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Geerken, Hartmut

Geerken, Hartmut, pianist, percussionist, author; b. Stuttgart, Germany, 15 January 1939. His father was Heinrich August Geerken (1898-1990) and his mother was Lina Klara Geerken born Mannhardt (1896-1986).

During the air attacks in the 40s on Stuttgart his family had to move to Schwaebisch Gmuend first, then to Tuebingen. He started piano lessons in classical music from about age 8 and had his first solo piano recital in the age of 14 with works by Bela Bartok. Then jazz became more interesting to him and he went through a period of boogie-woogie playing. He participated in master-classes of the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music with teachers like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ligeti, Foss, Aloys Kontarsky and others. Studied Islamic culture and philosophy (Ernst Bloch) at the universities of Tuebingen and Istanbul.

As a lecturer and organizer of cultural activities for the Goethe-Institute he lived in TYrkey (1963), Egypt (1966-1972), Afghanistan (1972-1979), and Greece (1979-1983). In 1967 he co-founded the Cairo Jazz Band with Salah Ragab and Edvard Vizvari and was the leader of the Cairo Free Jazz Ensemble. Later he performed in different groups with Carlos Baily, Salah Ragab, Hubertus von Puttkamer (The Cross), in duos with Michael Ranta (The Heliopolar  Egg), John Tchicai and Famoudou Don Moye. He led the Rock & Free Jazz Group in Kabul/Afghanistan with Maqsud Shukurwali, Fritz Pfeiffer and others.

He temporarily played with Embryo and Mondtrommler with Grace Yoon, Roman Bunka and others. He has worked with Don Cherry, Okay Temiz, Greetje Bijma, Sunny Murray, Takehisa Kosugi, Ustad Mohammed Hashem and many others. In 1996 he had a project under the title zero sun no point with the Art Ensemble of Chicago at the States Theater in Munich/Germany.

Geerken was a member of the Bielefelder Colloquium Neue Poesie (1978-2002) and taught interactive art forms at the Folkwang Academy, Essen.
He was awarded the Schubart Literature Price in 1986, and the Karl Sczuka Award for Radio Art in 1989 and 1994. During his stay in Egypt, he invited the Sun Ra Arkestra to Cairo in 1971, enabling Sun Ra to play in his spiritual homeland for the first time.

Geerken owns one of the most extended Sun Ra Archives. Besides being an instrumentalist he is also active in the field of sound poetry in the tradition of the Russian futurists and the dadaists. He had a lot of activities together with the American poet Robert Lax.

Recordings:
Continent (with John Tchicai) (1980); Cassava Balls (with Famoudou Don Moye and John Tchicai) (1985, 1999); the African Tapes (with Famoudou Don Moye and John Tchicai) (1987, 2001); kein roter faa (1990); Tunguska-guska (1991); amanita (1995);
As sideperson:
Cairo Free Jazz ensemble: Heliopolis (1970); 6th International Waitawhile Sun Ra Convention (1999); Robert Lax: readings and realisations (1999); Art Ensemble of Chicago: zero sun no point (2001); 9th International Waitawhile Sun Ra Convention in Gambia/Westafrica (2002).

Unissued recordings:
About 100 unissued tapes from ca. 1966 on.

Bibliography:
Murmel (1965); GSreme Kilavuzu (1968); Die goldene Bombe (1970, 1977, 1979); diagonalen (1971); verschiebungen (1972); schreibweisen (1973); sprechweisen (1974); obduktionsprotokoll (1975); ovale landschaft (1976); spruenge nach rosa hin (1981); Chronological Discography of the Acustic Works of Sun Ra (1982); holunder (1984); mappa (1988); motte motte motte (1990); Das interaktive Hoerspiel (1991); poststempel jerusalem (1993); Omniverse Sun Ra (1994); kant (1998); may bug fly (2001); phos (2003).

Films:
vorfeld (1976); das zwinkern mit dem auge ... (1977); null sonne no point, with the Art Ensemble of Chicago (1997); Von Roehren und Lamellen (2000); as an actor in many films and plays by Herbert Achternbusch.

Broadcasts:
Numerous live radio performances, interviews, radio plays and features in Germany, Egypt, India, Afghanistan, Greece, Pakistan, Thailand, Bangla Desh, Korea, Philippines, Japan, Russia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Australia.

Contact information:
Hartmut Geerken
Wartaweil 37
D-82211 Herrsching
Germany
waitawhile@t-online.de

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