Born: October 20, 1966 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Claudius Valk (Tenor/Sopransaxophone, Bassclarinet, clarinet, flute)
C-born 1966 in Ratingen/Germany
-Jazz and classik saxophone studies at Musikhochschule Köln (with Hugo Read and Wolfgang Engstfeld ) -jazz-studies at Folkwangmusikhochschule Essen (with Matthias Nadolny )
-1994 Folkwang award für Musik
Tours in many different ensembles and bands, mainly contemporary music and jazz in Germany, Benelux, Usa, Mexiko, Central und Southamerica, Japon, Skandinavia, Greatbrittain, East and South Europe, China, Cuba.... -Concerts on festivals in Tokio, Viersen, Leverkusen, Granada, Bergen, Budapest, Zürich, Brüssel, Berlin, Mailand, Madrid, Ljubljana, Eindhoven, Wien, Moers, Montreux etc....
Valk, as, ts, b cl; Martin Gjakonovski, b; Roland Höppner, d. 7/07, Cologne, Germany. Though Cologne-based saxophonist Claudius Valk has had experience with numerous groups throughout his career, his Valk trio most effectively demonstrates his tightrope-walking improvisational skills. They capture listeners’ total attention with nearly off-balanced daredevilry that always rights itself, usually the closer it comes to the edge of its daring challenges. Without a chorded instrument or another horn to allow for harmonic support or elaboration of another’s ideas, Valk stands alone, presenting his melodies and stirring responses over the percussiveness of Martin Gjakonovski’s bass and Roland Höppner’s drums. In several respects besides just the spare instrumentation, At Work is similar in approach, and at times in sound, to Joe Lovano’s Trio Fascination, Edition One, even from the first track, “Shapes for Ornette.” Like Lovano, Valk makes clear from the start that this is a trio of highly professional, empathetic musicians. Valk’s uncomplicated melody allows lightly energetic response from Höppner as he softly crashes cymbals and sets up pitched rolls on the bass drum. When Gjakonovski comes in, Valk is already in full improvisational flight, with contrasting tenor sax burliness and upper-register wails and growling sixteenth-note patterns sounding, yes, like Lovano, rather than Ornette. But Valk does possess a sound of his own, as he poignantly presents the first chorus of “One for Bill” on alto sax, Gjakonovski and Valk playing to final descending lines in tender harmony before an extended melodic bass solo. “Giant Traps” punningly features Höppner bringing understated force to the piece, as he does throughout At Work, making it clear that this is a cohesive, evocative trio that has spent much performance time together. Valk uses bass clarinet for moodier, more emotionally based tracks like “Don’t Explain,” on which he sets up melancholic wistfulness by playing the song quietly in straightforward fashion over Gjakonovski’s half notes and Höppner’s soft brushing of cymbals. Valk improvises more freely on bass clarinet on “Level Flight,” though within his own compositional boundaries, recalling in parts “Ribbon in the Sky.” Even without support from additional instruments for trading off choruses or exchanging ideas, Claudius Valk retains interest throughout the entire album through the command of his instruments and the immediacy of rapport with his sidemen, as did Lovano or Joe Henderson on State of the Tenor. At Work is an improvisational work in progress, unplanned but for the minimal arrangements. It allows listeners to overhear as Valk goes out on one limb after another, only to return safely each time from the harmonic feats that he set up for himself. Bill Donaldson
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln /De Conservatorium Maastricht / NL
Sax Technique, Improvisation, Composition, Bandcoaching