Edith Lettner composes music for band projects, film and theater.
In 2005 she founded her own ensemble Freemotion, in 2010 the African Jazz Spirit project in Senegal, and in 2018 the quintet Delight in New York. To all three projects she contributes her own compositions in very special ways.
Edith Lettner’s interests lie primarily in jazz, free improvisation, African music and music from diverse regions in the Middle East. She plays alto and soprano saxophone and duduk, an Armenian woodwind instrument. She very intuitively brings her unique and distinctive style to the cooperation with numerous bands, both during live performances and CD recordings.
Her frequent collaboration with musicians from other cultures and artists from other art genres has made her an incredibly versatile artistic personality.
Techniques: water colors, oil paintings, drawings.
She has exhibited her work in many galleries and venues in Europe, North America and Africa and has staged painting performances in collaboration with various jazz musicians. Her music and painting cross-fertilize each other. Motion, dynamic, intense expression and improvisation form the bridge that interconnects her two artistic genres.
“When it comes to incorporating various ethno-musics – particularly those culled from the African and Middle Eastern diasporas, respectively-then recontexualizing them through the lens of modern jazz and asserting a definitive voice, Edith Lettner has few peers.
The Austrian alto and soprano saxophonist accomplishes the lofty artistic pursuit with graceful ingenuity, as she fronts her longstanding combo, Freemotion. She wields a grainy, vigorous tone on saxophones, and often favors searing melodies that brim with braying and growling dissonance. And while the compositions on Taking Off undoubtedly tilt toward the avant-garde, the music still can swing hard.
It’s on Lettner’s “Treibholz/Driftwood,” the disc’s final cut, however, that it seems as if all of the band’s powers coalesce. Recorded live in Vienna during 2016, the episodic composition features Lettner play ing the duduk (an Armenian double-reed instrument) and alto, as the rhythmic pulse continuously morphs while the ensemble crafts alluring melodicism, virtuosic showmanship and surging emotional warmth.”
– John Murph – Downbeat Magazine, July 2018
The vibrant new album of improvisational music, We Q, by Edith and electro-acoustic artist and singer Dafna Naphtali was released on Sept 25th. It was recorded at the Doland Studio on the NYU campus in Manhattan, and released by the Danish label, CLANG. To find out more and sample this unique, innovative music click on the link below
Edith and her fellow Voyagers musicians Yacouba Sissoko (kora and vocals) and Banning Eyre (guitar) completed their first studio recording session in mid February. The resulting CD on the Afropop label was due out late last summer but Covid 19 disruptions have caused significant delays. Edith hopes to post a new release date soon.
Edith and Beate Reiermann (acoustic guitar) will record their first Travel Diaries CD this winter, to be released on the artdailogue label. Theirs has been a long-time collaboration performing all original compositions, and it’s time their wonderful music reached a larger audience.
Edith has been back in Austria since the first week in August, returning from Canada to a packed schedule of gigs; many of these were originally scheduled in the spring but postponed due to Covid 19. There is still much uncertainty in the air about scheduling future events from November on as a spike in infections could result in forced cancellations at anytime. I should note that during rehearsals and performances Edith has been taking what safety precautions she can to remain safe. Generally music venues here have been following prescribed guidelines for masks and social distancing.
The NEW ADVENTURES section was updated June 10, 2020
Phone: Europe +43 699 123 60 207,
North America 916 477 1391