Graewe Reijseger Hemingway  

“…remarkably focused free improvisations…”

The Irish Times, 2006

“Incredible and extremely exciting. If that’s not the high school of improvisation.”

Fono Forum, April 2006, Five Stars

“Even in the tightest of entanglements, there is tremendous transparency, nothing is dogmatic, everything is inspiring.”

Guido Fischer, Jazzthetik, March 2006, Four Stars 

“This is a brittle, shimmering and originally beautiful web that does not lack sensuality. That’s why this album is very special.”

Jazzpodium, April 2006

“Graewe, Reijseger and Hemingway give here a wonderful lesson in organic music.”

Jazz Magazine, September 2006

When George Graewe, Ernst Reijseger and Gerry Hemingway meet for the recording session for Continuum, it’s the first time after a seven-year pause that followed a decade of playing together (1989-1999). 

They position themselves in the recording hall in such a way that they can hear each other without headphones, and play “Continuum Phase One”. The three masters of spontaneous composition immediately reconnect. They simply play together – phase by phase, freely and focussed. 

Graewe, Reijseger and Hemingway record without any agreed framework: no tempi, rhythms, dynamics, keys or melodies are discussed, and there are no rehearsals. Every note of their music is improvised. That has been the trio’s format since they formed a trio. Reijseger: “The present is a comfortable and exciting place to be with these musicians.”


Hemingway lived in New York City and nowadays in Switzerland. Reijseger lives in the Netherlands and Graewe in Germany and Austria. Somewhat of a logistic challenge.

They share a very broad musical curiosity and used to swap discoveries on cassettes and CDs: Hemingway has probably the weirdest collection going of Hawaiian music, and loves every American yodeller he can find (e.g. Elton Britt), Graewe lets Reijseger rediscover Josef Hofmann and Prince, and Reijseger is crazy about Derek & Clive.

Graewe composes string quartets, orchestral pieces, songs and chamber operas, directs the GrubenKlangOrchester and – like Reijseger and Hemingway – generally performs his own works. Graewe runs this own label Random Acoustics.

Reijseger works with Tenore e Cuncordu de Orosei, trio Reijseger Fraanje Sylla, gives solo cello performances, plays duo with Harmen Fraanje, Mario Forte, Erik Bosgraaf, Giovanni Sollima and writes film scores.

Hemingway composes new music, played (1983-1994) with Anthony Braxton, plays with BassDrumBone (with Mark Helias and Ray Anderson), forms a quartet with Herb Robertson, Ellery Eskelin and Mark Helias, plays in the WHO trio, develops new ways of playing and composing for percussion, gives solo performances, and is music professor at the Hochschule in Luzern, Switzerland. Hemingway belongs to both the contemporary music and the international improvising artists and jazz scene. Hemingway runs Auricle Recordings.

“Despite several lengthy gaps between concerts and recordings in its 17-year run, the trio of pianist Georg Graewe, cellist Ernst Reijseger and percussionist Gerry Hemingway has articulated one of the more pellucid approaches to improvised chamber music. They are fastidious in giving material breathing space, and leaving some spaces blank. Even at their most robust, the trio retains a cool sense of direction. Yet, just as one thinks they tilt irrevocably towards contemporary classical music, the trio will, one way or another, reveal their rebellious roots in post-Coleman jazz and first-generation European improvised music. 

Recorded in a Munich hall with an impeccable piano, Continuum is a frequently stunning exposition of the trio’s resourcefulness and probity. A series of ten improvisations recorded in 2005, the album runs the gamut from silence-spattered accumulations of small details to rapid-fire exchanges with an earthy, forward rhythmic movement. However, there is a pensive quality to much of the music, established largely through the exquisite decay of Graewe’s single note lines and punctuating chords. It is a quality that Reijseger and Hemingway respond to with unfailingly sensitivity, be it with textures or well-placed counter lines (Hemingway plays “marimbaphone” and celesta). The approach is initially insidious, becoming gripping by the end of the album. Graewe, Reijseger and Hemingway’s ability to create an emotional connection in this manner distinguishes their work.” Bill Shoemaker, Point of Departure (2006)

This trio of pianist Georg Graewe, cellist Ernst Reijseger and percussionist Gerry Hemingway was an active aggregate in the early ’90s. They slowed down towards the end of the decade and, prior to this album, had not released anything since 1999. Graewe’s pianism is as protean as it is beautiful, and he does much to make this seminal trio’s return the undeniable success that it is. He doesn’t so much helm or control the group as he allows his multifaceted approach to the piano to embody its aesthetic.

But then, action and reaction are two sides of the same coin. In the second part of this suite, to cite only one example of Graewe’s reactive and proactive tendencies, he augments and subverts a rhythmic pattern established by Hemingway and Reijseger, with the simple tactic of adding a slower layer. Registrally close, if not in immediate proximity, to Hemingway’s celesta and Reijseger’s plucked cello, Graewe begins with one note, then brings in another, allowing the texture to bloom and slowly expand. It is a truly magical moment. 

It is counterproductive to single out any one member of this trio as some kind of leader. As much now as ever, the group thrives on unity in diversity, on each member’s willingness to do what is outlined above. Hemingway’s playing is at its most subtly inventive, a huge contrast to, say, his work with Braxton, but no less inventive. Reijseger lives in two worlds, maintaining an open-door policy between tonality and cluster, both making memorable appearances throughout this riveting set. 

It is extremely gratifying to hear these three masters of spontaneous composition (not to mention more conventional forms of composition!) in documented communication again after too long a pause[…]Not to appear greedy, but might another disc be hidden in there somewhere?”

AllAboutJazz, Marc Medwin (2006)