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This documentary features the incredible musicians of NDR Bigband, also known as the Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestra. Billed as a big band of soloists, the artists perform "A Conversation," a suite by Grammy-nominated composer and trumpeter Tim Hagans, who also conducts and solos. This film follows the band as they rehearse and perform this unique composition that reconfigures the traditional placement on stage of the musicians to facilitate wild and inspired musical conversation. Performers discuss their connection to the music and to each other. Filmed in October 2021 during pandemic, the work chronicles musicians coming together to make art during a time when it is needed most. Filmed & Edited by Michele Brangwen.


3x GRAMMY-nominated composer and trumpeter Tim Hagans is pleased to announce the release of A Conversation, an all-new, original multi-movement concerto performed by the NDR Bigband. On A Conversation, Hagans introduces a musical narrative that is meant to explore, to illuminate, and perhaps, to resolve an exchange of ideas. Hagans’ latest addition to his canon of inventive large ensemble albums will be released on June 4, 2021 via the artist’s own Waiting Moon Records label. A Conversation is Hagans’ 17th recording as a leader, and his fourth recorded collaboration with the NDR Bigband.

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For two decades, Hagans has collaborated with the NDR Bigband (also known as the Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestra) in a variety of roles including guest composer, conductor, arranger and soloist. “Part of what excites me about composing and arranging for a great group like the NDR Bigband is to meet the challenge of creating a sophisticated score while, at the same time, preserving the spontaneity of a trio or a quintet,” says Hagans. On this five-movement exploration, the composer’s musical conception and innovation extends far beyond the physical score - its emotional intrigue and unique overall sound is affected by Hagans’ decision to physically group the musicians not by section as is traditional, but by sonic and emotional divisions - each one of the four ensembles assembled by the composer charged with different objectives.

“Movement I” of A Conversation introduces audiences to the NDR Bigband’s spirited ensemble sound. Repeated refrains ricochet from ensemble to ensemble with varying degrees of intensity and with increasing harmonic and rhythmic intrigue before the ensemble falls into a groove driven by a piano and bass ostinato. The piece features transportive improvisation from pianist Vladyslav Sendecki. “When I compose, I’m drawing on my own musical voice to create melody and form,” reflects Hagans, adding “ writing also reflects musical events that happen often in small group settings—tempo changes, free playing, and so forth—and these become expanded to a big band setting.”

“Movement II” begins on a serene note, exploring elements of ambience and gradually descending into cacophony before establishing a pared down central theme. Baritone saxophonist Daniel Buch and bassist Ingmar Heller offer stunning solos in this movement. “Movement III” begins with Sendecki and Heller performing in a duo context, as the piece expands in instrumentation, entropy reigns with discordant refrains echoed by the horns. Hagans, trumpeters Stephen Meinberg and Claus Stötter, saxophonist Peter Bolte and trombonist Stefan Lotterman are all featured soloists on this vibrant selection.

“Movement IV” kicks off with a passionate solo trumpet segment leading into a stately, deliberate groove. Cleverly executed feel changes underscore improvisation by saxophonist and flutist Fiete Felsch, percussionist Marcio Doctor as well as by the composer. A Conversation’s final piece, “Movement V” begins by painting an idyllic landscape which transitions into a driving, bright-tempoed section with solos by Hagans and trombonist Heidenreich. The movement concludes by returning to the spirited themes presented in the beginning, bringing the conversation full circle to a close.

More About the NDR Bigband:

Unique among Germany’s radio big bands, the NDR Bigband is a jazz ensemble composed of premier soloists of diverse backgrounds and influences whose collective endeavors coalesce to produce an original and striking group sound for a large ensemble.

After leaving behind traditional radio entertainment, prime-time TV shows and the rest of everyday light music, the ensemble has focused their energies on pursuing creative music.

Known to perform various stylistic programs ranging from swing, latin, to avant-garde, the NDR Bigband sounds different on each occasion, yet retains a unifying character that is immediately recognizable.

The NDR Bigband includes saxophonists Fiete Felsch, Frank Delle, Peter Bolte, Daniel Buch, and Christof Lauer; trumpeters Ingolf Burkhardt, Clause Stötter, Stephen Meinberg, and Thorsten Benkenstein; trombonists Klaus Heidenreich, Dan Gottshall, Stefan Lotterman and Ingo Lahme; percussionists Jukkis Uotila and Marcio Doctor; guitarist Ed Harris, bassist Ingmar Heller and pianist Vladyslav Sendecki.

Track listing:

1. Movement I 14:46
2. Movement II 12:01
3. Movement III 12:51
4. Movement IV 16:16
5. Movement V 11:50

All music composed and arranged by Tim Hagans

Watch WBGO's Greg Bryant interview Tim Hagans:

FACES UNDER THE INFLUENCE, A Jazz Tribute to John Cassavetes, 

a suite of 7 compositions inspired by characters from the films of John Cassavetes.

Music Composed & Arranged by TIM HAGANSPerformed by NDR BIGBAND (The Hamburg Radio Jazz Orchestra) conducted by TIM HAGANS



Read Jeff Tamarkin's Review in JAZZTIMES

Read Ralph Miriello's Review in HUFFINGTON POST










TIM HAGANS, Composer, arranger, conductor, tromba, (Solo Richard Forst, Seymour Moskowitz, Cosmo Vitelli and 
John Cassavetes)

NDR Bigband Personnel:

THORSTEN BENKENSTEIN, lead tromba, flugelhorn

INGOLF BURKHARDT, tromba, flugelhorn (Tracks 2, 4, 5, 6 & 7, Solo Seymour Moskowitz)

MICHAEL LEUSCHNER, tromba, flugelhorn (Tracks 1 & 3)

REINER WINTERSCHLADEN, tromba, flugelhorn (Tracks 1 - 5, Solo Lelia)

STEPHAN MEINBERG, tromba, flugelhorn (Track 6 & 7)

CLAUS STOTTER, tromba, flugelhorn (Solo Harry, Archie & Gus)

FIETE FELSCH, lead alto & sporano saxophones, flute (Solo Lelia, and Harry Archie & Gus)

PETER BOLTE, alto and soprano saxophones, flute (Solo Cosmos Vitelli)

CHRISTOF LAUER, tenor & soprano saxophones (Solo Seymour Moskowitz)

LUTZ BUCHNER, tenor saxophone, clarinet (Solo Richard Forst)

EDGAR HERZOG, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet (Solo Cosmo Vitelli)

DAN GOTTSHALL, lead trombone (Solo Ricard Forst) 

KLAUS HEIDENREICH, trombone (Solo Harry, Archie & Gus)

STEFAN LOTTERMAN, trombone, (Solo Lelia)

INGO LAHME, bass trombone, tuba

INGMAR HELLER, double bass (Solo Lelia & Richard Forst)

VLADYSLAV SENDECKI, piano (tracks 1, 3,4 & 5, Solo Mabel Longhetti)

STEPHAN DIEZ, guitar (Solo Cosmo Vitelli and John Cassavetes)

MISCHA SCHUMANN, piano (tracks 2, 6 & 7)

JUKKIS UOTILA, drums (Solo Richard Forst) 

MARCIO DOCTOR, percussion (Solo Seymour Moskowitz)

Produced by Tim Hagans/Waiting Moon Records 
Mark Masters & the American Jazz Institute 
Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble 

4. Seymour Moskowitz - Tim Hagans & The NDR Bigband
00:00 / 00:00
5. Mabel Longhetti - Tim Hagans & The NDR Bigband
00:00 / 00:00
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