When the album ‘Mineralle’ was being promoted here in Germany and Europe, the band was spread over three continents: pianist Jarry Singla in Bolivia, bassist Christian Ramond in Germany, and myself in Bangladesh. Journalists, from the print media and from radio, didn’t have it easy trying to locate us via emails and phone calls for interviews!
Jarry decided to get the band together in Bolivia for a tour. His efforts paid off and Christian and I flew to La Paz vis Bogota to perform at three Festijazz concerts in La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. We also conducted workshops for kids at the German School in Achumani, La Paz. The audiences at all the venues were fantastic and our music was well-received.
Bolivia is a fascinating country with its huge indigenous population and its awe-inspiring natural surroundings. We were based most of the time in La Paz, some 3500m above sea level. But we had time to take trips into the mountains, visiting the foothills of Mount Illimani, spending an afternoon walking around and trying to imbibe the spirit of Pachamama, Mother Earth! Being so high up in the rarefied atmosphere of the mountains was quite a unique experience. Above a small selection of photos I shot using my iPhone5.
On the road with Mahaphon Clang once again, this time not only in India, but in Pakistan (Karachi) and in Bangladesh (Dhaka). It was in February and very intense, not just the tight traveling schedules but also the energy of the group on stage at almost every venue. It was, for me, a musician who has seen it all, a revelation to observe how these four young men (Jan Kurth, Lutz Streun, Demian Kappenstein and Matthias Kurth) acclimatized so easily to being in cities like Goa, Pondicherry, Chennai, Bangalore, Karachi and Dhaka. In Chennai we spent three days at the Clementine Studio recording some exciting music to be released in September 2014 on the Jazz Werkstatt label based in Berlin.
One of the highlights this spring was definitely the coming together of the original Human Bondage: Fred Manricks, Xerxes Gobhai, Babu Joseph, Suresh Shottam and myself! We met up in Goa in February after much planning to get one week together, to hang, reminisce and jam! It couldn’t have been more perfect!
Two weeks later the Phoenix Foundation Youth Jazz Orchestra led by Frank Reichert landed up in India for a 5-city tour. I organised the whole thing with the help of my jazz-loving friends in various Indian cities. I also received support from Goethe Institutes in Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. The band played a set of selected modern big band arrangements of well-known tunes followed by an Indo-Jazz-Fusion set featuring singer Ramamani and myself. Arrangements of the 4 original tunes (DaPa, Panchamukhi, Xillob and Five Cities) for this set were done by my friend Ronan Guilfoyle, bassist, composer, arranger and educator from Dublin. The young musicians of the Phoenix Foundation blew away the audiences in India! The 4 new arrangements have been documented and will be released on CD along with material recorded on their Korean tour.
Immediately after returning from India on the 14th of March, I drove down to Reichenberg near Würzburg to play at the Guitar Masters Festival with Larry Coryell and Kazumi Watanabe. Needless to say, it was a fabtastic experience!
Back in Cologne dancer Benedetta Reuter and I finished a ‘Kultur und Schule’ project we started in 2012 at the Heinrich Böll Gesamtschule.
This was followed by gigs with Ensemble Fisfüz and Mandala with Sigi Schwab. Though the weather is cold and wet right now, I’m looking forward to a terrific summer:))