The passing on of the fire

First of all: Our new For Free Hands feat. Alaa Zouiten CD “The passing on of the fire” was just the “Jazzalbum of the week!” at NDR Kultur!  THANK YOU! We are very happy!

With Vladimir Karparov, Diego Piñera, Roberto Badoglio and Andreas Brunn, FOR FREE HANDS is perceived as part of the international jazz community living in Berlin. Alaa Zouiten is another very interesting instrumentalist who represents the musical traditions of Morocco and modern oud sounds in equal measure.

FOR FREE HANDS was booked a few years ago for the Jazz au Chellah festival in Morocco, combined with the request to realise a project with the Moroccan oud virtuoso Alaa Zouiten. Our concert in front of about 2000 people was so successful that we decided to develop our musical encounter further. In this constellation, musicians from 5 nations are actually on stage.

I am very, very happy with the resulting music. All the colleagues have given a lot and a very beautiful, intense & colourful album has been created. One of my favourite quotes is “Tradition is the passing on of fire and not the worship of ashes.” (which is attributed to Gustav Mahler) This would of course be too long for a CD title. That’s why our new (now fifth) album is called “The passing on of the fire.”

This title fits very well for me in terms of our For Free Hands history from Hans Hartmann to the current CD with Alaa Zouiten. I also really wanted to remember Hans, who passed away in July 2022 after a long illness. That’s why his composition “Killer Joke” is on our album.

Chick Corea passed away in February 2021. A great loss for the jazz world! I am a big fan of his great music and wanted very much to work on a composition for our CD. That’s how the arrangement of “Armando’s Rhumba” in 9/8 came about.

The 2022 Jazz Studio Award won by FFH made the outstanding recordings by Tune In Studio possible. With his excellent work, sound engineer Peer Triebler contributed significantly to the realisation of the CD in the present very high quality.

One more sentence about the cover of the CD: In March, the amaryllis on my window bloomed again with fiery brilliance. Peter Cronemeyer from Laika Records and I were looking for a cover idea in the same period. During this period I woke up one morning with the intense image of the amaryllis blossom in connection with our instruments. My neighbour & friend Benjamin Metz, a good graphic designer, implemented this idea for our CD.

Acknowledgements: I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt – Abteilung Kultur, Berlin, which organises a very noteworthy jazz promotion in Berlin.

Andreas Brunn