Spellbound is a collection of songs and a carefully crafted piece of art, each like a chapter in a book. They follow each other in an order that reflects an overall mood and experience of life.
In 1979 I chose the life of a musician. 33 years later after a three-year consecutive tour with my odometer passing 300,000 miles I decided to take a break. I planned on a year Sabbatical, which quickly turned into two years. During that time I had moments of inspiration when I worked on small projects. I took part in a Gershwin show and recorded a meditation album after a Yoga retreat in Hawaii. The big picture was still in question and I decided to go on a listening adventure. I wanted to rediscover my love for music and take a deep look into my passion and why I always wanted to be a musician. I listened to Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Santana and then Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Bill Evans, John Coltrane and Brazilian music. I had to get current and revisited my American roots in California. I recorded in Fresno with my friends Eva Scow and Kevin Hill, both world class musicians I had watched grow up over the last 15 years. I knew that I did not have to explain one single thing about how to play my music. We literally just started recording. Most tracks on the album were a first take. Once the basics were recorded I invited Myra Joy to play cello. She and I have a history travelling the west coast during my Young Amelia album tour and I felt that she would make a great addition to the sound of Spellbound. Then I added with local Ray Moore. I cannot express how pleased I was with the overall result of the recording.
I was very fortunate to line up an A-team in L.A. for the mixing with Michael James and mastering with David Donnelly. Brad Oliphant, one of my favorite fine arts photographers from New York City, was recruited for the album art. After he listened to a few tracks he suggested his a photograph of the “Nigella Spider Flower”. Needless to say that I was completely taken and mesmerized by its beauty and thus it became the cover art.
Please enjoy my latest creation - Spellbound
Hans York, Dallas, Feb 2015
Born into a musical family in Germany in the 60’s, Hans was first introduced to classical music by his grandmother, a Chopin & Brahms loving pianist. His mother had aspirations of being an opera singer but that dream was truncated by the second World War. Hans’ biggest influence was his uncle Walter, who was an accomplished Jazz pianist that shared the music of Miles Davis, Bill Evans and Gershwin early on. His father blasted a mix of Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald and Baden Powell through gigantic HiFi speakers, which were common fashion at the time. Hans’ inner rebel countered with Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. Then on to Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Genesis, Yes, Pat Metheny and Steely Dan. By the age of sixteen Hans was clear about one thing – becoming a professional musician! At seventeen he had a full scholarship to Berklee School of Music, but with a high exchange rate, the cost of living in Boston was too high, so his second choice was the Swiss Jazz School in Bern, Switzerland. At that time it was the only music school in Europe that offered a Jazz/Pop program rather than solely a classical education. Quickly realizing that this was no substitute for Berklee, Hans decided to go old school and moved back to Germany to play and tour fulltime. Within a few years he established himself as a guitar player, singer and bassist. He branched out into Pop and Rock music, writing for TV and performing with his own Band CHAO besides accompanying Robert Palmer on German TV.
In the late 80’s Hans decided to follow his heart and moved to Rio De Janeiro to study Brazilian music. It had always fascinated him and his original compositions were influenced by artists like Milton Nascimento, Ivan Lins, Djavan and Caetano Veloso. Hans returned to Germany and brought back the rhythms, sensitivity and richness found in Brazilian music. After a time of readjustment to his native country he started recording his first solo album “Hazzazar”. Around the same time he toured as a bass player with the New York Broadway Ensemble (West Side Story), played throughout Europe with master harp player Ruediger Oppermann, and performed a Concerto as soloist on fretless bass with the “Ars Quittilinga” Chamber Orchestra. (Concerto was written by contemporary East German composer, Thomas Koenig). Hans co-founded the German World-music cult band, Moka Efti, and they recorded/produced three CDs. The third album, Fata Morgana, features the late US saxophonist Charlie Mariano and producer/saxophonist Heinrich von Kalnein.
After his second German album “Sau Gut” was recorded, Hans became enamored with the idea of taking his talents to where the singer/songwriter scene was really happening - America. Without any promise of a record contract and less than a handful of American acquaintances, this adventurous musician set out to continue his career in a strange country.
His 2005 American release, Inside Out, established him as a masterful storyteller, multi-instrumentalist and a producer with a deep musical palette. As one writer said, it introduced an artist who was “… delicate, expressive and highly evocative.” His next release, the 2008 Young Amelia, was a natural progression as Hans was lauded for his “sweet, comfy tenor and expressive acoustic guitar work that place him in the upper echelon of music makers.” During the same year Hans was a winner at the esteemed Kerrville New Folk Festival. In 2009 he decided to go on the road full time playing 250+ shows per year. Late in 2011 Hans recorded Heard or Herded? with Producer Evan Brubaker and a band of Seattle rockers whose hard-hitting musicianship was an ideal compliment to the endeavor.
Hans kept on his full time touring until May 2012 after which he to a break from the road. In 2013 a yoga retreat in Hawaii inspired Hans to recorded Echoes of Change, music for meditation, yoga and embodied living. The same year Hans was invited to be part of a Gershwin show in Seattle, which brought him closer to his roots in jazz and the American songbook. Then in 2014 he decided to record Spellbound in Fresno, CA with his friends Eva Scow and Kevin Hill, both world-class musicians he had watched grow up over the last 15 years. For the mix/master he trusted Los Angeles’ A team Michael James and David Donnelly. Now in 2015 Hans is back on the road delighting audiences from all over the US.