Here is the official statement from Edel, released today, announcing the death last Thursday 18 August 2022 of a universally respected, admired and liked figure in German jazz, clarinettist Rolf Kühn, at the age of 92. A good friend of LJN, writer/ photographer Ralf Dombrowski posted this photo earlier on his Facebook page with the inscription “Gute Reise und danke für die Musik!” (Have a good journey and thanks for the music.) We will be publishing a full tribute later.
Berlin/Hamburg, August 22, 2022
It is with a heavy heart that wife Melanie Kühn, brother Joachim Kühn, the Jazzhaus Artists agency and the label Edel/MPS announce the death of jazz clarinettist Rolf Kühn on August 18, 2022 in Berlin.
Rolf Kühn could look back on an eventful life. Born in Cologne in 1929 and raised in Leipzig, his childhood was marked by repressions he had to endure as a “half-Jew” in the Third Reich. Already during this time he devoted himself to his beloved clarinet. After an engagement with the RIAS Dance Orchestra in the early 1950s, he lived in New York City for 6 years and played as first clarinettist in Benny Goodman’s band, founded his own bands and was awarded the Downbeat Critics Poll as Clarinet New Star. A long stint in Hamburg with the public broadcaster NDR followed, until he was drawn back to Berlin as musical director of the Theater des Westens. Rolf Kühn has released a large number of albums and composed hundreds of pieces of music for film and television.
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His life’s work was honored, among others, with the German Jazz Trophy and the highest award of the “Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik”(German Record Critics’ Prize) and documented in 2019 in the TV documentary “Brüder Kühn – Zwei Musiker spielen sich frei.” Until now he gave concerts on the world’s great stages from New York to the Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.
Rolf will always be remembered as the inspiring, gentle, innovative, and young-at-heart artist and person that he was. He lived a full life, dedicated to music, culture and joy until his last day.