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Portrait Klaus Koenig NZZ August 2014 (German)



Born in Braunschweig, North Germany, October 13, 1936. Began piano lessons at age five. Studied, from 56 – 62, at „Hochschule für Musik“, Detmold, West Germany, leaving (with distinction) as Dipl.- Tonmeister (recording supervisor). From 62 – 97 member of music staff of Swiss Radio DRS Studio Zürich, working also in the jazz department (about 300 jazz programs).

After having worked in the classical field as pianist has concentrated on jazz since 63. Founded the „Jazz Live Trio“ in 64, primarly as house rhythm section for the Swiss Radio « Jazz Live » concerts. The trio has had, from 64 - 83, more than 100 performances with American and European soloists, covering everything from mainstream to avant-garde. Important sidemen: on bass: Isla Eckinger 68/69, Peter Frei since then. On drums: Alex Bally 67 – 70, Peter Schmidlin 71 – 78, Pierre Favre 65/66 and from 79 onwards, occasionally in exchange with Peter Schmidlin.

In addition to the studio work the trio has backed touring soloists, such as: Johnny Griffin, Dexter Gordon, Clark Terry, Lee Konitz, Booker Ervin, Slide Hampton, Benny Bailey, Sal Nistico, Jiggs Whigham and Gianni Basso, with Griffin having especially frequent and friendly encounters.

Formed quartet in 70 with Swiss trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti. Appearances in Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

Appeared during the seventies with classical pianist Annette Weisbrod in a program combining classical and jazz music.

Performed „Jazz & Lyrik“ concerts with actor Gert Westphal, the leading specialist for poetry and prosa in German speaking countries, for about 30 years.

Active from 73 – 78 with the „Magog“ sextet which appeared at Montreux, Willisau, Llublyana and Paris festivals, among others. (Hans Kennel, Andy Scherrer, Paul Haag, Peter Frei, Peter Schmidlin).

Has concentrated, in the eighties, on trio music, appearing at festivals in Italy and Switzerland.

Solo performances since 89.

Formed quintet „Magog 2“ in 95.

About 30 records, with own groups or as sideman, including a 13-cd-series from radio « Jazz Live » concerts on TCB.

Activ as jazz composer throughout all these years.

Works on piano teaching (piano voicings) and music theory (introduction to the problem of musical temperature).

Fell ill with dystonia in both hands in 98.

After 15 years with different therapies back on stage 2013 with „Jazz Live Trio“ (Patrick Sommer,b, Andi Wettstein, dr) and quintet „Seven Things“ (Dani Schenker, tp, Christoph Merki, as, and the trio), both groups based entirely on Koenig‘s own compositions. Until now both groups have produced two cds for TCB.








Contact: Klaus Koenig +41 44 311 60 87; Email: click here
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