Antonio Hans Cyrill Koller (12 February 1921 in Vienna – 21 December 2003 in Vienna) was an Austrian jazz tenor saxophonist and bandleader.
Koller attended the University of Vienna from 1936 to 1939 and served in the armed forces from 1940 to 1946. Following World War II, he returned to Vienna and played with the Hot Club of Vienna; in 1950 he emigrated to Germany and formed a small ensemble there. In the 1950s, he played with Freddie Brocksieper, Albert Mangelsdorff, Jutta Hipp, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Russo, Lee Konitz, Stan Kenton, Eddie Sauter, Benny Goodman, Attila Zoller, Oscar Pettiford, Kenny Clarke, Wes Montgomery, Martial Solal and Jimmy Pratt. From 1958 to 1965, he directed the jazz workshops of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg, returning to Vienna in 1970. Soon after he formed his own ensemble, Free Sound, and later in the decade he worked with the International Brass Company.
In addition to his playing and bandleading, Koller also composed; among his original works are a ballet entitled New York City, completed in 1968. Koller was also a recognized abstract painter. (wikipedia)
And here´s a real fine rarity from the late 50´s, recorded live at a German radio station.
„This is a worthwhile release and it’s worth getting this material into circulation.“ (Robert Iannapollo, Cadence)
„Hans Koller, “Hans Koller & Friends” (JazzHaus). Play this music from 1959 and 1960 without telling anyone who it is, and you’ll get all sorts of guesses naming truly great American jazz stars of the era. The truth is that German tenor saxophonist Hans Koller didn’t really sound like any American player at all (think of a combination Zoot Sims and Wardell Gray) and yet he was very much the equal of most of them. (That’s why Dizzy Gillespie, for instance, was delighted to have Koller do a long stint with his band) So even more famously was the great and universally revered French pianist Martial Solal. Add the presence on two cuts here of bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay and you have some vintage European jazz as loose and immensely pleasurable as any previously little-known jazz you’re likely to hear from their American contemporaries. As a disc for even the most knowledgeable jazz fans to hear in a “blindfold test” you couldn’t beat this. One in every 500 jazz fans, at best, will be able to figure out who’s playing, even though they’re enjoying the swinging high charge and melodic grace of so much of it. And, on piano, whether solo or in accompaniment, Solal was absolutely unique.“ (The Buffalo News)
Recorded live at the SWF Jazz Session in November 1959 and the SWR Treffpunkt Jazz Stuttgart in September 1960.
Hartwig Bartz (bass)
Fred Dutton (bass)
Roger Guérin (trumpet)
Connie Kay (drums)
Hans Koller (saxophone)
Martial Solal (piano)
Michel Villers (saxophone)
01. Benny’s Blues (Koller) 11.04
02. Oscar (Koller) 5.17
03. Dawborn’s Mood (Koller) 5.04
04. Mister B Blues (Koller) 4.58
05. Margaret Rose (Koller) 5.21
06. Very Warm For May: All the Things You Are (Kern)
07. Tune For Antibes (Koller) 4.02
08. Ella’s Dream (Koller) 5.21
09. O.P. (Koller) 6.57
10. I’ll Close My Eyes (Reid) 4.19