Tag Archives: Saxophone

Artist Feature: Timo Vollbrecht

Composer and improvising jazz musician Timo Vollbrecht lives and works out of New York City and Berlin — collaborating with various musicians along with leading and performing with his own group. He discusses Reflection and Response as a multi-faceted concept, and highlights the subtle difference between creatively responding to specific experiences and responding to a collection of indistinguishable stimuli. Timo’s music represents the moment-based nature of improvisation as well as the decidedly trained character of composition. Check the dialogue and showcase of his work below!

Timo Vollbrecht

Some of my compositions are a direct response to an experience…Most of the time, however, my music responds to a conglomerate of different things that are often hard to distinguish. The beauty about improvised music is that you can respond to the very moment. This is what makes it so special – for musicians as well as for the audience.

– Timo Vollbrecht

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

TV: I was born in Stadthagen, a small town in Northern Germany. After living in Wyoming, Berlin, and Barcelona, I moved to New York in 2010. I am an improvising and composing artist, who plays saxophone and reeds. I live and workin between New York and Berlin, am involved in several projects and lead my own group.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

TV: Reflection can unveil your source of inspiration as an artist. If you take your time to reflect on your experiences in life, on your encounters with other people, their cultures, their points of view, your thoughts and especially your emotions and sensations, you have SO much to tell. The most important thing is to keep an open mind in life. Then, responding to your experiences in your art will happen naturally. If you are true to yourself, you will develop your own taste and thus, make your original musical decisions.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

TV: Some of my compositions are a direct response to an experience. An example is “Tale of Jordan”, which came into being during a Middle Eastern tour with my band. Among other places, we also played in Amman, Jordan, and took a bath in the Dead Sea. In Ramallah, during our concert on a roof top, the Muezzin next door started to chant and we spontaneously integrated his chanting into our free improvisation. “Tale of Jordan” reflects on these unforgettable moments. Most of the time, however, my music responds to a conglomerate of different things that are often hard to distinguish. The beauty about improvised music is that you can respond to the very moment. This is what makes it so special – for musicians as well as for the audience.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

TV: I have been composing music for my next album, which I will record in June, before taking off to an artist residence in Italy with my partner-in-crime, guitarist Keisuke Matsuno, where we will be working on a duo-program. Besides that, I am getting ready for a month-long European tour, which will start on April 3rd in Osterode, Germany, which happens to be my grandparents’ hometown.

Who or what inspires you?

 

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Artist Feature: Michael Summer

Michael Summer, one of our fellow Berkeley High School alumni, is a saxophonist whose journey has taken him through Santa Cruz , Berklee College of Music in Boston, and now New York City. Highlighting the importance and strength of Reflection and Response listening, Michael stresses the centrality of using his ears in his creative process. He also brings up the beauty that can result from artists who learn the difficult task of stripping away desires to participate in creative dialogue. A recent New York transplant, he’s been working in various local musical spaces, including playing with Tiger Speak , The Love Experiment, and MoRuf. We look forward to hearing more from these bands along with Mike’s plans to record solo material later on this year!

Michael Summer

Reflection and Response really is about listening for me. It’s a hard art, and seems to be a creative tool that is being less and less stressed these days. Whether it be in music, physical or digital art, dance, poetry, or day to day conversation and interaction, truly listening and being aware of what’s out there can be a very difficult thing to do.

– Michael Summer

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?
MS: Born in Oakland, CA and spent my high school years in Berkeley. Moved on to Santa Cruz for three years where I studied physics and later got involved in music and studying the saxophone. After living in a beach paradise, scooted off to frigid Boston where I went to Berklee College of Music and did jazz studies. Moved to Harlem in November of 2013 and moved to Brooklyn 2 weeks ago. I’m finally feeling settled into this glorious madness of a city.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MS: Reflection and Response really is about listening for me. It’s a hard art, and seems to be a creative tool that is being less and less stressed these days. Whether it be in music, physical or digital art, dance, poetry, or day to day conversation and interaction, truly listening and being aware of what’s out there can be a very difficult thing to do. The world of facebook statuses and twitter posts has made it easy to broadcast and yell out to the ethersphere with a minimum amount of dialogue and discourse at times. Honest interaction can be tough to come by. So whenever I’m playing with a group of musicians, or trying to help run a rehearsal, I really try to do my absolute best to listen for what the music needs and where everyone is falling into place in the moment that is being created. I love to make improvised music with friends and really create a conversation. If you can remove ego, the need to be self-satisfied, and put aside the hunger for validation, you can make some amazing things happen. It’s one of the hardest things to do in my opinion. And most people, myself included, are scared at times to open up in that honest way without letting your human desires get in the way of honest expression. It’s amazing to witness when it happens though, and an incredible thing to be a part of. This dude Thundercat gave one of the best performances I’ve ever witnessed about a month ago that left me on cloud nine.

One of my favorite interviews is with Bruce Lee where he discusses honest expression.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

MS: I’m in a hip hop group called Tiger Speak that I’m very excited about. We’ve been together for a bit now, and I think the concept of listening is really coming together for us. I can be a pain in the ass sometimes during rehearsals, trying to get the “mix” just right be it dynamics, fills, intonation, form, flow, or improvisation. Of course, micro-managing a piece of music or a group of musicians can be mighty dangerous artistically, so you really have to have a balance of letting people go and doing their thing and reining in the group as a whole. It’s really the collision of the technical and the artistic, the age old battle (or harmony) of the classical versus the romantic approach.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

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Feature: Jaime Echagüe

Gente! Es otro viernes y aqui en la serie de Features estamos muy entusiasmado de dar el bienvenido a una nueva voz. Jaime Echagüe nació en Madrid y sigue viviendo una vida artistica muy activa. Ha sido parte de grupos como “Flamenco en el vagon,” como multi-instrumentalista. Abajo se encuentra pensamientos y su perspectiva unica de Reflección y Respuesta!

People! It’s another Friday here at the LIFESTYLE and we are excited to pass the mic to a new voice. Jaime Echagüe is from Madrid and continues to live an active artistic life in the city. He has been a part of various groups such as “Flamenco en el vagon,” as a multi-instrumentalist. Peep the dialogue below for his words and unique perspective on Reflection and Response!

Jaime Echagüe

Reflexión hablando de las personas para mí significa mirarse en uno mismo, adentro. Y además lo asocio con paciencia y planificación...Respuesta para mi es exteriorizar, pero hacerlo como “respuesta” a unos estímulos externos, y como siempre estamos recibiendo estímulos estamos en constante respuesta.

Speaking in terms of people, reflection means to look within oneself, and is also associated with patience and planning…Response is to externalize and to do so in “response” to some outside stimulant. Because we are constantly receiving these stimuli we find ourselves in perpetual response.

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicos, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?


Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

JE: Soy originalmente del Madrid, he nacido en esta ciudad y me encanta. Lo anterior es en términos geográficos, pero cambiando de tercio y hablando de realidades personales estoy en un momento muy intenso de mi vida, tanto por lo que pasa alrededor como la gran energía y entusiasmo que tengo actualmente para hacer cosas. Cómo todos estoy buscando mi realización personal o acercarme a ella lo más posible, he hecho muchas cosas en la vida y me entusiasman muchas cosas, pero solo hay una cosa clara del todo La música para mí es muy importante y me acompañará toda mi vida, no dejaré de tocar nunca. No me cuesta asegurar esto pues es algo que me sale automático.

 JE: I am from Madrid, I was born here and I love the city. That’s in geographic terms. Speaking for myself, personally, I’m at an intense stage of my life because of what is going on around me and the great energy and enthusiasm I feel to make things happen. Like everyone, I am searching for personal meaning or at least to get as close to that as possible. While I have done many things in life and there are many things that interest me, only one thing remains clear above all. Music, for me, is very important and will accompany me all my life. I’ll never stop playing. This isn’t a difficult proclamation because it’s something I know to be true, something automatic.

Que quiere decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para ti?

What does “Reflection” and “Response,” mean to you?

JE: Reflexión hablando de las personas para mí significa mirarse en uno mismo, adentro. Y además lo asocio con paciencia y planificación. Para mi dos de las habilidades y capacidades más importantes que puede tener una persona para acometer sus objetivos en la vida

Respuesta para mi es exteriorizar, pero hacerlo como “respuesta” a unos estímulos externos, y como siempre estamos recibiendo estímulos estamos en constante respuesta. Somos emisores de respuestas que producen estímulos a nuestro alrededor. Lo que lleva a la interacción y como hablamos de música diré que esta es una de las respuestas más grandes que se puede dar en el “canal” de los humanos (en el que nos vemos sintonizados y nos entendemos)

JE: Speaking in terms of people, reflection means to look within oneself, and is also associated with patience and planning. For me, these are the two most important qualities one can have in accomplishing goals in life.

Response is to externalize and to do so in “response” to some outside stimulant. Because we are constantly receiving these stimuli we find ourselves in perpetual response. We are human transmitters of response that in turn produce stimuli of our own in our surroundings. These responses make up interaction and music, which is one of the most important responses that come through human receptors (through which we recognize and understand each other).

Cómo se mete tu música en esta definición?

How does your music fit in with that definition?

JE: Lo he ido introduciendo un poco en las preguntas anteriores, la música es una forma de expresión y de comunicación con los demás, ahí se engloba la respuesta, que es inmediata. La reflexión no me es tan fácil encajarla en algo concreto, es más amplia, puede ser la reflexión durante el proceso creativo, tanto improvisando como en diferido.

JE: I have started introducing a few ideas in the previous questions. Music is a form of expression and of communication with others that demonstrates universal, immediate response. I find it harder to come up with a concrete idea of reflection; it is a broader concept, perhaps reflection takes place during the creative process, whether improvised or recorded.

Que más estás haciendo actualmente? Que proyectos estás pensando trabajar próximamente?

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

JE: 
Mi actividad musical se centra en formarme, en técnica y armonía, para alcanzar la excelencia en mi sonido y técnica. Pero siempre dejo paso a la aventura, pues para levantar mi motivación necesito tocar, cuando no tenía nivel suficiente me defendía con la percusión y así conseguía estar metido en mundillo. Con todo esto lo que quiero decir es que sin tocar en público y otros músicos me aburriría y no me dedicaría a esto. Actualmente y aunque suene curioso estoy tocando en los vagones de metro flamenco de una cierta calidad con un cantor. Podéis escuchar algún tema nuestro grabado en:

 http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flamenco-en-el-vag%C3%B3n/409528255787146?fref=ts

Otros proyectos que tengo avanzando son:

Colaboración con Color And The Kids

 http://www.facebook.com/thecolorsandthekids?fref=ts

Una banda que podría pegar fuerte, Pendientes de inicio:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pendientes-de-Inicio/275486952535869?fref=ts

Y haber participado en la grabación del primer disco de Vivian García, cuyo trabajo conocéis bien en este blog

 JE: I am currently working on improving my technique and playing ability. However, I am always up for a little adventure and before I felt comfortable playing woodwinds I would get by on percussion – which is how I was first able to get into the world of music. What’s important here is that I would get bored without playing in front of people or jamming with other musicians. Without this interaction I wouldn’t be a musician. Though it might sound strange, I am currently performing flamenco with a singer on subway trains in Madrid. Here is a song we’ve recorded:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flamenco-en-el-vag%C3%B3n/409528255787146?fref=ts

Other projects I’m involved in moving forward:

Collaboration with Color and the Kids

http://www.facebook.com/thecolorsandthekids?fref=ts

A band that could do big things, Pendientes de Inicio

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pendientes-de-Inicio/275486952535869?fref=ts

I also have played on Vivian Garcia’s debut album, whose work appears on this blog.

Quien o que te inspira?

Who or what inspires you?

JE: Para en cuanto al saxofón me inspira el sonido de Stan Getz, el cual es sumamente peculiar. Y escuchar otra música, estoy escuchando mucho Nu Jazz pues me vuelven loco las rítmicas y el buen feeling que se consigue en esos temas. Es jazz para bailar, un toque de funk y buen rollo. También me vuelve loco la música de Nina Simone. Ahora mismo mi máxima sería sacar un proyecto en esa onda, tipo Saint Germain (muy recomendable), componer unas letras y hacer Nu Jazz con un poco de electrónica, mucho bajo y unas líneas de viento que hicieran moverse eróticamente a cualquiera . Ah y voz femenina…wow, eso sería genial¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

JE: In terms of the saxophone I find inspiration in the completely odd sound of Stan Getz. As for other music, I have also been listening to a lot of Nu Jazz; the intoxicating rhythm and groove drive me crazy. It’s Jazz that you can dance to with a touch of funk and good vibes. Nina Simone also drives me mad. Right now I would love to organize a similar project, perhaps something like Saint Germain (highly recommended). The idea would be to compose the lyrics and make Nu Jazz with a bit of electronica, a lot of bass, and some woodwind parts that would make anyone move erotically to the groove. Ah, and a female voice…wow, that would be sweet!!!!!!!!!

Hay algo más que quieres que sepa el Collectivo?

Is there anything else you would like the collective to know?

JE: Cualquiera debería dedicarse un poco a la música para ser más feliz

JE: Everyone should dedicate themselves [even] a little to making music in order to be happier.

Saludos a?

Shout out to?

JE: A toda la gente que me acompaña en esta aventura de la vida, que no es poca

JE: To all the folks that accompany me on this adventure of life, which is not a few.

Sin Ti (Letra original, guitarra: Alex Metroman / Vientos y percusión: Jaime Metroman)

Reflection and Response.

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