Dark Horses

SSC1707 2023-04-28

Track List

Luna Park - 7:30
Dark Horse (Intro) - 0:59
Dark Horse - 10:11
Dreamers - 11:17
Gift of Time - 7:07
Torn - 7:55
Sonic River (Intro) - 2:37
Sonic River - 5:26
Berlin People - 15:31


Tobias Meinhart - tenor & soprano saxophone
Kurt Rosenwinkel - guitar
Ludwig Hornung - piano
Tom Berkmann - bass
Mathias Ruppnig - drums

It would be hard to foresee a young kid from Bavaria becoming a celebrated jazz saxophonist in New York City. Tobias Meinhart has done that, sculpting a career of brilliant recordings and world touring. One of his principal ensembles in this endeavor has been his Germany-based Berlin People, which features the revolutionary guitarist, Kurt Rosenwinkel. Meinhart and Berlin People’s new recording, Dark Horse, celebrates how far he and the ensemble have come since their inception.

Since his arrival in New York City in 2010, Meinhart has maintained a busy schedule as a composer, performer, and touring artist. His album, Berlin People (Sunnyside, 2019), introduced the greater listening public to his Berlin-based group of the same name. Immediately, the group took to the road, playing extensively throughout Europe and South America.

These years of touring honed the group into a tight outfit of friends and collaborators. The lineup remains Meinhart and Rosenwinkel with pianist Ludwig Hornung, bassist Tom Berkmann, and drummer Mathias Ruppnig. The influential guitarist Rosenwinkel was more than a bandmate, he was an important mentor as he helped the young musicians get comfortable on the road.

As Berlin People matured on the road and in live performance, the music began to transform. Pieces that the group played every night began to diverge from the written page and became more free as band members began to feel more independence in their roles. Meinhart also began inviting his bandmates to provide their own compositions to be included in Berlin People’s book.

To capture the evolution of the band, Meinhart decided to record Berlin People live at the A-Trane in Berlin, the place he first heard Rosenwinkel in 2008. The A-Trane is one of the few clubs in the world that still provides musicians with a full week of performances, allowing the music to truly blossom over the weeklong residency. The pieces on Dark Horse were recorded on two separate tours in 2021 and 2022. Most of the takes were taken from the final day at the club, representing the zenith of freedom and spontaneity that Berlin People approached the pieces with.