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Joachim Kühn
Joachim Kühn on Jazz Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia on 3 July 2014
Joachim Kühn, Jazz Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 3 July 2014
Background information
Birth name Joachim Kurt Kühn
Born (1944-03-15) 15 March 1944 (age 79)
Leipzig, Germany
Genres Classical, jazz, avant-garde jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Piano, keyboards
Years active 1961 – present
Labels Impulse!, BYG Actuel, MPS, ACT
Joachim Kühn in March 2010

Joachim Kurt Kühn (born 15 March 1944) is a German jazz pianist.


He was born in Leipzig, Germany. Kühn was a musical prodigy and made his debut as a concert pianist, having studied classical piano and composition, with Arthur Schmidt-Elsey. Influenced by his elder brother, clarinetist Rolf Kühn, he simultaneously got interested in jazz. In 1961, he became a professional jazz musician. With a trio of his own, founded in 1964, he presented the first free jazz in the GDR. In 1966, he left the country and settled in Hamburg. Together with his brother, he played at the Newport Jazz Festival and recorded with Jimmy Garrison and Aldo Romano for Impulse!.

Kühn has largely lived in Paris since 1968, and worked with Don Cherry, Karl Berger, Slide Hampton, Phil Woods, Michel Portal, Barre Phillips, Eje Thelin, Ray Lema, Hellmut Hattler, and Jean-Luc Ponty. As a member of Pierre Courbois's Association P.C., he turned to electronic keyboards. During the second half of the 1970s, he lived in California and joined the West Coast fusion scene and recorded with Alphonse Mouzon, Billy Cobham, Michael Brecker, and Eddie Gómez.

Having settled near Paris again, he played in an acoustic trio with Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Daniel Humair since 1985. In the summer of 1996, he joined Ornette Coleman for two concerts at the Verona and Leipzig festivals, which opened the way for his Diminished Augmented System. In 2015 he formed the New Joachim Kühn Trio with Chris Jennings and Eric Schaefer.


As leader/co-leader

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1967 Impressions of New York Impulse! Quartet, with Rolf Kühn (clarinet), Jimmy Garrison (bass), Aldo Romano (drums)
1969? Sound of Feelings BYG Actuel Trio, with Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Aldo Romano
1969? Paris Is Wonderful Byg Actuel Trio, with Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Aldo Romano
1973? This Way Out BASF/MPS with Gerd Dudek, Peter Warren, Daniel Humair
1974 Cinemascope
1975? Hip Elegy MPS with Terumasa Hino, Philip Catherine, John Lee, Naná Vasconcelos, Alphonse Mouzon
1976? Solo Now with Albert Mangelsdorff, Gunter Hampel, Pierre Favre
1976 Springfever Atlantic Most tracks quartet, with Philip Catherine (guitar), John Lee (bass), Gerry Brown (drums); one track with Zbigniew Seifert (violin), Curt Cress (drums) added
1977? Charisma Atlantic Solo piano
1978 Sunshower Atlantic With Jan Akkerman and Ray Gomez (guitar), Tony Newton (electric bass, piccolo bass), Glenn Symmonds (drums), Willie Dee (vocals)
1979 Kiel/Stuttgart Live! Inak Duo, with Jan Akkerman (guitar, electric guitar, synthesizer); in concert
1980? Snow in the Desert Atlantic Solo piano
1981 Nightline New York Inak With Michael Brecker and Bob Mintzer (tenor sax), Eddie Gómez, Billy Hart (drums), Mark Nauseef (percussion)
1983 I'm Not Dreaming CMP With George Lewis (trombone), Ottomar Borwitzky (cello), Mark Nauseef (piccolo, tenor sax, percussion), Herbert Forsch (percussion)
1984 Distance CMP Solo piano
1985 Transformations CMP Solo piano; also known as Wandlungen
1985 Easy to Read Owl Trio, with Jean-François Jenny-Clark (bass), Daniel Humair (drums)
1988 From Time to Time Free CMP Trio, with Jean-François Jenny-Clark (bass), Daniel Humair (drums)
1988 Ambiance Ambiance Duo, with Walter Quintus (digital sound-board)
1988? Situations Atlantic Solo piano
1989 Live: Théâtre De La Ville, Paris, 1989 CMP Trio, with Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Daniel Humair; in concert
1990? Dynamics CMP Solo piano
1990 Let's Be Generous CMP With Miroslav Tadic (guitar), Tony Newton (bass), Mark Nauseef (drums, percussion)
1991 Get Up Early Ambiance Duo, with Walter Quintus (digital sound-board)
1991 Carambolage CMP With the WDR Big Band
1991–92 Sometime Ago New Edition With Harry Beckett (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jerry Bergonzi (tenor sax), Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Jesper Lundgaard (bass), Thomas Alkier (drums); released 2006
1993? Usual Confusion Trio, with Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Daniel Humair
1994? Joachim Kühn Plays Lili Marleen Solo piano
1994 Europeana ACT With Radio Philharmonie Hannover NDR
1987–95 Joachim Kühn Birthday Edition / Europeana ACT Some tracks trio, with Jean-François Jenny-Clark (bass), Daniel Humair (drums); in concert; other tracks released on Europeana; released 2014
1995 Famous Melodies Label Bleu Solo piano
1995? Abstracts Label Bleu Solo piano
1996 Colors: Live from Leipzig Harmolodic/Verve Duo, with Ornette Coleman (alto sax, trumpet, violin); in concert
1997? Generations from (East) Germany KlangRäume Duo, with Connie Bauer
1998? Triple Entente Mercury/PolyGram France Trio, with Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Daniel Humair
1999 The Diminished Augmented System EmArcy Solo piano
2001? Universal Time with Chris Potter, Scott Colley, Horacio 'El Negro' Hernandez, Michel Portal
2002? Bach Now - Live with Thomanerchor
2003 Piano Works I: Allegro Vivace ACT Solo piano
2004 Poison In + Out Trio, with Jean-Paul Celea (bass), Wolfgang Reisinger (drums)
2005? Journey to the Centre of an Egg Enja with Rabih Abou-Khalil, Jarrod Cagwin
2006 Kalimba ACT Trio, with Majid Bekkas (guembri, oud, kalimba, vocals), Ramón López (drums)
2008 Piano Works IX: Live at Schloss Elmau ACT Duo, with Michael Wollny (piano); in concert
2008 Out of the Desert ACT With Majid Bekkas (vocals, guembri, kalimba, molo), Ramón López (drums, tabla), guests
2010 Chalaba ACT Trio, with Majid Bekkas (vocals, guembri, oud), Ramón López (drums, tabla, percussion)
2010 Out of the Desert Live ACT With Majid Bekkas (vocals, guembri, oud), Ramón López (drums, tabla, percussion), hr-Bigband / Frankfurt Radio Bigband; in concert
2011? Wo!man Archie Ball Duo, with Archie Shepp
2011–12 Voodoo Sense ACT With Majid Bekkas (guembri, vocals, kalimba, balafon), Ramón López (drums, percussion); with Archie Shepp (tenor sax), Kouassi Bessan Joseph and Gouria Danielle (percussion, vocals), Dally Jean Eric (calabas), Gilles Ahadji (jembe), Abdessadek Bounhar (karkabou) added on some tracks
2012? Lifeline Boutique with Rolf Kühn, John Patitucci, Brian Blade
2014? Moscow ACT Duo, with Alexey Kruglov (alto sax)
2015 Beauty and Truth ACT Trio, with Chris Jennings (bass), Eric Schaefer (drums)
2017 Love & Peace ACT Trio, with Chris Jennings (bass), Eric Schaefer (drums)
2018 Piano Works XIII: Melodic Ornette Coleman ACT Solo piano
2020 Speaking Sound ACT Duo with violinist Mateusz Smoczyński
2021 Touch the Light ACT Solo piano

As sideman

  • Gary Bartz, Lee Konitz, Jackie McLean and Charlie Mariano: Altissimo (Philips, 1973)
  • Zbigniew Namyslowski Quartet with Joachim Kühn: Live at Kosmos, Berlin (ITM, 1965)
  • The Rolf Kühn Group: The Day After (BASF/MPS, 1972) featuring Phil Woods
  • The Rolf Kühn Group: Connection 74 (BASF/MPS, 1974) featuring Randy Brecker
  • Association P.C. (Pierre Courbois) and Jeremy Steig: Mama Kuku (Live) (BASF/MPS, 1974)
  • Zbigniew Seifert: Man of the Light (BASF/MPS, 1976) with Cecil McBee, Billy Hart, and Jasper van 't Hof
  • Larry Coryell - Catherine - Kühn: Live! (Elektra, 1980)
  • Joe Henderson Collective: Black Narcissus (Milestone, 1976)
  • Alan Silva: Seasons (BYG, 1971)

See also

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