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Jazz Violinist Mads Tolling Releases the Playmaker, a Salute to Sports and Music Greats


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Mads Tolling, internationally renowned violinist, violist, and composer, is a two-time Grammy Award winner. He is currently a member of the Turtle Island Quartet and soloist with bassist Stanley Clarke’s band. Born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, Mads moved to Boston to study at Berkeley College of Music. Mads was immediately recognized as a fresh voice in jazz, and his career went into full swing performing with top artists such as Al Di Meola, Kenny Barron, Paquito D'Rivera & Leo Kottke.

Mads’ sophomore CD release The Playmaker (Madsman Records, October 20 release) features jazz greats Russell Ferrante & Stanley Clarke along with vibes extraordinaire Stefon Harris. Hear these leading musicians along with a violinist, who views his instrument as part fiddle, part saxophone, and part acoustic and electric violin. Mads Tolling is a leading innovator in string playing, and this recording of jazz, fusion, funk, classical, Danish folk along with rock & roll arrangements of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” and Radiohead’s “Just,” encapsulates his point of view.

“The Playmaker” conveys the connection between sports and music. In sports, the playmaker’s role is to facilitate his teammates for scoring opportunities - to bring them, and ultimately the team, success. This is what musicians do: make their band mates sound better by supporting them during a solo, making the band sound greater than any one of its parts. In the titular Tolling original, “The Playmaker Suite,” each of the movements is dedicated to three athletes who are truly great at what they do, while serving their teammates and representing their sport to the highest degree possible.

Likewise, for three of the remaining songs, they are dedicated to musicians, who had that same greatness in their music making, while being true “playmakers” on the bandstand.

Says Mads Tolling of his overall vision, “It is my goal with this recording to highlight the link between music and sports, athletes and musicians; two worlds that are not often compared. However, the basic qualities are so similar – it’s all about teamwork!”

“Mads has the amazing talent and skills that few young musicians can match. His music is both beautiful and refreshing exhibiting his superb mastery of the modern American Jazz music that is rarely seen among his peers.” - Jean-Luc Ponty

“While Tolling is skilled at evoking a beautiful melody, he’s equally adept at filling out the sound with powerful double-stops and intricate harmonics…” - Greg Cahill, Strings Magazine

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