The jazz lab
There are some people who make a bigger contribution than an entire company. Since 1986, Hans Martin Müller, who began his career as a flautist, university teacher and music educationalist, and who is just at home in the world of jazz as he is in the classical arena, has run an unusual concert location in Cologne called the Loft. The venue has housed the first Steinway grand piano since 1989, and since then, Müller has brought improvised and contemporary music to the stage. Here, you can hear sounds that fall somewhere between “new music”, “classical” and “jazz”. In the Loft, it’s still possible to hear exciting, non-commercial music. A laboratory like this one has given musicians the opportunity to grow, whose careers began in the Loft, be they Nils Wogram or Hayden Chisholm, Angelika Niescier or Florian Weber, Frank Gratkowski or Paolo Alvares, Philipp Zoubek, Robert Landfermann, Pablo Held, Jonas Burgwinkel or Sebastian Sternal. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel, Luciano Berio and Dieter Schnebel gave lectures here or attended performances of their works. Despite its high international reputation, funding plays an important role on the Cologne scene. In 1993, a Steinway D-size grand piano was purchased. Now, with its excellent concert grands, the Loft offers something that almost no other club can. It’s a special phenomenon in itself that a non-profit concert venue of such great importance exists at all. It’s no wonder, therefore, that the British Guardian newspaper (2/2016) listed the Loft among the ten most important jazz clubs in Europe. In the interim, Dr. Benedikt Müller, the son of the founder, has become a permanent fixture of Loft culture. We can only hope that such an unusual venue will remain open for many generations to come.
Wißmannstraße 30, 50823 Cologne