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8 Sep 2020

The Unfinished Interview With A Genious Man: Paul Buckmaster

It was in 2009 when I first got in touch with Paul Buckmaster. Back then, I was publishing in this blogsite, AllSongsList, the interview with the idols series. Former and current musicians were guests on the blogsite, dedicating a week or a weekend to them. For one of those sessions, I could remember it was about the most famous trio of backing vocalists Elton ever had, I asked Buckmaster to send me some words to Mortonette Jenkins (now Stephens). To be honest, I thought it would be no answer in reply, but I was wrong. Kindly and friendly, he sent me those beautiful words about her: "I hope you will forgive the brevity of this reply, as I’m in hard deadline workmode, but I’m delighted to offer these thoughts about Mortonette: It is one of the sweet and beautiful blessings in my life to have met, and gotten to know Mortonette Jenkins, not only as a supremely talented, experienced, and professionally competent vocalist, who has been endowed by heaven with a most richly beautiful singing voice, but as one of my dearest and special friends. Mortonette has also been somewhat of a spiritual guide for me, a friendly help, who, because of her commitment to truth, beauty, and intelligence, has and continues to be one of those friends who helps us on life’s path, to a deeper understanding and experience of freedom and precious liberty. There’s a line from one of Sting’s songs with which I cannot but agree: If you love someone, set them free ... But then, on the other hand, what sweeter bonds can there be than true friendship, or true love ... Or better still, that transcending devotion to the cultivation of a redeeming good will, for all mankind? In short, I love Mortonette!". He was so pleased with the end result, and we began to chat. He was particularly interested about an article I made about him, and send me "some inaccuracies in the biography, and some omissions in the discography and filmography". We did it. And after that, I asked him about doing an interview with him, and for my surprising, he accepted: "Miquel, I’ve been to your site (below) and it’s great.  Love it. Will try to find time to complete interview. Pb". 

So, unbelievable, but I had Paul Buckmaster ready to answer my interview. I remember at the beginning, when I first thought about who I would love to interview, in the top of my wish list was him. Paul Buckmaster for me is the greatest arranger modern music has ever given. And without doubt, Elton's and Bernie's songs are embellished by his touches: "Elton John", "Tumbleweed Connection", "Friends", "Madman Across The Water", "Don't Shoot Me! I'm Only The Piano Player", "Blue Moves", "A Single Man",  "Made In England" and "Songs From The West Coast", a wide collection of masterpieces has his credits as arranger, conductor, composer, cello soloist, orchestral arrangements, horn and brass arrangements. There were a lot of questions in mind to ask him, couldn't miss that chance. So I began to work on it, exchanging thoughts with him, until we completed the questionnaire.

That was in march 2009. Paul was very busy these days and was so hard to find a place and a moment to do that so: "My work-schedule continues to be very full right now, but I would much like to do the interview. It would be great if you can email your questions, and I will find time to type in my answers". That was so understandable, and honestly it took time to cover the first part of the interview. Thanks to his efforts, Paul sent the first row of answers, on Christmas 2011, as a kind of gift: "I’ve just spent the last three hours adding to the interview; my answers are in depth and quite detailed — they’ll be useful for when I publish my memoirs haha!". Always kind, always gentle, we get in touch so many more times. Unfortunetely, he did not finished the interview, he died on November 7, 2017. I was very upset about his death. The ones that you considered idols they should not die. Well, in fact, they don't die, his music still alives and surpassed them. But I had this unfinished interview on my hands, and I thought that I had to put that out someday, as Paul wanted and asked. To be honest, I always thought that maybe sometime we could have time to finishing, but then again no. Paul gave me his permission to put that out, so, why not.

In my regards, his wishings when I had my baby Júlia, his christmas wishes, his friendly words, ... he was a very special person. Some questions won't be answered anymore: his thoughts about young Elton, the Elton John and Madman sessions, the Reggie little moments, Bernie and Gus Dudgeon, Elton's sound, Friends soundtrack, outtakes like "America", "Hell" and "Finger tips", his collaborations with artists like Rolling Stones or David Bowie or Taylor Swift, and his contributions to films like 12 Monkeys, Midnight Crossing or The Spy Who Loved Me. So, in his beautiful memory, this is what we did...

The Unfinished Interview, by Jack Rabbit:

You showed natural music aptitude at an early age, taking up the cello at four years old, winning prizes for your musicianship at six... When did you decide to became a professional musician?

I guess I knew was always going to be a musician; there was never a “moment” in which I “decided” to “become” a musician

You won a scholarship at age eleven to the Royal Academy Of Music, London, precisely like young Elton, more or less, in the same period. What do you remember of your school days? Did you meet Elton in the academy; do you remember anything about him, then?

The information in the above question is inaccurate, Miquel; unfortunately, there are a number of sites out there which have published a lot of inaccuracies. My mother — who was born and raised in Naples, Italy, and who studied music and graduated in piano there at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella — was my first music teacher, and when I was ten years old, she brought me to Naples for a three-month trial period attending Maestro Guglielmo La Volpe’s cello class.  At the end of that period, we returned to London, and a week later my mother received a letter from the principal of the Conservatorio stating that I had been accepted for a four-year Italian State scholarship.

For the next four years, 1958-1962, I traveled alone and lived in Naples for eight months of each year (October-June), at a students’ hostel, and attended classes at the Conservatorio.  My principal class was cello, with music theory classes with Maestro Ernesto Arnese, and piano classes with Maestro Sergio Fiorentino.  I was also obliged to attend classes in Italian language and literature, history and geography.  The rest of the time in England was spent catching up with my London high-school courses; all was OK, except I could never catch up in maths ...

(During my period at Naples, I “discovered” Jazz, and over the following years became an avid fan ...)

Upon my return to England in 1962, I was obliged to complete my high-school course, and graduated in June 1963.  It this point, it was determined, between me and my parents, that it would be more economically feasible for me to apply for a scholarship at the Royal Academy Of Music, London, which I did, and consequently, auditioned, was accepted, obtained a state scholarship, and began, in September 1963, my full-time four-year period there as a cello student, first with Professor Muriel Taylor, and later with Professor Vivian Joseph.  I also attended harmony classes with Prof. Hugh Marchant.  I never imagined that I would work as an arranger or a composer, thus, did not attend any composition or orchestration classes.

During those four years, I continued to develop my interest in Jazz, and began to discover that I could understand modern music better, and thus became a fan of much that had developed “Post-Vienna” ...

But my abiding passion had always been the music of the late high renaissance, and that of the first classicists J.S. Bach and his contemporaries (Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi, Corelli, et al — but especially Bach!), and as a result, I was very fortunate to play in several excellent semi-pro chamber orchestras specializing in this music.  These orchestras never comprised more than twenty members, and more usually around sixteen.  Playing this music, in such small groups, was one of the deepest joys of my life.

In June 1967 I graduated from the RAM with a Performer’s Diploma, and over the next three months applied to audition with several “baroque” chamber groups.  The first reply I received was an invitation to travel to Tours, France, to audition with a small group based in a chateau in that area, and the day after I received the letter of invitation, took my first flight to Paris (in an Air France Caravelle), then train to Tours, where I was met by the secretary of the orchestra, and driven to the chateau, where I spent the next two days playing for the principal players and management.

Unfortunately, I did not fulfil their requirements, but later, I speculated briefly how my life would have developed had I joined that ensemble!

What was your first job in music? You began playing on bands like “Third Ear Band”, “Suntreader” and “Nucleus” , which music did you featured with those groups?

My first paid gig was while I was a student at the Conservatorio San Pietro a Majella, Napoli, Italy, in June 1961.  I was engaged to play in a twenty-one-piece chamber group, plus sixteen-voice choir, on the occasion of a wedding in the Basilica at Pompeii.  We played all the liturgical music, that is, the Solemn Nuptial High Mass, which was mostly music by Giovanni P. da Palestrina, Tomas L. de Victoria, and after the Mass, we played at the reception, mostly love-madrigals and dance-movements by composers of the same period.  It was really very beautiful to be able to play that music.

Later, during my studentship at the RAM, I played in several semi-pro chamber orchestras, which was great fun, or should I say, of deep joy ... That’s fun, but on a transcendental level.

While I was at the RAM, during my first year there, 1963, I auditioned to play piano, Hohner Pianet, and Farfisa Compact in a five-piece R&B/rock group, which was based in West London.
It was called “U.S. Five”, partly on account of that we were playing a lot of U.S Air Force bases!  I answered an ad in Melody Maker, the weekly Jazz and pop newspaper, and was accepted, and played with them for the next two years.  The interesting thing is, that I was able to convince the authorities at the RAM to hire us to play at the New Students’ Ball, October 1963, which we did, making us the first rock’n’roll band to ever play in that venerable institution.

I left them nearly two years later, to spend more time focussed on the chamber-group work I was doing, and introduced
the band to my fellow-student and friend the brilliant pianist/organist, and now, composer, J. Peter Robinson, who very competently took over the position of keyboardist in U.S. Five!

It wasn’t until after I’d graduated with my LRAM diploma and left the Academy, in late 1967, that a series of “chance” events and meetings eventually led to my working in the field of “rock”.  I didn’t “choose” rock; you could easily say that “rock” “chose” me!

No, it was a series of apparently chance encounters, and necessity, which led
me to start working as an arranger for pop and rock artists, and others.


In the loving memory of an unforgettable man and a finest musician, Paul Buckmaster, with all of my Love

25 Mar 2017


Hello Eltonites nice to share time again with you!!! It's been about dates and numbers today. All you know it is Elton's 70th Birthday. For such event Elton will be at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles hosting a party which will raise money for both the charity and museum, to celebrate not just Elton's birthday, but the 50th anniversary of his songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin. Longtime musical collaborators are probably the longest-lasting and songwriting team in the music history and one of the most successful. It is also the 33th anniversary of AllSongsList, that extensive archive I created so long ago, when I was just fifteen years old, keeping all the dates of concerts, as much as set lists I could get, songs written and sang for our greatest idol, with all the music chart successes around the world, covers and versions. One of most important things is the creation 25 years ago of the Elton John AIDS Foundation "In response to the urgent need for philanthropic support to address the global AIDS" read the statement on the official website. And finally, it is the 10th anniversary of the running of this non-profit blogsite about Elton John.

So for the ocasion and starting today, we will have a wide range of surprises between today and June. Ray Williams explained me he "actually put the advertisement in the NME on June 17th, then (they) made Elton's demo's at Regent sound, Denmark Street, London". And we will have very special guests, eltonites and the committee of experts, we will have AllSongsList walk through the archives, with set lists and outtakes, Jack Rabbit eltonin' around the world... and few more surprises explained at time. 

I invite you to join us on this journey, don't forget to wish Elton a very happy BDay, and to enjoy as much as I do sharing our musical passion with all of you. Happy BDay Elton, this is ready to began!!!

24 Apr 2016

Eltonites About Superhuman

"The new album of the cellist Martin Tillman "Superhuman" it's a journey through meticulous musicals harmonies. A  experience provided by a talented musician who knows how to exploit all the possibilities of the cello. What a delight to discover that each time we hear the album,   there will always be a new and fantastic way to feel the songs. Our ears are thankful to hear  this wonderful work!" (Vera Piovezan, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Some songs are a mixed between Tubular Bells and Jean Michel Jarre. The song I like most at first sight is "The Invisible Shield Of Strings And Bows". I think this is the essence of all the cd and maybe it's the most completed ,in melodically terms, with cello and piano. Also I would remark "Wonder" and "Involuntary Midnights". But as I said before, "Invisible" makes me feel very beautiful emotions. Not long time ago, I saw a film about one man who was waiting in the train station, because his promised girl had to go to Himalaya to recovering. He had hopes, while waiting, that she would not be at time and couldn't depart. When he saw her arriving, he started to cry because it was certain he would lost her for ever most. Hugs and kisses showing all their love. But music there hasn't filled with the scene. When I heard Tillman's song I certainly remember that should be the perfect track for the film. Thanks to Mr. Tillman for fullfilled with your music that scene that captivates me (Jon Jon, Vic, Spain)

The Music of Martin Tillman is, in an instant, reminiscent of the dance era. The offerings of the music easily accommodate the "Club Scene" as well as a solo introspective time upon the warm sands of beach. This music, and each track of "SUPERHUMAN" will evoke a different emotion, thought, image, and interpretation by each who listen. Moreover are the undoubted visual images of one's mind painted as the music progresses seamlessly through its rhythms. The music found within "SUPERHUMAN" lends itself first to the ear, and then deeper towards the heart and soul of mankind. Best played in a crowd, alone, for a reason specific or none at all...It Is Just Best PLAYED! (Tommy T. Baughman, Mississippi, USA)

Martin Tillman On Music Charts

Toto XIV

Billboard N. 98 (2015)

Official charts N. 43 (2015)

Man Of Steel Soundtrack
Hans Zimmer

Billboard N. 9 (2013)

Official charts N. 20 (2013)

The Abscence 
Melody Gardot

Billboard N. 33 (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack
Hans Zimmer

Billboard N. 8 (2012)

Official charts N. 19 (2012)

Pirates Of The Caribbean Soundtrack
Hans Zimmer

Billboard N. 45 (2011)

Official charts N. 82 (2011)

Angels & Demons Soundtrack
Hans Zimmer

Billboard N. 150 (2009)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Soundtrack
Hans Zimmer

Billboard N. 49 (2009)

The Dark Knight Soundtrack
James Newton Howard / Hans Zimmer

Billboard N. 20 (2008)

Pirates Of Caribbean: At Worlds 
Hans Zimmer

Billboard N. 14 (2007)

Official charts N. 58 (2007)

Pirates Of Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Hans Zimmer

Billboard N. 22 (2006)

Official charts N. 68 (2006)

Peachtree Road
Elton John

Billboard N. 17 (2004)

Official charts N.  (2004) 

Ali Soundtrack

Billboard N. 61 (2001)

Hannibal Soundtrack
Hans Zimmer

Official charts N. 74 (2001)

Pearl Habbor Soundtrack
Hans Zimmer

Billboard N. 14 (2001)

Official charts N. 50 (2001)

Deuces Wild
B. B. King

Billboard N. 73 (1997)

Official charts N. 86 (1997)

"Tracks on Superhuman made me run an emotional gamut"

I was honored to be asked to review Martin Tillman's new album, Superhuman.  Not being familiar with his work, I decided to do a little research.  Not only is he a world-renowned cellist and composer, I discovered that he played with Elton John and the Band for Elton's 60th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden.  What's more, Davey Johnstone plays on Superhuman.  Ok, so far so cool.

I went to SoundCloud and saw that the album was categorized as Dance/EDM (Electronic Dance Music).  Hmmmmm.  I'm not very familiar with that genre, but I put on my headphones and gave it a listen.

One word: Awestruck.

The 11 tracks on Superhuman made me run an emotional gamut. And any music that makes me feel something - whatever the emotion - has done its job. From relaxation to exhilaration...from uncertainty to uplifting…from swaying to bopping my head to even humming along at some point...I found the music very intriguing.  It was a somewhat similar experience to the first time I listened to Pnau - I thought I might not like it, but I actually liked it a lot.  Quelle surprise!

After first listen, I'd have to say my favorites right now are Future Dawns, Unlocking the Locks and Translated to Beauty.  Perhaps because (to me) they sounded more like the kind of music I normally listen to - with keyboard and guitar (was that Davey?!)  vs. only synth.

As Mr. Tillman himself said, "Music lets us dream a dream a different existence, and make it our own."  Your music certainly does that for me, sir.  Thank you.

Needless to say, I will be listening to Superhuman many times over again.  Sometimes discovering new music or a new musician is like finding a new friend, which is always a good thing.

My name is Kimberlee Kemble and I'm from Boca Raton, Florida. I've been an Eltonite since almost the very beginning. I had all the albums, the singles, EJ posters plastered on my bedroom wall (my favorites were from "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player"), an EJ candle, the Time Magazine cover, Tiger Beat magazines with EJ on the cover, EJ shirts, an EJ necklace, you name it. If you've seen the video for Original Sin, that's me!

"Differents paths sometimes blend into each other" by Andrea Grasso: "Superhuman" review

The new Martin Tillman album, Superhuman, is a collection of instrumental tracks all written and arranged by the master of cello, Martin himself; helping him in this adventure are renowned musicians like Michael Landau on electric guitars, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Toto founder David Paich on keyboard, Toto occasional bass player Leland Sklar and also his friend from the Elton John Band Davey Johnstone on electric and acoustic guitars.

As it can be read in the liner notes of the album, Superhuman is a reaffirmation of the power of the human spirit and is dedicated to Martin’s wife Eva, who 8 years ago was diagnosed ill but has found the courage and strength to battle against it, and this has inspired Martin to compose the songs for this album.

The record has basically two different paths, that sometimes blend into each other: the “rock” path and the “dance” (or EDM, “Electronic Dance Music”) path. I personally prefer the rock path, who is more akin to my musical tastes, but in this case I can also appreciate the EDM tracks. My favourite tracks are obviously the rock ones, with “Future Dawns” and “Celluloid Spaces” being my favourite; Dawns has a great organ, a spacey synth, a very good piano solo and reminds me very much about a progressive rock track that could have been recorded in the 1970s, and in fact Martin himself in the liner notes clains that bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Rolling Stones were big influences on him and his musical growing. Celluloid is even more interesting since the composer declares it’s a sort of concept about the history of drugs, from the mid-60s to today, and that’s why is divided into different sections; it features once again a beautiful organ, electric guitars performed by both Johnstone and Landau, and the soul backing vocals of Dee Lewis-Clay, reminding very close something that Pink Floyd could have recorded for Dark Side of the Moon.

Another track that I like a lot is “Unlocking the Lock”, featuring again more rock guitars along with ethnic percussions, strings, and again Dee’s vocals; Tillman in the liner notes explain that he thought about this as his stadium rock piece with many musical rooms to unlock, and that’s why there are several themes and parts together.

Another favourite is “Translated to Beauty”, a very “sexy” track, with an esotic riff and an atmosphere that reminds me of the 60s; its composer in fact says that it’s something you could hear in a French or Italian movie… a quite peculiar track that demonstrates the versatility of Tillman as composer and arranger, apart the obvious one as cello player.

The final track of the album, “The Invisible Shield of Strings and Bows”, featuring the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, could be easily used as a score for a huge Hollywood movie; Tillman in fact wrote it as a tribute to the scores he played on in Los Angeles, and wanted to end the album with something “extraterrestrial” to associate with the “superhuman” feeling of the whole album.

This album is a mixture of moods, atmospheres and listening experiences that can help you relax, or make you dance, or lift your spirits; but you can also use it to meditate and travel with your mind and find your inner “superhuman” powers; Martin Tillman is just showing you the right path.

"I'm a huge Elton fan and collector from Italy, having started to follow him in 1992. I run since 2012 "Elton John Italia", an Elton John fanclub on Facebook where I share with Italian fans current news and any kind of information about Elton and his discography, which I know in every small detail, including obscure collaborations and rarities..."

"Cyberpunk Meets Pop" by John Kwok: "Superhuman" review

Cyberpunk meets pop, rock and classical in cellist/composer Martin Tillman’s superb new album “Superhuman”. Tillman cleverly plays with and merges different musical genres, ranging from industrial techno-pop to what sounds like a futuristic homage to Byzantine or Medieval Roman Catholic sacred music on “Involuntary Midnights” sung by renowned contemporary music vocal ensemble Anonymous 4. It’s Karlheinz Stockhausen and Gyorgy Ligeti merged seamlessly together by a Brian Eno-like musical wizard familiar with William Gibson’s near future cyberspace landscape. Tillman has assembled a superb assortment of some of the finest studio musicians residing primarily in the Los Angeles area, ranging from long-time Elton John collaborator – now musical director of the Elton John Band - guitarist Davey Johnstone,  guitarist Graham Russell (“Air Supply”), David Paich (long-time “Toto” keyboardist), drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (best known for his work with Frank Zappa, Sting, and Joni Mitchell, also an in demand studio musician featured on most of the songs on Sara Bareilles’ “Kaleidoscope Heart” album), and bassist Leland Sklar, with orchestral arrangements performed by the City of Prague Symphony Orchestra. 

“Superhuman” sounds like a vast, epic-like, soundtrack for a yet to be made fast-paced Hollywood thriller science fiction film, like the forthcoming sequel to Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”, especially the album’s last track, “The Invisible Shield of Strings and Bows”. It’s an extremely memorable, compellingly listenable, album that should draw ample interest from a diverse range of musical audiences, not just those familiar with instrumental techno-pop music or long-time admirers of Tillman’s exceptional skills as a superb classically-trained cellist and composer. Among my favorite pieces are “Wonder”, a fast-paced ode to techno-pop music, the previously mentioned “Involuntary Midnights”, “Cracked Diamond”, a riveting musical dialogue between solo cello and an entire orchestra, “Celluloid Spaces”, noteworthy for its brilliant playing by Davey Johnstone on acoustic and electric guitars, “Zero Gravity”, which I regard as Tillman’s 21st Century reimagining of Gustav Holst’s “Neptune, the Mystic” from “The Planets” suite, and last, but not least, the “The Invisible Shield of Strings and Bows”.

Long-time Elton John fan John Kwok is a freelance writer, speculative fiction writer and photographer, whose classical and contemporary musical tastes range from J. S. Bach, J. Haydn, W. A. Mozart, L. Beethoven, F.  Schubert and F. Chopin to J. Brahms, C. Debussy, G. Mahler, M. Ravel, R. Strauss, A. Schoenberg, I. Stravinsky, A. Copland, S. Barber, G. Ligeti, O. Neuwirth, D. Felsenfeld and M. V. Waller.

23 Apr 2016

Superhuman aka superwoman

"Superhuman is a reaffirmation of the power of the human spirit" reads the liner notes of the cd. Soon it is explained what it consists: "Superhuman is dedicated to Martin’s wife Eva who 8 years ago was diagnosed with MS. Eva’s courage and strength to live with and battle against the degenerative disease inspired Martin to compose the album. And also in extension, those who everyday summon up the superhuman strength to battle physical and mental obstacles. Martin hopes his music will give audiences wings to rise above their challenges and open their mind’s eye." While he is adding: “Music lets us dream a different existence, and make it our own,” Tillman concludes. “It’s that spirit that’s now let me find a new, powerful way to express myself with ‘Superhuman.’”

His wife Eva’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2007 gradually changed Tillman’s career focus, at first in a bleak direction before he found new creative purpose in realizing his most ambitious work with “Superhuman.” “It was just super stressful and I came to a conclusion I couldn’t continue life as it was,” Tillman says. “I thought that the only way we’d survive was if I went into my studio and started writing music. Not music for other people, but music for us that would create a drive for survival and inspiration. Then in 2010, Eva told me that her birthday wish was for me to write her a happy melody, as opposed to the kind of melancholy us Europeans tend to have. That was basically the beginning of “Superhuman,” a title that was all about good energy, which is so powerful for Eva and me, while being able to touch other people in the same way.

Martin remarks the concept of the album: "We exist in a world contrary to our true nature, having to endure war, politics, technology and greed. Yet despite these by-products of civilization, our pure primal drive endures. The fear of extinction fueled our very existence and called upon everything within our power to hunt, eat and procreate. Then, somewhere along the evolutionary line, a power far greater than anything imaginable emerged: LOVE. Love gave us newfound purpose, taking us beyond our animal instincts into new, profound dimensions. A force that could only be described as magical. (...) More than any other form of art, music transports us from the physical plane to a realm of reflection, dreams and excitement. Yet at the same time, we find ourselves swaying to the melody, if not dancing wildly to its rhythms (...) It’s that spirit that’s now let me find a new, powerful way to express myself with ‘Superhuman."

About the recording process, Martin is joined with the most rellevant names of the music panorama, all together mixed with the splendorous job of one of bests mixers around: "My mixer Jeff Biggers created the album’s expansive sound. Because he had this tremendous experience recording and mixing big scores, his talent allowed me to treat ‘Superhuman’ as a soundtrack for the audience. So to just call this an EDM or a rock and roll project would be way to narrow a focus for this album" added Tillman.

11 tracks for one hour in extension album. Quite difficult to remark some in particular. "Involuntary midnights” paid my attention first: "It is a choral a cappella track I heard while driving and was immediately captured by its beauty, performed by the amazing vocal group Anonymous 4. It’s a part of a project called the Legends of St Nichlolas composed by an anonymous composer in the 16th century. Here is a bit of the legend: Long ago, in a far off land known today as Turkey, there was a boy named Nicholas. Nicholas was a person who created numerous miracles and accomplished many good deeds. As a teenager, Nicholas inherited a vast fortune, but he had no idea what to do with it. Wanting to help those less fortunate than himself, Nicholas set out to make the wishes of others come true. While Nicholas knew the townspeople needed his help, he was also aware that they were very proud people, so Nicholas decided to help his friends secretly". Then a more literal approximation of musical space travel lifts off in “Zero Gravity,” as sonar and solar wind-like effects introduce a gentle melody carried along with synths, strings and piano. It’s a lyrical theme, with a poignant sense of striving to touch a greater power, much like the experimentation that brought together the track. “I heard it at first as a ’love theme’ for the album, one that had no rhythm as such, but drifted in free time,” Tillman says. “But I felt that if strings could come in and out of it, growing each time, then it would infuse a strong life into the music. And when I heard those strings played live in Prague, I knew that this track had truly been born with a truly human feeling to it.”

“I’m happy that Martin discover this new happy side of himself in a way that also helped him escape from our own problems,” Eva Tillman says and concludes: “Superhuman’ was a way of dreaming a difference existence for Martin and myself. His music let me travel with my mind to the places I could no longer experience with my body. In that way, creativity can change anyone’s outlook. Music might not physically heal you, but it certainly can heal the relationships, and the soul. So it’s very gratifying to have people relate to Martin’s music in that way, because love is the driving force in making people rise above their challenges, and truly become superhuman. That transcendental spirit that music gives us is what this album is dedicated to.”

More info:

Read the excellent notes by Daniel Schweiger on:


Unforgettable People (LII): Martin Tillman

"On the show, a very special guest. From Zurich, Switzerland. On cello, an incredible musician... Mr. Martin Tillman!!!" Elton proudly said on the 60th Anniversary special concert. Davey Johnstone explained he met Tillman "working on a movie score (An Everlasting Piece movie, by Barry Levinson) with Hans Zimmer in 2000, I used him (Martin) on Elton's 60th at MSG, on Nigel Olsson's solo japanese album that I produced with Guy Babylon" while adding "He is a dear friend and amazing musician". No discussion. In fact, this talented musician is considered the creator of a revolutionary sound by extending the traditional boundaries of the cello. He has also established himself in the motion picture and recording world as one of the most sought after talents of experimental acoustic and electric cello. Tillman, also has credits on "Peachtree Road", Elton's 2004 self produced album.

"To be asked to be a special musical guest for his 60ties birthday was incredible. Madison gardens was an unforgettable moment" reminds Tillman. Sure it was. Since arriving in US in 1988, he developed his studies with the internationally celebrated cellist, Lynn Harrell, receiving his Masters Degree in Performance from the University of Southern California, in 1989. Harrell, for the ones doesn't know, is one of the world's finest cellists, a live legend at the Aspen Music Festival, where he has spent his summers performing and teaching for nearly 50 years. He is also the recipient of numerous awards including the Piatigorsky Award, and the Ford Foundation Concert Artists' Award. "He was the best teacher with the the most amazing sound!" added Tillman.

In his career, Tillman has collaborated with other rellevant and well known musicians related to Elton: James Newton-Howard and Hans Zimmer. Precisely, about his skills, Zimmer explained the challenge, for the soundtrack "The Dark Knight", to represent The Joker character by an only single note played on the cello: "You know within one note that it’s him. I really wanted to do the whole thing just with one note". Only one could get it: Martin Tillman, the one "who’s studied his whole life to make a gorgeous sound out of the cello". This is one of the most fruitful collaborations started when he recorded with Hans Zimmer on the Tony Scott movie The Fan. Since then, Tillman has been given the chance to compose and perform for scores such as the last three Batman movies, Total Recall, Bullet to the Head, The Oscars 2012, Life in a Day, Cowboys and Aliens, Angels and Demons, Prince of Persia, Pirates of the Caribbean 1-4, Black Hawk Down, Da Vinci code, The Pledge, Everlasting Piece, Mission Impossible 2, Hannibal, The Ring parts one and two… the list is endless.

"Martin Tillman is quite simply the most gifted musician I have ever had the privileged to record with. In our recordings his extraordinary performances elevated my music I only heard in my dreams..." explained to AllSongsList the greatest Michael Hoppe when he was asked to collaborate on the Weekend.  Tillman performed cello solos on The Poet, composed by Michael Hoppe, and Afterglow composed and performed by Michael Hoppe, Tim Wheater, plus Tillman. "Martin is in a class by himself" concludes. Also Adam Chester agreed to collaborate on the weekend, explaining: "He's a joy to work with. We've done some composing in the studio for a movie that didn't come to be. But the music we wrote is very special and I hope to find a home for it one day", and adds near this: "Well, If I may paraphrase a lyric from a song by America, "No Oz never did give nothing to Mar-tin man, that he didn't, didn't already have." Martin is a not only a whiz at playing cello. He's a beautiful soul who's cello merely manifests what he feels inside. Does that make sense? Corny, I'm sure, but I love that guy. I love Eva too!" The wonderful Eva Tillman, apart from being Martin's wife, helps on the website and social networks.

Tillman has been invited to perform with many renowned recording artists including, apart from Elton John, Sting, T Bone Burnett, Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, Beck, BB King, Air Supply and Tracy Chapman, among many others. Asking about Elton, he says: "I had several chances to meet him (Elton). In the studio recording strings .... I believe it was in Hollywood. I am surprised at his incredible power on stage ..... unstoppable". Oh, and if you had to choose one of Elton's songs, what do you said? My favourite Elton's track? "Levon".

Davey Johnstone, Elton's guitarrist and musical director, remarks "Martin is a phenomenal player and a very spiritual guy" while explaining they met each other "We had lunch in Malibu a few weeks ago and he gave me a few CDs of Superhuman. It's rocking!". Tillman has been focusing his creative energy on his own compositions and recording projects, and the result is his last cd, Superhuman, dedicated to Eva "to the love of my life". Previous albums by Martin Tillman were Eastern Twin (Rounders) and Cinematic Volunteer composed and produced by Martin Tillman and Tom Vedvik. His previous solo Cd was a very well received solo cello/piano album “A Year in Zurich” in where he both performs cello and piano.

Currently, he is planning some fun shows next year, in Europe, with the Superhuman Band, 30 cellos, and a multimedia show with a ballerina and a breakdancer. Other formats of the show are available with just a five piece rock band, with the inclusion of beautiful soul voices and dancers or solo with a DJ, for all kind of venues. Entertainment is guaranteed.

More info:

official website
on twitter @martincello
on instagram martin_tillman
on facebook martintillmanmusic

Special agreement to Adam Chester and Michael Hoppe who agreed to collaborate on the weekend. Yours are very touchful words for a genious we all love. Thanks for being here (Miquel)

Photo by Dennis Mukai

Welcome to Martin Tillman's Weekend!!!

This is a very special weekend for the site. We have one of best cellist players of our time. He is one person related to Elton, because he collaborated with him live and in the studio, a very good friend of Davey Johnstone (Davey is so proud of this magician of cello) and seeing him playing live is just MAGICAL. The reason to dedicate a Weekend to him is to celebrate the release of his last album: "Superhuman". If you had "A Year in Zurich" album, you understand what I mean. But this album transcends everything. Eltonites, that is not only an album of music. Martin's first sentence it is an statement of his intentions: "Superhuman (is composed) to trigger the spirit’s quest to elevate our endeavors and realize our superhuman strengths". Too mysthical? But no, life itself. When you understand the reason behind this source of creation, this powerful creation, you understand everything. No one could write like him, no one could play like him (magnificients Two Cellos', Hauser and Sulik, are fans too), but no many had seen the hardest part of life to go through when a very close familiar is suffering. Eva is behind one of bests works of Tillman for being a source of inspiration. Eva is Martin's wife who is suffering an unjustice illness. Pain? Yes and no. Eva is LOVE, is MAGIC. No regrets. A lesson of life for the ones who don't appreciate life as the most precious thing we have. Eva is powerful, Eva is stronger, Eva is admiration. And Martin recollect all of this is his album. Every song is a masterpiece on its own. Along with his cello, with the piano, he delivers a touchful performance counting with best session players around, big names of the scene, playing with most top artists of our world. All together in one solid project well executed live. If you had the chance they were close to your town, just go. Prefer intimate sessions? then Solo (with a wonderful session of lights). Prefer a rock band? 5 musicians and, as Martin is a perfeccionist and multitalented artist, you have dancers and singers. A complete piece orchestra? You got it! To my loving eltonites who love soundtracks and cinema, in extension, count how many albums Martin has credits. An endless list growing. Well, could't explain you more for now, just join AllSongsList to celebrate the Weekend, dedicated to a greatest artist of our time, and to celebrate the magnificient team the Tillmans are. Martin and Eva, my love and respect for you. Hope you enjoy as much as me doing this. Eltonites, thanks for being there and a big thank you to the ones who kindly collaborate to focus this two days on this.

Jack Rabbit

12 Feb 2016

"Wonderful Crazy Night" Across The World: The Official Charts

United States
N. 8 (4 Weeks)
Position: 8 - 67- 157 -115

United Kingdom
N. 6 (5 Weeks)
Position: 6 - 18 - 38 - 63 - 88

N. 18 (1 Weeks)

N. 11 (2 Weeks)
Position: 11 - 31 

New Zealand
N. 11 (3 Weeks)
Position: 11 - 23 - 34

N. 35 (2Weeks)
Position: 35 - 96

N. 10 (3 Weeks)
Position: 10 - 

N. 8 (3 Weeks)
Position: 8 - 31 - 65

N. 26 VL(4 Weeks)N. 26 WA(5 Weeks)
Position: 26 - 76 - 70 - 172 (VL) / 26 - 47 - 78 - 79 - 83 (WA)

N. 7 (5 Weeks)
Position: 7 - 21 - 39 - 44 - 73

N. 43 (1 Weeks)

N. 41 (1 Week)

N. 15 (5 Weeks)
Position: 15 - 29 - 59 - 81 - 70

N. 32 (3 Weeks)
Position: 32 - 58 - 81

N. 17 (1 Weeks)

N. 15 (1 Weeks)