Julian & Roman Wasserfuhr

VÖ: 26.08.2022

Genre: Jazz



ACT 9950-2, 614427995025
Julian Wasserfuhr / trumpet
Roman Wasserfuhr / piano & keys

Tim Lefebvre / bass
Keith Carlock / drums
Harry Mack / vocals
Markus Schieferdecker / bass
Oliver Rehmann / drums
Tony Lakatos / tenor sax
Paul Heller / tenor sax
Martin Scales / guitar
Vitaliy Zolotov / guitar
Jörg Brinkmann / cello
Axel Lindner / violin & viola
Sebastiaan Cornelissen / drums

“Mosaic”. The Wasserfuhr brothers, Julian (trumpet) and Roman (piano) explain the title: “It fits in with our musical processes of the past two years. Despite a huge variety in the individual pieces - and also in the emotions associated with them - and even though we have chosen a wide range of musicians and friends to record this music with, the whole album nevertheless forms a coherent picture. It has emerged from our experiences, conversations and encounters with people during this time." "Mosaic" has also been pieced together from places a long way apart: from the Wasserfuhrs’ studio in peaceful Hückeswagen, the small town to the North-East of Cologne where the two brothers, who have always stayed close, grew up and still have their base, to Nashville where they worked (virtually) alongside a dozen other musicians. There is a kaleidoscope of different moods here, including a rap song and a homage to Kurt Cobain...

The Corona pandemic gave the Wasserfuhrs the space and the time for good things to happen. The Colombian philosopher Nicolás Gómez Dávila has said that “if we want something to endure, we strive for beauty, not for efficiency." and the idea of taking the time to explore new things was very much on the brothers' minds during this time. They made sure they took the time "to reflect on the world, society, authenticity, friendship and family", as they say. It proved fruitful: "In the past two years we have written 42 compositions," Julian still marvels, and "Mosaic" is the distillation of all this creative activity – a time in which they have also found new and invigorating stylistic directions...

There is luxury casting in the rhythm section which is to be heard on four of the tracks here – a fact that no shortage of rock stars would gladly corroborate: bassist Tim Lefebvre, whom fans of the Wasserfuhr brothers will already know from the album "Landed in Brooklyn", has played with David Bowie, Elvis Costello and the Tedeschi Trucks Band. He is here alongside his fellow American, drummer Keith Carlock, a Nashville resident who has played with Steely Dan and Toto. Contact and travelling restrictions made it impossible for most of the musicians to be present in the same studio, so a lot of the music came to the Wasserfuhrs’ home studio via remote recording. From there, a remarkable process of creation got under way: "First we recorded most of the songs ourselves with all the instruments. The musicians could then mute their tracks and make their own contribution. This input, in turn, had an effect on the other parts, which we then adapted and re-recorded," says Roman. This was ‘call and response’ in the best jazz sense, and that is the reason why "Mosaic" sounds quite so organic and so full of life, that it sounds like a recording session where everyone is together in the same space. There were exceptional cases where this did prove possible: cellist Jörg Brinkmann, was able to drop by and record at the Wasserfuhrs’ studio.

There are pieces on “Mosaic” written with specific musicians in mind. "Forward" is inspired by Pat Metheny's album "From This Place". Thinking about who might have the sound they wanted, the brothers remembered guitarist Vitaliy Zolotov with whom they had studied in Cologne, but had had no contact with for 10 years. "Hymnus Varus" with Jörg Brinkmann as soloist revisits their collaboration in "Relaxin' in Ireland; here it is in an XL version for sextet. The driving groove number "Target II", on the other hand, is based on a beat by Keith Carlock, which the Wasserfuhr brothers discovered in a YouTube video. Social media such as YouTube were a focus for the brothers during the long domestic isolation of the pandemic: "That's how we came across the rapper Harry Mack from LA, an incredible freestyle rapper. So we just asked him and he agreed to do "Never Hold Back". Later it emerged that he had originally been a jazz drummer. "It’s just right, isn't it?" asks Roman.

The two tenor saxophonists on "Mosaic", Paul Heller and Tony Lakatos, are also right for the Wasserfuhr sound. Martin Scales, the guitarist from Doldingers Passport is also an old acquaintance, appearing here for the first time on an album with the Wasserfuhrs. Finally, there are two tracks that honour heroes who have passed away: "Hank", derived from the name of Charles Bukowski's literary alter ego, comes with a breezy New Orleans groove, setting the dissolute German-American cult writer’s love of life to music. And quite a few Nirvana fans are going to be surprised by this slowed-down version of the grunge classic "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

“Mosaic”, then, in place of a single unvarying concept, represents a cleverly conceived sequence of varying timbres and vistas, and yet the individual and authentic voices of the Wasserfuhr brothers are never absent for a moment. The compositions give room for manoeuvre, musical ideas develop in a way which makes time flow naturally, the pieces are akin to the entries in a diary. There are meetings with acquaintances old and new, near and far. Whereas the production process was both elaborate and unusual, "Mosaic", considered together, is a remarkably coherent entity. It is an album to celebrate the joy of making music together.

Julian & Roman Wasserfuhr
Even as a teenager, Julian Wasserfuhr was considered Germany's greatest trumpet prodigy since Till Brönner. Together with his brother Roman on the piano, they form an inseparable duo. Their (soul) kinship benefits their collaborative playing. The brothers' familiarity lends the music a relaxed and effortless character. Whether with the trumpet or flugelhorn, Julian is not a representative of the faster-higher-further faction. With his warm tone, he creates atmospheric soundscapes. His brother Roman, with his accented and radiant piano playing, is equally involved in the band's fresh yet mature and airy sound.   After their highly acclaimed debut album "Remember Chet," which they recorded as teenagers, they made their mark in the German jazz scene. Soon, they were playing with greats like Nils Landgren, Lars Danielsson, or Wolfgang Haffner while simultaneously finding their own distinctive melodic and atmospheric "Wasserfuhr Sound": "I admire the courage to be simple that the two possess. That takes bravery. What's admirable is the opposite of show-off jazz," as actor Matthias Brandt succinctly puts it.