Nils Fischer is considered one of the most important European percussionists, touring and recording constantly with Nueva Manteca, with his own groups CaboCubaJazz and Timbazo as well as with many others. Nils played for 12 years with percussion group Drums United and 18 years with the Cubop City Bigband. He has shared the stage with such legendary figures as Giovanni Hidalgo, Pío Leiva, Orestes Vilató, Armando Peraza, Lucrécia, Calixto Oviedo, Paquito D’Rivera, Changuito and Chocolate Armenteros.
Nils studied in Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico and at the Rotterdam Conservatory where he obtained his “Masters Degree Percussion” in 1996 cum laude. Nils has appeared on more than 60 albums as a recording artist. In 2007 he released a CD with his own group TIMBAZO – ¡Gracias Joe Cuba! Top artists including Brian Lynch & Alain Pérez contributed to it’s making. It is mixed and mastered by Jon Fausty.
His second solo album (2015) with TIMBAZO features an incredible line-up: Lucrécia, José Luís Quintana ‘Changuito’, Carlos del Puerto, Alexander Abreu, Julio Padrón, Calixto Oviedo, and others. Mastered by Bob Katz. An extensive international tour followed.
In 2008, Nils co-founded the group CABOCUBAJAZZ, with whom he tours internationally. CaboCubaJazz’ first CD was published in 2011.
Nils gave masterclasses in Finland, Israel, Malaysia, Spain, Austria & Germany. In 1995 he received the award for “outstanding service to Jazz education” in Los Angeles.
Honestly – anytime when I get the chance to perform , record or teach, it’s a highlight for me! I had the pleasure to tour a lot internationally with the legendary Latin jazz group Nueva Manteca, Cubop City Big Band, Drums United, many other projects and since 2008 with my own projects Timbazo and CaboCubaJazz. A turning point might have been my first concerts at age 24 with Nueva Manteca, which featured Giovanni Hidalgo. Another landmark moment – regarding my own bands – was the second (!) concert of Timbazo, at North Sea Jazz Fest – sharing the mainstage with Herbie Hancock. Recent highlight: CaboCubaJazz at Havana Jazz Festival, Cuba
Why do you believe students should come to Codarts?
It is a lot of fun to play percussion, music is a lot of fun! However, it takes much time, passion, dedication and hard work to become a good, versatile percussionist. If you're good and have fun performing, other musicians will like to play with you, and Codarts (in the middle of a super-multicultural Rotterdam) is the perfect place to guide you through some of your formative years. Not only the lessons - it's the overall vibe and being together with many likeminded people which pushes you forward during your artistic endeavours. The contacts you establish will also give you perspectives for your time after Codarts, which is just the beginning!
What are you going to teach them?
To learn how to lay down a great groove in all kinds of musical situations is the core of the lessons. The clave concept helps a lot to develop the groove. Improvisation follows. The instruments taught are congas, bongos, timbales, set-up, chekere, güiro and a creative, open approach to all of them. The lessons will give a deep insight on Cuban and other Caribbean percussion traditions and traditional/modern techniques. In the course of the lessons we will go beyond the mere learning of rhythm patterns and focus on creativity and how to deal with a personal approach to it.
How are you going to teach them?
Drumming is an oral tradition, and that's the main vehicle of the lessons, but notation, recording and recordings will be used as well. You will learn how to 'sing the palos' (vocalize your beats). Content wise, each lesson will follow the previous one, creating a repertoire of rhythms, exercises [coordination, sound, timing, ears]. You will also analyze the masters. There is a record over the entire study period for each student to make sure that the individual curriculum is complete. Some subjects might ask for more care than others. Think of: a Calypso marcha is relatively easier and faster to learn than a Guaguanco on 5 congas… There is a regular, accurate check of your progress to ensure an efficient use of the lessons.The lessons are also tailored to serve as direct support for the ensemble lessons at Codarts.
Nils' CD's received rave reviews internationally and they are present on several 'Best of the year' lists.