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Take Five With Wolf Nilson

Take Five With Wolf Nilson
Wolf Nilson By

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Meet Wolf Nilson:

I studied bass guitar at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam from 1999 to 2002, and at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule fur Musik from 2002 to 2003. Ever since, I've been playing in Berlin. I formed my own trio in 2009, and last year we started playing at the Quasimodo once or twice per month as the Quasimodo Jam Band, inviting guests, too. We are hoping now, to make a nice concert movie at the end of the year.


Bass, guitar, keys, drums, and percussion.

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers: Joe Hudth, David de Marez Oyens, Jan Hollestelle, Charly Angenois, Victor Bailey, Jimmy Haslip and others.

Influences: Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Miles Davis and many more.

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

I discovered the piano in our house.

Your sound and approach to music:

I like electric bassists like Paul Jackson, and double bassists like Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, and Ron Carter. My approach is that music is fun, music is love, and music is sharing emotions.

Your teaching approach:

Very open—giving only what I'm asked for and enforcing concepts, but working with what my students love to do.

Your dream band:

I'd love to play with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock one day and I would like to hear Tal Wilkenfeld with Hiromi.

Favorite venue:


Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

I have a few. Chick Corea's The Mad Hatter, Pink Floyd's A Saucerful of Secrets, Herbie Hancock's V.S.O.P, Miles Davis' My Funny Valentine, Dota die Kleingeldprinzessin's Immer Nur Rosinen, and many, many more. Why? Because it's magic!

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Birds of Fire, Mahavishnu Orchestra.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?


Did you know...

After my studies I hated jazz. Later on down the road I discovered that jazz is fun. But not at the Conservatory.

CDs you are listening to now:

Dota die Kleingeldprinzessin, In Anderen Raumen (Kleingeldprinzessin);
Anything from the Esbörn Svensson Trio;

Björk, Medulla (Elektra);

Anything from Zu;

Wolf Nilson Trio, Live.

Desert Island picks:

Pink Floyd, A Nice Pair (EMI);

Herbie Hancock, V.S.O.P (Sony);

Toccotronic, Kapitulation (Universal);

Chick Corea New Trio, Past, Present and Futures (Stretch Records);

Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Third Plane (OJC).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

The way is the goal.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Free your heads from conventions.

What is in the near future?


What's your greatest fear when you perform?

My battery will be empty and I do not have another to spare.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance."

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?

Queens "Bohemian Rapsody."

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

A rock musician.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Wolf Nilson.


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