Unique material by one of the most important European postwar jazz musicians being released here for the first time. Tenor saxophonist Hans Koller and his “Big Sound” recorded live in Hamburg 1961. In addition to his classic quartet, Koller invited six brass players to the set, making arrangements sound more colorful and rich. Great modern jazz featuring Ack Van Rooyen, Rudi Flierl, Klaus Mitschele and Rolf Schneebiegl, with Karlhanns Berger on the piano chair, including previously unknown compositions by Koller, Berger and Hans Hammerschmid. “Big Sound Koller was a real sensation, exhibiting honesty, straightforwardness and musical imagination” (Jazz Podium magazine 1961)
Hans Koller is considered to have been one of the most important European postwar jazz musicians of the 1950s and 60s. Born in Vienna in 1921, following WWII Koller emerged as a talented musician that had developed his own unique sound on the tenor saxophone and who was inspired by many of iconic American jazz musicians. By 1953, he was touring with Dizzy Gillespie, and in 1955 he was featured as a guest soloist in Bill Russo’s band. That same year, he also played with Lee Konitz and Stan Kenton. In 1957, upon meeting American arranger, composer and SWR big band leader Eddie Sauter, he was so impressed with Koller that he even hired him to play with his orchestra. In 1958 he went on to play with Zoot Sims and also Benny Goodman.
The music on this album is being released here for the first time. In addition to his classic quartet, Koller also invited six brass players to the set, making arrangements sound more colorful and rich. “Hans wrote a lot for orchestra; he liked to do this,” remembers Klaus Hagl, his drummer at the time. “For the concert in Hamburg, he asked a few of his friends that were playing in Kurt Edelhagen’s big band to join him. He picked exactly those brass players that he needed for his background sound and we rehearsed for two days. Hans always wrote his compositions that way, placing himself in the center, because for him, it was always about the Hans Koller Sound.” In addition to Koller, the other soloists that evening included Karlhanns Berger and a guest from the Netherlands, Ack van Rooyen. At the time a youngster of merely 21, he opened the ballad “Lonely” with a beautiful solo, playing a muted trumpet. Koller then joined, also playing a solo, and then afterwards Rooyen took over again. In the end, the piece culminated with them playing the melody together again. As Van Rooyen remembers, “Hans and I were close friends and played together on many occasions in different cities. He was a great after-hours entertainer and drank and smoked a lot.”
This is what jazz sounds like when good musicians are given the chance to play in the way that they want. And this music really swings!”