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writing about your music

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Jaco Benckhuijsen

on 12 April 2017

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Transcript of writing about your music

writing about your music
band name

album/tour title


"shortest description"
10 - 30 words
facebook post
"short description"
20 - 100 words
facebook event
press release
background info
liner notes
general tips
email request

who is your reader?
what is your goal?
what is the medium?
think from reader's perspective
create a vibe around your music
make it copy-paste ready
Who you are and how you relate to the reader.

“all jazz lovers remember the impact of the debut album of…”

"You probably remember the conversation we had backstage..”
Facts about you and your music.

“...will play on the festival of…"
"...are currently touring in…"
"...are about to release an album on….”
Putting your music on the map: references to things the reader knows.

“ our music is a mix of John Coltrane and Psy….”
Call to action.

“Please let us know if you have a date for us / …"
"Download our album at..."
"Visit one of our upcoming concerts..."
imaginative writing.

Your motivations and drives. ("why")
Proven facts.

"We are currently releasing our third album..."
"We were first in the Hawaiian jazz contest…"
"Studied with the great saxophonist Co de Kloet "

“'I have never slept better than after the concert of this hard-driving bop quartet.' (King Arthur)”

“'...amazing performance' (Dogville Daily)”
structuring your text
title /

header /


The Bad Plus
De Raggende Manne
Benny Golson Quartet
make it
first paragraph
contains it all:
call to action
background info
add picture

add name
-who you are
-why you are writing
-vibrant description
-proven facts

"the improvisations of the trio can be very different in character."

“the silence before a climactic blast.. the overwhelming energy of a tornado… the gentle drops of a spring shower.. it can all be heard in the imaginative improvisations of the trio”

“Twerking his piano as if it were Miley Cyrus, this award-winning pianist brings out the best he has to offer on his current Asia tour”

“X is a piano player who is currently touring in Asia. Last year he won the ..award. He is known for his energetic performance."

"we thought it would be nice to do another album.."

“We had to spend a whole bright summer in the darkness of the studio, but we knew it would be worth every minute of it”
-use non-musical terms
-make the general specific
-mix and juxtapose
-don't overdo
-don't use clichés
use senses
natural events
human actions
etc etc

"sharp, pinchy tones"
"soft touch of her voice"
"sunset tones"
"like a dancing mathematician"
"lines that hit you as rolling waves on a surf beach..."
"as if Picasso re-invented himself as a pianist"
"metallic textures"
"as in the early morning after a great and messy party"


"we use odd meters"
"we play in different moods and tempos"
"some funky influences"
"it can be very different"
"we improvise a lot"
tips for good writing
read a lot

write a lot


shorten again

shorten once more
a text is like music!

phrase length

read out aloud!
find a suitable tone

how to convince

without bragging

“The ..Quartet consists of saxophone, piano, bass and drums.”

“Stunning. Like a boxing match. Poetry in its purest form. Reviewers had to search for new words to decribe the music of ..“
A New Episode in Life Part I

It’s no coincidence Jasper Somsen’s 3rd (and later this year 4th) Challenge Records album features an international piano trio line up. Recent years performing and/or recording in trio with a.o. Enrico Pieranunzi, Joey Calderazzo, John Beasley, Jeff Ballard, Justin Faulkner and André Ceccarelli, he is much sought after by (especially) pianists. The former New York, now Montreal-based French master pianist and composer Jean-Michel Pilc and one of Jasper's all-time favorite French drummers André Ceccarelli joined him for this diptych.

At their first encounter ever, this trio with Jean-Michel Pilc - piano and André Ceccarelli - drums recorded A New Episode in Life Part I & A New Episode in Life Part II in just two days!

The music is an intriguing and exciting exploration in the hearts and minds of these three wonderful musicians.

A New Episode in Life Part II will be released in autumn 2017.
"On her second Challenge Classics album violinist Simone Lamsma combines the Violin Concerto no.1 of Shostakovich with In tempus praesens of Sofia Gubaidiulina, two Russian composers who have their very own musical language."
PRESS RELEASE | MIDWEST | ECM 05/02 | 2014Mathias Eick

Mathias Eick
Mathias Eick: trumpet; Gjermund Larsen: violin; Jon Balke: piano; Mats Eilertsen: double bass; Helge Norbakken: percussion
ECM 2410 006025 470 8910 (6) Release: March 2015
Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick pays tribute to the North American Midwest in an album of intensely melodic compositions which reflect thematically upon journeys and homecomings both literal and spiritual. The original inspiration for the album came during an arduous tour of the US and Canada.
“We’d started on the West Coast and were driving long distances every day. I was beginning to get very homesick. Then we reached the area called the Rural Midwest and I suddenly had the strange feeling that I was home. It occurred to me that some of the early settlers must have felt this way, when they looked at the rich soil of the plains and saw that this was wonderful land for farming. Parts of the Midwest remind me strongly of parts of Norway - including the southeast of Norway where I grew up.” This realization led to thinking about the ways in which both people and music had travelled. Almost a million Norwegians left for North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and eighty per cent of them settled in the Midwest. In Dakota a third of the population claims Norwegian ancestry.
In his music for Midwest, Eick sketches an imaginary voyage from Hem, the village of his birth (“so small there’s not even a street sign”), over the seas to America. The musical concept determined the personnel for the recording. The first player approached was violinist Gjermund Larsen. ECM listeners know him from his contributions to Christian Wallumrød’s albums, but Larsen is firstly a musician rooted in folk playing. He comes from a folk music family and his improvising is informed by his knowledge of traditional music: there’s a sense of history embodied in his sound.
“Gjermund’s one of my absolute favourites,” Says Eick, “and I’ve wanted to record with him for many years. It was a matter of finding the right project to present to him, and this seemed to be it.” Trumpet and violin sing together gloriously here. “It turned out that we have some quite similar ideas about phrasing. And, as the recording session progressed, we grew closer as players, exchanging ideas in the music.” Mathias emphasizes that his drafting of the Midwest project has been intuitive and inspirational rather than musicological: “I’ve never studied folk music so my approach to the concept was more an imaginative one – sketches and impressions of places, landscapes and people, with the idea of the history in the background.” The track titled “Fargo” makes an affectionate nod both to the North Dakotan city and to the Coen Brothers, whose quintessentially American film of the same name employed orchestrations of folk themes from Norway’s Telemark region to underline Midwestern stoicism.
Pianist Jon Balke was a presence already on Mathias’s ECM leader debut The Door (recorded in 2007). Balke’s extensive discography has embraced a vast range of music since he first appeared on ECM in 1975, from free textural playing (see the recent Jøkleba album Outlands) to the jazz of Masqualero’s Bande à Part and transcultural projects (including the widely acclaimed Siwan). Midwest finds him at his most lyrical and outgoing. Helge Norbakken has worked extensively with Balke in projects including the Magnetic North Orchestra and the “percussion think-tank” Batagraf. Mathias Eick praises Norbakken’s ability both to drive the music and to comment on it: “He makes a very significant contribution – creating a kind of three dimensional landscape with his drumming” which also seems highly associative, at times even hinting at Native American tribal pulses or perhaps bison hooves pounding the plains.
Mats Eilertsen is meanwhile well-known as one of the most resourceful contemporary bassists and the loosely folk-influenced jazz of Midwest seems a perfectly logical environment for a player who at the time of the recording was gigging with both the Tord Gustavsen Quartet and Nils Okland’s band as well as his own groups.
Throughout, the compositions and the overarching concept provide an optimal context for the special qualities of Eick’s trumpet soloing – the strong yet melancholy-tinged singing tone, by now immediately identifiable, in this case yearning for home.
Midwest was recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio and produced by Manfred Eicher. It’s Mathias Eick’s third ECM album as a leader, following on from The Door (recorded 2007), and Skala (recorded 2009-2010). Mathias can also be heard on Evening Falls and Sideways with guitarist Jacob Young, on Northbound and Vespers with pianist-harpist Iro Haarla, and on Playground with drummer Manu Katché.
Mathias Eick is featuring music from Midwest on his current tour. The album was officially launched with a release concert at Oslo’s Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene on February 27. For details of further dates see ECM’s web site www.ecmrecords.com

Kurt Rosenwinkel – Biography
One sentence, trademark
There are artists who uphold what’s already been defined in music and then there are artists who do the defining. Guitarist, composer, and educator Kurt Rosenwinkel undisputedly sits among the trailblazers in the latter group.
Proven facts
With a career spanning almost twenty-five years, collaborating with dynamic peers like Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, Mark Turner, Joshua Redman, Chris Potter; and esteemed jazz elders like Joe Henderson, Paul Motian and Gary Burton, Rosenwinkel’s indelible mark in music is the consummation of being steeped in the rich and deep traditions of jazz, springing off of the shoulders of such vital underpinnings to elevate his own art to new heights, evolving the language in a way no other guitarist has since his arrival.
Early childhood
Born on October 28, 1970 in Philadelphia, PA, Kurt Rosenwinkel’s musical immersion began at a young age. The child of musical parents (his mother, a classical pianist and his father, a great improviser), it wasn’t long before Rosenwinkel would start to develop his own voice, writing and performing his first song at the age of nine. Rosenwinkel started several neighborhood bands (first playing piano), and studied and performed with the focus of a seasoned professional. Picking up the guitar at twelve years old, Rosenwinkel became increasingly interested in jazz, attending local jam sessions around Philadelphia where he honed his skills among some of the scene’s most essential players like Al Jackson, Eddie Green, Tyrone Brown, and his musical father figure, alto saxophonist Tony Williams. “I would sit in with them and that’s when I first discovered what it feels like when the whole house is on their feet, and you’re playing and swinging. That feeling… it just got me,” Rosenwinkel admits.

Rosenwinkel attended Creative and Performing Arts High School where he expanded his musical network with future Philly greats like Christian McBride, Joey DeFrancesco and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots. After spending two years at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Rosenwinkel had already earned a reputation which led him to tour and record with veterans Gary Burton and Paul Motian. As part of Motian’s Electric Bebop Band, Rosenwinkel experienced pivotal developments as a sideman during his decade-long tenure. It is also here that he further assimilates the traditions passed down from the fellow Philadelphian who worked with the likes of Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, and Bill Evans.
Rosenwinkel moved to New York City in the early 1990s, collaborating with drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Ben Street, initially as a trio. Soon after, he would add saxophonist Mark Turner to the equation and with the group’s regular appearances at the renowned Smalls jazz club in Greenwich Village, together they would develop the sound that was an essential part of the musical landscape of their generation.
Rosenwinkel recorded his debut album as a leader, East Coast Love Affair, in 1996, and followed up with Intuit in 1999. Both independently released albums establish Rosenwinkel’s extraordinary capabilities within the bebop idiom. Although a prolific writer, winning the Composer’s Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1995, these first two albums also showcase his sagacity around standards material.
The following year, Rosenwinkel released Enemies of Energy, his first project for the Verve label, which featured his adept group of Turner, Street, and Ballard, with the addition of Scott Kinsley on keyboards, playing a complete set of original compositions. Rosenwinkel also joined another landmark group, Brian Blade’s Fellowship band, and appeared on the drummer’s Perceptual album later the same year.

After dealing with a crisis of feeling completely disconnected to music, Rosenwinkel went through a stunning transformation. Feeling that his musical knowledge was an obstruction to genuinely enjoying the art, he flipped the keys in the tuning pegs of his guitar, completely obliterating what he knew. After shedding this alternate tuning, the process resulted in a creative breakthrough, which produced one of his most seminal recordings, The Next Step, featuring the modern classic “Zhivago”. A further documentation of his close-knit relationship with Turner, Street and Ballard, The Next Step catapulted Rosenwinkel to another realm, placing his innovation as an improviser and composer front and center.
It’s also here that Rosenwinkel introduces one of the most compelling elements of his sound – his voice. Tracing the voice and its function back to his childhood, it was initially a source of transcendence. A sort of “head buzzing” resulting from making vibrations with the mouth allowed Rosenwinkel to feel a sense of freedom. This eventually evolved to actually singing what he was playing, becoming an intrinsic part of his music.
A huge fan of hip-hop and artists like The Notorious B.I.G., Rosenwinkel worked with hip-hop veteran Q-Tip, formally of ground-breaking rap trio A Tribe Called Quest, on his next Verve release, Heartcore. The two collaborated on Q-Tip’s Renaissance project and Rosenwinkel was a part of his band, gaining a respect and trust of the legendary hip-hop artist and producer which organically led to Q-Tip co-producing Rosenwinkel’s experimental album which peels back yet another layer of his artistry, introducing soundscapes that draw from various musical genres and influences.

After the release of Deep Song in 2005, Rosenwinkel’s chapter closer for Verve, which features another stellar ensemble of jazz heavy hitters like Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Larry Grenadier, Ali Jackson and Ballard, Rosenwinkel begins a new phase of his career with a new label and a new band. The Remedy, released in 2008, is a live documentation of Rosenwinkel performing at the legendary Village Vanguard; a venue at which Rosenwinkel’s performances are consistently highly anticipated. Aaron Goldberg, Joe Martin, and Eric Harland make their appearance along with longtime collaborator Mark Turner on the deeply affective double album.
Hip hop
Rosenwinkel holds on to Harland and recruits bassist and close colleague Eric Revis for his next album, Reflections, a collection of mainly ballads. Aptly titled, Rosenwinkel takes his fans back to his early predilections for standards, with gorgeous renditions of songs by Thelonious Monk and Wayne Shorter. Rosenwinkel also gives an under the radar ode to hip-hop on the Shorter classic, “Fall”, which uses the Q-Tip hit “Vivrant Thing” as the rhythmic foundation, played impeccably by Harland. Rosenwinkel continuously exhibits a knack for recruiting extraordinary drummers, stating, “I’m very particular about the drums, because my music has roots in a lot of different musical styles and so I need for the people in my band and especially the drummer to understand how all of that relates to each other, and understands them in a way that’s not stylistically separated from each other.”
Rosenwinkel’s multi-layered approach to guitar is highlighted superbly in the trio context further exemplifying his perpetual inventiveness. “Taking care of the harmony and the melody at the same time… I like that freedom to create that space for myself, and also the instrumental implications for that as a sort of workshop for the guitar; to develop the techniques to do that. [Trio is] a context that you can really grow a lot in.”
Later years
Rosenwinkel follows up with a starkly contrasting project in 2010 with Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos (OJM), a Portugal- based big band. For a few years prior to the release, Rosenwinkel had been working with various big bands such as Nonet at the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland and the Concertgebouw Orchestra in The Netherlands. After doing some live performances with OJM, the band approached Rosenwinkel with the idea of a recording, which he fully embraced. Our Secret World features arrangements from Carlos Azevedo and Pedro Guedes of OJM, as well as saxophonist Ohad Talmor. A stunning re-visitation of some of Rosenwinkel’s finest work, Our Secret World celebrates his significance as a composer and leader, and also displays his ever-expanding command of his instrument.
Rosenwinkel released Star of Jupiter, his tenth album as a leader, in the Fall of 2012, debuting his new quartet which includes pianist Aaron Parks, drummer Justin Faulkner and Revis on bass. His first quartet album since The Next Step, this fiery group made up of rising stars and veterans-in-the-making possess a unique ability to embody a modern and classic feel, swinging and grooving with equally dynamic ease and intensity. It is surely this complexity yet relatable sense that is Rosenwinkel’s prowess. His ability to connect with his audience is the benefitting result of his continuous desire and motivation to make clearer and stronger his natural connection to the universe.
Rosenwinkel lives in Berlin and currently teaches at The Jazz Institute Berlin.
order of the information
He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and,
furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.

The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflection on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep-creased
scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert.

Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.
Japanese and Dutch jazz playing, an exciting match! Joris Posthumus and Tokyo's Bad Boys hit the Dutch jazz scene in a tour: check it out here. They will go through the roof!
What do felt and music have in common?

When you make felt you compile. You collect and arrange and with nothing but wool, water and abrasion a whole new fabric arises that did not exist before. Music is also a compilation. You position and merge notes and create a living moment that invokes an emotion.

Batik is a group that originated from the duo which Joost Lijbaart and Wolfert Brederode started in 2005. Significant for the group sound of Batik is the blending of music into one sound. With the emphasis on joint improvisation together they search for a new tone in which traditional forms of music fade away. The instruments itself are subordinate to the whole.

When searching a metaphor for our music the name of Claudy Jongstra came to the surface.

I am a great admirer of her tapestry's. She works with wool and plant material in a special way. Experimenting, the whole process of unlikely arduous labour, the felting of materials into one with nothing but her own hands as tools. The colouring and all the tiny steps that lead to one great end product full of life. I could not have found a more beautiful symbolization of what Batik is all about.

Joost Lijbaart

Voorbeeld Boekingsmail


My name is …….from ……..
Bij sending you this mail I want to mention (write name and band name) will be on tour in (mention country) in (mention timeframe).
For this period we are looking for concerts on the following dates (…..) and we hope to include (mention venue name).

1)Explain the trademark of your music. (could be: ……music similar to this movie, that book). Use something which creates emotion.
2)Proven facts (where did you play? Won any prizes? Any CD’s?)
3)Something about the music (could be:…..is one of the few musicians who combines indie rock with free jazz in a unique personal and up-to-date style).
4)Something about you (short bio).
5)Pressquote’s (if you have them). 6)1 or 2 good quality youtube links 7)1 good photo

thank you for your time and I am looking forward to your reaction.


Name, phone number, website, e mail.

What do felt and music have in common?

When you make felt you compile. You collect and arrange and with nothing but wool, water and abrasion a whole new fabric arises that did not exist before. Music is also a compilation. You position and merge notes and create a living moment that invokes an emotion.

Batik is a group that originated from the duo which Joost Lijbaart and Wolfert Brederode started in 2005. Significant for the group sound of Batik is the blending of music into one sound. With the emphasis on joint improvisation together they search for a new tone in which traditional forms of music fade away. The instruments itself are subordinate to the whole.

When searching a metaphor for our music the name of Claudy Jongstra came to the surface.

I am a great admirer of her tapestry's. She works with wool and plant material in a special way. Experimenting, the whole process of unlikely arduous labour, the felting of materials into one with nothing but her own hands as tools. The colouring and all the tiny steps that lead to one great end product full of life. I could not have found a more beautiful symbolization of what Batik is all about.

Joost Lijbaart

Batik is
Joost Lijbaart – drums
Wolfert Brederode – piano
Ed Verhoeff – guitar
Mark Haanstra – bass guitar
Full transcript