Mads Tolling Quartet @ Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko in San Francisco on Monday, Jan 16th

January 4, 2012
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I am excited to say that my quartet will return to the Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko in SF – seems like January is the month for MTQ to play there, so thats what we will do….

Jan 16th at 8pm with some of my favorite people in the Bay Area:

Mike Abraham on guitar

Dan Feiszli on bass

Jeff Marrs on drums

We will play stuff from “The Playmaker” and give a taste (a big taste) of what we are working on these days – our celebration of Jean-Luc Ponty and his music, which will be out later this Spring.

Click on the “dates” tab to find out more about this gig and other gigs….. We will play at Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz 3 days later for you South Bayers:)

Jean-Luc Ponty Tribute at Yoshis Oakland on May 30th @ 8pm

April 22, 2011
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Mads Tolling Quartet will play all newly arranged music by Mads Tolling of Jean-Luc Ponty’s music, including Enigmatic Ocean, King Kong and New Country. Ponty posted the show on his website Check out SF Chronicle’s review of our latest performance of the Jean-Luc Ponty Show:

Mads Tolling Quartet to tour in Denmark Oct 14-16, 2010 – Tribute to Svend Asmussen

September 20, 2010

The Danish version of Mads Tolling Quartet will tour Denmark starting on Oct. 14th in Skive Jazzclub in Jutland. The 15th Mads will play the legendary Montmartre Jazzhouse in Copenhagen. This concert is part of a tribute to legendary Danish jazz fiddler Svend Asmussen. Svend will receive a lifetime achievement award at Montmartre on Oct. 12th where Mads will play as well.

No time to rest after this, since Mads will play on Oct. 16 both at Portalen in Greve and at Dexter i Odense.

Please check the live dates section for more information

A litte info.....

A litte info.....

Mads Tolling played for Danish Crown Prince and Members of Congress

September 20, 2010
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On June 3rd Mads Tolling went to Washington DC with pianist Dan Zemelman, and played a duet performance for His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik and princess Mary of Denmark. In the audience were members of congress including majority leader Steney Hoyer.

Earlier in the Day Mads went to lunch with Frederik & Mary and other Danish remarkables in the USA

Mads Tolling, Frederik & Mary

Mads Tolling, Frederik & Mary

including cinematographer Michael Absolon and director Niels Oplev.

The event was part of a celebration of the 50 year anniversary for the Danish embassy in Washington DC.

Competition in Music

October 27, 2009
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For me, music has always been a conflict between the expression of  emotion while being in the moment versus competitiveness and technique. I think both elements are important for a musician to keep growing; were it not for those two rather contrasting elements, you wouldn’t have progress and development in styles.  Everybody would just be content to remain at the level they were at. I think everybody can relate to the emotional aspect of music, but people tend to forget about the competitive element as well.

In sports, competition is the name of the game. If you are not a true competitor, you most likely won’t get very far.  It’s also somewhat easy to tell who the better athlete is. For instance, I think very few people would say that Tiger Woods isn’t all that great, since his record clearly states that he has won the most tournaments of any active golfer. How can you dispute that? Whereas in music, one could still make the argument that even an established musician wasn’t too good, since there is no scoreboard to keep track. It is all in the eye (or ear) of the beholder. You can judge more specifically in terms of technique, but the emotional and communicational aspects are harder to quantify.

I think this is where sports and music share some very deep qualities. Both are about teamwork.  This quality is harder to measure, but can make a huge difference between somebody that knows how to work in a team and somebody who does not. If the truth be told, there are moments in both sports and music, where one should be selfish – like not making that last pass, when you might as well score yourself or a soloist playing that last chorus, even though the rhythm section is dying, because the energy was so great to the benefit of the audience.

The key thing is to think like a unit, not as an individual, and to always ask yourself: what is going to make this unit succeed in the long term? Having founded the Mads Tolling Quartet I feel that this can be the ultimate unit. In a symphony orchestra with close to 100 members one can easily feel like a small dot in a system with very little impact on the end result. However in a quartet with only 3 other people each individual holds a lot of power. Like a great sports team, the members of a quartet have to really focus on playing together, otherwise the whole thing falls apart. Even if you have all stars, but no team spirit, that team won’t do as well as one with a combination of ego, technique and real playmaker types.

I do think it is important to have a competitive edge, so people will grow and develop, and not get stuck at the same level. The trick is to combine this development with the sacrifice of the self and you will have a well-balanced sports team or music group.

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