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Rolf and Joachim Kühn: Two liberated musicians


Looking Back Forward: The documentary "Brothers Kühn" tells the incredible lives of Rolf and Joachim Kühn, two jazz musicians who have escaped the GDR.

Two states, two brothers, one music: this is the subject of such a great and disturbing documentary film that can be seen on Saturday night at 3sat. Over an hour and a half, director Stephan Lamby accompanies the clarinettist Rolf Kühn and the pianist Joachim Kühn in brothers Kühn , shows them on Ibiza and in New York, in the Black Forest and Katowice, watches their performances, lets them tell them about their lives and falls beside us in a whirlwind German-German sensitivities. Because the two musicians come from the East, from Leipzig, which they have left in very different ways.

Rolf Kühn, born in 1929, received a call to the West, to Timmendorf, at the age of 20, just prior to the founding of the FRG like the GDR in 1949. His job was from then on, play in a crazy bar on the Baltic Sea for rich hamburger, who had to catch up urgently, what they had missed in the war. Joachim Kühn, 14 years younger, remained stuck in Leipzig and got the full dose of DDR from which he has been recovering since 1966 when he "piled" with his brother, as he says so beautifully in the film. Towers sounds as much of a backlash as a flight from the Republic, and that's exactly what it was like in his case: Joachim Kühn was up in his sleep. In the sleeping car.

Oh yes, the two gentlemen, now 89 and 75, are jazz musicians. Rolf on the clarinet captivates through elegance and withdrawnness, Joachim at the piano through thumping intensity. Rolf speaks slowly in the film with a sonorous voice, Joachim mumbles so through, always with something sweet smoldering between his "gold fingers", as he scoffs. Sometimes the stories of the two are blended together in the middle of a sentence and become a narrative: liberation through music.

With the saxophone in the pool

Liberation from the Nazi regime, the persecution of the Jews, the bombardment of Leipzig by the British and American Air Forces, the Soviet occupation, the GDR crowdedness, the building of the Berlin Wall and - at Pointen is not missing - the liberation of their own swimming pool. At the beginning of the film Joachim plays in his dream house on Ibiza saxophone in the empty pool, which looks strange, and Joachim explains dryly that years ago he decided not to swim, because he needed no more water in the pool. "I try to eliminate everything that bothers me in life."

What a grandiose counterpoint to the mixture of anger and misery that seems to have seized many in the German East today. "I only do what I feel like doing for 24 hours, that's the freedom I enjoy," says ex-GDR citizen Joachim Kühn. "Freedom is a big thing, I try to do it as far as I can."

He could certainly find cause for complaint. When documentary filmmaker Lamby poses for retirement at some airport on his way to the next gig - others will stop in their mid-sixties - Joachim growls: "Yes, I could retire as well, I can not get a pension . " Short, rough laugh. "When you stop, you're just waiting for death, I'm reluctant to wait, not to die, so I'll live on in the meantime, and it does not matter what kind of number is in front of it."

Joachim Kühn is the better known of the brothers, for a long time he was even the best-known German jazz musician abroad - alongside Albert Mangelsdorff, who had brought the world to West Germany after the Second World War with his trombone. Rolf Kühn, who spent the middle part of his professional life in television studios, with musicals and at the theater, has only been rediscovered in recent years, since he plays with young savages. In his quartet, the Rolf Kühn Unit, the drummer is 55 years younger than him.

Source: zeit

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