His playing defies all categorization, and has earned him a place as a world class musician. He has already left his mark on contemporary jazz and given it new direction. The musical cosmopolitan Joachim Kühn sees himself as part of the jazz tradition, connected to European concert music and yet directly indebted to a contemporary musical language.
He displays vehemence and sensibility, a virtuoso technique and imagination and an unfailing sense of dynamics. Be it in his interaction with long-time musical partners, in ever new and challenging musical constellations, or alone in his solo performances, Kühn always manages to make his concerts into a unique experience.
Even if some of the stations on his path from Leipzig, where Kühn was born in 1944, through his time in France and America may seem like diversions; his musical career not only displays cohesion, but also an inner logic that only becomes truly apparent with hindsight.
Kühn, who already enjoyed a first-class classical training and was performing as a concert pianist at an early age, developed an enthusiasm for jazz under the influence of his older brother, clarinettist Rolf Kühn. Only 17 years old, he decided to become a jazz musician. His first trio, formed in 1964, played music that was way ahead of its time in its openness to free improvisation.
In 1966, Joachim Kühn defected to West Germany after playing at a competition for young jazz musicians organised by Friedrich Gulda. In the same year, he performed with his brother at the Berliner Jazztage and at the Newport Jazz Festival. Directly after the successful US concert, Bob Thiele produced an album for Impulse with the dream line-up of the Kühn brothers and Coltrane-bassist Jimmy Garrison.