Take Five with Martin Stehl

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Martin Stehl:

Looking back, everything started in the early' 80s in Frankfurt, Germany, when Martin made his debut as a drummer. Listening to a vast variety of music, he soon became captivated by the sound of jazz fusion. As a member of his award-winning first fusion band, Ghoa-Concept, he was able to contribute his first compositions, by which time he was also playing the keyboards. Besides touring Tokyo with Ghoa-Concept, he has toured over Europe with many different formations and performed with Torsten DeWinkel and Kai Eckhardt.


Keyboards, vibraphone, drums, percussion.

Teachers and/or influences?

Weather Report, Yellowjackets, Steely Dan, Steps Ahead, Don Grolnick, Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Jim Beard, Steve Khan, Larry Carlton, Larry Goldings.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

At the age of 12, I tried to follow some simple beats on my friend's drum set. From that day I was fascinated and kept practicing to some favorite records. After a short time, I started playing in local bands with other musicians. I never considered doing anything else other than music. And that´s what encourages me and keeps me going.

Your sound and approach to music:

As a music enthusiast and fond of different genres of a large scale, I love to blend styles together. Although having the freedom, in the style fusion-jazz, to experiment and to come up with something unusual, I tend to keep to a consistent arrangement, but infused with all modern elements. For sure I will look forward to advancing, by being captivated by endlessly possibilities.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

Some years ago we had a concert in South Germany, where I had to take our dog. Usually my girlfriend takes care of him when I am on tour. So knowing that our dog, (it was a dachshund), has its own mind and expecting that he could disappear at any time. I had to keep an eye on him while I was playing with my band. So I had to tie him near the stage just to be sure far enough away to not bother him with our music. So in the beginning everything looked fine and Yelo, (our dog), was observing me and vice versa. After a while I was surprised to realize that the audience was starting to die laughing. Shocked to see that in the meantime Yelo totally disappeared as it turned out that he chewed through his leash and was sitting right next my drum set looking at me as though he was saying, "Can we please go, I have heard enough for now!"

Favorite venue:

It was playing a concert with Torsten DeWinkel and Kai Eckhardt. The location was great, because we played in front of a castle ruins and while we were playing in the evening a light projection brilliantly illuminated the stage and the ruins.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

The debut album from Michael Brecker.

Did you know...

For years I have been busy creating and producing music broadly based including pop, house and instrumental music for film and TV under my alias name of Steely M, for CAPP Records, which is based in San Rafael, California. Using this name for original commercial compositions as well for a diversity production tasks, I was also involved with Frank Farians groups like Boney M and No Mercy to create dance-compatible remixes.

Desert Island picks:

Donald Fagen, The Nightfly (Warner Bros. Record);

Weather Report, ,em>8:30 (Columbia/Sony Music);

Don Grolnick, Medianoche (Warner Bros. Record);

Michael Brecker, Time Is of the Essence (Verve/UMG Recordings);

Gustav Mahler—Symphony No.5 (Decca Records).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

For a long time, increasingly, we are subjected unconsciously to daily overstimulation by the media. Hearing constantly, the same songs and sounds everywhere, whether you like it or not is very tiresome. I have always been fond and aware of the quality of well-made music and I´m very aware of what I deliberately listen to. Jazz, precisely, to me is more captivating then ever!

What is in the near future?

For sure, I´ll take the time to develop more music in the instrumental-fusion-jazz style and beyond jazz as soon I´ll find some time in between my production requests.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:


Photo Credit

Courtesy of Martin Stehl

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