Ralf Buschmeyer
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Ralf Buschmeyer


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"Multi-faceted guitarist keeps coming back to jazz"

Calgary guitarist Ralf Buschmeyer knows how to stay busy.

In the past couple of months, he’s been part of recording sessions for a folksinger, played numerous gigs in background bands for private or corporate clients (“a great chance to practise”), a few parties and blues shows. He co-leads two jazz-oriented bands, Terrain and Manic Thematic Trio, in addition to his own project, and he started out playing in rock and country bands. Oh, he also teaches guitar at Calgary’s Mount Royal College during the week.

Buschmeyer admits that jazz is “a really big part of what I do.”
“From the beginning I just wanted to be a good musician, to play authentically and put my own spirit in it no matter what the style was. But I spend so much time playing jazz, that’s the most prevalent thing that comes out.”

Listen to Est. 1968, his all-original fifth recording and first as a solo-leader, and you will hear subtle or not-so-subtle references to all that he does — blues, rock, even a quasi-reggae number. It’s a varied, upbeat, enjoyable album, but most of it comes with a loose, spontaneous feel and soloing that easily betrays his jazz experience. That’s likely to come through even further tonight when he heads up a CD-release event at the Yardbird Suite.

Keyboardist Chris Andrew, bassist Richard Erickson and drummer Rob Vulic reprise their roles on Est.1968 at the Yardbird tonight at 9. Tickets are $12 for members, $16 for guests, from Ticketmaster, or at the door.
- Roger Levesque - Edmonton Journal

"Never stop learning"

Guitarist Ralf Buschmeyer still pushes himself

Local jazz guitarist Ralf Buschmeyer is a mainstay in Calgary’s jazz scene. He’s the co-founder of the successful Manic Thematic duo with bassist John Hyde, co-leader of the group Terrain and he’s had a career that’s drawn on experiences as diverse as sideman work with blues bands to philharmonic orchestras.

Despite the wealth of influences and experiences, Buschmeyer has stayed focused and trusts his own vision and creativity. Now with four CDs to his credit and one more set for release in the near future, Buschmeyer has steadfastly produced his own material.
"On my own CDs I have a clear vision of what I want the songs to sound like and the overall vibe of the thing," he says.

He also has a clear vision of what is crucial for a contemporary jazz musician: original material. This has been essential in Buschmeyer’s time with Terrain, a band formed solely to showcase original compositions. It has also been the foundation for Manic Thematic and it’s fundamental to his philosophy of musicianship.

"I think in order for any music to evolve there has to be original music," says Buschmeyer. "As a player, I think you tend to find your own sound a lot quicker by doing that kind of thing (composing original material). I think composing kind of taps you into a certain place that you wouldn’t necessarily go if you were just a player. You discover more things about yourself, what your capabilities are, what your limits are – being able to push each of those."

Buschmeyer is no stranger to discovering capabilities in himself or others. As one of the best teachers in Mount Royal College’s jazz program, Buschmeyer again applies original ideas about teaching, blending lessons from such jazz legends as Lorne Lofsky, with experiences he’s learned on the road and in the classroom.
"I don’t necessarily use the same techniques that they do (Lofsky and others)," he says. "I’ve kind of come up with my own along the way. I’ve taught myself to think as much as I’ve been taught. When I was on the road, my studying never really stopped…."

"I think that was a big hand in being able to teach others, too. I have to analyze what was effective for me, how did I get through it, and pass that on. I’ve created a lot of my own techniques, I’ve picked up some from other people and it just becomes your own thing after a while."

Original methods and original material require inspiration and motivation. This, too, has remained constant for Buschmeyer – teaching actually completing a creative loop, keeping him as motivated as he was when he was a student.

"I see these other kids who are experiencing that (the motivation he had in college)," Buschmeyer says. "And it just invigorates me to keep my studies going, too. I haven’t stopped learning by any means."
- Denis Slater - FFWD Weekly


"As smooth and sophisticated as James Bond taking a holiday in Monte Carlo. Buschmeyer keeps everything tuxedo fabulous with his airy lines and a tone that dances between stings and caresses." - Guitar Player Magazine


"Ralf's playing is full of heart and sophisticated phrasing. His music weaves a lovely and skillful tapestry of blues, jazz and groove." - Michael Manring


"The playing is cutting edge and the band covers a full range of
instrumental music. Always the energy stays up, the pace varied, the cliche factor negligible and the musicianship satisfying." - J.T. Wittet Music Etc.


Ralf Buschmeyer - EST 1968 (2007)

The Manic Thematic Trio - Say Yes (2005)

John Hyde/ Ralf Buschmeyer - Manic Thematic (2003)

Terrain - Time To Travel (2002)

Terrain (2000)



Jazz Guitarist / Composer / Instructor

A dedicated, fully-rounded musician, Ralf took up studies at Hamilton’s Mohawk College where he studied weekly for 3 years with Toronto jazz great Lorne Lofsky. During this time he served as musical director and composer for Rogers Cable TV show ‘The Metal Mike Show’. Fate took Ralf touring with country acts for 3 years following college
where he found a home in Calgary, Alberta.

Ralf is on faculty with Mount Royal College’s Jazz Diploma Program and is a top choice as free-lance guitarist for live engagements, recordings and as a composer-for-hire. In 2004, Ralf won the TD Canada Trust Jazz Festival Writers Commission Award. His collaborative effort with Richie Pollack for the album ‘Stew’ earned them a 2006
WCMA nomination for Outstanding Blues Recording.

In 1998, Ralf became an alumnus of the Banff Center for the Arts Jazz Workshop as well as an endorsed artist for Godin Guitars. He currently co-leads the contemporary-jazz quartet Terrain & bebop-jazz ensemble Manic Thematic Trio.

Live performance credits include: PJ Perry, Ingrid Jensen, Eric Marienthal, Bobby Shew, Peter Appleyard, Frank Mantooth, Guido Basso, Ralph Bowen, Amy Sky, The Platters, The Swinging Bovines, Johnny Tilotsen, Johanna Silanpaa, Jack Semple, Hugh Fraser, Phil Nimmons, Curtis Grambo, TR3, Swinging Bovines, Kevin Turcotte, Steve Slagle, Mike Tomaro, and Tim Tamashiro.

"EST 1968" features 10 of Ralf's original compositions in quartet format that highlight his musical influences. This is Ralf's tribute to all of the great artists that influenced his musical growth. Joining Ralf on the album are keyboardist Chris
Andrew, drummer Rob Vulic, bassist Richard Erickson as well as guest performances by saxophone great Jim Brenan, blues harp by Richie Pollack & trombone by Paul Ashwell. If you love groove, and you love guitar, check this record out!