I implore you to make a CD with your fellow talented musicians. You are the best singer I ever heard. The romantic “blue moon” and the other numbers conquered my heart. The wonderful classic/standard songs the band plays sound as if they had been composed for the band. Please go into a recording studio and record this historical legacy!
– Karsten Rühl, dramatic director, actor, literary performer, author, musician and singer

The Nest Ensemble live (click here)


The Nest Ensemble

This nest was formed by chance.
There was Alex on piano,
Manfred on bass,
and myself on drums.
Ralf added the finishing
and beginning touch
with his guitar.

When we sat down to play,
the pieces just seemed
to fall into place
of their own accord,
and when we played them
they seemed to be playing us.

It was as if we were born
to play together
and our instruments
took us along for the ride.

“No sweat”
is what it’s all about,
and “Easy does it”
seems to be our motto.

Birds of a feather play together.

The Light Touch

The light touch
may mean soft,
but it doesn’t mean
you have to perk up your ears
to hear it.

It does mean subtle,
and Ralf Starlinger is subtle.

His mentor and inspiration
is a tossup between Jim Hall
and Wes Montgomery.

Django was not soft,
but you don’t have to be soft,
and not traveling with Django
only means that there’s another route
for you to take.

You can choose subtlety,
but it’s not just a matter of choice.
There’s more to it than that.

You have to find sounds
that lead you to making your own
very individual ones,
which does not mean emulation.

You let your mentor
lead you before
you express your gratitude
and go your own way.

Sonny Greer, my drumming mentor,
said : “I always strove for delicacy.
I tried to shade and make
everything sound beautiful.”

That has been my drumming motto.
Perhaps that is why I can underline
Ralf so well.


Herbert is the guy
who brings musicians together.
I played at sessions with
Alex, the piano man,
in Herbert’s pad.

My dream
was being in a group with Alex.

He plays like coffee with cream –
smooth is the word –
Well, the dream of playing
with Alex came true.

Why is it that
playing with him
is no sweat?
My hands and feet just do
What they’re supposed to do,
with no effort
on my part –
or so it seems

The guy at the keyboard
brings out the best in me.

A marvelous musician does that
for a drummer.

Bass Man

I met Manfred at a session
at Herbert’s pad.
We hit it off.
I say that bass and drummer
Should b re one instrument
and that magic ally happened.

We got together with Alec,
a piano man who is a regular
at the pad,
and they told me about Ralf,
who’s a whiz at the guitar,
that’s how it all started.

Manfred was not satisfied
With just playing.
He put together a program
of my poems.

I told him
That it was too long,
And length is always
but he refused to take
even one poem out.

And imagine no one
started to snooze
when we played, sang
and read.

Thank you, Manfred!


has a negative connotation.

It seems to conjure up
everything that’s garish, tawdry
and specious.
But it does have its allure,
like a pulp magazine
you pick up and thumb through
while waiting for the dentist.

When I played the drums
for the swing band
and in the pit
for musicals
as a teenager
in my prep school days,
I thought I was part of it –
Showbiz, that is.

But after that,
I was merely a spectator
with an outsider view.

Then, as a sexagenarian
serendipity had me play again,
which led to doing vocals
and writing and reciting
jazz poems.

Hot damn!
I’m in Showbiz again!

– Herbert Kuhner