Tag Archives: Violin

Klaus Lamac

(D) Violin/5 string electric violin

Klaus in slow motionKlaus is the baby of the band, but despite being the youngest Biscuit, he’s probably the most sensible of them all . He’s also the only German on board, and on top of that, the only band member with a beard! Quite an incredible musician he is too. Adamantly a Violinist NOT a Fiddler, Klaus is however a virtuoso and quite simply amazing! His unique and stylish playing  and skill in improvisation give the band a jazzy dimension.

It all started with a harp. In fact it was not a harp but a Bavarian Zither, but to a little boy of five years watching television and whose eye fell on it as it rested on a table, such a little detail mattered naught. He had decided he wanted to play the “harp”.

Klaus was born in Reutlingen and moved to Munich with his parents when he was five years old. He spent 4 years struggling with little hands on what was rather a big instrument. But the Bavarian music which he practised with such zeal never really set his pulses going. He started grammar school and took advantage of free violin lessons at his school. After all, violin couldn’t be any harder than zither. Not exactly true, as he was soon to realize.

Until it would come clearer which instrument suited him better, he decided to stay with both of them. About that time he saw people playing the guitar as back up for singing and other instruments. That looked really easy. And some of those people didn’t play for long and didn’t practise too much, if at all. Also the response to the guitar among other people was significantly better than to violin. And it looked like fun. No further explanation necessary: he started learning guitar as well. Still unsatisfied with his violin playing and disappointed that he spent so much time with the instrument without getting any real fun, he decided to search for something else to do with the violin.

First of all he stopped classical violin playing altogether, that seemed the totally wrong approach for him to have fun. Instead he was allowed to join a folk band, Border Affair. He tried to improvise around the main melody, playing second lines, filling the gaps and taking – or rather attempting – a solo once in a while challenging himself, as well as the patience of the other members of the band. Although he was totally out of place most of the time, this felt more like fun. Inspired by one of these fellows he picked up a little upright bass and mandolin. Within this chaos fell some records of violin players, first of all Stuff Smith, then also Joe Venuti and Stephane Grappelli as well as various other artists, which were filed under Gipsy Swing.

Now thoroughly excited and enthusiastic he started heading towards that jazz thing, totally forgetting about his other instruments. Very soon he realized that learning to play jazz without any accompaniment was awkward, and since he couldn’t imagine anyone bearing with his attempts in jazz improvisation, he found himself forced to practice guitar so as to be able to play the violin along with his own pre-recorded guitar accompaniment. Ironically, his first appearance in public with jazz featured him on back-up guitar.

After some time, although still heavily struggling to get the improvisations bearable for listeners, he found a guitar player and a base player to form a trio to play in the style of the Hot Club de France with Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Then things got moving and in 1988 his first Gypsy Jazz Band Minor Swing started to play gigs in small pubs, mostly Sunday morning brunches, exhibition openings, wine tastings (the best occasions) and private parties. And this was real fun because here was space for a lot of improvisations and groove!!!  Since then this band has remained in existence, with different musicians every few years and recently renamed Dinah’s Finest.

Very soon he felt the urge to discover more modern jazz, and he joined the Jazz Gangsters playing tunes of Scofield, Metheny, Parker, Miles and all the other classics along with the band’s originals. But after a while he realized, that with improvisation he could have fun in almost any setting, so he took every opportunity to try something new and different, often being part of an one-time-occasion band, recording session or short term project, stepping in for other musicians in other bands – sometimes leading to a longer co-operation than initially planned, e.g. with the Giesinger Sautreiber or The Wasted Folk Rangers which lasted for several years. Over the years he found himself playing in such diverse styles as Gipsy Music, bar jazz, Swedish Folk (during a one year stay in Sweden), Brass Big Band, Tangos, Singer and Songwriter, Rock and Pop, Irish, Bluegrass, Jewish music, Bavarian.

In 1998 he joined the Burning Biscuit Band and the Huckleberry 5.

Beach bumKlaus was in Florida last year obviously having a miserable time (Click on photos to enlarge) We’re still waiting for Klausys’ baby pics, but please be patient – we’ll get ‘em! & we’ll announce it on our News page when we do!