For his new album Berlin People, Tobias Meinhart wanted to bridge the musical cultures of New York City and Germany by recording with a band of his German peers and an American jazz guitarist who has made Berlin his home, the great Kurt Rosenwinkel.
Though Meinhart had made his home in New York, he regularly returns to Europe and frequently stays in Berlin during the summers, where he would reconvene with his musician friends.
Kurt Rosenwinkel has been regarded as a firebrand on the guitar and a much-copied stylist. His vocal-like sound has become a touchstone for every guitarist coming up after him. He had relocated to Berlin, at nearly the same time that Meinhart moved to New York.
Meinhart’s music had been in transition over the past few years. His last couple of recordings found him leading quintets with a trumpet as the second melodic voice. His recent compositions lent themselves to the guitar.
The rhythm section that Meinhart enlisted includs bassist Tom Berkmann along with pianist Ludwig Hornung and drummer Mathias Ruppnig, all highly respected Berlin-based musicians and former Rosenwinkel students.
For Berlin People, Meinhart wanted to present music that had concrete, personal themes. He came up with a number of pieces that are portraits of family members and inspirational individuals like Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai.