Hans Koller Trio
It’s a privilege to welcome back three outstanding figures on the UK jazz scene.
Hans Koller was born into a musical family, his father was a jazz-loving Lutheran pastor, his mother a music teacher and his four sisters all played instruments.
Growing up in rural Bavaria, Koller first came into contact with jazz musicians in his teens while attending jazz summer schools run by Brian Abraham's District Six in Ingolstadt. In 1991 he came to England, first to Middlesex University where he majored in composition, then at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) where he obtained a Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology.
Koller started playing in bands with saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and trumpeter Chris Batchelor and went on to form his own group, Neverland, with bass player Dave Whitford, saxophonist Rob Townsend and drummer Stuart Laurence. This group was augmented into a nine-piece outfit for Koller's début album Magic Mountain (1997), which established him as one of the leading new jazz composers in the UK.
Over the years, Hans has worked on refining his sound, writing for Steve Lacy (London Ear), working in large group contexts with Evan Parker, and with Kenny Wheeler and Bob Brookmeyer, performing and recording with the NDR big band (Scenic Routes), as well as playing piano in various groups led by Mike Gibbs (including a tour of England in 2007 alongside Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell and Adam Nussbaum).
His album, New Memories (2002), was hailed as “the most expansive, expressive and exciting new jazz orchestral und to have emerged in this country since the late-lamented Loose Tubes” by John Fordham in The Guardian.
Over the next decade Koller worked on refining his sound, writing for Steve Lacy (London Ear), working in large group contexts with Evan Parker, and with Kenny Wheeler and Bob Brookmeyer, performing and recording with the NDR Bigband (Scenic Routes), as well as playing piano in various groups led by Mike Gibbs (including a tour of England in 2007 alongside Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell and Adam Nussbaum).
He has recorded quartet albums for Babel (Chasing the Unicorn), with Paris-based Canadian saxophonist François Théberge, for Evan Parker’s PSI label with the legendary German saxophonist Gerd Dudek (Day and Night), and in 2011 started forming a formidable creative partnership with NYC altoist John O’Gallagher. On their first meeting, Koller and O’Gallagher were memorably described by John Fordham in The Guardian as “two heavy weight theoreticians fizzing with jazz heat”, and the pair went on to work regularly, producing two BBC Radio 3 broadcasts, performances and recordings in both large ensemble and quartet contexts, and collaborating in a 2015 commission from Jazzlines to write for the renowned BCMG (Birmingham Contemporary Music Group).
Koller’s most ambitious work, his 2016 triple vinyl releasepresents a 12-piece horn-led ensemble with special guest Steve Swallow, playing three Koller originals plus arrangements of music from Lennie Tristano, Charlie Parker and much-admired drummer Jeff Williams, who also features on the recording.
“Variety and surprise characterise Retrospection … perhaps in that memorable final sequence lie the secrets of Hans Koller’s magic – he solves the perpetual jazz conundrum of making music for the mind and the body. As ‘Retrospection resoundingly confirms, he’s doing it now with an intelligence and vivacity that brings him ever closer to the stature of Russell, Evans, Gibbs, and that long procession of his famous elders.” – John Fordham
“an incredible achievement from Hans Koller, and has to be rated as one of the most important and musically rewarding releases in 2016.”
– UK Vibe
Line Up: Hans Koller – piano, Callum Gourlay – bass and Clark Tracey - drums
Advance: £10.00/£7.50 Members/Students £3.00
On the Door: £12.50/£10/£5