"... Together with Roman Rofalski (keys), Konrad Ullrich (drums) and Leonard Huhn (sax & clarinet), supported by Sarpay Özcagatay (flute) and Mona Burger (violin), he approached his cultural roots in eight pieces...."Gitarre & Bass interview, 01-7-2023
The Achim Seifert Project of e-bassist Achim Seifert, who was nominated for the 2016 Echo Jazz in the category "Best National Bassist", has been in existence for more than ten years. “Dünyalar” is already his fourth album, and as the title already reveals – “Dünyalar” means “worlds” – the son of a Turkish father is increasingly dealing with his musical roots.
"I came into contact with Turkish and Arabic music as a child through my father," he said. "The new album is an approach to my Turkish roots, which are part of my identity. My family in Turkey sent me the notes of Turkish songs. From several hundred pieces, I then chose these five and arranged them."
The songs work with a poetic sound language that is dominated by melody and rhythm. "I chose the songs based on their melodies, but the rhythmic finesse also plays a role," Seifert said. "In Turkish music, the odd measures dominate, which is a real playground for a bass player."
The Achim Seifert Project interprets the odd measures with a supple nonchalance that sounds just right in your ears, but they also leave room for improvisation – the musicians are well aware of the background context of the songs. "The love songs often have a comforting meaning," the bassist explained. “It's a lot about longing and missing, about the opportunities you've missed in life. The songs express sadness, but also hope and are generally characterized by strong emotions."
These songs merge with a Western concept of jazz with great delicacy. "In some cases," Seifert said, "they are very old pieces that are still often sung and that many people in Turkey know."
In addition to these songs, Seifert also contributed three originals to the album, some of which were produced in co-production with his pianist Roman Rofalski. "I've known Roman for a long time," the bassist stated. "He is a crossover artist, because he also studied classical piano. In addition to jazz, he also has a classical approach and is an incredibly accomplished pianist. You can also hear his classic roots when he improvises."
The melodies are often carried by saxophonist and clarinetist Leonard Huhn, whom many might know from the band Schmid’s Huhn. "I met Leonard Huhn seventeen years ago at a workshop in Berlin, and I have been a fan of his sound and his sound aesthetics since that time," the bandleader stated enthusiastically. "He is on the move a lot in the free scene in Cologne, which I find admirable."
The drums are played by Konrad Ullrich, who can be heard in the Heiko Fischer Quartet, for example, or in the bands of bassist Giorgi Kiknadze. "Konrad is a drummer with precise rhythmic ideas," Achim said. "His playing style is very creative, and he is also a groove machine, which is very important for my music."
The sound is completed by the flutist Sarpay Özcagatay and the violinist Mona Burger, who play at various times in the album and give the music an additional dimension. "Dünyalar" actually connects worlds without falling into an intrusive crossover aesthetic.
Of course, the music is supported by Achim with his extremely variably playing on the electric bass, an instrument that he already selected to play when he was a child. "The electric bass has been my instrument since I was twelve," he confirmed. "You can try a lot of things out on the instrument, because it is still quite young. The tone quality is much more exact than on a double bass, and that fascinates me.”
Roman Rofalski is a brilliant, versatile and thoughtful pianist. His new album Sonar surprises, teases, soothes and inspires. The trio: Roman Rofalski on piano, Johannes Felscher on double bass and Ruben Steijn on drums, complement each other with subtle skill and sensitivity.
“I'm from Stadthagen, a small town near Hanover," explains Roman, who composed the music for the new album, released by BERTHOLD records. “My parents are both teachers who have never been professional musicians but who have always been interested in music. When I was ten years old, they gave me the choice of learning guitar or piano. I decided on the latter, as my father strummed a few chords as a hobby, and I wanted naturally to be different.”
Roman as a teenager played rock music, produced techno and wanted really to be a star in these musical genres. Highly talented, he went on to study classical piano at the Hanover University for Music, Drama & Media. “At that time, as was often the case, I studied classical piano but listened to jazz music. Bill Evans was my great idol. Now, as I work more in the field of improvised music, I hear a lot of classical pieces.” An accomplished classical concert pianist by his mid-twenties, he later took his jazz masters in New York. As Roman explains: “I had a bit of a crisis with classical piano playing. As a concert pianist you have to be one hundred percent behind any music you interpret. In the search for a musical form of expression you have to include your own background. My roots lie with Shostakovich, Schubert and Beethoven, but also with Herbie Hancock, Foo Fighters and Electronic Dance Music. From there it is a long process that is still going on in my own music and that is still something special. This is not the usual path for a jazz musician. I search for new challenges and am ever curious in incorporating the different styles.”
Roman, who teaches at the Rostock College of Music, has performed at the Leverkusener Jazztage, Saxophon Festival Seligenstadt and the Jazzralley Düsseldorf amongst many other prestigious venues.
He is a member of the “ohton-ensemble for contemporary music” and has just returned from an extensive solo-tour for Schimmel Pianos in China.
... Together with Roman Rofalski (keys), Konrad Ullrich (drums) and Leonard Huhn (sax & clarinet), supported by Sarpay Özcagatay (flute) and Mona Burger (violin), he approached his cultural roots in eight pieces....
Gitarre & Bass interview, 01-7-2023
... This music plays at a high level and seems very harmonious and radiates a certain degree of satisfaction.
... Label colleague and electric bassist Achim Seifert brings ... on Dünyalar brings together two musical worlds, jazz with Turkish music. ...
virgin jazzface, 14-4-2023
... And (he) creates with his excellent band a poetic crossover that comes across completely organic and natural in every moment.
... Sarpay Özcagatay with the flute and Mona Burger, violin, contribute world music flair to the program, which is rhythmically perfectly staged by Achim n Seifert on bass and drummer Konrad Ullrich.
Colorful fusion jazz rock with Turkish and Arabic influences, which sounds very melancholic and full of longing...
... With saxophonist Leonard Huhn, pianist Roman Rofalski and drummer Konrad Ullrich, there are up-and-coming masters of newer jazz styles...
NDR CD der Woche, 27-3-2023
... Making the crooked measures sound natural is one of the band's basic virtues...
... "Dünyalar" actually connects worlds without falling into a pushy crossover aesthetic...