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Jazz violinist Mads Tolling to write music for collaboration with Big Band Nineteen and for his own group, the Mads Tolling Quartet
38 backers pledged $4,270 to help bring this project to life.
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About

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Hi everyone,

My name is Mads Tolling, and I am a violinist and composer originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, but now living in the San Francisco Bay Area. For eight years I played in the Turtle Island Quartet, and as a part of the group I won two Grammy Awards in 2006 & 2008 for Best Classical Crossover Recording. I likewise played in bassist Stanley Clarke's band for eight years after recommendation from Jean-Luc Ponty. With both groups I have toured the world and made some great music.

My current passion is the Mads Tolling Quartet. Over the past six years we have released three albums along with nationwide and international tours. I love performing original music with this band, and the process of writing music and creating new programs is very exciting to me.

This Kickstarter Campaign is all about writing new music for two different projects: The Mads Tolling Quartet with violin, guitar, bass and drums and then in a format quite new to me: A big band with violin soloist.

Big Band Nineteen in San Jose has asked me to do a concert with them on May 11, 2013. What they really are looking for is for me to arrange my original music for this collaboration. I have always been attracted to the big band sound and the great writers of the Big Band genre all the way from Thad Jones to Maria Schneider. Here is my chance!

The combination of violin and big band has not been done often. The Duke Ellington Big Band with Ray Nance comes to mind, but that was over fifty years ago. My goal is to arrange three of my songs for big band and violin, and then on top of that write a complete original for the occasion.

When I was fifteen years old I came across the music of the French Jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli. I heard a trio recording of him playing "It's Only a Papermoon." I loved it so much that I went home and figured out how to play every single note from the recording like him. In jazz you are supposed to improvise your own solo, but I was new to jazz being classically trained from age six. With Grappelli's licks under my fingers I performed in a Jazz Youth Competition in Copenhagen. I played Grappelli's solo note for note. Among the judges was bassist Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen, who was in Oscar Peterson's trio for twenty years. Niels had played with Grappelli on the recording I had transcribed. He must not have recognized the solo, because I was awarded first place...

Now seventeen years later, I am a much different player from Grappelli, however my love for his music has not diminished since then. I will get a chance to show my appreciation on May 9, when I will present a tribute to him at the newly opened San Francisco Jazz Center. This Kickstarter Campaign will go towards arranging Grappelli's music for my quartet, and show it in a new light.

The month of April I would like to dedicate to writing music for these two projects. As you can imagine creating music is a very time consuming process, so what composers do in most cases is to apply for commissions in order to get compensated for the writing process.

This Kickstarter campaign is my commission application. If you approve I will be able to put all my time and effort into this project for a month straight leading up to two shows on May 9 & 11. If the project gets over-funded, the remaining monies will go towards publishing the big band charts. This could lead to these charts getting played in big bands at high schools, colleges and communities around the US with me as a guest artist in some cases.

The Kickstarter campaign is a crowd funding program that allows independent artists to reach out to fans, friends and others to help create projects like this. Here's how it works:

The money you pledge in exchange for rewards will allow me to complete the project and you will get lots of good music, tickets to shows, music lessons and other related stuff. If I don't reach my goal before the deadline we get no money at all, and the backers accounts are not charged. If I exceed my $4,000 goal on the other hand, the additional funds will be used for publishing the music, so don't hold back! The more you give the more rewards you get.

You can reach out to me on Facebook, check out my video channel on YouTube, learn more about what I'm up to and... join my mailing list at www.madstolling.com, I would love to hear from you!

For questions, comments or suggestions, please contact me at madstolling@hotmail.com, and feel free share this campaign with other music fans.

With your support, we can make great music happen!

Thank you for your generosity!

Mads Tolling

Mads Tolling Quartet, photo by Stuart Brinin
Mads Tolling Quartet, photo by Stuart Brinin

“With Tolling’s honed technique, vigorous attack and engaging brand of swing…”

-Mike Joyce, Washington Post

“…Mads Tolling may not be 30 yet, but on “The Playmaker” he exhibits a restraint that would’ve been at home in Corea’s original Return to Forever.”

-James Hale, Downbeat Magazine

“The album is marked with virtuosic moments of sublime, genre-busting string work by Tolling….”

-Dave Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle

Photo by Petr Jerabek
Photo by Petr Jerabek

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge will be to get all the music done in time for the concerts. I enjoy a challenge and working hard to meet a deadline, so I will put all my energy into this in order to get a great product.

The concerts are solid, and only really an act of god would prevent them from taking place.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Digital download of a 20 min sampling from Mads plays Grappelli and Big Band Nineteen concerts.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Digital download of a 40 min sampling from Mads plays Grappelli and Big Band Nineteen concerts + A thank you notice on my website.

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    8 backers
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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    Digital download of a 40 min sampling from Mads plays Grappelli and Big Band Nineteen concerts + A thank you notice on my website + An autographed copy of either "The Playmaker" or "Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty - Live at Yoshi's" - your choice!

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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    One ticket to either Mads plays Grappelli or Big Band Nineteen Concerts + Digital download of a 40 min sampling from the concerts + A thank you notice on my website. If unable to attend you will receive two autographed CD's "The Playmaker" and "Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty - Live at Yoshi's."

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Two tickets to either Mads plays Grappelli or Big Band Nineteen concerts (or one to both) + Digital download of a 40 min sampling from the concerts + A thank you notice on my website. If unable to attend you will receive two autographed CD's "The Playmaker" and "Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty - Live at Yoshi's" + A Mads Tolling T-shirt or poster - Your choice!

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    Everything from the $100 reward + A violin lesson or a music lesson anywhere in SF Bay Area or on Skype with yours truly.

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    Limited 1 backer
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 400 or more About US$ 400

    Everything from the $100 reward + Two violin lessons or music lessons anywhere in the SF Bay Area or on Skype with yours truly.

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    Limited 1 backer
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Everything from the $100 reward + Free access to any Mads Tolling Quartet show - good through June 2014 + Your name listed in the program at Big Band Nineteen concert.

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    Pledge US$ 750 or more About US$ 750

    Everything from the $100 reward + A personal dedication of Mads' original piece written for Big Band Nineteen + You name listed in the program.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Everything from the $100 reward + Have Mads play his violin at your private event anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Outside of the Bay Area please provide travel and accommodations)

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    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About US$ 1,500

    Everything from the $100 reward + Have Mads and his accompanist play at your private event anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area or around the US. (Outside of the Bay Area please provide travel and accommodations)

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    Everything from the $100 reward

    The ultimate house concert!
    Have the Mads Tolling Quartet play at your residence or another place of your choosing. Available all around the US. (You must pay all travel and accommodations if outside of SF Bay Area)

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Funding period

- (29 days)