Schagerl Artist Jack Burt on his journey to Schagerl Music

This is a picture with a story. Two Legends, from different fields, who have admired each other unreservedly, for decades: Peter Erskine, former drummer for Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Weather Report, the WDR Big Band, and so many others, and Hans Gansch, former principal trumpet of the Vienna State Opera and Vienna Philharmonic.

Hans first heard Peter almost 50 years ago, in the late 70’s, with the Stan Kenton band, in the Konzerthaus in Vienna, and immediately became a huge fan. Although they didn’t meet. Hans followed his career for years. Hans had dreamed of a career as a big band trumpeter, he loved jazz, and was a huge fan of the great Big Bands, like Kenton and Ferguson, but his career took him in another direction.

The two finally met in the 90s, in Mank, when Peter appeared with the Schagerl Big Band, where performed and gave workshops. Peter was given Han’s recordings of the Haydn and Hummel Concertos, and  “Da oane Summa”, Hans’ famous recording of Alpine flugelhorn folk duets (with Reinhold Ambros). Peter was floored by Hans’ playing, and tone quality. The friendship between then then developed over the years, with subsequent visits to Austria.

Peter and Hans met again recently, this January in Vienna, when Peter also met and worked with Thomas Gansch on a recording project. Full circle.

My connection with the names Schagerl and Gansch is an interesting story, involving both Peter and Hans. It demonstrates both the remarkably small the world of musicians, and also how one moment can change a life – in this case, mine. In 2001, I was in my office at Texas A&M-Kingsville, and Peter passed my open office door. He was appearing as Guest Artist at our Jazz Festival. As he glanced into my office, he noticed a rotary trumpet on a trumpet stand. He stopped in, and began to tell me about his favorite CD, one he always listened to – ”It’s so beautiful, you need to hear it!” He was talking about “Da oane Summa”, Hans’ folk duet CD. He later went to the trouble to send me a burnt  CD. I fell in love with it, not only the lovely music, but mostly, Hans’ incomparably beautiful playing. I immediately contacted Karl Schagerl for my own CD (I bought extras for my friends), and the printed music as well. I haven’t met Peter again, but he changed the direction of my life. He was the start of my connection to Schagerl – a random meeting in a music school in Texas,with one of the greatest jazz drummers of our time!

Jack Burt

Share in
Tagged in