Jazzpodium to the new CD 10-2023: “A melange of Maghrebian folk music and European jazz was already attempted ten years ago by Joachim Kühn and Majid Bekkas, and Charles Lloyd and Anouar Brahem from Tunisia could also be mentioned here. The guitarist Andreas Brunn goes several steps further and integrates the Moroccan oud player Alaa Zouiten so perfectly into his urban fusion jazz quartet For Free Hands that a truly new, original form of music emerges, far beyond all attempts at world music symbiosis and all too narrow genre boundaries. … In passing on the fire, the five Free Hands musicians from Italy, Bulgaria, Uruguay, Morocco and Germany quite deliberately do not ignite a devastating conflagration, but rather subtle, lasting and emphatic sound worlds that remain in the ear with far-reaching lighthouse or landmark character.” Rainer Bratfisch

Jazzmagazin Jazzthing to the new CD : “Rhythmically sophisticated pieces please the ear of even the most demanding listener, beautiful melodies characterise compositions. Diverse, colourful, grooving, casual – the five musicians from five countries offer catchy, urban jazz with a good portion of oriental ingredients here.” Christoph Giese, Jazz thing 150 to the new CD : “On a work peppered with fresh material, Andreas Brunn makes use of a broad instrumental arsenal. The result is a great album in the border area between jazz and fusion with jazz-rock excursions. I like the guitarist’s nimble solos in interplay with the saxophone, which is supported by Alaa Zouiten’s oud. A great album, we are thrilled!”

The Belgian jazz magazine Jazzhalo on the new CD 11-2023: “Andreas Brunn has always had a soft spot for crooked time signatures and compositions in which two meters seem to work against each other. This is the case in the piece “Brotherhood of 7”. The saxophonist’s virtuoso playing is outstanding, as he shows off his “twisted sound lines”. But Brunn’s elaborate string playing also plays a large part in the tonal formations of the piece. At first hearing, “Hada Makan” is reminiscent of a dance, characterized by the string sounds of the oud, which is highlighted as a soloist. This is followed by the lines of the electric bassist and the playful tone syllables that the guitarist contributes to the piece. What we hear sounds very cheerful. And it’s easy to imagine a scene with snake charmers, dancers and musicians in one of Morocco’s traditional cities, such as Meknes or Fez.” Ferdinand Dupuis-Panther

Liverezension : In Südthü about our concert at the Jazzclub Ilmenau June 2023 : “A part of the Berlin jazz community delights the audience in Ilmenau: “For Free Hands” with the Moroccan musician Alaa Zouiten give the first of three summer concerts of the jazz club on Friday. … Not only traditional oud tones can be heard from Zouiten, but he and his instrument also fit sincerely into the more modern pieces of the band “For Free Hands” and his facial expression literally screams: “I love what I’m doing here”. Compositions by the Moroccan Berliner-by-choice can also be heard on Friday, such as “Thanx Kenny”, which the band already played live together in Morocco in the past. …

After prolonged applause, an encore follows, and Brunn is visibly pleased to note that the band’s jazz, which is not intended as dance music, is danced along to by many of the guests in a lively and persistent manner. Michael Möller, the chairman of the jazz club, sums up the evening on a positive note: “The most important thing for us is the music and the good feeling we get when we can put on an event like this with great musicians who are highly regarded in the jazz scene.”

Modernícolas, Malaga: FOR FREE HANDS @ MALAGA JAZZ FESTIVAL: “… a New Way of understanding the Jazz … Synergy is the word to define this Berlin quartet. For Free Hands stands for contemporary jazz. This impressive quartet hit with his music, which united different cultures, all present in their spell …“ Javier Martínez

Anis Hajjam (Telquel – Casablanca) “This lutenist Alaa Zouiten is one of the most gifted of his generation. A devotee of a reflective musical incorporation of many influences, he contributes with a sincerity one would like to see more often.”

Aziz Sehmaoui (Paris) “Alaa Zouiten is a hard worker, a great musician. A connoisseur like we rarely meet. His love is to speak and shout with the oud. He plays with great passion.”

Gaildorfer Rundschau: “… Specialist in infernal rythyms – effusively, intoxicating– that´s how the quartet “For Free Hands” presented themselves. The polymetric concepts produced an unusual tension in the music. When in “Magic Friday” guitar- and saxophone cadences mixed over a 13/16 beat, the musicians took it like ducks to water. “For Free Hands” left the audience flabbergasted. …”

Kieler Nachrichten: “The Fantastic Four in the Balkans noise“ … The exceptional saxophonist Karparov understands it in a unique way to combine the traditional, sometimes oriental-style way of playing his home with innovative jazz technique. Bandleader Andreas Brunn, alternately armed with 7-string acoustic guitar and electric guitar, calling repeatedly awake memories of John McLaughlin. His play and his talent for composition are profound and intelligent wit; a Jazz fugue like “Wizards‘ Cube” finally writes not of itself. …”

Westfälische Zeitung: “… The ensemble FOR FREE HANDS to the known strings virtuoso and composer Andreas Brunn offered the enthusiastic audience with his energetic way of playing a best example of contemporary jazz. In a true “Kaleidoscope Freedom”, the quartet showed his view of the world, appeared sound-picturesque images of haunting beauty. …“

Braunschweiger Zeitung: “ … Is For Free Hands a programmatic name? Approximately unrestricted freedom of musical expression? Well, the music brings it to light. For example, “Perpetuum 5”. Slow onset, stepping up the pace. Very fast chord changes, in any quarter time, if not on the eighth. Andreas Brunn ‘s guitar solo: In the best John Scofield style, liquid melody lines and rapid chord changes merged. … “

Rhein Press: “… “For Free Hands” combines searing friction full improvisation with folk, help themselves among rock, pop and classical and suck hungry honey from the avant-garde. With all his senses to their traditional roots, the musicians look far forward. Four musicians from three nations who take at stage, as equal active players, all the freedom in the world to do with their instruments what is possible. Four restless commuters! …”

Lausitzer Rundschau: “East and west can meet at eye-level, and at least musically, together have something to say. The proof for that is the german-bulgarian-grecian ensemble For Free Hands, playing together with Floros Floridis (Sax, Clarinet) and Alaa Zouiten (Oud). Bandleader Andreas Brunn has a soft spot for odd metres and polyrhythms found in traditional Bulgarian music. Thus “Magic Friday” is written in 13/16 time. Furthermore, there was an intensive encounter with the music of Floros Floridis and Alaa Zouiten. The musicians of For Free Hands and Alaa Zouiten got to know each other during performances in Morocco. The German Society supports the concert tour “Encounters between Orient and Occident”. …” L. Hoberg

Jazzpodium CD Review “… Andreas Brunn is a committed guitarist and composer, an active bridge builder and reconciler, and especially fond of the East, Bulgaria nota bene. … “Perpetuum five” comes as electrified postbop, grippier, more angular, edgier, nastier, angrier, jazzier. That’s where Karparov and Brunn are particularly lively and striking. “Alexander Schmitz