Paul Hubweber started with playing the drums at the age of 12. After a period of playing guitar and bass he began to blow the trombone in the age of 17. Around 1974 -75 he toured through Europe jamming with several musicians all over Italy, France, the Netherlands… Coming back he settled down in Moers and began working within the organization of the Moers Festival 1973 – 77 and the Globe Unity Orchestra Workshop in 76. Also he mastered the Braxton Solo and the Christmann-Schoenenberg records on Ring music. Hubweber’s 1st solo record and lots of collages where produced at his own label msc between 76 – 82, and the cooperation with musicians like Claus van Bebber, Martin Theurer, Ulrich Phillipp and others began. This fits into different group activities like ARTE Festivals Kleve, Witten Easter Festivals, “der Gute ton”, Moers and Wuppertal. (Germany)
In Wiesbaden (Germany) Hubweber had lots of sessions, concerts and several contributions to the HumaNoise Congress, and since 1984 gigs with John Butcher, Alfred Zimmerlin and Dorothea Schürch. He met lots of interesting international musicians there.
In the late 80’s Hubweber founded another musicians’ cooperation in Cologne (AIM Arbeitsgemeinschaft Improvisierte Musik e.V., Köln) together with his college Georg Wissel, with whom he had some different ensembles like BULL’S EYE ENSEMBLE, KOLLEGU PISCHU (i.e. Live Music to the silent film “The Adventures of Mr.West in the Land of Bolschewijki”, Lew Kuleschow, UdSSR 1924, with Wissel and Hans Kanty († 2005).
The 90’s started with a new version of the van Bebber-Hubweber Duo under the name of Vinyl & Blech. The trombone is electrified by numerous effects like tube screamer, echolette, harmonizer etc. The sounds of van Bebbers vinyl and the trombone often fuse and getting an industrial touch (technos love it!).
He met dancer Britta Lieberknecht and they started their continuing cooperation in four different projects. These choreographies do not have the main focus on improvisation but on the relationship between sound, movement and light. Second main contact with Peter Kowald (the first was in the early Moers days) was the introduction of PAPAJO, “one of the most important ensembles on the contemporary market” (Alois Fischer). Peter Kowald and Paul Hubweber had a few sessions at the 99’s HumaNoise Congress and after this the SURPRISE UNIT with Fine Kwiatkowski and Michael Vorfeld. In 2000 they toured in trio with drummer/shouter Klaus Wallmeier. But Hubweber wanted to have two of his favourite musicians, Kowald and Lovens, together in one group and so they played some gigs as a trio.
After this he organized a tour of ten gigs but Kowald started to fall sick these days. As Paul Lovens favoured John Edwards he replaced Peter. This was a most elegant solution, because: “Balance in perfection … nearly brilliant … ensemble playing on a nearly perfect level … a unity of mutual timing and presence resulting in music of high intensity…” as the Neue Westfälische/Bielefeld ( German newspaper ) wrote . PAPAJO (PAul + PAul + JOhn) had the first CD at Martin Davidson’s Emanem and will edit the 2nd CD September 2007 by the NY label Cadence.
The “very very good record” (Martin Davidson) TROMBONEOS (Hubweber’s third solo record) opens another side of the trombone music, “where few have traversed…” (Steven Loewy, ALL MUSIC GUIDE). One of the important bullets in electro-acoustic music is the one with Uli Böttcher called SCHNACK. Enthusiastically modulated presets and Live-Sampling/Sound Processing seduce the trombone. (“sharp – i really like it !” Michel Waisvisz). They did more then 50 gigs in two years and nowadays they often cooperate with Michel Waisvisz. Other trios were played with Phil Minton, Michel Vorfeld and Georg Wolf.
The current “Nobody’s Matter But Our Own“, duo record with Philip Zoubek/Piano is “one of the best in duo improvisation” (Jean-Michel van Schouwburg).
Paul Hubweber worked with artist’s like: Paul Lovens, John Edwards, Uli Böttcher, Michel Waisvisz, Georg Wolf, Ulrich Phillipp, Erhard Hirt, Claus van Bebber, Martin Theurer, Fine Kwiatkowski, Michael Vorfeld, Paul Lytton, Markus Eichenberger, Jaap Blonk, Philip Zoubek and many others and he participated on many festivals in Germany and other european countries.
In private, most improvisors will gladly admit that there is simply a lot of second-rate improvised music around. And when one listens to a supremely successful example of free group improvisation such as the music created by this Anglo-German trio during the last concert of their last tour (which is documented here in its entirety), one could be tempted to pinpoint some of the basic criteria which many improvisors, regardless of ‘schools’ or ‘cliques’, somehow seem to agree on. Cornelius Cardew once postulated a number of ‘virtues that a musician can develop’. I would propose a different set of criteria.
Adaptability for one. I.e., the capability of making connections with your instrument, of matching, complementing or contrasting the timbres and textures of the other players. One of the most exhilarating aspects of these 74 minutes of trio music is the way the players constantly reinvent their instruments in order to build the meta-instrument which another group with the same instrumentation, although with quite different musical objectives, once wittily dubbed ‘bassdrumbone’.
Scope. Meaning the richness of individual vocabularies, the ability to cover the whole range between pure noise and precise pitch, between clearly delineated motives and amorphous sound masses, between points, lines and the musical gestures of which Albert Ayler said ‘you have to escape from notes to sounds’. It is obvious from the first few minutes that each of these players has fully explored the immense spectrum offered by his instrument, that Lovens, Edwards and Hubweber are by no means limited to one fixed idea about what drums, double bass or trombone ‘should’ sound like. From the most filigree of sounds to the most dramatic physical gestures: everything is present here, and everything at the ‘right’ time.
Timing. Nothing is more elusive, nothing is more important than the ability to play the right thing at the right time, especially when there is no meter to give guidance. There is a lot of quicksilver high-speed interaction at work in Papajo. At the same time, Paul Hubweber, Paul Lovens and John Edwards also have a joint understanding when sounds or textures need more time to develop, when quasi-stasis in pianissimo subtlety is appropriate rather than dynamic rapid-fire change.
Paul Lovens | Paul Hubweber | John Edwards Photo: Bettina Bormann
Remaining in the Now. For established improvisors, it is so easy to rely on personal formulas, on sonic trade marks. But if you are truly improvising, you must be ready to give up your personal predilections in favor of the truth of the moment. (This is the virtue Cardew termed ‘Acceptance of death’, the acceptance of musical transcience.) And as a group, you have to avoid relishing in the approved modes of interaction, and rely on the things that ‘work’. Many ensembles somehow decide on a working method that excludes certain musical phenomena: a pointillistic music without pulse or melodic gestures for example, or a pure noise music in which defined pitches are a no-no. There is no such narrowness, no such aesthetic bias in Papajo’s music. All musical options are at work, but the players don’t get stuck in any of them. Melody, pulse, rhythm are implied, only to disappear just as quickly. This is indeed ‘the sound of surprise’, in a world of improvised music that is, in fact, quite often disappointingly predictable.
I could go on. And elaborate further on something that others would state quite simply: that this is great improvised music. As you will discover for yourself. Peter Niklas Wilson
Paul Hubweber recordings available at NURNICHTNUR