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Herb Geller (02.12.1928 – 19.12.2013)

Herb Geller, Frankfurt 2006Herb Geller was born in Los Angeles and at the tender age of just fourteen he decided to learn to play the alto saxophone. A mere two years later he had his first professional engagement. He played with countless jazz greats and his talent was recognised around the globe. His career took him to Brazil, Portugal and France before he came to Germany in 1962.

Here he spent three years playing in the RIAS big band and then he moved to Hamburg. For 28 years he was one of the outstanding musicians who helped make the NDR dance orchestra into the avant-garde big band that it is today From 1968 onwards he was also a soloist in Bert Kaempfert’s orchestra on all studio recordings and tours. In addition to his own projects, from 1986 onwards he was a professor for saxophone at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg.

Herb Geller (l.) with his daughter Olivia an his friend and colleague Ack van Rooyen at the celebration 90th birthday of Bert Kaempfert on 16. October 2013

“When ten major concerts were given across Germany in 2006 and 2008, Herb Geller was one of the special guest soloists. This was the time when I really got to know Herb well. He was quite a reserved man with exemplary discipline when it came to work. He was always the first to arrive for rehearsals or sound checks. When it came to matters of musical taste, he made constructive suggestions in his own understated way. He was a gentleman and precisely because of this he often surprised me with his highly sophisticated sense of humour. I still have many fine memories of him and his outstanding musical creations!”
Doris Kaempfert