What better way can there be to spend the 2nd Day of Christmas than crouching down in front of the fireplace, sipping on a cold one, sampling Christmas cookies leftover while enjoying the “choons” Tom Glagow spins on PopStop.fm? For the life of me, I can’t think of a better one, all spells quality time in my text book. Speaking of text: Find the setlist of the tunes still coming up here. Wow, this feels great! I must have fallen in a time wormhole or something. Got totally transported back to the 80ies as early as this afternoon – and some of it continues right into the night. Tune in, if you’re near a router, broadband connection, iPod, iPhone, home stereo!
Die Münchner Jazz-Chanteuse Eva Pantelli im Interview auf Bayern 2. Wer’s noch nicht wußte: Letztes Jahr ist sie spontan bei Bobby McFerrin und Chick Corea eingestiegen und hat performt! Hab das Video leider nicht gefunden. Also Interview anhören!
I’m totally looking forward to seeing Torsten Goods perform at Bürgersaal Feldafing this coming Saturday! Much like above linked PR info and album liner notes already describe, Torsten Goods manages to blend all the iconic guitar talent that clearly informs and defines his style into the one homogenous phenomenon that he is: Passion meets a rich music foundation meets precise delivery and solid, thoroughly honed chops, which he presents with an innocent joyfulness reminiscent of children at play – it’s no surprise that press tout him as a performer with “talent galore”. But his talents don’t stop there, seeing as he wrote seven out of the total of 14 songs himself, which made the cut from no less than 40 original compositions, all of which he has written over the course of roughly two years that took him away from his current city Berlin to London in an endeavour to expose himself to a new environment and new inspiration to draw from.
Above introduction to Good’s latest work is a mindblowing read of a fast started career that kicked into higher gear from one year to the next. It is all the more remarkable in this context that Goods afforded himself a two-year hiatus prior to his current release in order to reexamine the trajectory his musical path followed and in order to possibly reassess where he was going. We feel delighted as well as relieved to hear him say about this CD that the Jazz club circuit is where his heart is and that Love Comes to Town is so far the most authentic and complete rendition of his artist personality. It gets almost scary to fathom the future material he might come up with after treating us to an effort that already sounds so mature, so well-balanced and at the same time relaxed that you can’t help but arrive at the feeling you’re listening to an all-time classic that’s been around forever, leaving its well deserved mark on music history as it weaves an effortless thread throughout the different musical eras and styles Goods boasts as his musical education. Well, as far as we’re concerned: Love Came to Town and firmly claimed its place in our collection of all time favorites!
For more information, follow above links and see his touring schedule.
(Images and linked copy courtesy of ACT Music, copyrights remain with their respective owners. Copy as published here © W. Nieke, 11/2013)
Who would have thought that Bayerischer Hof Nightclub turns into a Lower Manhattan-type Jazz club on a random Tuesday night? But Michael Nitsch and his band of brilliant collaborators on the band stand made exactly that happen with natural ease and verve.
We had saved the date for weeks looking forward to Michael Nitsch presenting his recently released CD “Time“, which he masterminds as a leader while having the finest music talent of the “Northernmost Italian city” in the South of Germany collaborate on the album.
Opening the set with the first cut from the album, “Dawn“, the band set the tone right away for what was to become a state-of-the-art concert that confirms Bayerischer Hof Nightclub as one of the leading contemporary Jazz venues of the world. While Nitsch on lead guitar and Götz Grünberg on tenor saxophone wove a light-hearted mid-tempo theme, Patrick Scales on bass and Guido May on drums had a rock solid four-on-the-floor groove with a funky edge going from bar one, cleverly interspersed with off- and counterbeat accents, thus providing the rich rhythmic, dependable tapestry the soloists could break away from. And speaking of solos: While each of the collaborating performers proved their reputation as a-list talent being on promoters’, booking agents’ and studio owners’ speed dial, they even grew beyond their already impressive performances on the album, clearly enjoying themselves that night and bursting at the seams with energy and raw joy of performing!
“Freedom“, the second tune on the album and on the setlist, opened on a sophisticated, funky slapped bass theme exquisitely delivered by Patrick Scales and joined in on by the band after four bars, going into a Fusion-informed main theme seasoned with some (Blues-) Rock guitar riffs that speak of the diverse music foundation Michael Nitsch is inspired by. With “Dawn” leaning towards mid- to uptempo, Freedom sported a more laid back, “pumping” beat that highlighted Scales’ and May’s “in the pocket” playing, impressively revealing their longstanding musical companionship as a highly sought after rhythm section.
Further exploring Nitsch’s musical influences, “Uncle Jack” took us right into the era of outstanding Bluesrock “stringslingers” the likes of which Nitsch so authentically channels through his guitar playing, while leaving his own personal signature on each of these styles. The intro to this tune gave Tino Derado one of his many shining moments that night by having him open the song on eight bars of improvising on an alterated turnaround chord progression sitting on top of a swung rhythm with a shuffle feel to it. Again, Scales’ and May’s playing fit like hand-in-glove as you’d expect of a well-versed and thoroughly experienced rhythm section.
The band closed out the first set on the title track “Time“, a contemplative Jazz ballad demonstrating the breadth and depths of musical interpretation of each of the artists, particularly so with May’s delicate handling of the brushes as well as Grünberg’s precise command of the reed.
Having listened to the incredible drum solo Guido May delivered on “They Will Return“, which sees the bass line accompany May’s most sophisticated offbeats and polyrhythmic kick and snare drum hits all throughout, one might have wondered what rendition of this challenging part of the cut they might come up with in a live setting. It was refreshing to see them throw in well-calculated fermatas on the one to keep the time of the song, thus most cleverly also keeping the audience’s attention firmly focussed on the drummer.
In order to relax a bit from this high energy tune with plenty of masterful soloing going on, Overberg, a composition contributed by Götz Grünberg, took us to calmer waters of the Jazz ocean tempowise, featuring Grünberg with a superbly structured, tension building solo channelling an influence most sax players will inevitably have to mention as a formative one: John Coltrane. Dynamics, tone, most refined musical expression are the qualities that need to be attributed to all band members and which became obvious in the most extraordinary way again during Grünberg’s solo.
Followers of Michael Nitsch’s Facebook profile will have noticed a number of inspirational posts drawing on the history of Native Americans. One might infer that the title “Wounded Knee” was at least in part informed by this stretch of early U.S. history and it starts on a chord progression delivered with a wah-wah guitar, thus adding another flavor to the mix of styles and episodes of music history. It wasn’t hard to see the band’s leader thoroughly enjoy himself while blasting out a whaling guitar solo that effortlessly connected Fusion with straight Rock and all the way back again.
Mousie is the closing track on the album and it marked the end of the second set that night as well, reiterating a straight Bluesrock informed chord progression and the shuffle feel typical of that genre, which certainly is Michael Nitsch’s musical forte.
Undeterred by some audience leaving after the second set in order to get an early start during a typical work week, the band performed a scintillating third set well after midnight, playing original Nitsch compositions as well as tunes by his and his band members’ musical role models, the likes of whom span Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Robben Ford to name just a few.
What better way is there to turn an otherwise slow Tuesday night into a memorable evening than by treating oneself to a show packed to the brim with music talent, tasteful delivery and inclined listeners who really appreciate what they’re seeing and listening to? I can’t think of a better option. Kudos to the band, the venue and – the audience for keeping refined music a defining aspect of our culture.
©W. Nieke, Oct. 2013
Michael, who originally hails from Cologne, Germany, was introduced to Jazz and taught his first guitar chords by his father Wolfgang. Music luminaries like Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Jim Hall, Tal Farlow and Kenny Burrell found their way into Michael’s music ear as early as age 12. During his later teen years, he also caught the “Blues bug” through music icons like e.g. B.B. King, Albert King, Albert Collins and Jimi Hendrix. But a pivotal moment was his listening to the 1988 Robben Ford CD release “Talk to Your Daugther”, when he discovered through Ford how to blend Jazz and Blues into one organic fusion of styles.
As Michael honed his skills by playing countless live and studio gigs, particularly after having moved to Munich in 1998, he found opportunities to reap the rewards of his efforts by founding the lounge pop band “Fat’s Jojo Magic” first and getting hired as lead guitarist with the “Donelly Blues Band”. However, he has come into his own with the Michael Nitsch Band, sporting the finest German music talent and with whom he continues to exhilirate musical audiences at renowned music clubs and festivals throughout the country.
Other than touring and playing extensively, Michael hands down his expertise to students of the guitar, who benefit not only from his live and studio experience, but his formal education at MGI Cologne as well. In order to learn about live appearances, please also notice the band’s Facebook page. And last, but not least, treat yourself to this fine piece of music by taking a sneak listen on his website and ideally proceding to the purchase link.
Sweet Jesus, Lord help me! This is where the bar is at in terms of… well, pretty much everything, e.g. instrumental virtuosity, groove, creativity/artistry, stage presence/presentation, oh and not to forget: FUN! Germans, you’re in for an extra treat! Find upcoming and current tour dates at Torsten’s website.
Ooohwow! (with a long aspirated “ooh” preceding the wow!) There she went and put everything into most articulate words I could have possible thought of myself. Giselle Minoli, writer, designer and creative individual at large herself, comments on a recent NY Times article that speaks of royalities from streamiing music and how unlikely it thus becomes, musicians should be able to support themselves through their art. This along with a recent thread on a similar subject – in this case downloads of ringtones – discussed on Darren Rahn’s Facebook profile (see his own website here) has one really wonder about the reasons why certain artforms or genres have become so devaluated/exploited over recent decades. The observable reality almost lends itsself to concluding that the more training certain genres like e.g. Jazz or Classical music require, the less commercial value they seem have in the public eye. How is it possible that corporations fight over securing existing – and dated at that! – business models on the web, while at the same time ripping off the very contributors they derive their content from? (the latter goes for any digital content IMO, be it the written word, music, video, photography – they have all seen a sharp decline in yielding proper monetary revenue). What does this tell us about the consumer and the ways music, photography, arts in general are being perceived and consumed? My personal feeling is that with the availability of powerful technology in all these areas and said technology being made in ways that yield quick and fairly decent results, people might arrive at the assumption that any creative expression comes about as easily as merely pushing a play button, pressing a shutter, holding down a video record button or copying and pasting text. I think, it has to do with a general perception of “I can do this, too”, where those maybe subtle, but significant differences between e.g. a photography and a piece of art in photography are no longer seen, let alone appreciated. As goes for music: If I can come up with something sounding fairly decent using a piece of software instead of years of attending music school or college, years of honing the skill and practicing, some might conclude that making music is just that: Using nifty software, inviting a singer in, boom – you got a hit record! The list goes on for visual arts and other artforms, where available software makes the creative process appear like a doodle anyone with the most miniscule measure of creative talent can accomplish.
While I myself and in my capacity as a composer/musician/singer won’t cease to be amazed at the sheer power available technology puts in our hands, I can’t possibly be happy with the direction things seem headed in. About four and a half years ago I was convinced I’d be able to make a long standing dream come true, where writing and performing my own original music might at least make me a modest second income, ideally something to expand on and take to another level. Four and a half years later it looks less and less likely, I’ll get to make that break for myself. And I’m not the only one, of course, given the current situation.
I think, it was about time, we all began to question our general assumptions as to what value we typically attribute to the arts and culture in general. Have they become a commodity like the typical Starbucks Latte we pick up on the way to work in the morning? Do we take them for granted like clean water, electricity, heat in the house? Or housing and holding a job in the first place? Or is is the strain the general economic situation puts us under?
I don’t think, we’ll find an answer to all this right away. But it could be a start to look at our consumption behaviours in terms of enjoying music, film, visual arts etc.
Make sure you take advantage of the Smooth Jazz X-Mas Special: Place your reservation now and get a special “5-Years of Smooth Jazz Festival in Europe” anniversary T-Shirt for free! For more news, check out the link below. Smooth X-Mas!
My goodness, in my country boy’s innocent naiveté so thick you can cut it with a knife, I never saw this coming! How could I have even known for a split second that a bunch of young and young at heart Jazz crossover renegades would rob me – and with ease! – of my barely presevered inch of artistic self confidence only three songs into the concert, roll it into an imaginary doobie and suck it up their lungs backstage (only figuratively speaking, of course)? How was I supposed to see any of this coming in my post-post-post-puberty-like nervous anticipation? But let’s back up for a sec and create some context: What exactly had just happened?
Alright, we’re in the year 2012, stardate 09-06-12-09-00-pm-+2-GMT, at coordinates http://goo.gl/maps/mjMgG, which stand for internationally known and acclaimed Jazzclub Unterfahrt, Munich. On one of the cooler nights of the approaching fall season, a rather heterogenous demographic with mixed cultural preferences has gathered in the deep basement of Kulturzentrums Einstein, following a Facebook event invitation issued by Max Merseny and his posse of musical collaborators. Strictly speaking, each of these collaborators are musical heavyweights in their own right, who look back on a considerable number of renowned projects they have worked on or are currently a part of. For one, we have Christoph Holzhauser on drums, who currently works the drumsticks with Moop Mama, calls the beat with Matthias Bublaths Groove Connection, drums with Jazz in the City and is a highly sought after session and studio drummer. Claus Fischer, who travelled to Munich’s “Jazz Summer Week” from his current city Cologne, provided the deep notes on the bass and has largely come to national fame for his work with TV studio band of Stefan Raab’s “TV Total” show. He has also worked with Anastacia, Kylie Minogue, Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie and many more international artists and is also an internationally working music producer and studio musician. Guitar wiz Ferdinand Kirner, who has also worked with nationally and internationally known acts. whom we have in particular seen working with Max Herre (German HipHop-/Soul-/R&B producer and artist), Roberto Di Gioia, Samy Deluxe etc., completed the rhythm section and lived up to his reputation as a most versatile as well as musically experienced sideman, but who was also given the opportunity to showcase his skills as a sophisticated soloist with this formation. Matthias Bublath, who next to numerous of his own projects is also in high demand as studio musician and arranger, worked the Hammond B3 organ, piano and keyboards. While having lived in New York for seven years, he managed to establish himself in the Jazz scene there and thus caught the attention of Funk legend Mike Clark and Tower of Power-sax player Lenny Picket. Other than head of the band Max Merseny, who won the audience over from the first few bars both with charming emceeing and energetic solos, DJ, rapper, freestylin’ MC Roger Rekless worked the decks and found his way into listeners’ hearts right away with his impromptu rhyhmes – all of this set against the backdrop of an apparently sold out venue. And although Max Merseny seemed to mumble something about “warming up”, they hit it right off with the audience from the moment they got on stage – and in ya face!
As if it hadn’t been enough to process this richly filled musical package of energy, passion and groove, these guys put yet another log in the fire upon the second set: Guitar player and singer extraordinaire Torsten Goods, who had travelled from Berlin and whose list of references is equally well-stacked with internationally acclaimed artists, sort of channeled the musical essence of a young George Benson, a Biréli Lagrène, Norman Brown and more top-of-the-line guitar artists and fused them into a blend of his own. Although each of the well-merited musical “alpha males” on stage claimed their presence, Torsten managed to win stage and audience over for himself from the first notes he played. Musical ingenuity and pure energy bubbled from his solos by which he warmed himself up, playing along to a song from Max’s debut album “Thank Y’all”, and having arrived at maximum operation temperature no later than with “Weekend in L.A.“. This blast of talent and musicianship had me almost lose my composure! Was it possible you could top this? Sure thing! And they did by delivering a cover version of Toto’s classic “99″, chock full of groove and delicate rhythmics, which gave Torsten an opportunity to show off not only his skills as an instrumentalist, but his vocal wizardry, too, where his musicianship manifests again in a fashion that marries self confidence to a surprising measure of experience and technical finesse considering his young age. And needless to add that the glances from the female part of the audience in the direction of the stage confirmed his stage presence as reaching out to even the most remote seats in an apparently sold out “Unterfahrt”.
All of this goes to show that present guests witnessed an exceptional musical event and not only so by e.g. one of Max’s first mentors Axel Kühn, who payed homage to his musical protegée with a touching announcement and stressing his words through virtuoso musical onstage contributions to “The 4th”, another song of Max’s album. Their mutual respect climaxed in a musical “four by four battle of the saxes” later into the song. Even Jazz celebrities like e.g. Pete York of “superdrumming” as well as music journalist Oliver Hochkeppel, who writes for Süddeutsche Zeitung and JazzZeitung, wouldn’t have missed to check out Max Merseny’s band of musical aces.
If you got a chance, don’t miss out on the closing night of Summer Jazz Week at Unterfahrt, Munich. You’ll surely be rewarded with a concert, which is in a class of its own. To place a reservation go directly to Unterfahrt’s web site or show up on a wing and prayer. For more information on the artists, follow the links above or via this list below:
- Max Merseny und CD-Bestellung hier
- Matthias Bublath
- Christoph Holzhauser
- Claus Fischer
- Ferdinand Kirner
- Roger Rekless
- Torsten Goods
- Axel Kühn
Images of photographer Lena Semmelroggen with her unique way of portraying live music events will follow. Lena’s references include an exhibition of her work at Jazzclub Unterfahrt as well as feature reports in Sueddeutsche Zeitung and SZ Magazin.
And now for the fabulous images from Lena Semmelroggen’s lense:
©wesbound, September 2012, all rights reserved
Meine Herrschaften, damit hatte ich in meiner meterdicken Unschuld-vom-Lande-Naivität nicht gerechnet! Dass mir eine handvoll junger und junggebliebener Jazz-crossover-Renegades den mühsam genährten Rest an künstlerischem Selbstvertrauen nach spätestens drei Nummern im Konzert in die imaginäre Tüte rollen und – metaphorisch gesprochen – backstage durch die Lungenflügel ziehen, hatte ich in meiner post-post-post-pubertären Vorfreude doch nicht ahnen können! Aber eins nach dem anderen: Was war hier passiert? OK, wir schreiben das Jahr 2012, Sternzeit 06-09-12-21-00-+2-GMT, Koordinaten http://goo.gl/maps/mjMgG im international bekannten und geschätzten Jazzclub Unterfahrt in München. An einem der schon etwas kühler gewordenen Abende des heraufziehenden Herbstes hat sich ein demographisch und nach kulturellen Präferenzen reichlich heterogenes Publikum im Kellergeschoß des Kulturzentrums Einstein eingefunden, um auf die u.a. per Facebook publizierte Einladung Max Mersenys und seiner “posse” talentierter Mitstreiter zu reagieren. Genau genommen sind die Mitstreiter selbst allesamt echte musikalische Schwergewichte, die auf eine stattliche Zahl namhafter Projekte zurückblicken und/oder daran beteiligt sind. Da hätten wir zum einen Christoph Holzhauser an den Drums, der derzeit u.a. bei Moop Mama die Drumsticks schwingt, in Matthias Bublaths Groove Connection den Beat angibt, bei Jazz in the City drummt und auch sonst als Session- und Studiodrummer bestens gefragt ist. Die tiefen Töne lieferte während der “Summer Jazz Week” der aus Köln angereiste Bassist Claus Fischer, den man u.a. aus der TV-Total-Band bei Stefan Raab kennt, der aber auch schon mit Anastacia, Kylie Minogue, Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie und vielen anderen internationalen Künstlern zusammengearbeitet hat, sowie als Musikproduzent und Studiomusiker international tätig ist. Die Rhythmusgruppe komplettierte der ebenfalls bereits mit national und international bekannten Acts arbeitende Gitarrist Ferdinand Kirner, den man zusammen mit Max Herre, Roberto Di Gioia, Samy Deluxe als überaus vielseitigen und erfahrenen sideman erleben durfte, der aber in dieser Formation auch zeigen konnte, welche solistischen Qualitäten in ihm stecken. An der Hammond B3, Piano und Keyboards sass der den Münchner Jazz-Connaisseuren bestens bekannte und vertraute Matthias Bublath, der neben seinen eigenen Projekten ebenfalls als Studiomusiker und Arrangeur gefragt ist und sich während seines siebenjährigen Aufenthalts in New York auch dort einen Namen zu machen wusste, so dass Funklegende Mike Clark und der Tower of Power Saxofonist Lenny Picket auf ihn aufmerksam wurden. Neben Bandleader Max Merseny, der mit seinen charmanten Ansagen und energiegeladenen Soli das Publikum gewissermassen vom ersten Takt an für sich gewinnen konnte, hatte DJ, Rapper, MC und Freestyler Roger Rekless an den Decks und mit seinen Impromptu-Rhymes sofort einen Stein im Brett beim Publikum in der voll besetzten Unterfahrt. Und obwohl Max Merseny irgendetwas von “warm spielen” erzählte, ging das vom ersten Moment an ab – und zwar voll auf die Zwölf! Als wäre diese fette musikalische Packung an Energie, Leidenschaft und Groove nicht schon heftig genug zu verdauen gewesen, legten die Jungs ab dem zweiten Set nochmal kräftig nach: Dem aus Berlin angereisten und ebenfalls mit internationalen Meriten reich ausgestatteten Supertalent Torsten Goods an der Gitarre und Gesang, der gewissermassen die Essenz eines George Benson, Biréli Lagrènes, Norman Browns und anderer hochkarätiger Gitarrenkünstler der Musikgeschichte in sich vereint, gelang es auf Anhieb und trotz der anwesenden und bereits hochverdienten musikalischen “Alphatiere”, Bühne und Publikum vom ersten Ton an für sich einzunehmen. Mit vor Einfallsreichtum und Spielfreude strotzenden Soli spielte er sich zu dem Song “Thank Y’all” von Max Mersenys Debütalbum warm, um dann spätestens bei “Weekend in L.A.” zu absoluter Top-Form aufgelaufen zu sein, die dem Autor dieses Beitrags beinahe die Gesichtszüge entgleiten liessen… Kann man das noch toppen? Man kann, und zwar mit einer vor Groove und Feinrhythmik geladenen Coverversion des Toto-Klassikers “99″, bei der Torsten zeigen konnte, dass er nicht nur ein Instrumentalist von Weltklasseformat ist, sondern ein ebenso begnadeter Sänger, dessen Musikalität sich auch hier in einer Weise manifestiert, die Selbstvertrauen gepaart mit einem für seine Jugend überraschenden Maß an Erfahrung und technischer Finesse offenbart. Und natürlich verrieten auch die Blicke der Damen, dass Torstens Bühnenpräsenz sich bis auf den letzten Platz der offenbar ausverkauften Unterfahrt mitteilte. Dass die Anwesenden hier Zeugen einer Ausnahmeveranstaltung wurden, zeigte sich nicht zuletzt in der Ehrerbietung eines von Max’ ersten Mentoren, Axel Kühn, der seiner Freude über den Erfolg seines musikalischen Schützlings in einer persönlichen Ansage aufrichtigen Ausdruck und seinen Worten mit virtuosen Beiträgen zu einem weiteren Song von Max Album The 4th dann in Form eines “four by four battle of saxes” nochmal musikalischen Nachdruck verlieh. Und auch Jazz-Prominenz wie z.B. der von Superdrumming bekannte Schlagzeuger Pete York sowie Kulturjournalist Oliver Hochkeppel, der für seine Beiträge u.a. in der Süddeutschen Zeitung und JazzZeitung bekannt ist, liessen es sich nicht nehmen, Max Mersenys Superband einmal eingehender “abzuchecken”. Wer noch Gelegenheit hat, darf sich den heutigen Ausklang der Summer Jazz Week in der Unterfahrt keinesfalls entgehen lassen und wird zweifellos mit einem Konzert der absoluten Extraklasse belohnt werden. Reservierungen am besten direkt mit der Unterfahrt hier klarmachenoder auf gut Glück reinschauen. Weitere Informationen zu den einzelnen Musikern hinter den Links im Text sowie hier noch einmal gesammelt:
- Max Merseny und CD-Bestellung hier
- Matthias Bublath
- Christoph Holzhauser
- Claus Fischer
- Ferdinand Kirner
- Roger Rekless
- Torsten Goods
- Axel Kühn
Es folgen noch Bilder von Lena Semmelroggen, die sich mit ihrer unverwechselbaren Art der Livemusik-Fotografie schon eine Fotoausstellung in der Unterfahrt sowie Berichte in der Süddeutschen Zeitung und dem SZ-Magazin sichern konnte.
Und hier nun die fantastischen Bilder aus Lena Semmelroggens Objektiv:
©wesbound, September 2012, alle Rechte vorbehalten