Two Moons – music inspired by the works of Haruki Murakami
The jazz quartet album by German pianist and composer Sebastian Gahler takes you into the surreal world of the Japanese bestselling author Haruki Murakami.
It is well known that the great Japanese writer Haruki Murakami loves jazz. Sebastian Gahler's new album proves that the opposite is also true: jazz loves Murakami. With Two Moons, the Düsseldorf jazz pianist and composer has created a small, fine collection of music inspired by literature. In his pieces, he brings well-known novel characters to life or picks up literary motifs from Murakami's works. With Denis Gab̈ el on saxophone, Matthias Akeo Nowak on bass and Ralf Gessler on drums, Gahler has gathered some of the best German jazz musicians for his project. Special Guest Ryan Carniaux also adds highlights on trumpet. The result is an eclectic jazz album that tells not just one, but many stories.
For example, the story of Murakami's novel hero Kafka Tamura: a teenage runaway who flees from a prophecy. Will he kill his father and sleep with his mother and sister? Or can he escape this fate? The piece recreates Kafka's troubled journey. A surprising reprise with bowed bass abruptly changes the mood. Goosebumps. This piece just won the CJS Composition Award 2022.
The title track Two Moons is under tension. Two different rhythms overlap like the two parallel worlds in the world bestseller 1Q84. Murakami fans will recognize the motif of the two moons already on the album cover. We encounter the familiar main characters Aomame and Tengo several times on the album.
Just as there are countless musical references in Murakami's works, there are now literary references in Gahler's compositions. An arrangement of the Beatles classic Norwegian Wood quotes the novel of the same name. Colonel Sanders strolls through the nighttime alleys of Takamatsu as a Slow Blues. The transformation of the Boy named Crow happens in the form of a groovy nu-jazz piece. A hard swinging homage to the early Blue Note era is referencing the irresistible ears of the nameless girlfriend from A Wild Sheep Chase. In these multi-faceted musical excursions, Sebastian Gahler demonstrates both knowledge and skill.
For Gahler, Haruki Murakami's novels embody a long friendship. His former music teacher and now good friend gave him the first book about 20 years ago. He hasn't missed a publication since. The magical realism, the bizarre stories of Murakami speak to him – and above all, he shares the love of music that can be read out of every text by the Japanese author.