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From the Diverse Jazz Scene in Berlin, Tina Jäckel

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Jazz Guitar Today contributor Tom Amoriello interviews jazz guitarist Tina Jäckel.

In the year 2021, the smoky jazz clubs of what many may romanticize as a bygone era (or two) have been substituted with virtual sonorous and syncopated standards in the comfort of your living room on a Smart TV.  This may appear to be an alternate reality but in many ways, musical connections and milestones for the current generation are being played out Webcam style pre and post-pandemic withstanding.   Berlin jazz is alive and well in person or remote via the stylings of Tina Jäckel who creatively is prolific as a YouTuber and beyond.   Jazz Guitar Today would like to thank Ms. Tina Jäckel for this exclusive interview.

Tina Jäckel, Berlin 2020. Foto: Markus C. Hurek

What is the jazz scene like in Berlin?Who are some of the top German jazz players historically and currently that others may be interested in checking out?

The jazz scene in Berlin is pretty diverse. There are a lot of different musicians from all over the world. It´s a great place to do your own thing and experiment. One of my favorite guitar players is Ronny Graupe.   He has a distinct way of playing the guitar and his improvisations are full of surprises. Another very interesting musician is the saxophonist and composer Silke Eberhard . Both of these musicians represent freer variations of jazz and improvised music and from a historical point of view I would check out Albert Mangelsdorff, the trombone player who has had a big influence on the jazz scene in Germany.

As an instructor you have been active with online teaching way before world pandemics.Any tips that you care to share when working with a student virtually?

I try to keep my online lessons very organized so I started using journals for all of my students and I write down their homework that I have given and the topics we covered in each lesson. I check on the homework of the student. That´s maybe a little old fashioned but it keeps the student and me on track. Most of my students have a “looper” at home. I encourage them to record their own “jamtrack” and improvise over them in the lessons. Then I give some feedback and some exercises.  Like improvising with restrictions.

Any tips you may offer for preparing the informative and unique videos that you have created?

Many of the videos evolve around transcriptions that I have made. I am always very curious to understand a solo. I want to dissect it so that I can use the material for myself. By explaining the lines or chords later in the video I learn a lot. The best tips that I can give is probably to just follow your heart. Making Youtube videos is a lot of work but if I discover things for myself at the same time it´s even more fun.

Have you enjoyed any recent jazz musician (or any genre) documentaries on Netflix during your downtime?

No. I tried to avoid Netflix for a longer period of time. Now I am back. Derek, my partner and I mostly watch crime-drama like “Breaking Bad” or more recently “Ozark” or “Body Guard”.

I do listen to a lot of podcasts like “The Third Story” with Leo Sidran or “Chasing Frets”. There is an episode with Julian Lage that I can only recommend very highly.

What are some future goals and ambitions that you wish to explore as a jazz guitarist in 2021-2022?

 My goal is to record a vinyl record with my own songs at the end of 2021. So I am trying to write new songs if I find the time. Other than that I am trying to learn as much as possible as there is so much to do, like understanding how my camera actually works,or  recording a decent guitar track on Logic Pro.  I am also trying to learn more about online marketing and everything that goes into building a small business. Apart from that I am trying to practice the guitar as much as I can 😉

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