The Road to Europa: Getting the Band Back Together



So, at long last, KlezFactor came together in Berlin in the late-spring of 2012 with an amazing group of people that featured Dea Szucs on violin, Alex Bayer on bass, Florian von Frieling on guitar and Daniel Praetzlich on drums (with Finlay Panter stepping in to play with us on a couple of occasions).

When the time came, in 2015, to put the band back together, Dea was out of the country, in Romania at the time of the tour. Daniel had moved to another part of Germany, but Alex, Fin and Flo were game! Originally, I had planned to do the tour as a quartet. Logistics, folks. It’s always easier and more flexible to tour with fewer people. Adding a person to a group increases complexity by an order of magnitude.

I had booked the tour and gotten the guys lined up but I still wasn’t sure of playing as a quartet. As I mentioned in the previous post, to me, KlezFactor’s sound always has a violin. Sure, we’ve done gigs without a violinist from time to time, but for an album and tour, I really wanted that signature sound. But what to do? Dea was out of town!


I was listening and looking through some of the KlezFactor audio and video recordings that I had made in Berlin almost three years earlier and found some video with violinist Daniel Weltlinger sitting in with the band. I had met Daniel, an Australian, through my father’s cousin, Lynda Kraar. Lynda knew a lot of people in the Gypsy Jazz musical community in Germany through Lulo Reinhardt. Daniel had studied with Lulo and was playing with him a lot, particularly on tours through Germany. Since we were both in Berlin at the same time, I invited Daniel to come and play with us at Shakespeare and Sons (see above) and I sat in with him at the Kugelbahn on his gig.

In late March of 2015 I contacted Daniel, whom I knew had moved to Berlin since I had left. Daniel, as it turned out, was available! That filled out the band and got us ready to hit the ground running.

Scheduling, as always, was a difficult beast. I was arriving back in Berlin from Kazakhstan (via Istanbul) on Thursday the 23rd. Alex was coming back to Berlin on the Sunday (the 26th) and Florian was arriving back on the same day from a gig he had in Austria. Daniel was coming back to Berlin from Poland on the 27th. Rehearsal began on the 26th and we rehearsed on the 27th too before the gig at B-flat in Berlin on the 28th.

The Europa tour was ON!


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