To the three Berlin virtuosos Torsten Zwingenberger (drums), Lionel Haas (piano) and Martin Lillich (bass) music means means delight and sensuality. They play what entertains, not only the audience but also themselves.
BERLIN 21 stands for the lively and multicultural character of Moabit. This spirited part of Berlin is characterized by its dynamics and parallel societies.
With their soulful and bluesy compositions they take their audience on a musical journey round the world from Africa across the Black Sea to North and South America. They combine New Orleans Groove with Arabic Funk, fast Bebop with Smooth Jazz and Boogie Woogie. To make it swing and groove together is their highest priority. Fresh, entertaining, versatile.
While their albums “Odds On” (2016) and “Capital Letters” (2014) were created as a quartet, the new album planned for 2021 will be the first in the trio formation.
Drummer Torsten Zwingenberger is one of the busiest personalities in the German jazz scene. He plays more than a hundred concerts a year worldwide and he is active in numerous projects as a bandleader or a sideman. In his mid-twenties he worked together with jazz legends such as Buddy Tate, Harry „Sweets“ Edison and Joe Pass. In addition, he developed his very own, sensational style of drumming. What he calls “Drumming 5 Point” combines the classical drum set with several percussion instruments, played with the artistic precision of all limbs.
Since 1980 Torsten Zwingenberger has been living in Moabit, the centrally located Berlin district that used to have the postal delivery code 1000 Berlin 21. This district, which has long been underestimated, is so typical of Berlin: honest and direct, flippant, funny and charming. In the midst of the colorful Moabit diversity, Zwingenberger founded many of his legendary band formations, including BERLIN 21.
The pianist Lionel Haas, born in Bonn in 1971, has been playing the piano since he was 9 years old. After a four-year stay in Washington DC, he has lived in Berlin since 1999 and works alongside his trio, quintet and octet formations as one of the most sought-after sidemen in the Berlin jazz scene. He feels home in many jazz styles and repeatedly proves himself to be a highly virtuoso soloist with a distinct blues feeling.
Martin Lillich, autodidact on the electric bass, studied double bass at the Hochschule der Künste with Klaus Stoll and also plays a six-string fretless acoustic bass. Musically, he moves between Classical Music, Caribbean, jazz, Balkans and Bosporus, the New Klezmer scene and Flamenco. Lillich is an integral part of the Berlin and German Jazz scene as a soloist and sideman. From 1995 to 2005 he was a lecturer at the Hanns Eisler Jazz Academy, and from 2003 to 2010 band leader at Pompduck & Circumstance. He has been working at the Global Music Academy since 2010.