Tobias Meinhart

For his new album​ Berlin People​ Meinhart wanted to bridge the musical cultures of NewYork City and Germany by recording with some of the best young German jazz musicians and an American jazz guitarist who has made Berlin his home, the great ​Kurt Rosenwinkel​.


Tobias Meinhart (* 1983 in Regensburg) is a German jazz musician.

Born in a small village in rural Bavaria, Tobias Meinhart has spent the last 15 years carving out a career for himself in the international jazz scene. Since his modest beginnings in Woerth, the tenor saxophonist has garnered acclaim in both Europe and the United States, earning a nomination for an ECHO award in 2016 and claiming residency at renowned New York City jazz venues such as The Blue Note, The Jazz Gallery, Jazz at Lincoln Center and Birdland.

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.
After touring throughout Germany with his quartet Fourscore, Tobias went to study at the Basel Music Academy in Switzerland, where the renowned European saxophonist Domenic Landolf served as his mentor. His teachers included Adrian Mears, Jorge Rossy and Wolfgang Muthspiel. He then went on to the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Bern University for the Arts to study with Ferdinand Povel and Andy Scherrer.

While still a student, Tobias caught the attention of critics and audiences throughout Europe. His band won first prize at the 2009 Startbahn Jazz Competition, as well as the “Audience Award for Best Group” at the 2009 Getxo Jazz Festival in Bilbao, Spain. Tobias graduated with honors and received a diploma in Jazz Performance and Music Education the same year that he won the prize at Getxo.

Shortly after Graduation, Tobias moved to New York City and quickly became immersed in the city’s highly competitive music scene. In 2012 he received his Master’s Degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music, where he studied with Antonio Hart, John Ellis and Seamus Blake. 2012 was also the year that Tobias returned to Getxo, now with his quintet, and earned not only first prize for the band’s outstanding performance, but also the “Best Soloist” award, and the opportunity to open for of his most forceful inspirations, Wayne Shorter.

He has five albums out under his own name, with his newest effort, Berlin People, released in Spring 2019 on Sunnyside Records. It is a new band including guitar icon Kurt Rosenwinkel.

Aside from the numerous accolades already mentioned, Tobias has also toured Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Italy and Poland and opened for renowned saxophonist Chris Potter. He has been featured at many European jazz festivals including GetxoJazz and Elbjazz, and was part of a national Next Generation All-Star Orchestra. His 2015 album Natural Perception was praised by European and American critics alike, hailed by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as “jazz at it’s finest” and as “graceful and organic… subtle colors and delicate rhythms” in a five-star review in the New York City Jazz Record. In 2017, Tobias released Silent Dreamer which got a DOWNBEAT feature article describing him as “Not only a commanding saxophonist but also a keen.

Current album

Tobias Meinhart - Berlin People

Tobias Meinhart - tenor saxophone
Kurt Rosenwinkel - guitar (1, 3, 4, 6, 7)
Ludwig Hornung - piano
Tom Berkmann - bass
Mathias Ruppnig - drums

Tobias Meinhart finds a balance between New York dreams and German roots on his fantastic new album Berlin People. For his new album Berlin People, Tobias Meinhart wanted to combine the musical cultures of New York City and Germany by recording with a band of his German colleagues and an American jazz guitarist who has made Berlin his home, the great Kurt Rosenwinkel.

Although Meinhart made his home in New York, he regularly returns to Europe and often stays in Berlin in the summer, where he always meets up with his musical friends.

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Tobias Meinhart - Berlin People - Album review by Cosmo Scharmer

Mont Meru
A striking, staccato bass motif is not afraid to make the beginning. The melody line that soon begins comes from the sax and is immediately replaced by an agile and energetic improvisation of the guitar. It is that of Kurt Rosenwinkel, who - coming from the jazz El Dorado of New York - may now call himself a (New) Berliner. Everything in the best definition after Kurt Tucholsky, according to which, (in former times) the real Berliner came from Breslau, today he comes from NYC or Regensburg (Tobias Meinhart) and the rest of the world.
Tobias Meinhart continues with his tenor horn where the guitar stops. Long solo with countless loops, turns and swings in the best tradition of the tenor saxophone. Meanwhile Mathias Ruppnig drums his heart out on the drums, that's how the whole thing goes. Accentuated piano and bass deliver their indispensable part to the success of the sound.

It's Not so Easy
Comes along lively. Fast tempos, swinging bass and jazzy drumming make you feel good. Tobias Meinhart doesn't let the guys of the rhythm section steal the tempo, he keeps up with fast played runs. Lively, energetic sequences reinforce the theme. The following solo seems ambivalent. It could come from an electric piano or an electronic keyboard as well as from a manipulated guitar, so artificial are the sounds. For relaxation there are then neatly pearling piano sounds in which chords and soloistic figures join hands. Also the motives of the sax'reconcile again, ground the sound. Is not so simple!

Ballads - the melodious stories: Malala, Be Free, Childhood and Früher War Alles Besser.
So they say. What does the quintet mean? Restrained sounds of the bass grope their way through the room, warmly and harmoniously intoned by Tom Berkmann. The piano contributes its chords to this piece, which definitely outed itself as a ballad with the introduction of the saxophone. That's how it stays: exciting timbres that want to tell stories, in the best epic manner. The great tenor saxophonists of jazz send mischievous greetings to the listeners; they think that this current ballad sounds as authentic as it used to. There you go.

Even the sensual title suggests it. Malala also belongs to the thoughtful titles that adorn themselves as ballads. A convoluted melody makes the beginning. Kurt Rosenwinkel's guitar follows suit, his solo embellishing the ballad-like title, his guitar lines flirting with the theme. The sax continues, improvising for all it's worth. Harmonic power play at its best with clear reference to tradition. In the same way, pianist Ludwig Hornung plays his part in the success of the ballad: subtle, soulful, almost chamber music-like, but with more expressivity. The now beginning title theme may enjoy the unison lines of sax and guitar.

Would you like more ballads? But please! Be Free starts tenderly and sensitively. Piano and sax - together with the bass - develop the theme together. Pearly piano runs, restrained spherical sounds of the saxophone, discrete drums. The music of the quartet revels in tranquil silence.

Delicate sequences of notes, calm, dreamy, the sax makes the beginning, then follows a collective rapture in harmony and melody. The balance between the musical elements is well-balanced. This is also the intention of Kurt Rosenwinkel's guitar solo, which he succeeds in playfully. The title increases in the direction of condensation and drama without losing its ballad character. Beautiful, when childhood sounds like this. A breath of utopia, which shines into everyone's childhood (Ernst Bloch), is artistically anticipated here.

This is the only composition not written by Tobias Meinhart, but by Joe Henderson. The sound is old masterly, the whole band swings casually. You can improvise brilliantly over these swinging sounds. Thought, done, so Tobias Meinhart. Then the guitar, more power play than dreamy gimmick. Power and aesthetics of the struck chords show the following piano solo. What would a ballad be without the singing, warm-sounding double bass? Tom Berkmann's solo moves confidently in the context of the musical statement of Serenity. Like the title, so sounds the solo and the music.

Berlin People
A rhythmically moving piece. Old fashioned this would be a jaunty way or jazzy casual a tune with a lot of groove. Either way, it just goes off! An expansive walking bass, supported by vehemently beaten drums, drive forward, grab the subject as well as the listener. That's the way the tenor player wants it, too, hurling his lively sequences incessantly into the theme. Now the piano. Ludwig Hornung hammers the chords, left and right hand working into each other, genre and sound corresponding.

Similarly sovereign as casually swinging, proves the composition Alfred, which contains almost all elements of the previous titles: quiet sequences, catchy themes, expressive solo voices as well as rhythmically accentuated drive including groove.


Tobias Meinhart als Leader:

  • Berlin People, 2019
  • Tobias Meinhart feat. Ingrid Jensen - Studio Konzert, 2018
  • Silent Dreamer, 2017
  • Natural Perception, 2015
  • In Between, 2014
  • Tobias Meinhart Quintett "Live at Getxo Jazzfestival", 2012
  • Tobias Meinhart Quartet – TMQ, "Pursuit of happiness", 2011
  • Tobias Meinhart Quartet – TMQ, "a day in Langnau", 2008

Tobias Meinhart als Sideman:

  • Julia Karosi – Hidden Roots, 2014
  • The Big Jazz Thing, 2013
  • Fourscore "Add to friends", 2008

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