INTERVIEW: Markus Strothmann (New band, Adrienne West and the Hammond Jazz Orchestra)

This project has its origins in the conservatoire in Enschede, the Netherlands, where Hammond organ specialist John Hondorp, vocalist Adrienne West and drummer Markus Strothmann -  a former student -  are lecturers in the conservatory  

The first Hondorp/ Strothmann project was the Transitions Organ Duo, which released a debut album “No idea.” 2014 (Unit Records). Markus Strothmann has a new band, "Adrienne West and the Hammond Jazz Orchestra." He explained the concepts behind it and the plans for it to Sebastian:

LondonJazz News: Who is in this new band?

Markus Strothmann: Adrienne West – Vocals, John Hondorp – Hammond, Linley Hamilton – Trumpet and myself, Markus Strothmann - Drums

LJN: How did you all get together?

MS: I wrote a master’s degree thesis on the network of jazz music in Europe. During my field research I met Linley Hamilton in Belfast. Linley interviewed me for his BBC programme. Since then we have kept in touch.

I run a concert series every year in the German Farmhouse Jazzclub in Harsewinkel near Osnabrueck. The series is called “Markus Strothmann meets…”. I always invite different guest soloists. February 2014 I invited Adrienne, John and Linley. The combination of Adrienne’s vocal style and Linley’s classy trumpet performance in combination with the good foundation of Transitions Organ Duo seemed to make a lot of sense. The concerts in this club were combined with other concerts to form a tour. The tour was such a success, that I decided we should form a band.

So I planned and booked a second tour, to generate material for the band. The final date of the tour was a recording session in the beautiful Watt Matters Studio in Germany with a live audience. This is the concert, where the Imagine video was recorded.

LJN: How did you choose your repertoire?

MS: Because of the way the band was formed, the first concerts were performed with each person as a guest soloist. These performances were based around Adrienne’s repertoire and arrangements of Linley’s recordings as well as original compositions of Transitions Organ Duo.

In preparation for the second tour, I established a name and concept for the band. “Adrienne West and the Hammond Jazz Orchestra” was born. Also, Adrienne and John did some special arrangements. Because of the political instability and the anxious atmosphere across the globe at present, the band’s priority was the Imagine arrangement. The style of arrangement puts the spotlight on the lyrics. Lyrics that the world needs now more than ever.

LJN: What’s next?

MS: There were some more tunes recorded at the same session. The band is going to carefully look at possibilities for releasing these. Other arrangements also were written, which have to be dealt with. An album recording is also planned, possibly in late 2016.

Because this is a new band, autumn and winter will be used for setting up an organisational network and generating concert possibilities for 2016.

LJN: Where are you appearing live?

MS: The band will be touring Ireland and Northern Ireland in spring next year. Frequent concerts around Germany and the Netherlands are planned. Apart from that, we are open to offers!

LINK: Adrienne West and the Hammond Jazz Orchestra Facebook Page

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