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Exploring the Music of Mads Tolling

Mads Tolling – violin viola, and composer.Born July 5, 1980


Violinist Mads Tolling was born on this date July 5th in 1980 in Copenhagen,Denmark is violinist. If you think that I didn’t recognize his name on the list of jazz birthdays at All About Jazz this morning, you would be ……correct!! So


Mads Tolling (born July 5, 1980)[1] is a Danish-American violinist, violist, and composer. Tolling won Grammy Awards for “Best classical crossover album” as part of Turtle Island Quartet’s recordings 4+Four (2006)[2] and A Love Supreme – The Legacy of John Coltrane (2008).[2] Tolling also recorded on Stanley Clarke‘s The Toys of Men (2007).[3] He is currently first violinist with the Turtle Island Quartet,[4] soloist with bassist Stanley Clarke’s band,[3] and bandleader of his solo project the Mads Tolling Quartet.[5]

Born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, Tolling relocated to the United States to study at Berklee College of Musicwhere he graduated Summa Cumme Laude in 2003. Tolling received Denmark’s Sankt Annae’s Award for Musical Excellence as well as grants from Queen Margaret, the Sonning Foundation and the Berklee Elvin Jones Award. Since graduating from Berklee College of Music, Tolling has toured worldwide with the Stanley Clarke band and Turtle Island Quartet. Tolling has also performed with Al Di Meola, Kenny Barron, Paquito D’Rivera, and Leo Kottke. Read More

The Playmaker - Mads Tolling



So after reading the above and a quick visit to Mads website I headed over to Spotify and gave a quick listen to some of his 2009 release The Playmaker and being impressed with what I heard I downloaded to the iPhone Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty: Live at Yoshi’s (I do know about Yoshi’s now!) the Quartet’s 2012 release and the Turtle Island Quartet’s 2010 release Have you Ever Been..? for further listening today! Here’s what some folks have to say about Mads violin playing……

Mads has the amazing talent and skills that few young musicians can match. His music is both beautiful and refreshing exhibiting his superb mastery of the modern American Jazz music that is rarely seen among his peers.”
-Jean-Luc Ponty

“While Tolling is skilled at evoking a beautiful melody, he’s equally adept at filling out the sound with powerful double-stops and intricate harmonics…”
-Strings Magazine

and about Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty

Mads Tolling Quartet Fires Up Oakland Venue Yoshi’s with Furious Sound.”……… “Completely engrossed in their complex rhythmic relationships, the four seemed wholly invested in the idea that their performance went deeper than simply entertainment but entered the realm of art-something challenging, for both audience and band.”
-Daily Californian

So join me as we say Happy Birthday, Mads Tolling and spend some time today exploring the music of Mads!

Here’s the Mads Tolling Quartet performing” Lila’s Dance”by John McLaughtlin…..


2015 Update In listening to The Playmaker again I see that the title track is dedicated to Tom Brady.While “The Contemplater” featuring Stanley Clarke to dedicated to Zinedine Zidane, “The Risktaker” is dedicated to LeBron James and features Stfefon Harris and “Starmaker Machinery” is dedicated to John McLaughlin!!