Apr 29, 2021
Saxophonist Tobias Meinhart has been living in New York for the past decade, often summering in his native Bavaria or in Berlin. That is, until the COVID-19 pandemic closed off the E.U. from overseas travelers, leaving him on the outside looking in.
During the pandemic, he used his time to work on new compositions, and he shared his frustrations as to the state of his ever-smaller world on his Instagram account (be sure to check it out – great stuff). Out of this period comes his new album, The Painter, on Sunnyside Records. It finds him in fine form, fronting a core quartet with Eden Ladin (piano), Matt Penman (bass) and Obed Calvaire (drums). This group is joined by Tobias' former mentor Ingrid Jensen on trumpet and his Brooklyn neighbor, Charles Altura on guitar.
Guitar has been a hallmark of Meinhart’s work, and we discussed in our conversation the various bands that have influenced him in making music with that sound. He name checked the likes of Scofield/Lovano and Mark Turner’s recordings with Kurt Rosenwinkel. Rosenwinkel is a recent collaborator of Tobias’, having been part of his band for the recording of Berlin People in 2019.
Originally from a small town in rural Bavaria, Tobias began his musical life as a drummer before switching to the saxophone at age thirteen. He found inspiration in his grandfather, a classically trained bassist who began playing jazz in many of the U.S. Army clubs after World War Two. In his studies in Europe he came under the mentorship of Wolfgang Muthspeil and Jorge Rossy, who helped push him to move to the US after graduation. He now has six albums out under his own name, and plans to record a live album with his Berlin People band this summer.
Podcast 814 is my conversation with Tobias Meinhart, as we discuss the writing and recording of The Painter, and his inspiration in growing his music. Musical selections from the album include the title track and “Dreamers,” his take on the classic “You Stepped Out of a Dream.”