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Trumpeter, author, educatorby Wolfram Knauer
Copyright © 2004 Wolfram Knauer
Trumpeter, author, teacher and club owner Carlo Bohländer died on Wednesday, June 5th, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany at the age of 84 (He was born 25th Sept. 1919).
Bohländer studied classical music at Hochschule für Musik (Dr. Hochs Konservatorium) in Frankfurt am Main (1935-9). He first heard American jazz during a trip to New York in 1939. In 1941 he was co-founder of the Frankfurt Hot Club and played trumpet in the Hot Club's combo. During war times he fasted and got down to his lightest weight in order to be released from war duties and be able to hang out with his jazz buddies in Frankfurt.
After World War II, Bohländer worked in different bands playing at GI clubs in the American zones of Germany. In 1951 he opened a club in Frankfurt ("Domicile du Jazz", later "Jazzkeller"). Bohländer taught jazz at Musikhochschule Köln (1958-59). After 1960 he performed less, writing several theoretical books on jazz harmony, rhythm and swing as well as the jazz encyclopedia "Reclams Jazzführer". Since 1980 Bohländer was a resident alien of the United States, dividing his time between Florida and Frankfurt am Main.
As a trumpet player Bohländer worked within the swing idiom, yet after the war he was one of the first German musicians to understand the more modern harmonic and rhythmic approaches of bebop. He was able to play within the Dixieland, cool jazz and hard bop contexts fashioned by the Frankfurt jazz scene of the 1950s. He was influential on other musicians, namely trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, who not only was given his first job (as guitar player!) by Bohländer but who also acknowledges the trumpeter as having been one of his most important teachers in jazz.
Wolfram Knauer is an author, JJA member, and the director of Jazzinstitut Darmstadt in Germany.