highly energetic variety of jazz still has its unrestricted justification, then only if a band feels as committed to the genre as Borgmann demonstrates with RUF DER HEIMAT. In Christoph Winckel and Willi Kellers he has found a core group that is unconditionally committed to this attitude.<
(Hans Falb im Newsletter 5, Nickelsdorf, Oktober 97)

>Jazz means physically perceptible pleasure in music. And because people prefer to follow elementary feelings of lust rather than carefully prepared chains of argumentation, jazz has always been an effective musical means of resistance: Resistance of the black, self-confidence against degradation, resistance of the local post-war youth against their fascist imprint, and MACHINE KAPUT against the degeneration of free jazz into an empty stylistic shell into which conservatory students could put their compositions. The group RUF DER HEIMAT shows with astonishing melodic unity: Free Jazz is not a style, but an attitude.<
(Frankfurter Rundschau,22-10-97, CD-Neuheiten)

>The four sound like a bebop quartet under acid (...)Brötzmann and Borgmann blow a diabolic dialogue (...) The quartet plays a wild perpetuum mobile: fast, aggressive - and virtuoso.<

1st place in the Record Poll '96 in the Edithor's Choices at CADENCE JAZZ MAGAZINE 1'97 for CD 'ERSTE HEIMAT'!!

...und das Original in deutsch +/-