Lisa Haskins

Interview with Bassist Meinrad Kneer

In a recent interview, double bass player and composer Meinrad Kneer talks about making music with Sequoia, drummer Bill Elgart, and running a record label in the age of the Internet.

Meinrad Kneer has been playing jazz for more than two decades, starting out in the Netherlands in 1995 where he formally studied music through 1999. The year before graduating, Kneer co-led the quartet and septet Dalgoo, together with reed player Tobias Klein, through 2005. In recent years, the active sideman has toured Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. He is currently involved as a co-leader in Dutch contemporary jazz piano trio Veenendaal, Kneer, Sun, the quartet Klare, Platz, Kneer, Elgart, the Meinrad Kneer Quintet, and Ensemble Phosphoros, in addition to the improv trio Baars, Kneer, Elgart. Although the Netherlands has remained a home base for nearly 20 years, Kneer is also active in his native Germany. Among recent releases by Meinrad Kneer is an album with the Berlin-based double bass quartet Sequoia.

Baars, Kneer, Elgart performing at the Pfarrkirche Nickelsdorf, Konfrontationen Festival, Photo 2014 © Ioana Opruta

Baars, Kneer and Elgart won over the entirely filled church with perhaps the most intensely concentrated concert of these four days. Mightily beautiful. So beautiful even, that we didn’t want to interrupt its reverberating beauty with the performance of Sqid, later in that same church. ―  Guy Peters, Enola Magazine

Among more than a dozen albums as a band leader or sideman by Meinrad Kneer are two with drummer Bill Elgart, Modern Primitive with saxophonist Jan Klare and guitarist Jeff Platz in 2011 and Give No Quarter album with Kneer, Elgart, and reed player Ab Baars in 2013.

Q: How did you first meet Bill Elgart? 

A: I grew up in a little town in the south of Germany and started to listen to jazz music around the age of 11. So, whenever I went to Ulm, the nearest city to listen to concerts, I often saw Bill who was involved in most activities since he lived there. He’s always been one of my favorite drummers, up there with the greats such as Paul Motian, Ed Blackwell, etc. 

Q: When did you first perform together?

A: Friends and colleagues of mine, including pianist Achim Kaufmann and reed player Michael Moore who had played with Bill before, encouraged me to ask him to come and play at an Evil Rabbit Records festival in the Bimhuis in Amsterdam and the SJU Jazzpodium in Utrecht (both in the Netherlands). So I dared to ask him to be our special featured guest and to play with other artists including Dutch pianist Albert van Veenendaal, Gianni Lenoci from Italy, and reed player Ab Baars from my duo … From that moment the duo was now a trio!

Go over to Hap Snow's Whirlwinds to read the complete interview.

Tags: News, Meinrad Kneer, Interview, Ab Baars, Meinrad Kneer, Bill Elgart, Give No Quarter, Evil Rabbit Records
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