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Nik Bartsch explains ritual groove in new book; 'Listening: Music, Movement, Mind' / Santa Cruz Sentinel Q&A

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Santa Cruz Sentinel's JOHN MALKIN writes...."Listening: Music, Movement, Mind" is the first book by Swiss Jazz pianist Nik Bärtsch. Published over the summer by Lars Müller, it's the first time Bärtsch has explained in detail the inner workings of his own creativity and the democratic process of the various bands he's led for 20 years including Ronin and Mobile.

Bärtsch has been deeply influenced by Zen meditation and Aikido martial arts practices in his continued explorations of freedom, sound and performance. And he's been inspired by a diverse array of musical realms including Bach, Japanese shakuhachi, Meshell Ndegeocello and Brian Eno.

All of this led Bärtsch to very consciously develop what he calls Ritual Groove Music. This unique and dynamic rhythm-based music is deeply sensitive at one moment and seriously grooving the next. The tempos are often fast, the patterns intricate, and Bärtsch sometimes plays the inside of the piano in very effective ways as a "percussive weapon."

The Sentinel recently spoke with Nik Bärtsch about his music and his new book "Listening: Music, Movement, Mind," created in collaboration with his wife Andrea Pfisterer and dedicated to his three daughters Aina, Ilva and Mika.

READ THE Santa Cruz Sentinel Q&A