Rembrandt Frerichs Trio will be in Borusan Müzik Evi, İstanbul on December 3. İhsan Dindar conducted an interview with Rembrandt Frerichs about their approach to music and recent projects.
You’ve been together for a long time. What kind of harmony does this unity create between you?
In the 15 years that we have played together we have learned to predict each others musical choices. Since we improvise a lot, we make a lot of musical decisions every time we play. Now when we play we try as much as possible to surprise each other. These moments of surprise are usually clearly noticable fort he audience.
In 2014, you started to chart a new path musically. You are using a custom made pianoforte. It is also possible to see this historical reference on the violone. What dimension did these new instruments that refer to history add to your musical journey?
These a instruments allow us to play much more softly and intimate and also there is a lot more tranparency in the sound. THis is greatfirst of all because we love the sound of European Classical music from before 1800, but it is also great because it enables us to play together in balance with all the great musicians from the Middle East, Iran and Turkey, like Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan.
How would you describe the universal aspect of your music? Where does jazz stand at this point?
We call a melody universal when they always tough people emotionally, no matter where we play in the World. These can be melodies from Germany, China or Armenia, or anywhere else. The universal aspect of jazz is that of communication between people. When jazz is played well, it embodies the value of really respecting and listening to your fellow human beings.
I’m also curious about Tonality Music. I also see it as a reflection of an intercontinental musical journey. What would you like to say about the association?
We started Tonality Music as a way to organize our activities more efficiently. It has gradually grown into a platform where we, and other people too, can share everything we have learned and love about music in all its forms.
Tonality Music also has an educational aspect. How is this part going?
We regularly do workshops and masterclasses all over the World. This is very rewarding and great fun, also we always learn so much ourselves too! We also hope that articles in Tonality Magazine help in educating our audience about the deeper backgrounds of our music.
It’s great to see you in Turkiye again. You are a well-known and loved community here. How would you describe this interest you see in Turkiye?
This is now the fourth time we play in Turkiye. Every time we were here we have felt incredibly welcome and impressed by the immense diversity in Turkish culture and history as well as the youthful energy.
I think it is necessary to open a parenthesis for your relationship with Turkish culture. I know you were influenced by Mevlana in your “A Wind Invisible Sweeps Us Through The World” album. What kind of musical elements about Turkiye are you interested in and that you love?
We feel that our journey into Turkish music culture has only just begun. We have always loved the intricacies of Ottoman court music, the unique sound of the Black Sea kemenche and the great Baglama playing tradition. Since our recent rehearsals with Erdal Erzincan we have completely fallen inlove with the sound of that instrument.
When we look at this album specifically, it is possible to say that it is a journey not only between geographies but also between music from different periods. Is it possible for us to learn the story of the album?
While touring different venues all over the world, the trio discovered that some compositions shared a special kind of magic that translated wherever they were played. Often, the pieces were based on compositions and themes from different times and cultures; a Bach motif, a Chinese folk song, a whiff of Armenian folklore. Beautiful, strong melodies that touched audiences no matter their background or culture. Like fairytales told all over the world might have different characters but share the same plot: What it is to be human. The trio decided they wanted to create these kinds of ‘universal’ compositions, keeping them concise and powerful – melodies and songs that have a universal quality, touching listeners far and wide. For this album, they dreamed up music with strong, timeless melodies to try and transpose into song what we all share – our being human.
You will be at Borusan Music House on 3 December. How does it feel to be in Istanbul again?
Obviously Istanbul is a fantastic place to visit, such great energy!
What kind of concert can the audience expect at Borusan Music House?
The audience will see and hear three men who have been playing together for over 15 years. That makes the group a prime example of the type of musical communication that defines jazz. The trio will play mainly original compositions by Rembrandt Frerichs and also some other universal melodies.
After the 2021 album A Wind Invisible Sweeps Us Through The World, will you have a new project especially in the new year?
In March 2023 we will release an albüm with the great Iranian singer Mohammad Motamedi. And then also in March we will back in Istanbul to play our premiere concert with Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan! We play at CRR on 31 March.