About the album
The full potential of the violin is rarely to be heard in conventional jazz settings. For ist unique versatility, its kaleidoscopic possibilities of timbre and texture, and its heritage from jazz and older traditions to become apparent, it needs to be placed in something more akin to the environment of chamber music.
It is my firm belief that in order to write music which uses the violin’s great spectrum of possibilities, it is crucial not just to have an awareness of the classical tradition, but also of the many other cultures which feature string instruments prominently and in which unique approaches and techniques have been developed. To blend these different ingredients into a transcultural style which is respectful to each of these distinct traditions is what inspires me to establish my own voice as violinist and composer. As a result, I am conscious not just of what I owe to my classical teachers, but also to musicians in Ireland, Bulgaria, Brazil and India who have involved me in countless jams and other projects.
When Georg, Igmar and I started collaborating, it was with that vision in mind. From ist inception, First Strings on Mars has always been a celebration of musical freedom and curiosity. Georg brings a unique set of skills to the band: he can switch effortlessly from being our resident bass-playing drum kit to playing wonderful melodic lines. And he is responsive to absolutely everything. With Georg providing the low end, Igmar and I are free to experiment with the full range of techniques and sounds possible on violins, soulfiddle (an instrument custom-made for me by my good friend Valentin Kaiser) and mandolin.
The compositions here encompass a wide range of colours, influences and moods, from Georg’s delicate tune “Reminiscence”, or the mysterious life-story of my old mate Mr. Gimli Hope, to hard-grooving tunes like “Brazil Imported” or “Searching”. And ‘searching’ serves as a reminder of what this album is about: our aim as a band is to be traditional in the best way. To learn from the past while writing for the future. To push the limits of our instruments. And to be the First Strings on Mars.