Qatar Germany 2017

Interview mit Volker Schlott

German jazz saxophonist Volker Schlott will visit Doha in fall 2017 with his band Favo. He will give concerts and workshops as part of the Qatar Germany 2017 program. We have asked him three questions about his work and his upcoming Doha trip.

FAVO: Falk Breitkreuz, Volker Schlott, Sander De Winne © FAVO, Volker Schlott

You have been performing jazz for many years. What brought you to jazz and how would you describe your style?

True, my first engagement was in 1978 in a fusion band. Back then, I was still a student at the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin. The first band leader was the one who roused my curiosity for jazz. From him I actually learnt more about jazz than at school where, at that time, the focus was on classical music.
In 1980 then, I started with my first quartet und this persists to date. I still work with the Fun Horns who have been together for 32 years and with whom we have played many concerts worldwide, some by invitation of the Goethe-Institut.
My current project FAVO also originated in the tradition of rhythmgroupless bands. With a bass clarinet, sopran saxophone and voice this formation reflects my preference for unusual line-ups as well as for an adventurous appetite to re-invent music. After having experimented with all kinds of music styles in the 1980ies and 1990ies I have come to a point where I strive to touch the audience much deeper with my music. No matter where in the world´s corners the different segments have originated, in the end music must always have an emotional impact on the listener.
You live in Berlin, a city that many Arab artists call home. Have you already been working with Arab artists? If so, what was your experience?

Yes, Berlin really is an incredibly vibrant city and keeps attracting more and more international musicians and artists. You can say that in Berlin you meet all of the world´s cultures. So far, however, I have only played with Greek, Turkish, African and American musicians. My first encounter with Arab music a couple of years ago has been in a project with Kamal Musallam und another three international musicians in Doha and Abu Dhabi, where we were also invited by the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region.
So you also played in Doha. What are your memories of this stay? And what do you expect in Doha now?
As I just said, I have very fond memories of my concerts in Doha with Kamal Musallam. It was a completely new experience to play a concert in this part of the world. And then again it was quite simple, because when people or, in this case, musicians come together to make music it mostly results in a very straightforward way to communicate and compromise. This kind of communication cannot be achieved with any other medium. That is why I am particularly excited this time to visit Doha with my own band and to bring our version of music and jazz. I am really very much looking forward to coming!
What kind of program will you present in Doha? What focus will it have? And what in particular are you looking forward to?

We will present in our program compositions of the most renowned jazz and world music composers. And, of course own pieces created by the three of us. The focus will be in the interpretation of seemingly familiar melodies by our trio. Another very special aspect is the variety. We have worked on familiar pieces in a very unconventional way. Apart from the instruments bass clarinet and soprano sax we will include a Mbira which is an instrument from Zimbabwe. And our singer will beatbox. We hope that the audience will have as much fun as we will when we perform.