biography

JOHANNES BARTHELMES saxophones, composition

Johannes  Barthelmes is a German musician (saxophone, composition) and photographer based in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

1989 SWF Jazz Prize
1994 Prize of the German Record Critics (Quarterly List) for “Trane’s Tree
1998 Prize of the German Record Critics (quarterly list) for “For Her

After almost 2 decades of “forced break” and without owning an instrument during this time, the internationally renowned musician finally returns to the stage in 2020.

Johannes Barthelmes studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, majoring in saxophone (classical and jazz).

He has led his own bands since the early 1990s and has performed worldwide in duo with pianist Uli Lenz, among others, with whom he released the CDs “Concert of Prodigal Sons” and “Trane’s Tree.”

At one of his last concerts for so many years, the following could be read in a concert review: “…his music comes from where one can only feel… Johannes Barthelmes does not make this nice candle-light-dinner-jazz, which one finds quite nice and then quickly forgets again. …”

And that’s exactly where he consequently continues today, after a seemingly endless “forced break” of nearly 20 years, with the newly formed “Johannes Barthelmes Quartett”. With Davide Incorvaia on piano, Ben Lehmann on bass and Jan Leipnitz on drums he has finally – 2 years after his return to the stage – found musicians on an equal level, who musically and philosophically now fit perfectly into his quite special concept. 

They play in the tradition of Archie Shepp, John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders. Modal to free, but also harmonically and rhythmically bound to balladesque music. Timeless. Always deeply felt and full of passion. Mainly original compositions. They are – as Johannes Barthelmes likes to emphasize with a smug smile – not musicians but musicians. Artists with the high demand to realize their very personal conception of improvisation. Not to conform to the clichés of the mainstream. Unafraid to listen in depth, to go deep. Quiet and exstatic.