1 Can you tell us about the origin of No Restrictions and how this stellar lineup was put together?
I.O. - "I have to start with the composition “No Restrictions”. No Restrictions is a simple melody pattern, which repeats in the A and B section but ends up in different keys and harmonies. I also arranged a slow version of the same title in a reharmonized ballad version in the style of Brad Mehldau (or so...I’d like to think) who I am a huge admirer of. I believe in music there are no restrictions and if you can make the song work and it sounds good you can do whatever you want and you are not limited due to restrictions. That is where the title is coming from. In the last three years since my first album I wrote so many compositions that I felt I was overdue for a new record. Since the end of 2010 I have been playing on a regular basis with Helen Sung and Mike Rodriguez who are such amazingly talented musicians and such wonderful and fun people that it was clear to have them on my recording and Helen turned me onto Marcus Gilmore who I heard many times but never played with and I wanted guitar on my record and Kurt Rosenwinkel is one of the best and takes the music to a whole new level – so it was for me a true honor to play with all these musicians.
No Restrictions is primarily made up of your own compositions, how does the creative process work for you and where do you draw inspiration from. I hear a myriad of influences but your voice on bass makes it uniquely yours. Do you go through phases or is composing just as important as your instrumental work.
I.O. - "I love to compose and play the bass. Composing is a real passion of mine. I get very inspired by pictures, colors, emotions, words and nature. As a child and teenager I had no musical training I was into sports, painting & drawing. I started to play music almost by accident. I had the chance to play bass in a Rock band when I was sixteen which I thought was really cool and honestly I didn't even know what a bass was at this time -I just pictured myself in a band and thought that it would be exciting. A year later I started to play electric bass in a jazz combo and right after that - a big band. I remember I memorized all my bass charts because I couldn’t read music.
I went on and studied economics while playing bass in different bands. After I received a degree in economics in Germany I felt my heart was into music and I switched in my third year to Jazz and Popular music in Switzerland. In this time period I picked up the upright bass. I started to compose when I finished that class I had no idea that I loved it so much and could be so happy spending so much time on it. Maybe since I was such a late starter that’s why my music and bass playing has a unique style..?"
You are from Germany. Can you compare and contrast the differences between what we in the states refer to as traditional jazz as opposed to what I consider to be an unfair stereotype of what some people here refer to as European jazz?
I.O. -"I feel that traditional American jazz comes from strong roots (the blues) and conflicts of the times in the United States and in Europe we didn't have those roots although we did also have our own conflicts they were different so I personally feel that European Jazz is adapted from American Jazz along with a tremendous classical history from Europe."
One publication referred to you as one of the 10 future "female" stars. While not on your level but as a musician myself the unwritten code is 18 or 80 / male or female you can play or you can't. Does the "female" bass player every get frustrating or is it even an issue for you?
I.O. - "It doesn’t bother me at all - in fact I don’t even give it a thought."