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Pablo Held Investigates
50 minutes | 5 days ago
Music (audio commentary)
This is the second album of my trio, recorded in 2009 and released in 2010 on Pirouet Records. Going back to this album was like stepping into a time machine. I talk about how we applied our live concept into the studio situation on some of the tunes. I also talk about how my trio mates were responsible for a few of the (questionable) song titles on the album, our use of musical cues, strategies on trio interplay and other memories from the recording sessions.
108 minutes | 19 days ago
Marilyn Crispell is a master improviser, a musician of the highest order. To me she embodies focus, presence and selflessness. And I just love the way she plays the piano! Here are some of my favorite records of Marilyn’s: AmaryllisNothing Ever Was, Anyway: The Music of Annette PeacockVignettesFor ColtranePianosolo – A Concert In BerlinLive In Zürich We talk about her ability to focus, the communal spirit of group interaction, leaving space, teaching, Annette Peacock’s music, working with Paul Motian & Gary Peacock, composition and so much more. Enjoy!
93 minutes | a month ago
The first time I became aware of Marc Copland was when a good friend of mine showed me the album “Softly…”. I was immediately drawn to Marc’s personal approach to harmony and his ability to tell a story on the piano. To this day this album remains one of my favorites of his. Discovering Marc’s music really matched with some of my other interests during that time, i.e. the music of Bill Carrothers, Bill Stewart, Hubert Nuss – all these guys share a deep sensibility for colors in the music. A few years after that I wound up on the same label as Marc: Pirouet Records. Pirouet’s artistic director Jason Seizer was the one that put us in touch when he brought Marc to a gig of mine. I still remember the stories Marc told me that evening as they have been incredibly helpful to me. As you will see in this conversation, Marc is really great at telling stories and he’s ready to share, inspire and hip you to things.
28 minutes | 2 months ago
If you like this series, please consider supporting me on Patreon. I first heard Vince Mendoza‘s music through my parents, who had albums of his collaborations with Joni Mitchell. Then around 2003 I discovered his wonderful album “Epiphany” which I then listened to for a whole summer. I was blown away by the music and all my heroes were on that record: my late teacher John Taylor, Marc Johnson, Peter Erskine, John Abercrombie, Kenny Wheeler, Joe Lovano and Michael Brecker! After that I checked out as much as I could from Vince’s writing, digging his own records, but also his work for Björk, Jim Beard, John Scofield, Herbie Hancock, Peter Erskine, Larry Goldings and much more. In this conversation we talk about his collaborations with Herbie Hancock & Joni Mitchell, transcribing, his writing process and “Epiphany”.
253 minutes | 2 months ago
If you like this series, please consider supporting me on Patreon. “This guy will change your life!” That’s how Larry Goldings hipped me to Chris Weisman. Well, Larry was right. Chris has such a vast output… eclectic, yet always unique. A singular songsmith of the highest order – nobody does what he does.At first I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of music he has out. But that changed after I found the right entry point. For me, it was his album “Play Sharp To Me”. Soon I couldn’t stop checking more of his albums, deeply immersing myself in his catalogue. I got so inspired that I wrote a song for him. In the credits to each of Chris’ albums on bandcamp it says “Write me”. So I did and send him my song. This was how his reply started: This is SO SURREAL. I became very into your podcast literally in the last two days. We started having long email conversations, hipping each other to various things. Naturally I felt the urge to get him on the podcast. Having read that he didn’t really do interviews I was hesitant to ask. But he was already sharing all this interesting stuff about his process, and somehow I felt we were already in it… Finally I asked him and he said he would be happy to do it! For the next stage of preparation, Chris sent me ALL of his albums plus early demos. I usually know a lot of the music of the guys that I’m interviewing… but this never happened before! So when the actual day of the interview came I felt so weismaned-up … And what a great experience it was to connect with Chris. I think of this conversation as a celebration of his music and a gateway into his creative mind.
65 minutes | 2 months ago
pianist Bill Carrothers interviewed by Pablo HeldIf you like this series, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Bill Carrothers has been a big influence on me since my teenage years. I first heard him on Bill Stewart‘s classic record “Telepathy” which completely turned me around. From then on I tried to find as much recordings of Bill that I could. I remember finding lots of help and inspiration in a transcript a lesson that he gave. (you can find this on his website). As I tell Bill right in the beginning of this interview, anyone who’s serious about harmony and this music in general should listen to him. Hearing his music changed me forever. We talked for a long time and Bill was very generous, giving lots of insights into his process + he even plays a couple of things at the piano during our conversation! I hope you enjoy!!
26 minutes | 3 months ago
Descent (audio commentary)
Descent is the follow-up EP to my record Ascent and features the same line up: my trio buddies Robert Landfermann & Jonas Burgwinkel, guitarist Nelson Veras and me. Four previously unreleased tracks from the initial recording session. In this audio commentary I talk about the composition & recording process behind this music.
43 minutes | 3 months ago
If you like this series, please consider supporting me on Patreon. I got into Jakob Bro‘s music through my friend Moritz Baumgärtner. He showed he a couple of tracks sometime in 2009 and I immediately fell in love with the sounds I heard. “Balladeering”, “Time” and “Pearl River” are the records I’ve listened to the most, but I also love his recent works for ECM with Joey Baron, Thomas Morgan, Palle Mikkelborg and Jon Christensen. But there’s also so many treasures to be found in his earlier works, in his collaboration project BRO/KNAK and his recordings as a sideman with Tomasz Stanko, Paul Motian, Jakob Buchanan, Jonas Westergaard and many more. Furthermore, I’m a big fan of the documentary “Weightless” about the recording of the “Balladeering” album – to see how this music was created is priceless! I secretly wish that a film like this one would exist for all of my favorite records… In this conversation we talk about how Jakob came to fulfill his lifelong dream to play in Paul Motian’s group, his relationship with Thomas Morgan, composing, practicing, putting together a band, finding a personal approach to the guitar and much more. Being a longtime admirer of Jakob Bro, it was really great for me to get to talk to him. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.
58 minutes | 4 months ago
Glow II (audio commentary)
Niels Klein, Jonas Burgwinkel & Robert Landfermann join me in the studio to talk about my ninth record GLOW II. It was fun to dwell on our memories from the recording sessions and share our individual perspectives on how we dealt with the music. This album was released in 2018 on Pirouet Records and it features big ensemble configurations consisting of outstanding musicians like Hubert Nuss, Ronny Graupe, John Schröder, Christian Weidner, Philipp Gropper, Niels Klein, Henning Sieverts, Claus Stötter, Robert Landfermann & Jonas Burgwinkel.
39 minutes | 4 months ago
Terri Lyne Carrington
If you like this series, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Terri Lyne Carrington’s energetic & fluid way of playing deeply resonates with me. It has a searching quality which always moves the music forward. She always keeps me engaged and wondering what’s going to happen next. When I first saw her live in 1999 with Herbie Hancock’s “Gershwin’s World” project. I still remember that magical feeling of really digging the music, yet having no clue what they were doing. To this day I can still tap into how that felt. That says something about an artist: if their art can sustain a feeling over decades – that’s powerful! It was a pleasure to finally get to talk to her and I’m excited to share our conversation with you now!
40 minutes | 5 months ago
If you like this series, please consider supporting me on Patreon. When my dear friend and trio comrade Jonas Burgwinkel showed my Ben Monder’s incredible album “Excavation” sometime in 2005 my musical world got turned upside down. Ben’s music has had a major impact on me and my writing. When I look at certain compositions of mine I can clearly see his influence ( i.e. “Meta”). Whenever there was a rumor of an upcoming Ben Monder record I awaited each one with great excitement and checked it out as soon as it came out. I’d say I’ve spent the most time with his own records “Excavation”, “Oceana”, “Flux” and “Hydra”. Though I also listened quite a bit to his records with Theo Bleckmann like “No Boat”, “At Night” or “Origami“. I also love his sideman work on records by Jochen Rückert, Paul Motian, Maria Schneider, Bill McHenry, or Tony Malaby. In this conversation we talk about his process of finding new harmonies, composing, influences, working with Paul Motian, his relationship with Theo Bleckmann, memories of special concerts he attended when he was coming up and much more. I was very excited to talk to Ben and I’m happy I can share this with all of you here.
107 minutes | 5 months ago
Sullivan Fortner never ceases to amaze me. Whenever I listen to him I feel really inspired. It was around 2011 when my friend Can Olgun hipped me to Sullivan and I’ve been following him ever since. I love his work with Cécile McLorin Salvant, Peter Bernstein, Roy Hargrove, Lage Lund, Guilhem Flouzat and of course his own stuff. Right from the get-go, I noticed that Sullivan’s persona is quite similar to how his playing always sounded to me: honest, open, humorous, deep, creative, spontaneous and full of ideas. I’m very happy to share our conversation now with all of you!
30 minutes | 5 months ago
My friend Till Kammertöns hipped me to the music of Gabriel Kahane sometime in September 2018 and I immediately got hooked. I couldn’t stop listening to his wonderful album “Book of Travelers” for a month. While checking out all of his other wonderful works I noticed an urge to interview him for this series. I was really happy that he accepted my invitation. Great to talk to him about his music and his process. Enjoy!
42 minutes | 6 months ago
(German only – english subtitles available on YouTube) I got to know harpist Kathrin Pechlof sometime in 2008 when she moved to Cologne, we quickly became friends and started playing together in various groups. I was very fortunate to have her on my album GLOW which we recorded in 2010 for Pirouet Records. Furthermore we played together in Niels Klein’s project LOOM and with the EOS Kammerorchester. In recent years Kathrin has done wonderful things with the Kathrin Pechlof Trio (with Robert Landfermann and Christian Weidner). They just released their second trio album “Toward The Unknown” on Pirouet Records. (Highly recommended!) Kathrin constantly pushes the envelop of what a harpist can do in Jazz & Improvised music. In a way there’s no precedent for what she’s doing, Kathrin is a true musical pioneer! I deeply admire her music and I’m very thankful to include her in this interview series.
67 minutes | 6 months ago
Kris Davis was on my radar ever since I heard her on Tony Malaby’s “Novela” in 2011. I was blown away by Kris’ arrangements and playing on that album and started to check out more of her work. She’s one of my absolute favorite pianists out there and every time I listen to her I get inspired. When I started doing interviews, Kris was on the top of my list. I’m so happy that we finally got to talk. Enjoy our conversation!
164 minutes | 7 months ago
Joey Baron has been one of my biggest heroes since my teenage years. I saw him live for the first time in 2004 with John Abercrombie’s quartet at the Domicil in Dortmund and I’ll never forget this concert! During that time I was listening a lot to Abercrombie’s quartet album “Class Trip” and John Taylor’s record “Rosslyn” (my favorite JT album). There are so many records I love that feature his infectious drumming… too many to name them all. Also, I went to see Joey’s fantastic band “Killer Joey” lots of times when they came to play in Cologne, which was always a memorable experience, to say the least. He’s one of my all time favorite musicians for sure!! I was amazed of how open Joey was to share all of his memories and to give insights into his process. And he was so generous with this time: After two hours of talking to him I said: “I hope you know that you don’t HAVE to keep talking to me! We can stop if you like, OK?” He just smiled and see “No it’s fine, I made time for this” – we kept on talking for another two hours!!
43 minutes | 7 months ago
This conversation took place one day after Skúli Sverrisson’s group SERIA appeared at KLAENG Festival in Köln in November of 2019. I hope I’ll never forget what I felt when I heard Skúli’s music that night. As I tell him in the beginning of our talk, this concert reminded me what I love about music. As a longtime fan of Skúli, it was great talk to him about about his work with Allan Holdsworth, Ben Monder, Oskar Gudjonsson, his compositional process, the recording process of his own records and much more. Hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did. Supported by NICA artist development, a program funded by
52 minutes | 7 months ago
Glow (audio commentary)
My third album GLOW was my first time leading a bigger ensemble with my longstanding trio at its core. Recorded in 2010, it featured multiple harmonic instruments (Kathrin Pechlof on harp & Hubert Nuss on harmonium & celesta and me on piano), multiple basses (Robert Landfermann, Henning Sieverts & Dietmar Fuhr) and multiple horns (Niels Klein & Sebastian Gille on woodwinds and Menzel Mutzke on trumpet & flügelhorn) and Jonas Burgwinkel on drums . For these musicians I wrote little sketches to be explored freely by their creative minds. Collectively we came up with stuff that I could have never imagined on my own. Another lesson in the power of the communal spirit. Playing and recording with this group of people was an important stage of my development. I’m happy to share some memories of the process with you. Enjoy!
61 minutes | 7 months ago
I grew up listening to John Scofield through my parents who are big fans of his music. So each time we’d go on holidays or just went for a little trip in the car there’d be a cassette with Sco’s music playing at some point during the journey. “Still Warm”, “Hand Jive”, “What We Do”, “I Can See Your House from Here”, “Quiet” and also his records with Miles Davis like “Decoy” or “You’re Under Arrest” are are deeply ingrained in my childhood memories. When I was ten years old my parents took me to see John Scofield for the first time. He was touring with a great quintet (Seamus Blake, Kevin Hays, Larry Grenadier & Bill Stewart) playing the music from the “Quiet” album. This was an unforgettable experience to say the least. Since then I’ve seen him live countless other times, collecting his records, looking for bootlegs, reading his interviews and transcribing lots of his songs. In 2014 my trio got the chance to invite a special guest for a concert at Philharmonie Köln. We expressed our desire to play with Sco and to our surprise he accepted! That first concert became a record (The Trio Meets John Scofield on Pirouet Records) and after the release John asked us to come on tour with him through Europe in 2015. You can imagine how surreal all this felt, but getting to know John, playing and hanging with him has been one of the greatest experience of my life. He’s the nicest guy you can imagine, a musician of the highest order and I’m thankful to call him a friend.
95 minutes | 8 months ago
This is my conversation with the great sound engineer Rob Griffin. He worked with so many incredible artists: Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Paco De Lucia, Chick Corea… and he also mastered my last album „Ascent“. Rob is one of a kind and I think that really comes across in this conversation. He is full of enthusiasm, he loves to learn and always searching for new and better ways to capture and enhance the music, and he really enjoys to pass on his memories of all those tours with Wayne, Herbie and all my other heroes. We talk about his approach to mixing and recording, his unique up-close insights into how some of my most favorite bands, like the Wayne Shorter Quartet, work on and off stage. And above all else: his deep love for the music.
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