June 15, 2024

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Why Thomas Siffling plays “understandable jazz”? Video, Photos

The Mannheim jazz musician is a trumpeter in various groups and as a jazz club manager is a well-known name in the scene. On his latest album he tries his hand at singing for the first time.

Mannheim. It is always best when he is on stage and just letting his greatest passion run free. These are sound passages that are unique in their own way, these, despite an occasional weirdness, always catchy and beautiful melodies that stick in the ear. It’s this very own sound and the completely relaxed flow. And it is these idiosyncratic, beautiful tone cascades that take the listener away from everyday life and into another world.

Sometimes time even stands still a bit when Thomas Siffling plays the trumpet or the flugelhorn. Yes, the man simply has it – like hardly anyone else and in his very own and individual key.

It is not for nothing that Siffling has been recognized as one of the best contemporary jazz trumpeters in Germany and beyond for years. A reputation that he has earned with hard work, diligence and skill. Standing on stage and playing the trumpet is probably the most important thing, but by no means everything for the musician, who was born in Karlsruhe in 1972 and has lived in Mannheim for many years.

A Thomas Siffling has many passions, and he now also bears a lot of responsibility. In addition to his own music and participation in numerous formations and groups, he has been managing director of the Mannheim jazz club “Ella & Louis” since 2018, which has since become one of the best known and most important in the scene in Germany.

In addition, he is also involved in the field of cultural policy, especially in the difficult times for artists since the beginning of the pandemic. Just a few days ago, Siffling was one of 14 representatives from the fields of music, drama, film, museum, book trade and the art industry in a conversation with Chancellor Angela Merkel about perspectives for culture after the pandemic.

He has come such a long way since he decided to make music his profession. Growing up in a musical family (his grandfather was a silent film pianist), he chose music as his main subject at school, played first in the orchestra, then in a big band and “learned the craft from scratch”, as he puts it himself . When he found jazz through the big band leader, it was clear that this was exactly the music he was looking for.

Studying in Mannheim and Stuttgart with a master’s degree led him to the local region, where the legendary Fritz Münzer became his mentor. After first acquaintance and cooperation with regional musicians such as the saxophonist Olaf Schönborn, everything happened very quickly: “It was clear to me that I wanted to make my own music and only play what gave me the most – my own jazz.”

Siffling describes what he means by this as “melody-related, comprehensible jazz”. For him it is clear that “you shouldn’t overstrain people intellectually, you have to take them with you musically”. He has long since achieved his chosen goal of giving jazz social relevance again – even if he does not stop working for it and on it. “We have to learn to listen more to the audience again,” he pinned himself and his fellow musicians to the flags: “Then you can shape jazz more freely again and also expect something from the audience”.

A philosophy that has long paid off, as evidenced by the audience figures and applause at Siffling’s performances as well as the sales figures for his own albums and those recorded with other musicians. A milestone not only for him was the founding of his own band Flow in 2016, with which he released a successful first album in 2017 and which at the same time opened the door to numerous festival appearances for him. His albums with “Lounge Jazz” in the best sense, which he released in 2013 and 2018 together with Club des Belugas, were even more successful.

With his current project, Siffling is now venturing into completely new realms. With the composer and producer Antonio Berardi he is working on an album with songs on which he also sings for the first time. “That was actually always my wish”, he says with a smile, “I just haven’t dared myself so far”. Now, however, he sings the lead part on a total of eleven songs, three of which are from his own pen and seven from Berardi’s pen; the eleventh is a cover. The whole thing won’t be released until next year, but a single release is already planned for autumn.

Until then, Thomas Siffling will be able to see and hear his trumpet live on stage again as soon as possible, various dates have already been set.

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