Frank Gratkowski

Frank Gratkowski's own page is also available
Photograph copyright Hyou Vielz.

Born in Hamburg, 1963; Soprano and alto saxophones, bass clarinet, flute.

Started playing the saxophone at 16 and following a period at the Hamburg Conservatory (Hamburger Musikhochschule) moved in 1985 to study at the Köln Conservatory of Music, graduating in 1990. In 1988 he joined the Workshop Ensemble led by Muhal Richard Abrams and worked with, among others, Klaus Konig. Following this came solo performances, membership of the Georg Gräwe GrubenKlangOrchester and a trio with Georg Gräwe and Achim Kramer. Key influences are Steve Lacy, Evan Parker and Anthony Braxton and he has studied with Lacy, Sal Nistico and Charlie Mariano.

Frank Gratkowski has worked as a soloist in various international formations (Grubenklang Orchester, Klaus Kšnig Orchester, Musikfabrik NRW, Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra, WDR Bigband etc.). Since 1990 he has given solo perfomances - with his solo programme he was a prize winner in the contest 'Musik Kreativ'. Since 1992 he has worked in a duo with pianist Georg Gräwe, and in 1995 founded the 'Gratkowski Chamber Trio' with English tuba player Melvyn Poore and German bassist Hans Schneider (a CD is expected in spring of 1996 on random acoustics) and another trio with Dieter Manderscheid, bass (Germany) and Gerry Hemmingway, drums (USA).

Furthermore he has preformed with Robert Dick, Herb Robertson, Marcio Mattos, Peter Kowald, Phil Wachsmann, Ray Anderson, Michael Moore, John Butcher, Greg Osby, Kenny Wheeler, Louis Sclavis, John Betsch, Jane Ira Bloom, Connie Bauer, James Newton, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ernst Reijseger, Radu Malfatti, Theo Jšrgensmann, Phil Minton, Mark Dresser, Mark Feldman, in a more conventional jazz field with the group Draft and, in a rather different context (rock-oriented/jazz rock), with the Franck Band.

What is apparent from the solo recording and the duo with Georg Gräwe cited below is the purity of tone that Gratkowski achieves, sometimes more reminiscent of classical rather than jazz or free playing. At the same time he appears intent on adding to this his own catalogue of schlurps (!) and sucking noises in addition to the free vocabulary of slap tonguing, multiphonics, key clicks and microtones. The excellent set of duets with Georg Gräwe should be missed on no account.



1989, Liebeslieder, JHM 35. The Franck Band.
1991, Stadtgarten series vol 5, JHM 1005 SER. Two tracks on compilation CD.
1990/91, Artikulationen, 2ndFLOOR 001. Solo alto and soprano saxophone.
1992, VicissEtudes, RA002. Frank Gratkowski/Georg Gräwe.
1992, Flavours, fragments, ITM Classics 950014. The GrubenKlangOrchester.
1993, Pele's Tears, RA004.
1993, Live, JHM 64. The Franck Band.
1993, Travelling birds, JHM 68. Draft.
1994, The enchanted messenger, Soul Note 121284. The Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra.
1994, Out of Jost's songbook, Fish Music FM 006. Ekkehard Jost Nonet.
1994, Switchbox, No man's land nml 9421. Frank Schulte.
1994-96, Some other tapes, Fish Music FM 009/010. Five tracks on Ekkehard Jost compilation.
1995, Tunes for horn guys, Ramboy #08. Michael Moore.
1995, Gestalten, JHM 83. Frank Gratkowski Trio.
1997, The flume factor, Random Acoustics RA 020. Frank Gratkowski Trio.
1997, Melodie und rhythmus, Okka disk 12024. Georg Gräwe Quartet.
1998, Loft exil 3, 2ndFLOOR CD NR 006.
1999, Quicksand, Meniscus MNSCS 007. Frank Gratkowski/Georg Gräwe/Paul Lovens.
1999, Nature morte, Leo Records CD LR 310. Simon Nabatov Quartet.
1999, Artikulationen II, 2ndFLOOR CD 009. Solo.
2000, Kollaps, Red Toucan RT 9317. Frank Gratkowski Quartet.
2000, GratHovOx, Nuscope Recordings CD 1012. Gratkowski/Van Hove/Oxley.
2000, Fabric, Umbrella 027. Micro-East Collective.
2001, Arrears, Red Toucan RT 9320. Gratkowski/Graewe/Lindberg.
2001, Spectral reflections, Leo Records CD LR 374.
2002, The voice imitator, Balance Point Acoustics BPA 006.
2002?, Noisy people, A film by Tim Perkis. Short sequence with Damon Smith and Jerome Bryerton.
2003, Facio, Leo Records CD LR 398.
2003, Foamy wife hum/Line, BBB 3/4. All Ears.
2003, Loft Exile V, Leo Records CD LR 410/411.
2003, Kwast, Konnex KCD 5129. Kaufmann/Gratkowski/de Joode.
2004, Unearth, Nuscope Recordings CD 1016. Kaufmann/Gratkowski/de Joode.
2004, Growing pains, BBB 6/7. Bik Bent Braam.
2004, A few incidences, Leo Records CD LR 446. Simon Nabatov Octet.
2004, Triskaidekaphonia, Leo Records CD LR 461. Gratkowski/Lehn/Poore.
2004, Orm, Umbrella 033. Gratkowski/Fox/Menestres/Davis.
2004, Mimetic holds, Balance Point Acoustics BPA 100.
2005, Vis-à-vis, Leo Records CD LR 476. Frank Gratkowski/Misha Mengelberg.
2005, Primordial soup, Red Toucan RT 9331. Carl Ludwig Hübsch.
2005, Sketches from the other side, for A.I., Ruby Flower Records RF01CD. Herb Robertson & The Space Cadets.
2005, Instant songs, Privately produced limited edition of 50 CDs. Frank Gratkowski/Sebi Tramontana.
2006, Celebrations, Leo Records CD LR 485. Gratkowski/Robertson/Nabatov/Manderscheid.
2006, Electronics, Zeitkratzer Records zkr 0006. Zeitkratzer/Keiji Haino.
2006, Palaë, Leo Records CD LR 504. Kaufmann/Gratkowski/de Joode.
2006?, Xenakis [A]live!, Asphodel ASP 3005. Reinhold Friedl/Zeitkratzer.
2007, Wake, Red Toucan RT 9336. Gratkowski/Brown/Winant.
2007, Electronics, Zeitkratzer Records zkr 0004. Zeitkratzer/Carsten Nicolai.
2007, Electronics, Zeitkratzer Records zkr 0005. Zeitkratzer/Terre Thaemlitz.
2007/10, All at once, Relative Pitch Records RPR1015, FPR.
2008, Extremen, BBB 10. Bik Bent Braam.
2008/9, Ardent Grass, Red Toucan RT 9340. Gratkowski/Anderskov.
2008/9, Songs from Aipotu, Leo Records CD LR 599. Shift.
2010, In just, Red Toucan 9341P. DuH.
2010, grubenklang. reloaded, Random Acoustics Book/DVD.
2012, 9 compositions for The Multiple Joy[ce] Ensemble, Red Toucan 9348. Matthias Schubert.
2013, Sounding dialectics, Creative Sources CS 281 CD. Frank Gratkowski/Udo Schindler.
2015, Sieben entrückte lieder, Creative Sources CS 339 CD. Vorfeld/Scott/Gratkowski.

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