Thursday, May 26, 2016

Reaching for the cosmos

(picture used without permission, sorry)

2016 is definitely the worst year, and my blog will soon be more about dead musicians than about guitars... Alto saxophonist Marco Eneidi was not David Bowie or Prince, and his death will not make more headlines than his life or music... But those who knew him will remember him with fondness and gratitude. 

Marco passed away yesterday after a lifetime dedicated to uncompromising  art. Though he performed with the greatest free jazz musicians in the US and Europe, and released or played on numerous records since the mid-80s, his reluctance to please had him struggle for survival all his life, and keep on at the age when artists are either successful or gave up - until the very end. 

I met him when I moved to Vienna where he has been living since 2004 and where he organised the The Neu New York/Vienna Institute of Improvised Music - a weekly improv session where touring musicians would meet Viennese improvisers for a common practice of free music. After years of playing solo when I was in Berlin, that's where I learned again sharing and improving myself at he contact of fellow improvisers.

I never saw Marco on stage, I only heard him in the Celeste Jazzkeller club, never further than 3 meters from me. His saxophone sounded like thunder, it was like concentrating the energy and anger of 10 men into one column of air. All his music was about how mastering a technic could free your creativity, and it was a precious inspiration for any musician who would listen to him. Playing with him was truly uplifting, challenging but not intimidating for he was a generous man and artist. Sometimes at the end of a session he would go to the piano and hammer it with the same energy - and you found it also in the spontaneous poetry he was posting on Facebook...

Marco was living in Mexico since last year, as he was expelled from Austria for not regularising his administrative situation. It's not as bad as what Austria currently does with Syrian refugees, but it shows how stupid ideology and bureaucracy can be - and loose valuable people to a country. A few weeks ago he was touring Europe and came to play at the improv session in Celeste but I failed to go - too tired, busy with the baby... Huge mistake, I will never play with him or hear him live ever again.

Thank you for everything,  Marco.

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