Berlin 21

Naming their new album “Three!” has two reasons for BERLIN 21. On the one hand, it is the band’s third album, and on the other, it is the first that they recorded not as a quartet but as a trio.

Musically it takes an extremely varied trip around the world, on which we encounter Latin and Afro grooves as well as Funk and Soul beats. Swinging Bebop, dreamy Jazz ballads and a Musette Waltz are just some of the stops the band makes on “Three!”. Their companion is always the Blues, a basic pillar of Jazz, a leitmotif that keeps flashing in different facets.

Bandleader and drummer Torsten Zwingenberger, together with pianist Lionel Haas and Martin Lillich on bass, presents a versatile and entertaining new album that is full of joy and simply puts you in a good mood. With virtuoso ease of which you don’t even notice the complexity behind it, the long-time bandmates mix different timbres and rhythms, swing and groove from one continent to the next.

Torsten Zwingenberger (drums), Lionel Haas (piano) and Martin Lillich (bass) have been playing together since 2013 under the name BERLIN 21. Their first two albums “Capital Letters” (2014) and “Odds On” (2016) were made in a quartet with guitarist Patrick Farrant respectively his successor Timothy Seier.

Drummer Torsten Zwingenberger is one of the busiest personalities in the German Jazz scene. He plays more than a hundred concerts a year worldwide and he is active in numerous projects as a bandleader or a sideman. In his mid-twenties he worked together with Jazz legends such as Buddy Tate, Harry „Sweets“ Edison and Joe Pass. In addition, he developed his very own, sensational style of drumming. What he calls “Drumming 5 Point” combines the classical drum set with several percussion instruments, played with the artistic precision of all limbs.

The pianist Lionel Haas, born in Bonn in 1971, has been playing the piano since he was 9 years old. He spent four years in Washington, D.C. before he moved to Berlin in 1999. Here he has been working with his own trio, quintet and octet formations and as a sought-after sideman in numerous other projects. He feels home in many Jazz styles and is considered a virtuoso soloist with a distinct blues feeling.

Martin Lillich, autodidact on the electric bass, studied double bass at the Hochschule der Künste with Klaus Stoll. Musically, he moves between Classical Music, Caribbean, Jazz, Balkans and Bosporus, the New Klezmer scene and Flamenco. Lillich is an integral part of the Berlin and German Jazz scene as a soloist and sideman. From 1995 to 2005 he was a lecturer at the Hanns Eisler Jazz Academy, and from 2003 to 2010 bandleader of Pompduck & Circumstance. He has been working at the Global Music Academy since 2010.