Pianist Joachim Kühn is one of the few global German jazz stars. With his playing style — which transcends all categories — he has made his mark as a world-class musician, and he has blazed entirely new trails in contemporary jazz. A musical cosmopolitan, Kühn sees himself in the jazz tradition while also maintaining a close relationship with European concert music. Committed to a contemporary sound, he combines vehemence and sensitivity, masterly craftsmanship and imagination, plus an unmistakable touch and an unerring sense of dynamics. Whether in interplay with his longtime musical partners, in ever new and often unusually challenging constellations, or performing on his own in his solo concerts, Kühn makes music an event.
Throughout his life Kühn has demonstrated curiosity, open-mindedness, and a love of experimentation like few others. It was this intellectual flexibility that led the young East German classical pianist to jazz. After fleeing to the West in 1966, he quickly became one of the most important representatives of the jazz avant-garde in the scenes of Paris, Los Angeles, New York, and Hamburg, constantly seeking encounters with a diverse range of musicians, from Michel Portal to Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Daniel Humair, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, and Rabih-Abou Khalil, as well as the Germans Heinz Sauer and Michael Wollny.
In June 2011 Kühn was awarded the Echo Jazz lifetime achievement for his extraordinary life’s work.