Axel Hagen, (guitar, arrangement) was born in 1963 in Karlsruhe (Germany). Between 1985 and 1990 he studied at the Hilversum Conservatory with Peter Nieuwerf and Wim Overgaauw. Continued studies with master musicians like Barry Harris, Jimmy Raney and Frans Elsen helped develop his style. For Axel, the music of Charlie Parker and Lennie Tristano is his main influence and on guitar his favourites are Jimmy Raney, Chuck Wayne, Tal Farlow, Wes Montgomery, Billy Bean, Ronnie Singer, Luiz Bonfa and Jim Hall.
In 1990, Axel Hagen became a member of the rhythm section of the renowned “Metropole Orchestra” of the Dutch radio. With this orchestra under the direction of Rob Pronk, Bill Hollman and Chuck Israels, he can be heard on various CD- and radio recordings with internationally known jazz musicians like Tommy Flanagan, Lou Levy, Clark Terry, Lee Konitz, Claudio Roditi, Bill Perkins and Tom Harrell.
Axel lead groups with Dutch musicians like Frans Elsen, Ferdinand Povel, Rob Langereis, Victor Kaihatu and Marco Kegel, performing on major jazz venues all over Europe. Besides this activity, he recorded 5 CD’s under his own name for the Dutch record label “Bluejackjazzrecords”. These CD’s are respectively with Marco Kegel, Jimmy Halperin, the “Gustav Klimt String-Quartet” featuring Lee Konitz (for this project Axel wrote all the arrangements) and Dutch jazz veterans Frans Elsen and Jacques Schols. His newest CD, recorded in 2007, is with bass legend Chuck Israels and renowned tenorsax and clarinetplayer John Ruocco.
Axel can be heard as a sideman on CD’s with Rob Pronk, John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Rob van Krefeld, Sanna van Vliet and Fay Claassen. With his trio he performed with Jesper Thilo, Al Galodoro, Ack van Rooyen, Bart van Lier, Hod O’Brien and John Ruocco besides leading several projects with Chuck Israels, Paolo Birro and Alfred Kramer in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. He was a soloist on two pieces on the spectacular CD “Klimt“, which featured Dutch Jazz Guitar Greats accompanied by the Gustav Klimt String-quartet. Axel played two of his arrangements, the CD was realeased in 2009 with a concert in the Bimhuis in Amsterdam.
Axel is also a dedicated and renowned teacher of jazz-music, hosting workshops on Conservatories in Germany and the Netherlands. Since 2009 he teaches jazzguitar at the “Hochschule für Musik” in Würzburg/Germany together with Micheal Arlt and since 2000 he is a teacher for electric guitar at the “British School in The Netherlands” in Voorschoten near The Hague.
Recently, he started a series of Music Lectures courses dedicated to Jazzmusic and Music in General, introducing and explaining the processes of performing music to a wider audience. Axel has been interviewed a couple of times for websites connected to jazzguitar. Transcripts of these interviews can be viewed on this website.