German Jazz Group Wows Nairobi
Hamburg- based CNIRBS Jazz group which was on African tour to promote its music in the continent was in Nairobi where it thrilled fans alike with its electrifying renditions from its ‘Outside the box’ album and new hit single ‘Hey College’.
CNIRNS means whippersnapper or manikin in German
The show at the German Cultural Centre Goethe Institute in part of the group’s tour October, that saw the gifted trio tour seven African cities, starting in Maputo, Mozambique before proceeding to Antananarivo, Madagascar, Johannesburg, Kampala, Kigali, then came to Nairobi and before heading for Addis Ababa where the tour ends.
The jazz crew consists of keyboardist and composer Matthaus Winnitzki, drummer Konrad Ullrich, and trumpet and euphonium player Stephan Meinberg. They routinely push the boundar- ies of jazz with their wild rhythms, undertaking brief musical forays into related genres.
You can hear borrowings from alternative rock in their music as well as electronic elements and influences from African and Caribbean music. This makes Matthaus not to regard himself as just a jazz musician, but more, in his words as a ‘world musician’. Born in the late 1970s in the Polish city of Tychy, he moved with his parents to Hamburg, where he studied classical and jazz piano.
Konrad Ullrich discovered his passion for the drums at the early age of 10 and took lessons from then on. He played in the big band at music school, where he discovered his second love: Jazz. After high school he went straight on to the conservatory in Hamburg, where he was trained. On the side, he played in a German Youth Orchestra before going to New York in 2006 on a jazz scholarship.
Stephan Meinberg, the third man in the group also plays euphonium –a brass instrument which has a somewhat deeper register than the trumpet and is often used in brass bands and orchestras. Meinberg first studied European classical music in Lubeck, then jazz in Cologne, before likewise flying to New York for a one year scholarship. Upon his return to Germany, he played with countless musicians and with the Big Band of North German Broadcasting (NGB). He has released a number of CDs with his ViTAMiNE quintet and the bands Arnie Bolden, Mold and Heelium.
With their wild improvisations and complex rhythms, CNIRBS never neglect to have some fun when playing live gigs. With their keyboard, brass and percussion instruments, panoply of wires, flashing little lights and mysterious foot pedals, with their verve and painstakingly achieved lightness of touch and sound. CNIRBS have already played in a number of jazz clubs and festivals around the globe.
The Goethe Institute sponsored their tour of the seven African countries to foster AfricanGerman relations and cement the historical relations as the band’s music is synonymous with African tunes, and the reactions from the audience in Nairobi reflected just that