For free hands


Christian Erber - NDR: FOR FREE HANDS

For their new CD “The passing on of the fire”, the quartet around guitarist and composer Andreas Brunn invited Alaa Zouiten to the studio, with whom the band has been friends for years. This cultural bridge between the Orient and the Occident has resulted in an extraordinarily intense and colorful album.”

“Rhythmically sophisticated pieces delight the ears of even the most discerning listener, beautiful melodies characterize compositions. Diverse, colorful, grooving, casual – the five musicians from five countries offer a catchy, urban jazz with a good portion of oriental ingredients.”

Furthermore, our FFH CD “The passing on of the fire” was CD of the week at in October: “Andreas Brunn makes use of a broad instrumental arsenal on a work peppered with fresh material. The result is a great album in the border area between jazz and fusion with jazz-rock excursions. I like the guitarist’s nimble solos in combination with the saxophone, which is supported by Alaa Zouiten’s oud. A great album, we are thrilled!”


Live review

In Südthü about our concert at the  Jazzclub Ilmenau June 2023 : “A part of the Berlin jazz community delights the audience in Ilmenau: “For Free Hands” with the Moroccan musician Alaa Zouiten give the first of three summer concerts at the jazz club on Friday. … Not only traditional oud tones can be heard from Zouiten, but he and his instrument also fit sincerely into the more modern pieces of the band “For Free Hands” and his facial expression literally screams: “I love what I’m doing here”. Compositions by the Moroccan Berliner-by-choice can also be heard on Friday, such as “Thanx Kenny”, which the band had already played live together in Morocco in the past. …

After prolonged applause, an encore follows, and Brunn is visibly pleased to note that the band’s jazz, which is not intended as dance music, is danced along to by many of the guests in a lively and persistent manner. Michael Möller, the chairman of the jazz club, sums up the evening on a positive note: “The most important thing for us is the music and the good feeling we get when we can put on an event like this with great musicians who are highly regarded in the jazz scene.”

Anis Hajjam (Telquel - Casablanca)

“This lutenist Alaa Zouiten is one of the most talented of his generation. As a follower of a reflected musical inclusion of many influences, he contributes with a sincerity that one would like to see more often.”


a new way of understanding jazz… Synergy is the word to define this Berlin quartet. For Free Hand stand for contemporary jazz. Dissonant sounds develop into beautiful melodies that float over a richly varied carpet of rhythms.

Aziz Sehmaoui (Paris)

“Alaa Zouiten is a hard worker, a great musician. A connoisseur like we rarely meet. His love is to speak and shout with the oud. He plays with great passion.”

Jazzpodium on the latest CD "Kaleidoscope Freedom"

“… Andreas Brunn is a committed guitarist and composer, an active bridge-builder and reconciler, and particularly fond of the East, notabene Bulgaria. … “Perpetuum five” comes as electrified postbop, catchier, more angular, edgier, angrier, angrier, jazzier. Karparov and Brunn are particularly lively and distinctive. …

And there is the uncomfortable “Magic Friday” or take “East Side Gallery Story” as the story of a quartet that could easily find its way in the world, but instead uncomplainingly turns the burdens of (contemporary) historical reappraisal and responsibility into music that has to be uncomfortable. And that’s when it’s at its best. And on the double bass, Georg Donchev plays exactly the same sweet mix of boundless jubilation and everything that lurks beneath the jubilation. …” Alexander Schmitz

Jazzthing on the latest CD "Kaleidoscope Freedom"

“If you can count, you have a clear advantage, and fractions don’t hurt either. 5/8, 7/8 & 13/16 is the rhythmic fabric that the multicultural Berlin showcase quartet For Free Hands weaves on their new CD “Kaleidoscope Freedom”, and it is brimming with surprising twists and turns, pitfalls and tricky numerical cliffs.

Biographical references play just as central a role as the openness to the many facets of the other that they encounter in the former walled city. But biography and identity are not everything, the decisive factor is rather the natural confidence with which the quartet approaches the various facets of electrified jazz and charges them with energy – and also decisive is the exuberant joy of playing.” Stephan Hentz.

Gaildorfer Rundschau

“… Specializing in hellish rhythms – exuberant, exuberant and rousing – this is how the quartet “For free Hands” presented itself. The polymetric concepts created an unusual tension in the music. When the guitar and saxophone cadences mingled over a 13/16 beat in “Magic Friday”, the musicians were in their element. The audience was simply stunned by “For free Hands” …”

Kieler Nachrichten

“Andreas Brunn always brings back memories of John McLaughlin. His playing and compositional talent are enigmatic and full of intelligent wit; after all, a jazz fugue like “Wizards’ Cube” doesn’t write itself”

Regional Rundschau Stuhr / Weihe


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