Timo Vollbrecht sax & clar
Keisuke Matsuno guitar
Elias Stemeseder piano & synth
(Bernhard Meyer bass)
Jason Burger drums
(Sebastian Merk drums)
Modern, flexible and free from quotes and imitation, self-effacing and delicate.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Based in Brooklyn, rooted in Berlin, focusing on composed and improvised music: Timo Vollbrecht is what the New York City Jazz Record calls a “luminously-fine” saxophonist-bandleader, whose music is “blessed with rhythmic fluidity and intricate twists.” Acclaimed for his “warm blanket of sound” (JazzThing), he follows a carefully composed musical vision that balances emotional intensity, vivacious energy, and delicate simplicity. The result is a sound of self-effacing insistence that is as visual as it is sonically beautiful. It inspires a sense of wonder as it is rarely felt in music today. A musical omnivore, he organically combines jazz with elements of post-rock, indie, new music, experimental, and instrumental songwriting. “Through this confluence of influences, his music transcends the limitation of musical genre” (Stefon Harris).
FLY MAGIC is Vollbrecht’s signature ensemble. The band has released two albums, tours worldwide and appears at major festivals in Europe, the US, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and South America. It comprises four spectacular improvisers that emerge from the scenes of New York and Berlin. Their collective musical story originates right at the intersection of styles and cultural diversity, as seen on their newest release Faces in Places (Berthold Records). The album tells the tale of 10 human encounters in different countries that left a deep imprint on the musicians. Hence, the music whisks you to meet Mala in Malaysia, Muhammad in Syria, or Tiffany in Singapore. Before that, the band released its debut album Fly Magic, which the Jazzpodium Magazine views as “one of the most outstanding recordings of a German artist in 2016.” FLY MAGIC also features the unique and intimate musical relationship between Vollbrecht and his longtime artistic partners, guitarist and sound-wizard Keisuke Matsuno, keyboarder Elias Stemeseder (bassist Bernhard Meyer), and drummer Jason Burger (Sebastian Merk).
It is their love for the element of surprise and their search for the paths less traveled that keep this music at the cutting edge of contemporary improvised music.
Born in Lower-Saxony, Timo Vollbrecht studied jazz saxophone at the Berlin University of the Arts and at New York University, under the guidance of Mark Turner and Stefon Harris. He performed with Branford Marsalis’s band at the Village Vanguard and played with Kenny Werner, Drew Gress, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, and pop icon Robbie Williams. Vollbrecht was among the Featured Artists of the Month in New York’s “jazz bible” Hot House. He regularly performs for the German Goethe-Institute and appeared at Winter Jazz Fest NYC, Blue Note Jazz Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Alice Tully Hall. He was commissioned to compose for contemporary dance at “Trois CL” in Luxembourg and wrote for the NYC-based JACK String Quartet. An Adjunct Professor at NYU, he is writing a doctoral dissertation on “Manfred Eicher, ECM Records, and the creative process in the recording studio.”
Keisuke Matsuno is a Berlin-native and Brooklyn-based musician focused on electric guitars, analog sound devices, composed and improvised music. With his unique artistic approach described as “most extravagant, mind-blowing, & unheard-within-the-unheard” (Blow Up magazine), he has been co-leading the Berlin-based krautrock band Trio Schmetterling. Since moving to New York City in 2010, he has been working and collaborating with a wide range of artists: He has been performing John Zorn’s Book of Bagatelles at the Village Vanguard, National Sawdust, The Stone, and other venues with the Jim Black Guitar Quartet. He has also released three records with electronic artist Lars Graugaard, and has performed Superhero Clubhouse & Matchboxarts’ “MARS,” a multi-disciplinary play with the intention of evolving the consciousness in the face of global environmental crisis.
Elias Stemeseder, born in Salzburg, Austria is a pianist who favors an almost voluptuous tone on the instrument, soft and aglow,” as described by the New York Times. He studied piano at Bruckner University in Linz and at UdK Berlin. Based in between NYC and Berlin, he composes for the ensembles light/tied, Dogtown, Elias Stemeseder/Cory Smythe/Georg Vogel, and Anna Webber/Elias Stemeseder. He is a longtime member of drummer Jim Black’s trio, which has recorded for Intakt Records and Winter&Winter. In 2016, he worked with John Zorn as part of Zorn’s Bagatelles project. His collaborators include Laurie Anderson, Greg Cohen, Mat Maneri, Joe McPhee, Joey Baron and Nels Cline. Elias has been featured as a pianist and/or composer at Concorso Busoni, Umbria Jazz and Moers festivals, as well as the Village Vanguard, The Stone, Bimhuis and Elbphilharmonie.
Drummer Jason Burger from Orange County, CA is a graduate from Manhattan School of Music who has appeared at important music venues including the Jazz Gallery, the Iridium, Shapeshifter Lab, while appearing on TV channels such as MTV. A stellar jazz drummer, Jason moves beyond by incorporating groove from indie-rock and today’s song culture. The receiver of the Louis Armstrong Award for outstanding musical achievement has also performed with legendary pianist Ted Rosenthal. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Bernhard Meyer is a true sound artist who has left a significant mark on the German jazz scene thanks to his lyrical and expressive approach on the semi-acoustic bass. A prolific composer, he works with John Hollenbeck, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jim Black, Eric Schäfer, Andi Haberl, and his brother Peter Meyer. He is known for his work as a leader of his own quintet as well as for the successful MELT Trio. As collaborators who go way back, Meyer and Vollbrecht worked together in their band MSV Brecht from 2005-2012.
Sebastian Merk is one of Europe’s most in demand drummers. He is professor for jazz drums at the Dresden Conservatory of Music. Prof. Merk has gained international recognition for his solo work as a composer, as well as for his collaborations with Johannes Enders, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lee Konitz, Spaniol4, Bartmes, and Sebastian Studnitzky.
It may be thanks to the selection of musical material, the attention to detail, and the band’s joy of improvising that Fly Magic creates, among a myriad of Klangfarben, an astonishing and long-lasting intensity.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Norbert Krampf, 04/2018
Belonging to the “who’s who of Brooklyn-centric stars.
Downbeat Magazine, Hilary Brown, 10/2018
Fly Magic is an album which will belong to the outstanding and most significant recordings of a German artist of the year 2016.
Jazzpodium, Thorsten Hingst, 08/2016
Timo Vollbrecht has put together a beautiful recording full of melody and expression. […] He is a fantastic tenor saxophonist.
Joe Lovano, Liner notes to the album Fly Magic, 03/2016
Timo Vollbrecht has developed a unique artistic voice […] and it is especially the sensation of air and tranquility that is so impressive. […] A true discovery.
Deutschlandradio Kultur, Jan Tengeler, 03/2018
Vollbrecht creates a warm wall of sound.
JazzThing, Rolf Thomas, 03/2016