Book of Haikus

by Mark Pringle

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This album marks the end of two years studying around Europe between 2015 and 2017. It was a highly formative time for me, filled with important experiences and encounters with many extraordinary people. It went on to shape the course of my life in an unprecedented and positive way, for which I am grateful.

The project was born of a desire to bring together all my favourite musicians from each of the cities I had lived in. Jonas Engel (saxophone) from Copenhagen, Tristan Renfrow (drums) from Amsterdam, Arne Braun (guitar) and James Banner (double bass) from Berlin. Over one weekend in 2017 we met and intensively rehearsed the music, performed and recorded, mostly in single takes. This put us on our toes, and I think the music comes across the better for that. Some spontaneous reactions to unplanned musical events have become personal highlights of the album, and I listen back remembering the joy of making music with four individuals playing with such freedom, creativity and togetherness.

The compositions took inspiration from haiku poems by American author Jack Kerouac. I felt drawn to their freedom of form (they do not follow fixed syllable patterns) and the imagery they depicted. I began seeing numerous parallels between the idea of a musical sketch and a haiku, most notably an intent to communicate a meaning greater than the concise amount of material on the page. With this in mind I began writing musical sketches, coming up with seeds for composition that sometimes grew into longer forms, and othertimes stayed as minimal sketches which eventually served as jumping off points for improvisation.

Very very many thanks to: Jonas, Tristan, Arne and James for their musical contributions; Jesko Stüve for his time and generosity with the mastering; the people who put the EUJAM programme together and the JIB for giving me the opportunity to take part in it; the people I met while doing it, many of whom remain very dear to me; and my family who support me always and unconditionally. Finally a special mention to Sölvi Kolbeinsson who should have played 2nd alto but very sadly couldn’t due to illness!

The bottoms of my shoes

are clean

From walking in the rain

Dawn wind
in the spruces
- The late moon

Walking on water wasn’t
Built in a day

There’s nothing there
I don’t care

It is raining -
I guess I’ll make
Some tea


released December 15, 2019

Jonas Engel - Alto Saxophone
Arne Braun - Guitar
Mark Pringle - Piano / Fender Rhodes
James Banner - Double Bass
Tristan Renfrow - Drums / Objects

Recorded and mixed in Berlin, 2017
Mastered by Jesko Stüve, 2019

All compositions by Mark Pringle

Cover art by Mark Pringle


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Mark Pringle Berlin, Germany

Mark Pringle is a pianist and composer from the UK, based in Berlin and working in the fields of jazz and improvised music.

"An exceptionally gifted pianist and composer, and a remarkable improviser" - John Taylor

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