Some 20 years ago, Klaus Thiemann at https://m-etropolis.com contacted me about putting issues of my music newsletter-review BELLS (1973-79) online. I told him I had put together a book FREE JAZZ FREE MUSIC that collected the most essential pieces of writing that had appeared in BELLS. I mailed to him the hand-typed manuscript and, over 2 to 3 years, he scanned and digitized the pages one by one and emailed them back to me for corrections. Eventually, all the articles were posted online. Today they are collected on the dedicated BELLS webpage (https://bells.free-jazz.net/) where Klaus also sourced and added photos and biographical material for many of the musicians.
But BELLS is only a link from the grander website, SAX & STORIES (https://henrykuntz.free-jazz.net/) that Klaus created for me. It began as a prototype website to showcase his digital talents, but it took on its own trajectory. First to appear on the SAX & STORIES webpage was the 4-part Journey to Italaque, Bolivia. He breathed life into the story by adding numerous photos of mine from the journey and sound clips of Aymara music that I had recorded during the ritual Italaque festival. Over the years, so much has been chronicled – CD and tape releases, music critiques and travel writings, festival and documentary photos – all so generously given digital life by Klaus, the agile and super-competent shadow master behind the scenes.
Now, though the websites remain, Klaus is gone. He passed away on May 26, 2023 at his home in Saint-Nazaire, Loire-Atlantique, France. I am forever grateful for all his work and efforts on my behalf. He created an online presence for me that I could only have imagined in my dreams. I wish him Godspeed and all the best on his New Journey.
Paul and I had hoped to record some new music in 2021, this being once again the “Year of the Ox”, that year of the Zodiac in which we made our first duo recordings. While we were unable to realize that project in earthly time, I thought I might intuit and create what we might have fashioned musically in virtual spiritual time. Lapu Lazuli is a new piece that combines a solo piano improvisation of Paul’s (from his album Awakening) with a solo multi-track piece of mine (from the album IIFIINIITY). When I placed this music together, I couldn’t help but marvel. It felt like these pieces had always been waiting for each other… a match made in heaven, you might say! Enjoy Lapu Lazuli…
Paul Vincent Kuntz: Piano with percussion effects | Henry Kuntz: Nepalese & Balinese bamboo flutes (played together), Bolivian bass flute; rhaita (Morocco); two Guatemalan bamboo flutes (played together). Individual photos of Paul and Henry by Paul. Composite photo by Henry.
Allow me, if you will, to sing artistic praises for my brother Paul Vincent who, on July 17, 2021, four days prior to his 60th birthday, lifted off from this dimensional space into Realms of Spirit. You may recall Paul from the three duo recordings he and I made over the last dozen years (Year of the Ox, Jazz Khardma, Double Vision), improvisations on which he contributed a florally dense piano, overlaying the instrument’s strings with small percussion instruments and other objects to expand its timbral and tonal range.
Paul’s main artistic penchant, however, was for his photography, of which he was a master. His work at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston – where he was known for his extensive photographic knowledge and attention to compositional detail – found him at times inside the operating room for groundbreaking surgeries. On his own adventurous career path, documentary photography was what most inspired him. Early on, while driving to classes at the University of Houston, he would pass through that city’s predominantly African-American Third Ward. There he made lifetime friends and extensive community contacts and began documenting the area’s people and vibrant cultural life: its music, funerals, revivals, its energy and flow.