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 OvergaauwContinued studies with master musicians like Barry Harris, Jimmy Raney and Frans Elsen helped develop his style. For Axel, the music of Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Lennie Tristano is his main influence and on guitar his favourites are Jimmy Raney, 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 PronkBill 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 ElsenFerdinand PovelRob LangereisVictor 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 KegelJimmy Halperin, the “Gustav Klimt StringQuartet” featuring Lee Konitz (for this project Axel wrote all the arrangements) and Dutch jazz veterans Frans Elsen and Jacques Schols. Also, recorded in 2007, a CD with bass legend Chuck Israels and renowned tenorsax and clarinetplayer John Ruocco has been released on BlueJackJazz (find these CD’s in the audio menu).

Axel can be heard as a sideman on CD’s with Rob Pronk, John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Rob van KrefeldSanna van Vliet and Fay Claassen. With his trio he performed with Jesper ThiloAl Galodoro, Ack van Rooyen, Bart van LierHod O’BrienJohn Ruocco and Scott Hamilton a.o. He lead 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 currently performs regularly with the “New Market Quartet” featuring Paul van der Feen on altosax and in duo or quartet with fellow guitar player Olaf Tarenskeen. The first CD with Olaf has been released in 2018.

A new project called “Chamber9” with Sanna van Vliet on vocals, fellow guitarplayer Michael Arlt, Thomas Andersen on Bass, Joan Terol Amigo on drums and a wonderful string-quartet began working and recording in 2019. In 2020 this very special group released it’s first (double!) CD, dedicated to the Music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, Axel wrote all the arrangements.

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 Michael Arlt.

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.

In 2018 Axel also started his own label. In 2019 a Duo CD with pianist Paolo Birro has been released on this label (also in 2018 the recording with Olaf Tarenskeen).