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Engelbert Wrobel was born on November 19, 1959 and caused a sensation as a ten-year-old with his talent as clarinetist in the brass band of his hometown before he became interested in traditional jazz. The foundation of the Happy Jazzmen, his first school band, was not long in coming. With this band, "Engel" - as his friends call him - won the first prize at „Jugend jazzt“. He was already offered a place in Rod Mason´s Hot Five during his studies of the classical clarinet at the Musikhochschule Düsseldorf. With Rod Mason’s Hot Five, he gained three and a half years of touring experience throughout Europe before founding his own Swing Society in 1989.
Engelbert’s playing is characterized by his full sound and a brilliant technique. He is a multi-instrumentalist who knows how to play each of his instruments in the proper style and, through years of studying classic jazz and swing, he has synthesized the distinctive qualities of his various role models into his own musical language. On the clarinet, the influences of Benny Goodman, Barney Bigard and Edmond Hall cannot be ignored; on the tenor saxophone, Ben Webster, Arnett Cobb and Coleman Hawkins are his main influences. His style on the alto is deeply rooted in the tradition of Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges, and is clearly present in his playing on the soprano saxophone.
In addition to the Swing Society, Engelbert Wrobel is active as a musician in various projects, for example as the Benny Goodman soloist in the King of Swing Orchestra, which cultivates the big band music of the great clarinetist. In the course of his career he has played with many jazz greats.
Engelbert Wrobel has played as a soloist or with his Swing Society at the following jazz festivals, among others: North Sea Jazz Festival Den Haag (NL), SWR - Jazz Festival Europapark Rust, Jazz Festival Hannover, Jazz Festival Kemptener Jazzfrühling, Jazz Marathon Hamburg, Hot Jazz Meeting, Jazz at Sea, Festa New Orleans Ascona (CH), Jazz Festival Sargans (CH), Jazz Festival Biel/Bienne (CH), Brecon Jazz Festival (GB), Breda Jazz Festival (NL), Eindhoven Jazz Festival (NL), Festijazz Luanda Jazz Festival (Angola), Nairn Jazz Festival (Scotland), Dundee Jazz Festival (Scotland), Kobe Jazz Street Festival (Japan), Wiehler Jazz Days, Göttingen Jazz Festival, and Killesberg Jazz Festival Stuttgart.
Moreover, he has performed in the following concert halls: Berliner Philharmonie, Kölner Philharmonie, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Musikhalle Hamburg, Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt Berlin, Hochschule der Künste Berlin large hall, CCH Hamburg, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Kursaal Bad Kissingen, Thürmer Saal Bochum, Kulturpalast Dresden, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, The Pierre Grand Hotel New York City (USA), Philharmonie Munich, Kulturzentrum Herne, "Glocke" Bremen, Liederhalle Stuttgart, and the large hall of the Conservatorium Luxembourg.
And he has made productions and live recordings with the following television and radio stations:
ARD, ZDF, SWR, BR, WDR, NDR, HR, Onyx, BBC.
Engelbert can be heard on over 35 CD/LP productions.
(translated by Stephanie Trick)