Quite a few years ago I founded the project FOR FREE HANDS with international friends and colleagues in Berlin. Meanwhile the cast has changed several times and now, as initiator of this unique Jazzensemble, I am really happy to have the great musicians Vladimir Karparov (BG), Dimitris Christides (GR) und Georg Donchev (BG) on my side.
The band FOR FREE HANDS and of course especially its music is part of the international Jazz Community living in Berlin. There is rarely another City than this „Meltin Pot“ Berlin with its fascinating and colorful scenes, which attract so many artists from all over the world.
I arrived in Berlin in 1988, lived to see the Fall of the Wall and had the chance to develope my personal style in cooperation with musicians of nearly all continents. With the CD „Kaleidoscope Freedom“ a livelong dream came true.
A concept-CD with my very own compositions which bear reference to important stations of my life and which supposed to be statements for freedom and our responsibility for human values. My imprisonment of four month at the age of 16 at the national security of the DDR changed my life completely. With less luck the subsequent repressions would have compromised my further path of life a lot. For me the only possibility to get out of this situation was to make music in bands of different styles. The fact that it was still possible for me to study guitarre in the DDR after all what happened is yet unbelivable for me (not least after getting to know my Stasi records). This miracle was only possible thanks to the solidarity of many people. I want to thank those people with this CD. With these experiences, freedom has a very special meaning to me.
Albert Camus once wrote: „There is no freedom without mutual understanding“. For me this sentence reflects in an ideal way the interaction within the field of Jazz. If we understand each other in a better way, everything is possible!
Then the way is open for Jazzmusicians to create those incredible moments of intensity which lead to the astonishment about the quality of the collective interaction. Today I see myself as an european Jazzmusician who integrates those musical influences in his performance and his compositions which again are relevant in our coalescing Europe. Concerning this, the inclusion of Balcan Music became one of the key aspects for me.
The reason for that is that unique rhythm of the music. I am not interested in copying folklore but in playing Jazz which is enriched by those interesting elements. In my compositions I try to realise polyrhythmic concepts which are the results of the overlap of different meters. In addition, with these very concepts I can built a quite diverse pattern for improvisation for my collegues and me.
With the CD „Kaleidoscope Freedom“ I also want to pick up the original tradition of Jazz being a form of protest. Recently I read a sentence in an interview with Sonny Rollings from the year 2004 which reflects exactly my intention: „We find ourselves in a situation where everybody is in danger and that as people from the same planet, not as Germans, American, black or white people, Arabs or Jews. As people from one planet we have to get together and realise that these threats and problems are relevant for the human specie.“
I don’t have the illusion that this CD will change the path of the world. But within the possibilities I have, I want to make aware of the fact that our fast moving world needs an awake and conscious reaction of everybody. Everyone of us can move and change at least a little bit. In this manner, I fight for the preservation of the „East Side Gallery“ which is located less than 1km from my home. Here is where I experienced the Fall of the Wall! The „East Side Gallery“ is an reminder of that amazing happiness which caused the Fall of the Wall. The euphoria of the new gained freedom has been demonstrated artistically in the remainings of the wall ever since. But now this important memorial is threatend to be destroit completly. That is why I dedicate my composition „East Side Story“ to the preservation of the „East Side Gallery“, and for the CD it is called „East Side Gallery Story“.
Acknowledgment: I would like to thank the senate department for cultural matters in Berlin who do an incredible job in supporting Jazzmusic in Berlin. Because of the Studio Award which was won by FFH in 2012, some outstanding recordings in the sound studio Sonic-Impulse in the facilities of the former eastgerman broadcasting service. The sound engineer Sebastian Ohmert is a genius in his field and helped us a lot to realise the CD.