Biography

© Photo: Die Lichtgestalten Berlin
In 1959 I was born in Weimar where I also studied jazz piano at the “Franz-Liszt Music College” with Manfred Schmitz. During my studies I played in various jazz bands performing different types of jazz such as Dixieland, blues, swing and ragtime and gave jazz concerts on the piano as a soloist.
After having moved to Berlin, I collaborated with a lot of different musicians, actors, cabaret artists, singers and took part in several projects such as author readings, “Jazz im Frack” (Komische Oper Berlin) or Schwetzinger Festspiele where I played the solo piano in the ragtime opera “Treemonisha” by Scott Joplin.
Since 1984 I have been a teacher at the music college “Hanns Eisler” Berlin/ department jazz and popular music and I am still working at the JIB (Jazz-Institut Berlin).
© Photo: unbekannt
In 1994 I founded “Hessels Ragtime Band” who won an award at the Dresden Dixieland Festival in 1995. Later on I became a member of the trio “Jazzin’ the Blues” which is called “Henning Protzmanns Panta Rhei” nowadays. In 2006 we produced the CD “Lucky Friday”. 
© Photo: Katrin Gömann
Since 2008 I have been a member of the “Big Band Deutsche Oper Berlin” with whom I have worked on different programmes such as Gershwin, Sinatra, Amstrong etc. . We also produced several CDs.
© Photo: Lena Kern
Throughout my life as a musician I have given numerous jazz piano concerts as a soloist, played in various bands making a lot of different types of music, predominantly jazz but also rock and gospel. This has been my way of approaching music for a very long time.
In the last two years, in which I have concentrated on arranging new versions of German folksongs, I have rediscovered my love of writing compositions and realized how much I like to do this. The first result of this creative period of time is my CD “Fern in dieser Aue”, which I present on this homepage.
© Photo: Martin Reiche
© 2021 Matthias Hessel
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