My Berlin


How would you de­scribe your mu­sic to some­one who’s never heard it?

My lat­est al­bum sounds elec­tronic, yet is played en­tirely acous­ti­cally. I love beau­ti­ful melodies and mov­ing be­tween dif­fer­ent styles. For me, the most im­por­tant thing in mu­sic is the mood, the vibe.

How is your new­est al­bum, KY or­ganic, dif­fer­ent from prior ones?

My last al­bum, ME­MENTO, was recorded to­gether with an or­ches­tra, so it’s ac­tu­ally quite the op­po­site of KY or­ganic, which has a very small and in­ti­mate in­stru­men­ta­tion.

You play both pi­ano and trum­pet, and your mu­sic bridges a num­ber of gen­res. Has Berlin, as a place that is also mul­ti­fac­eted, in­flu­enced your style in this re­gard?

Berlin has a su­per cre­ative jazz scene and at the same time, it’s also a hotspot for elec­tronic mu­sic and clas­si­cal mu­sic too. There aren’t many cities in which the mu­sic scenes are as open to each other, and re­spect­ful of in­flu­ences from one an­other, as here in Berlin. The XJAZZ Fes­ti­val is our way of try­ing to rep­re­sent this mul­ti­plic­ity.

How long have you been in Berlin? How would you de­scribe the mu­sic scene here?

I’ve been here since 2000. What re­ally ap­peals to me is the open­ness and alive­ness of the mu­sic scene. There are con­stantly great new mu­si­cians com­ing here. This means that no­body can sit back and stay sta­tion­ary – ev­ery­one has to stay cre­ative all the time and keep de­vel­op­ing as mu­si­cians. I find this very in­spi­ra­tional.

What are your fa­vorite places in the city to lis­ten to mu­sic?

I like the small jazz clubs, such as A-Trane ( and Zig Zag (www.zig-za­g­jaz­, but also or­ches­tra con­certs at the Phil­har­monie. I also like the vibe in the many off­beat lo­ca­tions, which are of­ten tem­po­rary spots. The XJAZZ Fes­ti­val is also about show­ing con­trasts. The con­certs take place at lo­ca­tions like the Water­gate club, Lido, and Pri­vat­club, but also in Kreuzberg’s Em­mauskirche church.

Other than your concert, which shows in this month’s XJAZZ Fes­ti­val (p. 47) are on your must-see list?

I’m a fan of Gré­gory Pri­vat from Mar­tinique and Pet­ros Klam­pa­nis from Greece – both proper jazz cats. But I’m also into Ätna, from Dres­den. Azer­bai­jani pi­anist Is­far Sarab­ski is fan­tas­tic – he’ll be play­ing a duo show with both sax­o­phone and pi­ano/or­gan.

Which neigh­bor­hood do you live in, and what drew you to it?

I live in Friedrichshain, near Ostkreuz. I’ve got my fa­vorite cafés here, Safé on Son­ntagstraße ( and Tres Cabezas on Box­ha­gener Straße ( Bak­eries and res­tau­rants are just around the cor­ner, and I’m close to the river at Rum­mels­burger Bucht. I like kick­ing a ball around with my son on Len­bach­platz and go­ing to the mar­ket on Box­ha­gener Platz.

Imagine it’s a beau­ti­ful day and you’re free to spend it how­ever you choose. What would your per­fect Berlin day look like?

I would take my bike on the re­gional train out to a lake in Bran­den­burg. Liep­nitzsee is my fa­vorite. Tem­pel­hofer Feld is an­other of my reg­u­lar des­ti­na­tions. When it’s re­ally warm out, I like go­ing to Moli­nari & Ko in Kreuzberg (www. moli­ to sit in the shade with a white wine and some­thing to eat.

Clock­wise from top left: A Friedrichshain café; Se­bas­tian Studnitzky; Tem­pel­hofer Park; neigh­bor­hood mar­ket in Box­ha­gener Platz; Studnitzky's al­bum; The river bank in Rum­mels­burg.

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