Rolf Kühn was declared Leipzig’s child prodigy on the clarinet at the age of 17. That was the first time he heard the music which would be the driving force in his life: jazz!
Fired by curiosity and a spirit of adventure, Rolf Kühn packed his bags and his clarinet at 26, and plunged headlong into the shark pool of jazz: New York, where he heard Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane in the clubs. He knew he wanted what they had got; he reached for the stars. The young German was soon playing with legends like Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins and Billie Holiday, and was taken on to play in the Benny Goodman Band.
Today, a whole 60 years later, Rolf Kühn is acknowledged as an icon of European jazz: a musical crossover artist who has inspired generations of young artists. One of the few really influential soloists on his instrument, whose recordings have been listened to around the world. After receiving the German Record Critics’ Honorary Prize in 2009, and the ECHO Award for Lifetime Achievement (2011), he was awarded another ECHO this year as Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year for his MPS album Rolf Kühn Unit: Stereo, proving yet again that he is looking forward!