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Meet Axel Schultheiss: I started playing the guitar at 15 and soon got into finger-style guitar when I heard players like Leo Kottke. Shortly after this I started to compose my own music and played concerts. My sound began to emerge more and more once I started combing acoustic finger-style techniques with delay and loop pedals. I mainly play solo concerts but I also have some great duo and trio projects.
Electric and acoustic guitars.
Teachers and/or influences?
I taught myself by watching a TV program by John Pearse. I listened to a lot of records and tried to learn from all styles of music like folk, classical, jazz and Indian music.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
When I realized the enormous and endless power music has and how it can change attitudes.
Your sound and approach to music:
My sound is wide and open, while being grounded and rooted. I want people to fly, to experience sound worlds, and I want to take them on a sound trip into the open space.
Your teaching approach:
Students should be encouraged to find their own thing, their own sound, and their own approach to music. They should leave stereotypical ways of playing their instruments and forget about impressing anybody with technique. They should become aware of the real magic of music.
Very open to all kinds of influences. Jazz seems more and more like an approach to music rather than a style.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
An open mind.
What is in the near future?
I just finished recording a new album, which hopefully will be released in 2014 or 2015. I am starting an acoustic project featuring solo guitar music with live loops and delays together with duos with bassist Ralf Gauck and with guitarist Claus Boesser-Ferrai.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.