Session Work Records

Christoph Pepe Auer is known as a musician who likes to take risks. Not only musically. Disappointed by the insufficient and unsatisfactory label landscape in the area of creative, contemporary jazz and improvised music, the bass clarinetist took the matter into his own hands and founded his own label Session Work Records in 2007. Initially solely intended for the publications of his own music, Christoph Pepe Auer soon also signed other musicians. In the fourth year of its existence, the label has established itself as one of the most important labels in the field of Austrian jazz.

Mainly young representatives of the stylistically sprawling Austrian jazz scene find their musical home base at Session Work Records. The bass clarinetist, whose releases are difficult to be assigned to one single category, tries to render his own musical understanding, which is open to all fields, as the superior program. As in his own music, the bass clarinetist defys  traditional style descriptions in the selection of musicians and bands . Work Session Records is a platform, on which musical paths can be followed outside the box of traditional conventions.

The idea for his own label originated in 2006 as a part of numerous sessions with New York musicians. This orientation, the merging of different cultural approaches and the inclusion of different musical ideas still has its effect today. Openness, the joy of experimentation, not being afraid of new ideas, the courage to cross boundaries, and a cosmopolitan attitude serve as landmarks. It is important for Christoph Pepe Auer to keep the catalog of his label as versatile as possible. As the label’s boss, the bass clarinetist does not want to establish a special sound. He rather wants to support groups of artists with certain relations. In addition, he is not primarily interested in the commercial success of an album, but in the high quality and innovative power of music. Unlike many major companies, Christoph Pepe Auer gives  “his” artists have enough space to creatively express themselves and enough time to realize their own visions.

A glance at the names of the musicians and ensembles released  on Session Work Records clearly underlines Auer’s complex understanding of music . Besides his own stylistically very diverse publications, it is, among others, his  friend Manu Delago, who amazes with innovative and high-quality productions in the fields of jazz, world and pop music.

Whoever prefers more experimental and avant-garde music, is well served with the music of the quartet Phoen, friends of sophisticated singer/songwriter sounds with music from Julia Noah Fischer. Jazz in its purest form, with a high proportion of improvisation, is played by drummer Peter Kronreif. Classy big-band sounds are offered by the Jazz Orchestra of Vorarlberg. Elements of Alpine Sound Tradition wrapped in the jazz context can be heard by Felician Honsig-Erlenburg. Furthermore, the legendary guitarist Karl Ritter released his much acclaimed album “Weiße Wände” on Session Work Records.

Christoph Pepe Auer is once again responsible himself for the latest release of the label, “Colouring Book”. Together with Manu Delago, the bass clarinetist tried to take the next step and leave conventional sound concepts behind them. Overall, the duo recorded eleven songs that could not be more different in style and colourful in sound. The record includes multi-faceted compositions that sway between jazz and improvisation (Inflorescence I & II), as well as reworkings of songs from the popular Youtube “mega-hits” series, such as The Beatles’ classic Eleanor Rigby.

Although in recent years, a very fresh and lively jazz scene has been establishing itself in Austria , which is also recognized internationally, there is still unfortunately only a few platforms which carry this positive development. Fortunately there are people like Christoph Pepe Auer, who can not be discouraged by this fact and try to move something with a lot of enthusiasm. And in this case, with success.


Michael Ternai
translated from the German by Doris Miyung Brady