By learning to play african drum-rhythms I got to know the power of reiteration. African musicians don’t have a problem playing the same pattern for a long period of time. I learned to love this way of making music and I try to apply it in my music.

For western listeners, especially for musicians who were educated in western music repeating phrases is a big challenge. Due to our listening habits, we expect a melody on top of  a constant change of harmonic structures. The melody typically can represent a story. No matter if there are lyrics to a tune or not.

If you’re able to free yourself from this pressure do deliver what listeners expect to hear, you can dive into another world while playing and experience a “high” without taking any drugs.

I put together a band (piano, flute, accordion, bass, percussion and occasionally 5-string banjo/guitar or donsonngoni)

So here are my points about the music I want to play with my new band.

  1. Renouncement of a fast change of harmonic structures (“changes”). I don’t want to sacrifice harmony and dissonances though, and I expect the music to “groove”. You might argue that this kind of music feels static because the loss of changes. This is not necessarily so. Dynamics, tension and release are welcome, but they do not follow a scheme of certain number of bars. They are triggered by musical signals and musical dialogue.
  2. Changing elements (A-Part – B-part …) are not fixed by a certain number of bars, by by musical signals that are played spontaneously.
  3. African and afro-caribbean rhythms play a major role in our repertoire. On the other hand when playing freely odd rhythms appear “out of the blue”. These rhythms often have a certain charm, and I want use them.
  4. Experiencing creative moments in a musical dialogue with fellow musicians is my major drive to play music. There should be much space for improvisation and dialogue.
  5. Listening to each other and giving space to fellow musicians is essential. A good transparent sound is one basic feature of quality in music. We should take care of the sound we produce and  adjust to the overall sound as good as possible.
  6. We don’t play cover versions of other tunes.
  7. I want to lead this project and to make music that comes close to the ideas I described above. I’m dependent on the creativity of my fellow musicians.  I do not want to give orders, the idea is letting things grow in interchange. Time has come for  me to concentrate on pieces of my own and to play what I really like to play.  I don’t bother about indications like “right” or “wrong”. It’s important that we like what we play.
  8. Performance: Ideal would be a performance for a freely dancing audience. Goal is a dialogue between musicians and dancers.
  9. Names of the tunes: Its not so easy to name instrumental tunes. I had the idea to name the tunes after chemical elements of the periodic table. Actually there are 118 known elements – should be enough.

I don’t want these points to be understood dogmatically. They are pointing in the direction we should move.

Here’s a compilation of our current repertoire.