“Variety and surprise characterise ‘Retrospection’ … perhaps in that memorable final sequence lie the sequence 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
Hans Koller – Retrospection
Catalogue – #SLR1920
Released – April 15th, 2016
Number of records – 3 (triple album)
Formats – Vinyl (Ltd Edition); Digital Download
BUY + DOWNLOAD • Stoney Lane Emporium • Bandcamp • • Amazon UK • Propermusic.com • iTunes •
ABOUTAn acclaimed pianist, composer and arranger, Hans was born into a musical family back in rural Bavaria – his father was a jazz-loving Lutheran pastor, his mother a music teacher and his four sisters all played instruments.
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 masters 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 debut album Magic Mountain (1997), which established him as one of the leading new jazz composers in the UK. Three years later he won the JOEY award for composers organised by Eastern Arts, and was subsequently awarded major commissions by Birmingham Jazz and the Freden International Music Festival. In 2001 he released Lovers and Strangers, an album featuring his trio alongside the harpist Helen Tunstall, the singer Christine Tobin and the percussionist Corrina Sylvester.
His 2002 album New Memories was hailed as “the most expansive, expressive and exciting new jazz orchestral sound to have emerged in this country since the late-lamented Loose Tubes” by John Fordham in the Guardian, with the Rough Guide to Jazz noting “an exuberant and remarkable talent, Koller’s music is full of surprises.”
Over the past decade Koller has worked on refining his sound, writing for Steve Lacy (London Ear); working in large group contexts with Evan Parker, Kenny Wheeler and Bob Brookmeyer; performing and recording with the NDR big band (Scenic Routes); and playing piano in various groups led by Mike Gibbs (including a tour of England in 2007 alongside Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell and Adam Nussbaum).
Recent projects include performances with Phil Woods and the BBC Big Band; a project with Dave Liebman; composing for the WDR Big Band with Gerard Presencer; a project with the HR big band; an album with Bill Frisell and Evan Parker (Cry, Want); and working with his current quartet featuring drummer Jeff Williams, saxophonist François Théberge, and bassist/trumpeter Percy Pursglove (Chasing the Unicorn).
PRESS + REVIEWS“Variety and surprise characterise ‘Retrospection’ … perhaps in that memorable final sequence lie the sequence 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
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