A world-class jazz musician who happens to be German is a rare phenomenon. Clarinettist Rolf Kühn has always played in the champions league, and is an artist of distinction in several other respects, alongside his accomplishments as a performer. The sound he coaxes from his instrument is inimitable. Stylistically diverse, warm, full bodied, immaculate. His playing could be described as vintage, for it incoroporates the entire history of jazz.|
As early as the 1950s , he was accorded the recognition befitting his status as a preeminent German jazz musician in the USA, the birthplace of jazz . Appearing with Benny Goodman, and on occasion leading his orchestra. Inspired by Buddy DeFranco he developed his uniquely expressive modern voice. Rolf Kühn has played with the crème de la crème of jazz rock, not only such figures as Chick Corea, Dave Liebman, Michael and Randy Brecker, but also free spirits like Lee Konitz, Albert Mangelsdorff, and Ornette Coleman. Despite this extensive experience he remains open for musical adventures. In this respect he is similar to his brother, pianist Joachim Kühn. The siblings frequently jam together in various line-ups. Most recently with a reminiscence on the 1967 cult record "Impressions of New York" which they recorded with John Coltrane's bass player Jimmy Garrison.
For "Rolf Kühn Unit" the clarinettist teamed up with guitarist Ronny Graupe, bass player Johannes Fink, and drummer Christian Lillinger. Excellent musicians on the local scene in Berlin, young enough to be his sons, or even grandsons. Their improvisation is marked by a constant flow of give and take. The youthful players benefit from the experience of their sage master, who in turn is inspired by his team-mates' fresh ideas, as they reach for one another across the generation gap. Not only has Kühn received highest praise from German music critics for his life's work, he and his brother Joachim were bestowed with an ECHO award for Jazz. His music combines elegance with daring, and joyous dynamism with seasoned aplomb. 2016 he received again the ECHO jazz award.
Dr. Bert Noglik