Biography

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 HarrisJimmy 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 RaneyChuck WayneTal FarlowWes MontgomeryBilly BeanRonnie 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 FlanaganLou LevyClark TerryLee KonitzClaudio RoditiBill 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. 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 PronkJohn ClaytonJeff HamiltonRob van KrefeldSanna van Vliet and Fay Claassen. With his trio he performed with Jesper ThiloAl GalodoroAck van RooyenBart van LierHod O’BrienJohn Ruocco and Scott Hamilton a.o. He also lead several projects with Chuck IsraelsPaolo 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.

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.