Radio.String.Quartet.Vienna – Posting Joe – Celebrating Weather Report – Live (2013)

FrontCover1The radio.string.quartet, interim radio.string.quartet.vienna, is a contemporary string quartet based in Vienna.

They are known for using a big variety of musical styles including classical, folk, rock, jazz, pop music, electronica and contemporary music in their compositions and arrangements.

Despite their name they have no artistic connection to any radio station.

The quartet was one of the big discoveries of the Berlin Jazz Festival in 2006 with its adaptation of the music of the Mahavishnu Orchestra.


John McLaughlin wrote the liner notes to their first album: ….”From the first note I was struck by the way this group had ‘appropriated’ my music and made it their very own. They even got the atmosphere which was present all those years ago. The other aspect that touched me deeply was the importance they attach to improvisation, and they do improvise!…. …This is no ordinary string quartet. The love of, and the dedication they have to their respective instruments is marvellous, and the fact that they have taken what was electric jazz-fusion music, fused it with their training in ‘classical’ music, and conserved the ‘electric’ atmosphere is outstanding.”

Radiodream (2011) marked a new chapter in the band’s history: it is the most independent work of the quartet containing a huge percentage of their own compositions, which show the various musical and cultural backgrounds of the band members.


Posting Joe – Celebrating Weather Report – live (2013) is paying homage to their fellow countryman, the great composer and pianist/keyboard player Joe Zawinul.[1] It was voted “#2 jazz album of the year 2013” by The Sunday Times.

In 2014 the band began to work on in between silence (2017), which defined a new operation mode both in their studio work and in their live-performance. The use of voices and electronics widens the band’s horizons considerably, a stylistic device which is now used for the first time on several pieces. The album compositions – exclusively written by the quartet – basically were re-arranged for the live-performance. With that step the band tried to adapt the spatial variability of listening to music live or from an album. For in between silence album the band worked with a co-producer for the first time, the Norwegian pianist and NuJazz-pioneer Bugge Wesseltoft.


In 2020 the band begins with their “quadrology”, whose basic idea is to represent the 4 elements earth, fire, air and water in their musical language and to relate them to each other. For each individual element there will be collaborations and a different line-up, the center and musical link of which will be radio.string.quartet.

The first element to appear, for the first time on her own label SeeYulette, was Erd’ with the Austrian singer and composer Roland Neuwirth in June 2020. In 2022 they released B:A:C:H • like waters, an audiovisual journey based on Johann Sebastian Bach’s g-minor Violin Solosonata. In 2022 they released B:A:C:H • like waters, an audiovisual journey based on Johann Sebastian Bach’s g-minor Violin Solosonata. (wikipedia)

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Ever since r.s.q.v was founded in 2003, it has been innovatively broadening the spectrum of the string quartet. The idea to dedicate the fifth album “Posting Joe” to the great jazz genius from Vienna was not new. “Although we have never had a specific plan,” Liao says, “Zawinul’s music has always been there. Already after our Mahavishnu album, which made us internationally known, we were about to start a Zawinul project. But then we became engaged with “Radiotree” together with accordionist Klaus Paier. Even so, the album included two r.s.q.v versions of Zawinul’s pieces.”

However, the expansion of the idea was postponed due to a proposition by the irresistible Rigmor Gustafsson, which resulted in the album “Calling You”. After this project the urge to work with material of their own was even greater. Their own compositions of dream interpretations on “Radiodream”, released in 2011, on which Igmar Jenner replaced Johannes Dickbauer on violin, marked the last tessera of r.s.q.v’s extraordinary work hitherto.

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After that the timing was perfect to go about a project that had long been postponed. Not least due to an invitation to play at an updated Zawinul biography presentation by Brian Glasser in London and an invitation to the “Zawinul Music Days” in Vienna by Zawinul’s former manager Risa Zinke. There was a further advantage to the project as well. Valcic: “Not only had Zawinul been in our hearts for ages, but we had also been thinking of doing a live album for a long time, since our concerts had developed certain dynamics of their own in comparison to the studio recordings.”

That is why the second part in all “Radiodream” concerts was dedicated to Zawinul. “We recorded at least eight of these sets. That way we could choose performances that we were completely satisfied with.” Recordings from all over Europe are combined into a Zawinul homage – from the legendary Music Association in Vienna, from Pori in Finnland, from Zagreb, Warsaw, Zürich and Ravensburg. On “Posting Joe” r.s.q.v. is sending musical declarations of love to one of the greatest jazz musicians of all times.

After spending 2006-2008 in worldwide demand for their exciting string-quartet-meets-jazz-fusion take on the music of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, radio.string.quartet.vienna have put aside the covers for a while. But if any composer’s work might be a temptation to a group that uniquely mixes the excitement of rock, the agility of jazz and the textures of classical strings, it’s Joe Zawinul’s. This tribute to the late Austrian colossus includes an astonishing version of Birdland, in which Asja Valcic’s percussive cello brings in the famous bass hook after an expectant hum of pizzicato strumming from the violins and viola. The racing Freezing Fire parades the quartet’s rhythm section-like drive, inspired arrangements and ability to creatively mimic Zawinul’s talky synth-sounds; Dream Clock reflects a patience with nuance and detail that balances all the virtuosity, and the later stages include a prayerlike In a Silent Way, and a closing Volcano for Hire full of musical mood-swings. There aren’t long, jazzy improv breaks, but an appetite for spontaneity fuelled the thinking behind the whole idea. (The Guardian)


Igmar Jenner (violin)
Cynthia Liao (viola)
Bernie Mallinger (violin)
Asja Valčić (cello)

Radio String Quartett

01. Troposphere (Mallinger) 1:39
02. Birdland (Zawinul) 6:33
03. Freezing Fire (Shorter) 4:05
04. Peace (Zawinul) 6:16
05. Black Market (Zawinul) 6:35
06. Dream Clock (Zawinul) 6:14
07. Wireless Wings – For Joe (Valčić) 6:55
08. In A Silent Way (Zawinul) 3:54
09. Cannonball (Zawinul) 5:51
10. Volcano For Hire (Zawinul) 6:31


More from the Radio String Quartet Vienna:

The official website:

Rigmor Gustafsson & Radio String Quartet Vienna – Calling You (2010)

FrontCover1At first sight this collaboration between two of ACT’s established artists seems an unlikely alliance.
Swedish singer Gustafsson has released a series of albums for the label, all the titles ending with the word “You” so in effect I guess this is her record. Gustafsson is an assured and soulful singer schooled in jazz but with an innate feel for the rhythms of popular song ( her album “Close To You” is a celebration of the music of Dionne Warwick). She is also a more than useful songwriter and wrote the bulk of the material on her 2007 release “Alone With You.”

radio.string.quartet.vienna won great critical acclaim when they first burst onto the scene in 2007 with their album “Celebrating The Mahavishnu Orchestra”. Their ingenious arrangements of the music of John McLaughlin proved remarkably successful both artistically and commercially and in 2008 the group released their second album “Radiotree”, a collaboration with Austrian accordionist and bandoneon player Klaus Paier. This time the focus was largely on original material composed either by Paier or by members of the quartet.

Rigmor Gustafsson & Radio String Quartet Vienna

On “Calling You” the material is a mix of inspired covers from both the jazz and pop songbooks plus a smattering of original material from both Gustafsson and members of the quartet. The quartet’s line up remains unchanged with Johannes Dickbauer and leader Bernie Mallinger on violins, Cynthia Liao on viola and the extraordinary Asja Valcic on cello. RSQV break pretty much all the rules for a string quartet, playing pizzicato almost as much as arco and generating an incredible rhythmic drive, much of this due to Valcic in the proverbial engine room. The level of technical skill displayed by the players is astonishing and their arrangements, shared between Mallinger and Dickbauer, are always adventurous and colourful. No wonder the press release states that the group have “totally redefined the string quartet genre”. What is amazing is the ease with which the quartet dovetail with the voice of Gustafsson to produce something unique. It all sounds perfectly natural and what might have been a musical disaster area is, in fact, a huge success.

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The ensemble commence with a wistful,slowed down version of Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years”. The quartet complement Gustafsson’s voice superbly and shine in a spectral instrumental middle passage. The imaginative arrangement and Gustafsson’s delivery bring out the pathos in Simon’s lyrics. It’s a stunning version of the song.

RSQV know how to have fun as well as how to emote. The jazz standard “Makin’ Whoopee”, a tune Gustafsson has covered previously, gets the playful treatment complete with buzzing strings and scat vocals.

Gustafsson’s own “Goodbye For Now” could be a jazz standard and features the singer at her most flirtatious. There’s even the sound of whistling (Gustafsson presumably) over the sound of massed pizzicato strings.

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It’s back to the serious approach for Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”. Gustafsson’s yearning vocal brings out the sense of loneliness expressed in the lyrics.
The brooding string arrangement complements her perfectly and in it’s way this is just as radical an interpretation of the tune as that of the White Stripes.

By way of contrast Valcic’s “Fancy Nancy” is a joyous romp with Gustafsson camping it up above furiously sawing strings. It’s a bit throwaway but great fun.

The ensemble like to mix moods and styles and no two tunes follow the same pattern. Their version of Stevie Wonder’s “If It’s Magic” is achingly beautiful, Gustafsson’s pure vocal augmented by an unusually “straight” string arrangement. Immediately afterwards Richard Bona and John Legend’s “Please Don’t Stop” marks a return to the playful, flirtatious approach complete with finger snaps.

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Gustafsson’s album notes state that the group merely picked songs that meant a lot to them regardless of genre and classification. However they do seem to have a particular affinity for the works of Bacharach and David. A remarkable reworking of “Close To You” imbues the song with an ethereal sense of wonder, it’s fragile and vaguely Bjork-ish in spirit if not in delivery.

Johannes Dickbauer’s writing contribution is the haunting “Wherever We Go” beautifully delivered by Gustafsson above Dickbauer’s own arrangement.

Joni Mitchell’s “The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines” with music by Charles Mingus is an altogether more challenging piece of work. Gustafsson’s virtuoso vocal performance and Mallinger’s grainy, sometimes dissonant arrangement are hugely effective on the album’s most extreme piece of work.

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Bob Telson’s much covered title track from the 1987 movie “Bagdad Cafe” also works supremely well. Gustafsson’s singing and Mallinger’s arrangement conjure up the emptiness of the desert highways referenced in the song’s lyrics. I’m not familiar with the other covers by the likes of Celine Dion and George Michael but I’d imagine they pale in comparison to this.

“Nothing’s Better Than Love” is Gustafsson’s second writing credit. She deploys semi spoken hipster vocals and the playing by the quartet is typically sparky but it’s not one of the record’s most memorable cuts.

Given that the bulk of the songs covered on the album are the work of Americans Gustafsson redresses the balance with the closing item, a beautiful rendition of the traditional Swedish folk tune “Ack Varmland Du Skona”. Gustafsson sings in her native tongue, it’s a nice touch from a vocalist who has made herself so much at home in the American idiom.

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When RSQV took their Mahavishnu project on the road they won fulsome praise for the quality of their live performances. Together with Gustafsson they are currently touring the music of “Calling You” around Europe and it’s likely that further plaudits will be forthcoming. Listening to the album it’s apparent that this combination of voice and instruments should make for a hugely impressive live show.

The album itself is a highly impressive piece of work and as I’ve intimated it should work very well live. Whether it’s the kind of album that will remain a regular favourite after the initial sense of admiration/novelty has worn off I’m not yet certain but there’s no doubt that the singing and playing is of the highest order. (by Ian Mann)


Rigmor Gustafsson (vocals)
Radio String Quartet Vienna:
Johannes Dickbauer (violin)
Cynthia Liao (cello)
Bernie Mallinger (violin)

01. Still Crazy After All These Years (Simon) 4.31
02. Makin’ Whoopee (Kahn/Donaldson) 3.54
03. Goodbye For Now (Gustafsson) 3.16
04. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (David/Bacharach) 3.57
05. Fancy Nancy (Valcic) 2.29
06. If It’s Magic (Wonder) 4.03
07. Please Don’t Stop (Legend/Bona) 4.03
08. Close To You (David/Bacharach) 4.16
09. Whenever We Go (Dickbauer) 5.24
10. The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines (Mitchell/Mingus) 4.42
11. Calling You (Telson) 5.04
12. Nothing’s Better Than Love (Gustafsson) 3.28
13. Ack Värmland Du Sköna (Tradional) 5.41
14. Calling You (Telson) 5.18



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Various Artists – Magic Moments 6 – In The Spirit Of Jazz (2013)

FrontCover1Some Informations about the legendary ACT Label from Germany:

“After nearly twenty years as a top executive for Warner International, I finally decided to realise my biggest ambition of all – to form my own record company recording the kind of music I loved – jazz!” With this statement, Siggi Loch ended his high-flying career as an executive within the international music business, and started again as boss of an independent record label. At the age of fifty it was a major mid-life career change, but with the launch of the ACT label it was the realisation of a dream that had taken him into the music business in the first place.

The establishment of ACT took place at a time when the internet was beginning to take-off. In the subsequent decades the international music business would be eroded by CD burning and later illegal downloading, and the market would shrink by half. In contrast to this trend, ACT has become one the most ”most critically acclaimed and internationally respected independents of the current era“ (Jazzwise).

More than twenty years later, the project that started in 1992 is a huge success story: “Music for people with open ears and an open mind,” says Siggi Loch and with this guiding principle in place, he set off on his chosen path. The beginning was a truly an adventure, as working with innovative and unconventional music is always a challenge and of course a big financial risk. But it is only when artists and listeners are open to new sounds that ‘magic moments’ are born, of which there are many in the twenty years of ACT history with artists like Nguyên Lê, Esbjörn Svensson, Nils Landgren, Michael Wollny, Viktoria Tolstoy, Lars Danielsson, Wolfgang Haffner and Youn Sun Nah inspiring and changing the music world. Twenty years of magic musical moments across more than 350 releases. Twenty years in which European jazz became a major force in the world of music, with the ACT label playing a major part in this process. And twenty years in which ACT also became one of the most popular European jazz labels, which the people’s choice award for Jazz Label Of The Year at the German ECHO Award in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 proves. (Sigi Loch, ACT Records)


Manu Katché + Sigi Loch, 2014

The 6. edition of the popular Magic Moments series by Germany’s jazz label of the year 2010-2012 (ECHO award). In 2013 again under the motto “In the Spirit of Jazz”:Music far from fixed styles. Sometimes more, sometimes less jazzy. Between the genres, whether classical music, rock or pop. On the pulse of time and beyond. With established ACT stars and promising newcomers. Music for open ears, for the mind and soul. And for everyone who loves good music.

01. Bugge Wesseltoft & Henning Kraggerud: Margit Hjukse (Traditional) 3.19
02. Jacob Karlzon: Fool´s Gold (Karlzon) 3.44
03. Youn Sun Nah: Lament (Nah) 3.39
04. Wolfgang Haffner: Melodia Del Viento (Haffner) 4.11
05. Vincent Peirani, Michael Wollny & Michel Benita: Waltz For Jb (Mehldau) 5.33
06. Adam Baldych & The Baltic Gang: The Room of Imagination (Baldych) 6.28
07. Torsten Goods: Someone Like You (Adkins) 5.04
08. Dieter Ilg, Rainer Böhm & Patrice Heral: Glocken (Wagner) 3.49
09. Christian Muthspiel: Tears of Love (Muthspiel) 4.10
10. Céline Bonacina: Bayrum (Bonacina) 4.08
11. Cæcilie Norby: Stepping Stone (Booker/Duffy) 3.30
12. Klaus Paier & Asja Valcic: Troubadour (Paier) 3.36
13. Arne Jansen: The Great He Goat (Jansen) 2.52
14. Morten Qvenild: Birch Song (Qvenild) 4.41
15. Iiro Rantala & Leszek Mozdzer: Suffering (Danielsson) 6.32
16. Radio String Quartet: Volcano for Hire (Zawinul) 5.16