With their 2005 debut album ‘Remember Chet’, the Wasserfuhr brothers emerged from their tranquil background in the Bergisch Land region to become outstanding figures in the world of Young German Jazz. With three successful albums under their belt they have long since outgrown that label and are now among Germany’s most renowned jazz musicians. Even in this short career they can look back on successful concerts and collaborations with Nils Landgren, Lars Danielsson and Wolfgang Haffner. Working together with musicians like the DJs Blank & Jones, for whom they produced a jazz album in 2012, or again Bertil Mark and Thomas D (Fanta Four et al.), the brothers enjoy thinking outside the box and gathering new ideas and experience. Their first production was with their own band, which has been on the road for many years.
Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr have ‘the courage to be simple’ and avoid any ‘false flourishes. You have to be brave to do that’, as actor Matthias Brandt writes in his liner notes for the album ‘Gravity’ (issued in 2011). Their latest album ‘Running’ (released August 2013) picks up right where they’ve been working in recent years. But it’s also been their most personal album to date. Compositions, arrangements, recording and production are all handcrafted and homemade. A real personal experiment. That takes some daring. Conviction, determination, trust and passion – that’s what it takes, and that’s what you hear in every note. ‘Running’ sees Julian and Roman Wasserfuhr standing totally on their own four feet. The unifying element is ‘richness through reduction’. Simple melodies run through their music like a red thread, producing overpowering effects.
Julian Wasserfuhr came to the trumpet when he was seven, through his father Gerald, a clarinettist and music teacher. Initially he had private lessons with Dirk Pawelka, and at the age of eleven he was the youngest contestant in ‘Jugend jazzt’, the North Rhine-Westphalia state competition for young jazz musicians – which he won. At 13 he had trumpet lessons with Klaus Osterloh. Three years later he was the youngest student to be accepted on Andy Haderer’s jazz trumpet course at the Cologne Conservatory.
After graduating there, he studied music at the Dresden conservatory of music and took lessons with Malte Burba and Till Brönner. Wasserfuhr played in school and college big bands and in the North Rhine-Westphalia state youth jazz orchestra; and while staying in Boston he guested as a soloist in Phil Wilson’s Rainbow Big Band alongside Joe Lovano and Jon Faddis. He took solo prizes at a number of international competitions, won the 2004 Yamaha Trumpet Contest and gained a scholarship to the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston. Together with his brother Roman, two years his senior, he founded the Julian & Roman Wasserfuhr Quartet, and recorded the ‘Remember Chet’ album in November 2005. Julian Wasserfuhr describes Chet Baker as his role model.
Wasserfuhr’s musical gifts were already in evidence when he was just three years old. Guided at first by his father, he started classical piano and percussion training at the age of seven. His preference for jazz soon became apparent, with Roman and his younger brother Julian (on trumpet) both playing in their school’s big band. Under the guidance of pianist Matthias Bröde, Roman developed his talent further. He and his brother were soon winning national and international competitions. During one of Berklee College of Music’s summer schools he was awarded a scholarship. Roman studied jazz piano with Hubert Nuss and jazz composition and arranging with Frank Reinshagen at the Cologne Conservatory, graduating with distinction.
In September 2005 Roman and Julian Wasserfuhr caught the eye of the Munich based label ACT, which issued their first CD ‘Remember Chet’ in April 2006, as part of their ‘Young German Jazz’ series. There followed two more CD releases and appearances at jazz festivals at home and abroad.