German bassist and teacher opens up about his whirlwind career, working with Sven Ratzke, his favorite Marleaux bass and more
Exclusive video interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
April 24, 2017
By David Sands
Teacher. Multi-instrumentalist. Composer. Musical Director. It’s hard to think of something German bassist Florian Friedrich doesn’t do. But one of the things he’s definitely doing these days is touring the globe with the German-Dutch entertainer Sven Ratzke, whose innovative mix of cabaret, vaudeville, jazz and pop has struck a chord with audiences around the world. Over the years, Friedrich has also shared his talents with respected artists like Nina Hagen, Julio Iglesias, Claron McFadden and the Sugarbabes.
A native of Germany, Friedrich got his start in music playing the classical piano at ten years old. During his teenage years, he picked up electric bass and didn’t look back, quickly becoming fluent in a variety of styles including jazz, rock, funk, latin and fusion. In 1997, he relocated to the Netherlands, where he applied to and was accepted into the prestigious Conservatorium van Amsterdam. At the Dutch music school, he studied upright and electric bass. And by the time of his graduation in 2001, he’d become a sought-after professional bass player in both Germany and the Netherlands. Friedrich recorded his debut, a Latin-tinged instrumental jazz album called Going South in 2010, leading a band that also featured guitarist Edoardo Righini, pianist Randal Corsen and drummer Mark de Jong.
A versatile musician, Friedrich is fluent with upright, electric and fretless bass, guitar, ukulele and singing saw; he also sings. As for his current projects, Friedrich is now touring with Sven Ratzke in the David Bowie-themed production, Starman. He’s also a member of rock band Johnny & The Gangsters Of Love, serves as the bass player and musical director for the German production of Hedwig & the Angry Inch (also starring Ratzke) and plays bass with The More the Mary, an ensemble that performs Tom Waits songs. As if that’s not enough to keep anyone occupied, he also makes instructional videos and offers music lessons to students through his site floriansbassunterricht.de.
FBPO’s Jon Liebman caught up with Friedrich at the London Bass Show in London, England for an intriguing conversation about his many musical pursuits.
Watch our interview with Florian: