Torsten de Winkel
Torsten de Winkel (born January 6, 1965 in Frankfurt am Main) is a German musician, composer, and philosopher primarily active in the jazz, world music, fusion and electronic music genres. He is widely known as an electric and acoustic guitarist, but also records and performs on electric sitar, keyboards and various percussion instruments. Since the 1990s, he has initiated and participated in several platforms aimed at uniting the arts and sustainability issues.
At the age of 10, de Winkel picked up the Charango in La Paz, Bolivia where his father worked for the UN. He proceeded to teach himself guitar and jazz improvisation and attended the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, Germany for a brief period.
At the age of 19, he became the youngest artist ever to be given complete creative control by a German major label with the release of "Mastertouch", his debut recording, on which he collaborated with Michael Brecker, Billy Cobham, Kai Eckhardt, Ernie Watts, Alphonse Mouzon, Hellmut Hattler, Joachim Kühn and various other internationally renowned instrumentalists, setting a new standard for young musicians in his home country later to be followed by artists such as the successful trumpeter Till Brönner.
Upon an invitation by Steve Smith and Tom Coster, members of platinum-selling groups Santana and Journey, de Winkel become successor to Mike Stern and Frank Gambale in their co-led jazz-fusion group Vital Information and proceeded to tour internationally. He accepted a full scholarship from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and graduated summa cum laude. In the 1990s, he collaborated with an unusually broad spectrum of artists including Pat Metheny, Al Foster, Larry Grenadier, Ravi Coltrane, Joe Zawinul, Grandmaster Flash, and more recently Gwilym Simcock. He can also be heard on all ten CDs of the German vanguard electronic jazz duo Tab Two and continues to tour and record with Hattler, the group of former Kraan head Hellmut Hattler. This group won the Echo Award, the German equivalent of the Grammy Award, for best jazz album in 2001. Since, he has been active in various German and Spanish projects as well as in non-profit organizations exploring sustainability and globalization issues in the context of the arts.
Disenchanted with the common chord scale theory didactics, de Winkel has developed an alternative approach to teaching improvisation. Under the title Training Intuition this approach considers recent developments in learning psychology and in the neurosciences. De Winkel has conducted courses, master classes and clinics at various institutions, among them the Musikhochschule Hamburg and the Berufsfachschule für Musik in Krumbach/Schwaben. De Winkel is also active in the field of neurophilosophy.
In 2005, Torsten de Winkel was one of the initiators and has since been the artistic director of the Bimbache openART Festival and Initiative in UNESCO world biosphere reserve El Hierro (Spain). This project, based on a global interdisciplinary network of artists and thinkers, is an ambitious and non-profit effort at creating a platform which seeks to bridge traditional divides, both on a musical and human level, in a globalizing world.
- Martin Kunzler: Jazz Lexikon. Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2002.
- 1985; Mastertouch (with Michael Brecker, Kai Eckhardt, Billy Cobham, Joachim Kühn, Ernie Watts, Hellmut Hattler, Alphonse Mouzon, Nippy Noya)
- 1989: Humanimal Talk (with Naná Vasconcelos, Hellmut Hattler, Kai Eckhardt, Joel Rosenblatt)
- 1991: Acoustic Quartet Live (with Bob Moses, Larry Grenadier, Ole Mathisen)
- 1993: Tribute: Talking To The Spirits (with Bob Moses, Larry Grenadier, Ole Mathisen)
- 1997: Long Time Coming (with Al Foster, Buster Williams, Sasi Shalom, Ravi Coltrane, Jill Seifers)
- 1998: New York Jazz Guerrilla - Method To The Madness *part 1 (with Michael Brecker, Lyle Mays, Matt Garrison, Gary Peacock and many others)
- 2006: Live at the Blue Note and Other Rough Cuts (with Gwilym Simcock, Audun Waage, Tobias Backhaus, Hanns Höhn)
- 2008: Bimbache Jazz y Raíces - La Condición Humana (with Gregoire Maret, Boris Kozlov, María Mérida, Nantha Kumar, Audun Waage, Gwilym Simcock, Tobias Backhaus and others)
With other artists
- Pat Metheny: Secret Story Live (DVD / LD) / Tonight Show with Jay Leno
- Steve Smith’s Vital Information: Fia Fiaga (Sony Columbia) / VitaLive (as composer)
- Aziza Mustafa Zadeh with Bill Evans, Omar Hakim and others: Inspiration (Sony)
- Alphonse Mouzon: The Sky Is The Limit / Love Songs And Ballads
- Tab Two: Flagman Ahead / Belle Affaire / Sonic Tools / Tab Two (all Virgin) / Mind Movie / Space Case / Hip Jazz / Between Us (all Polydor) / Live at the Roxy / Two Thumbs Up (all 36music)
- Hellmut Hattler: Heartware (Vielklang) / No Eats Yes (Polydor) / Bass Cuts / The Big Flow / Live Cuts / Gotham City Beach Club Suite / The Kite / Live Cuts II (all Bassball)
- XXL: El Jazz Latino / The Funky Stuff (all Sony)
- Core 22: Nuance (BMG)
- Deep Dive Corp.: Beware Of Fake Gurus
- Kike Perdomo: AC&Funk
- Carola Grey: Drum Attack!
- Various Artists: Basstorius (with Matt Garrison) / Mysterious Voyages - A Tribute To Weather Report (with Scott Kinsey)