May 18, 2024

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Wolfgang Lackerschmid, who beats luck: Video

The Augsburger Vibrafonist brings together two things that are considered incompatible: jazz and commercial success. The way was not straightforward.

His nickname sounds like the English translation of “happy”. Fits somehow also quite well to “Lacki”, which one can confidently call a prototype of a successful, completely contented, highly active jazz musician. But already here start the contradictions: Jazz and successful? Satisfied and good at business? The jazz, this music of the street and the protest, can allegedly only be authentic if its protagonists feel the hardships of life on their own body. Then, according to a strange cultural romantic prejudice, they let their music flow into it, so that the result is a moving note of loneliness, depression and the dream of a better existence.

Even in 2018, jazz still struggles with clichés like these. Anyone who manages to actually pay more than their rent and food is automatically suspicious. The fact that Wolfgang Lackerschmid is now also classified in the pandas of the Brönners, Wollnys and Doldingers, bothers him not in the least. In Augsburg, the 61-year-old vibraphone player and composer bought a few years ago two houses separated only by a secluded garden and rebuilt them according to his own ideas. One in which he has set up a studio, the other exclusively as a private retreat. “During a tax audit, I was asked what I needed an office for – I’m a musician!”

Lackerschmid can only smile mildly about that. He, who is always said to have a healthy sense for the rather annoying business circles in his circle, who is more than well connected in the scene and beyond, who voluntarily occupies a number of positions at the controls of the music business (eg Gema, Tonkünstlerverband Bayern ) and can work on several projects at the same time, without delivering a dozen routines – this lace-making lucky guy who presents another CD this week (“Lake Geniva”) has long since reached a point where he can do what he wants he wants.

“I had to fight for a long time to survive,” recapitulates the Tegernsee-born Wahl-Augsburger his career. “My goal has always been to be economically independent. Otherwise, I would have had to play what others want. “A horror for a busy free spirit like him, who claims to have always been a bit anarchist. This was felt at a young age, his piano teacher, with whom he regularly quarreled, “because I was not allowed to play in the class what I wanted to hear.” For the boy had long known what he wanted to become later: composer. He had not found the right instrument yet. From the piano Wolfgang initially switched to classical percussion, but over a confused detour. As a 17-year-old he had applied to the Musikhochschule Stuttgart, but messed up the entrance examination, because he could hardly read from the sheet and played exclusively by ear. That this attracted one of the professors positive, one may call a stroke of luck – not the only one in his life.

In the course “Composition”, the guy with the child prodigy attributes soon realized that it was not only about designing music to his own taste, but also finding an audience for it. What others call populist was the key to success for Lackerschmid. As a bar pianist he had financed his studies, the gage from appearances with bands in his hometown Ehingen flowed into a hodgepodge of instruments. Among them was a vibraphone, which he had bought “just for fun,” as he first thought. It was always a happy coincidence of fate.

“You have to play the vibraphone with the whole body. It is perfect for combining rhythmic and harmonious ideas. You should always think like a pianist and act like a drummer, “says the man, who today is considered one of the most notable representatives of this guild in Europe. The fact that Lackerschmid, when switching instruments, was in the midst of a trend in which jazz musicians wanted to replace the pianos, which were often too bad or too high, with the fine sound of a vibraphone must not have been a coincidence, especially in his case. A number of well-known colleagues, such as Albert Mangelsdorff, Lee Konitz, and Larry Coryell, found that Lackerschmid’s emphatic vein, his ability to listen and complement the sound of the opposite, fits them perfectly.

The most prominent of these was Chet Baker. “We got to know each other in 1978 during a beer tasting in Munich and found ourselves immediately likeable. When I tell him about a planned duo project with the trumpet player Herbert Joos, Chet just said: I wanna do that! “The beginning of a strange, wonderful friendship between two very different types: Here is the American Superstar, who is constantly changing at the abyss emerging, clearly organized Germans. Joint recordings such as “Ballads For Two” or “Why Should Not You Cry” are among the most intimate moments in Baker’s oeuvre, but also to Lackerschmid’s compositional and instrumental moments.

Even the love for Augsburg turned out to be a moment of happiness. The rich history of Fuggerstadt fascinated and inspired him to a lush creative output. “Every Augsburger has stumbled over my music at some point, whether he is a jazz fan or not.” Lackerschmid means among many other the commissioned works for the theater Augsburg, the settings of Brecht lyrics or Mozarts Bäsle letters, concepts for the Augsburg high Peace Festival or music commissioned by the Augsburger Puppenkiste. Between 1997 and 2000 he had a happy knack for arranging jazz concerts of the highest standard with his “Traumraum” for the local scene.

The greatest happiness, however, one feels in the moment in which professional and private can be combined. For 17 years, the father of four children is married to the singer Stefanie Schlesinger. She is a muse and an orderly hand in a grueling, bustling life that jazz musicians usually know only by hearsay. Tu felix Lacki!


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