Jazz percussionist Wolfgang Haffner performs in the city on Saturday

There are jazz percussionists and jazz percussionists and then, there's Wolfgang Haffner. What this internationally acclaimed German musician achieves with his drums is next to unbelievable. The city will get a taste of ‘Haffner jazz' when he performs live on Saturday.

Responding to some questions by e-mail before rushing into a whirlwind tour of Bangladesh and India, Haffner reminisces lightly on his musical career that started when he was all of 16. Although he had starting writing songs at that young age, it wasn't until some years later that he decided to take his musical projects seriously.

“In the beginning it was just a little side project since I was touring and recording with so many different artistes all the time. I had a dream to work much more with my own band, so I slowly reduced my work as a sideman and started focussing on my own project,” says Haffner.

In 2007, Haffner toured Germany with his trio ‘Acoustic Shapes' and then played to packed venues in Europe. In June 2009, Haffner received the German Jazz Award for his Album ‘Shapes.'

Haffner magic

Haffner has recorded with renowned musicians such as Chaka Khan, Pat Metheny, Bob James, Charlie Mariano, Larry Carlton and undoubtedly, he treasures these performances. However, it is the fulfilment of creating his own music that seems most precious to him, as evident from his excitement: “…Now I feel a lot more freedom since I can do whatever I want. When you hear a CD or concert of mine it is 100 per cent Wolfgang Haffner.”

It is this pure Haffner magic that works every time he performs live – the fluidity of his drums, the jazz improvisations and unique sounds he attempts – to frenzied jazz fans all over the world. Haffner himself prefers the immediacy and thrill of live performances to studio recordings, also because of the rapport created with the audience.

Haffner is familiar with the Indian jazz lovers as he has played at the Jazz utsav in Mumbai and Delhi. Given that in India, the audience for jazz has been growing and evolving over the years, it is not surprising that he received wide acclaim and overwhelming responses. In fact, a fan has already posted a video of his performance in Dhaka this week on youtube.

Perhaps one reason why he connects with the listener so effortlessly is the way he perceives music. Inspired by love and meaning, Haffner believes that emotion drives good music. A all-time fan of Pink Floyd, Bach, Beatles, Miles Davis, Faithless, to name a few, Haffner's taste in music reflects seasoned exposure to genuine talent.

Specially for the city

In the city , where he will perform with his jazz Trio, Haffner has lined up a “a special song list” featuring numbers from his brand new CD, ‘Round Silence.' He will also be playing from his compositions so far. The Goethe Zentrum-sponsored concert is at the Tagore Theatre (at 6.30 p.m.).

“The Indian audience is definitely one of my favourites in the world. Very enthusiastic and open minded…I have already heard a lot about Kerala and we are very much looking forward to the concert on Saturday,” he says.

Now, this will be a weekend worth waiting for.

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