David Helm (born 1990 in Weilburg a.d. Lahn) is a Cologne-based composing improviser. His main instrument is the double bass, which he studied under the tuition of Prof. Dieter Manderscheid.
He grew up singing in a boys choir, where his choirmaster told him whilst rehearsing Bach: „if you don’t feel anything, there’s the door*“. During this period he was also exposed to noisy bands at soggy small town rock festivals.
David works in the fields of free improvised, experimental, noise & contemporary music. He focuses on longterm projects and collaborations as a leader and collaborator, writes music and is always looking for new ways of expressing himself. Over the last years he rediscovered his voice and is exploring that, together with the piano & electric guitar in song – as well as in improvised contexts. When there is no pandemic David is usually touring a fair amount on earth with great bands and inspiring people. His playing can be heard on over 50 records. 2019 he received the Jazz Prize of the City of Cologne.
*he felt something
If you are interested in some names of great people I have & had the pleasure to work with – here are some of them in NO order:
Simon Nabatov, Philip Zoubek, Jacob Anderskov, Kasper Tranberg, Elisabeth Coudoux, Anna Webber, Pablo Held, Fabian Arends, Dominik Mahnig, Sebastian Gille, Frank Gratkowski, Wanja Slavin, Rainer Böhm, Simon Seidl, Leif Berger, Leo Huhn, Romina Lischka, Axel Pulgar, Moritz Wesp, Jan Philipp, Christian Lorenzen,Tobias Hoffmann, Shannon Barnett, Percy Pursglove, Matthew Halpin, Florian Ross, Nils Klein, John Ruocco, Ronny Graupe, Andreas Völk, Jonas Engel, Karlis Auzins, Fabian Dudek, Felix Hauptmann and many more.
Can’t list them because it doesn‘t really count but it was also quite amazing to sub in two studio/rehearsal sessions: One with Al Foster, playing with a big band (around 2017?) after he had just travelled across the big pond to Europe, was tired etc. It was amazing to hear him colouring the music in a totally different, exciting way, not doing the job of a bigband drummer at all, not playing by the rules! Only the music counts. Another one was with Billy Hart on very short notice, just to rehearse some tunes. Same there. Humility, kindness, openness, feel, space, stories etc. Just a great experience to go into something with these two people. The dimension you open together is everything. No sense of hierarchy. Just being there together.
As a leader/co-leader: Dave Berlin - Das Exil (Irrlicht records 2020) FOSTERCHILD - Dear Earthling (ILK 2019) FABIAN ARENDS & DAVID HELM - FOSTERCHILD (Tangible Music 2019) MAREK JOHNSON - Stay Low (Tangible Music 2019) Dave Berlin - Li.Ke (Irrlicht records 2019) frederikfogbruun/davidhelm/janphilipp - tape (self release 2019) Dave Berlin - Happy (self release 2018) Last Chance Dance (feat. Matthew Halpin, David Helm, Fabian Arends) (Toy Piano Records 2016) Zooom Trio - What's for Dessert? (LEO Records, 2015) Klonk - Confusa (Meta Records, 2014) Stefan Karl Schmid - Muse (Tangible Music 2021) Aries Point ft. Bastian Stein, Ronny Graupe (Outhere Music 2021) Jan Philipp - Sillhouettes (self release 2020) Sebastian Gramss - Bassmasse 13/45 (Rent a Dog 2020) Philip Zoubek Trio - Non Places (WhyPlayJazz 2020) Theresia Philipp - Pollon With Strings (FloatMusic 2020) Delusional Mind (feat. Yannis Anft, Leif Berger, David Helm) - Blue (self release 2020) Florian Ross Architexture (Naxos 2020) Florian Ross Reason & Temptation (Toy Piano 2020) Stefan Karl Schmid - Pyjama (Tangible Music 2020) Fabian Dudek Quartett - Creating Meaning (Fixcel records 2019) Gianni Brezzo - New Magic (paper cup records 2019) Giotto Roussies - Reaching For The Intangible (KLAENGrecords 2019) Dierk Peters - Ambrosia (Tangible Music 2019) Moritz Wesp - Recycling Allstars (self release 2019) Niaque - Awake (Float Music 2019) Gianni Brezzo New Magic (Papercup records 2019) Jan Philipp Trio - Fake Folks (KLAENGrecords2019) Jonathan Hofmeister - Emotions (KLAENGrecords 2019) Philip Zoubek Trio - Outside (WhyPlayJazz 2018) Gianni Brezzo - Siro Gravi (Dorfjungs 2018) TheWhereme?! - TheWhereme?! (self release 2018) Jonas Engel OWN YOUR BONES (KLAENGrecords 2018) Aerie - Sonic (QFTF 2018) Jan Schreiner Large Ensemble - You Better Look Twice (Floatmusic 2018) Shannon Barnett Quartet - Hype (Double Moon Records 2017) Fabian Arends - Levitate (KLAENGrecords 2017) Shannon Barnett Quartet - Juan Playschool (independent 2016) Pollon - Herb (KLAENGrecords 2016) Makkro - .why (KLAENGrecords 2016) Subway Jazz Orchestra - Sate of Mind (Unit Records 2016) Subway Jazz Orchestra - Primal Scream (FLOAT MUSIC 2016) Peter Weiss - The Good View (JAZZsick records 2016) Jürgen Friedrich - Reboot (NWog Records, 2015) Florian Ross Quintet - Lines & Crosscurrents (Toy Piano Records, 2015) Sebastian Grams' Bassmasse - Schwarm (Gligg Records 2013)