Photo: YU-CHI LEE
German born Klaus Bru (卡 = Kaa) has traveled widely, for real and in music. He is a being with a broad range of interests, an artist not easily categorized: saxophonist, composer, sound artist, songwriter and writer, organizer and promoter for cross-cultural projects. This biography deals with Klaus Bru, the saxophone player, composer, and jazz artist.Klaus Bru plays only non-transposing saxophones, the rare C-melody sax and the even rarer C-soprano sax. His artistic output is characterized by its variety, and his musical concepts are not exactly the “out-of-the-box” type. Klaus Bru rather uses odd combinations of “boxes” that differ in size, contrast in contents, and clash in color: He brings in the folk music of the world (typically from Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Arab Countries), Avant-garde ridden improvisation concepts, cold blooded electronic noises and feedbacks, sounds of breath and saliva, pitches smaller than the distance between two keys on the piano, strange meters and odd tempos, plus -- when the time has come for it -- simple, singable melodies over moving chords.Klaus Bru was born in the 1960’s near Lake Constance in Southern Germany. He got drilled as a jazz saxophonist at the Music University in Graz/Austria, and graduated with distiction in 1988. His teachers included Roman Schwaller, Adelhard Roidinger, David Liebman, Kenny Wheeler, his fellow students Franz Hautzinger, Peter Herbert, Lars Lindvall, Martin Stepanik, Heinrich von Kalnein.From 1988-95 Bru lived in Vienna/Austria. He was a well-known protagonist of the Austrian Jazz scene in the 1990’s. With keyboarder Martin Stepanik he collaborated in the experimental duo ‘2 Face 2’. Several European radio stations recorded Bru’s compositions and band projects.
In 1996 Klaus Bru relocated to Berlin, leaving the saxophone aside and focusing on sound art and electronic music. He produced the interactive sound/media/live music installation ‘Tiefenrausch’, worked with sound artists and film makers, and published a CD with electronic music (‘Collective Items’, 1998). With Oliver Doerell of Dictaphone he composed the music for ‘The Lefthanded Man’, a dance piece which got invited to perfom in Taipei/Taiwan in May 2001.
In 2002 Klaus Bru moved to Asia to live in Taipei. His focus shifted to writing literature, and to his tasks as a cultural manager for the Goethe Institute Taiwan. Later, while working as a promoter for the Chinese music ensemble Chai Found Music Workshop (采風樂坊) he became infused with the sound of Chinese instruments, and developed a general interest in indigenous music from around the world. In 2010, while on a trip to San Francisco, he discovered in a pawn shop an antique C-Melody Sax. Since then, Klaus Bru performs exclusicely on C-saxophones.
As a musician in Taiwan, Bru composed film and theater scores, and played with the main exponents of the Taiwanese jazz and improvisation scene. In 2010, he set up the jazz trio ‘I have a new band now’, which has been performing all over Taiwan. Together with pianist Lee Shih-Yang (李世揚) he leads the improvisation group Ka Dao Yin (卡到音), which stands at the crossroads of Contemporary Classical Music, Jazz, and Chinese Folk Music. In Taiwan, Bru has also performed with Japanese drummer legend Sabu Toyozumi, and experimental pipa player Luo Chao-Yun.
By the end of 2011, Bru relocated to Europe with a stopover in Istanbul/Turkey, where he performed with guitarist Bilal Karaman and many other Istanbullu musicians. Klaus Bru currently lives in Vienna/Austria.
Other Current Bands & Projects (August 2012)
I have a new band now
Jazz trio with amplified saxophone, bass guitar, and drums.
Inspired by the analogue sounds of the 1970’s, I have a new band now plays an odd variant of jazz combined
with rock, balkan music, dixieland, blues, noise, and what else not. Martijn Vanbuel from Belgium is on bass guitar, Pietro Valente from Italy on drums. All Music written by Klaus Bru. I have a new band now is available for Concerts in Europe from January 20-30, 2013.
Ka Dao Yin (卡(到音)
Improvisation Ensemble at the crossroads of Contemporary Classical Music, Jazz, and Chinese Folk Music.
Klaus Bru co-leads this international improvisation group with pianist Lee Shih-Yang (李世揚). Ka Dao Yin’s first CD ‘Four Characters’ has won critical acclaim for creating intriguing musical counterparts to widely used
Chinese proverbs and bywords.
As a Leader
- 2 Face 2: Ear 2 Ear (Duo with Martin Stepanik), 1993
- Bru: Collective Items (Electronic Recordings), 1998
- Ka Dao Yin (卡(到音): Four Characters (四字成語), 2011 (Co-Leader with Shih-Yang Lee)
- I have a new band now, 2012
- Dictaphone: M. Addiction (with Oliver Doerell), 2003
- Dictaphone: Vertigo (with Oliver Doerell), 2005
- The NoMads Ensemble: Shantia Ditu, 2011