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„BILLMEN“ – Cool Jazz from Northrhine-Westphalia Sprache wechseln



Manfred Billmann, voc, p
Stefan Werni, bass
Peter Baumgärtner, dr


With the formation of BILLMEN in 2010, singer & pianist Manfred Billmann, bass player Stefan Werni and drummer Peter Baumgärtner – all residents of Northrhine-Westphalia – have returned to their personal musical roots: the „West Coast Jazz“.

Manfred Billmann comfortably fills dual roles: He is the expressive, velvet- voiced singer during ballads, swing and bossa nova tunes, but also plays the elegant, softly effervescent piano in a swinging rhythm section. His uncomparable style in the tradition of jazz greats such as Shirley Horn,
Nat ’King’ Cole and Diana Krall (performing in a trio) is nearly unique in Germany.

With the forceful sound of virtuoso Stefan Werni and the sensitive, yet dynamic style of Peter Baumgärtner, Manfred Billmann presents newly arranged Jazz Standards in a colorful variety of sounds (three of the
tracks include special guest Klaus Osterloh on trumpet/flugelhorn).

BILLMEN – that is cool „German Jazz“ on the highest level. A real gain for the local Jazz Scene!

Vocals and all instruments were recorded simultaneously – largely avoiding overdubs – in order to highlight the live character of the CD.

Recorded on
August 24th and 25th, 2010
TOPAZ-Studio, Köln

Recording, Mix and Master: Reinhard Kobialka



Manfred Billmann
Born in 1963, he was well known in the German music business as early as the late 1980s, when he earned a degree as a Vocal Coach (Jazz/Pop) at the Musikhochschule Köln/Cologne: As a member of the vocal group „HEADLINE“, he contributed to numerous Radio- and TV-productions in almost all German broadcast stations during that time.
As a pianist and vocalist he worked with internationally renowned Jazz artists such as Peter Herbolzheimer and his “rhythm combination & brass”, Wolfgang Haffner, Engelbert Wrobel, Joanne Bell, Cynthia Utterbach and Inga Lühning, at large events as well as on small stages.
Since the late 1990s he has been particularly active with his own ensembles (for example „TAKE NAT – the music of Nat ’King’ Cole“ / „TAKE NAT plus one“), as accompanist (ranging from Jazz to musical) or as solo artist, recording numerous CDs.
He has been teaching vocals (Jazz/Pop) at the Rheinische Musikschule Köln/Cologne since 1988. In 2003 he also became lecturer at the Hochschule für Musik of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (since 2006 also in Jazz-Piano and Repertoire-Combo).
Manfred Billmann has been living in Brühl near Cologne since 1992.

Stefan Werni
Born in 1967, Stefan Werni earned a degree in double bass at the Musikhochschule Köln/Cologne in the early 1990s and has since moved musically between Jazz improvisation and concepts of New Music.
On his instrument he places emphasis on a natural, acoustic sound.
As a bass player he worked with many internationally renowned Jazz artists such as Sheila Jordan, Charlie Mariano, Lee Konitz, Bill Elgart and Tony Scott, giving concerts on international stages (for example at the Jazzfestival Leipzig, WDR Festival Köln, Jazzfest Viersen, Hildener Jazztage, at the Olympiapark Atlanta/USA) and in well-known Jazzclubs („Unterfahrt“ Munich,  „Jazzkeller“ Frankfurt (Main), „Vortex Club“  London/GB, „Bimhuis“ Amsterdam/NL, „Townhall“ Akko/Israel).
He has participated in TV and radio productions of the German broadcasters WDR, MDR and NDR and numerous international CD recordings (with Sheila Jordan among others). In addition, his duo „WERNI & JENDREIKO“ has successfully focused on live electronic music since 2002.
Stefan Werni has been living in his home town of Recklinghausen since 2006.

Peter Baumgärtner
Born in 1958, he has been living in the area of Duisburg/ Düsseldorf for the last 27 years. He moved to Düsseldorf, due to an engagement at the "Kommödchen”, a renowned local theatre. After training as an industrial merchant, he studied at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern/CH with Billy Brooks.
His outstanding quality – very much appreciated by all of his colleagues – is his ability to always provide tasteful and sensitive accompaniment.
He is a very experienced musician and has worked with Silvia Droste, Gerd Dudek, Jack van Poll, John Goldsby (WDR Big Band), Lydia van Dam, Matthias Nadolny, Jörg Siebenhaar, Martin Wind, John Marshall (WDR Big Band), Peter Weniger, Fay Victor, the Sultans of Swing , Paul G. Ulrich, Dieter Greifenberg, Norbert Gottschalk, Martin Sasse, Henning Gailing, Greetje Kauffeld, Sabine Kühlich, Inga Lühning and many more as documented in numerous CD-, TV- and Radio productions.
Peter Baumgärtner is a founding member and 2. chairman of “Jazz in Düsseldorf” and works as the organizer/artistic director of the "Hildener Jazztage" and the festival "Voices" in Ratingen.


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