'Fours' Spotlight: Hannes Riepler
'No man is an island'. This popular quote by John Donne holds a particular truth in my experience as a musician. Besides the obvious parallel in terms of performing in a group context, over the years I have been inspired, motivated, comforted and even dependent, on being a small part of one of many 'scenes' in London and beyond. Musicians learn from each other, practice and perform together, and also hang out together, discussing everything from politics to practice patterns and sharing music and experience. Thankfully in London there is an abundance of amazing, generous musicians, and the 'Fours' project is a series of recordings representing a fraction of the 'scene' I find myself drawn to. This week I turn the spotlight to...
I first met Hannes about 10 years ago at Uncle Sam's (now The Haggerston) when he had just moved to London. We soon became good friends and started performing regularly in all sorts of contexts, including each others originals bands, and it is a sign of his ability and good nature that within a year he seemed to know everyone!
Hannes is what I like to describe as a 'complete guitarist'. His clarity, strength of time, chord voicings and comping make performing in even a duo setting feel comfortable and 'full'. I also love that his style/sound, much like his writing, has become very personal and identifiable over the years. In the following track from 'Fours' Vol. I, it is really great to hear Hannes' tasteful decision making in action, instinctively knowing when to fill or leave space, state or suggest time, or just let a chord ring.
Many London folk will already know of Hannes, if not from his own excellent group (check out 'Wild Life' feat. Chris Cheek, Oli Hayhurst and James Maddren on Jellymould Jazz), then probably from the jam session he leads at the Vortex Downstairs Bar on Sunday evenings. This jam session feels like home to me, and I would argue is consistently one of the highest caliber sessions around - a real hub for 'the scene', and somewhere I have forged so many new personal and musical relationships.
Check out Hannes' website to find out more about some of the other projects he is involved in around the UK and abroad: http://www.hannesriepler.com
Hannes will be performing at the EFG London Jazz Festival on Saturday 12th November at The Vortex with Dutch saxophonist Jasper Blom. http://www.efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk/events/info/julie-sassoon-hannes-riepler-jasper-blom
I am very grateful that Hannes features on 'Fours' Vol. I alongside Tom Farmer and David Ingamells.