Christmas 2021 (15): Andrej Hermlin & His Swing Dance Orchestra – Christmas In Swing (2002)

FrontCover1Andrej Hermlin (* 21 September 1965 in Berlin) is a German pianist and bandleader.
Hermlin was born the son of the writer Stephan Hermlin. Hermlin grew up bilingual through his Russian-born mother Irina Belokoneva-Hermlin.

Hermlin received his first piano lessons at the age of seven. After graduating from the Carl-von-Ossietzky-Oberschule in Berlin-Pankow, he studied piano at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” Berlin from 1986 to 1990. He learned the style of swing he plays autodidactically. In 1986 he founded the Swing Dance Band, from which the Swing Dance Orchestra emerged in 1995, and with which he has since acted as bandleader. Hermlin has released more than ten CDs with this formation to date (as of 2014) and has performed with it regularly, both nationally and internationally. The Swing Dance Orchestra plays swing in the style of the 1930s, partly with original equipment, such as desks from that time, and mostly unamplified – only the vocals are amplified and picked up with microphones with a historical look (but modern inner workings).

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Andrej Hermlin became known beyond music when he was imprisoned there on terror charges after the 2008 presidential election in Kenya. Hermlin had previously supported the democracy movement and the candidate Raila Odinga, with whom he is friends. In the village of Thumaita, 130 kilometres from Nairobi, he has built an Art Deco-style house with his wife Joyce. He is involved in the community and has had the village wired, streetlights erected and rubbish collection organised.

Hermlin joined the PDS in February 1990 because of the reforms in the party and as a supporter of Gorbachev “when everyone else had left.” For a time he was a member of the Berlin state executive of the PDS and a candidate for the House of Representatives. Since the formation of the party Die Linke, he has been a member there and regularly appears at its events. Due to his interest in historical aviation, Hermlin supported a petition for a referendum by the Berlin CDU in 2007 to keep Tempelhof Airport open.
With Bei mir bist du scheen, Hermlin specially designed a programme of swing pieces by Jewish musicians to protest against anti-Semitism.

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Hermlin and his wife Joyce had two children. His son David Hermlin and his daughter Rachel Hermlin perform as singers and dancers with their father’s orchestra. Andrej Hermlin lives in Berlin-Niederschönhausen in the house where his father had lived and where he had grown up. The furnishings of the house are the same as in 1927, but modernised. The furniture dates from 1930-1960. The Biermann affair had begun in the living room of the house; Hermlin’s father Stephan had written a petition against expatriation, which was signed by twelve people in the living room. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a wonderful Christmas Swong album … with all these American classic Christmas tunes …

… played by a German Big Band …  Music knows no borders !


Hendrik Bruch (vocals)
Robert Göber (bass)
Bettina Hermlin (vocals)
Andrej Hermlin (piano)
Dirk Schelenz (guitar)
Michael Wirth (drums)
saxophone, clarinet:
Frank Bach – Raymond Merkel – Grégoire Peters – Finn Wiesner

Achim Rothe – Jörg Von Nolting – Jürgen Hahn

Frank Hultzsch – Jan Diller – Stefan Katzenbeier
Maxi Hübner (vocals on 10.)
The Nightingales (background vocals on 03.)

Alternate frontcover:

01. Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith) 3.56
02. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Kent/Ram/Gannon) 3.37
03. Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 3.57
04. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Cahn/Styne) 3.36
05. Mistletoe And Holly (Stanford/Sanicola/Sinatra) 3.37
06. Sleigh Ride (Anderson) 2.42
07. White Christmas (Berlin) 4.32
08. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) 3.31
09. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Martin/Blane) 3.24
10. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Connor) 3.45
11. The Christmas Song (Wells/Tormé) 4.50
12. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 3.47
13. The Christmas Time I Miss (Carey/Afanasieff) 3.35

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The official website: