Born: November 12, 1933 Primary Instrument: Vibraphone
Originally trained as an orchestral timpanist and percussionist Schlüter, motivated by a concert by Lionel Hampton, changed to vibraphone in 1952. In 1953 Michael Naura inquired if Wolfgang likes to join in founding the Michael Naura Quintet, which he did. The two went on to share the stage for half a century. Shortly before Wolfgang received an offer to take the post of first drummer in the Dublin Radio Orchestra, but because of that concert by Lionel Hampton he was infected by the jazz-bacillus. The contract had been returned without a signature. A stroke of luck for the German musical world. In the coming decades he develops as one of the most famous German jazz musicians, who also earned an excellent international reputation including becoming one of the few Germans who made it into the Critics Poll of the greatest American jazz magazine DownBeat.
Later he was considered the most important Jazzvibraphonist of Europe - a position that is not seriously in dispute until today.
Schlüter had already played together in sessions with great jazz musicians, but he became a professional only with the Naura Quintet, which belonged until 1963 to the trend-formations in Germany. Monthly club engagements followed, with rehearsals in the afternoons. A tough, but educational time, says Schlüter. And a beautiful time.
After seven years engagements as soloist with the orchestras of Kurt Edelhagen, Erwin Lehn and Paul Kuhn followed. In 1965 Wolfgang Schlüter until 1995 joined the NDR Tanzorchester of which the NDR Big Band evolved from. Wolfgang played the first concert of the NDR Big Band, and on July 1st, 2012 also their 1000th concert during Jazz Baltica.
For 18 years he was additionally a professor at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre. Many of his students are now well-known musicians. For example the Hammer Klavier Trio members Boris Netsvetaev, Phil Steen and Kai Bussenius with whom he builds the Wolfgang Schlüter Quartet and plays concerts and festivals although he is nearly blind since 2004 due to an eye-stroke. But this didn't stop him in playing an active role in today's German jazz scene. Proof is his latest recording in 2012 with his quartet and the NDR Big Band together with the live performance at Jazz Baltica.
Awards:2001 - German Jazz Price (Albert Mangelsdorff-Preis)
The now 78-year-old musician was to be experienced with his Bigband program at the Jazz Baltica line-up and wowed the audience with his lively style of play, his daringly fast passages and his lyrical style. - Jazzthetik, Sept. 2012
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