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International Hot Jazz Quartet

The line-up, which has existed since 2004, plays authentic New Orleans jazz and Harlem swing of the 1920s and 1930s in the tradition of the legendary combos of Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, Bobby Hackett, Roy Eldridge and Louis Armstrong, but also makes musical excursions to the later swing and early bebop of the 1940s and 1950s. Although the music is based on the original models, it is still fresh and modern. Every musician in this formation is an absolute master of his instrument. 

The American jazz critic and author Chipp Deffaa wrote: "The International Hot Jazz Quartet is a wonderful, compact and easy-going band with a lot of soul. The group plays extraordinarily well together and each individual has the right feeling for the music. Fascinating, how much musical territory this formation deals with, from the early 1920s to the 1950s - and performed with conviction."

Duke Heitger (USA), trumpet, vocals

was born on May 10, 1968 in Toledo, Ohio and came to New Orleans in 1991 to join Jacques Gauthe´s Creole Rice Jazz Band. He is one of the most sought-after trumpeters on the international scene, performing and recording with various bands.  He knows like no other how to make the whole spectrum of the trumpet sound, from very low to the highest heights, and from very soft to powerful.

Heitger, comes from a family of musicians and was fascinated by the sound and groove of his father's shellac records even as a boy. Here he heard Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berigan, Red Allen, Bobby Hackett and Bix Beiderbecke. He soon played with his father's band, the Cake Walking Jassband, a Toledo institution. Duke played his first professional engagements at the age of twelve and toured all over America as a teenager with his father's band at various jazz festivals.

When not on the road, he has a full schedule in New Orleans, where he leads the Steamboat Stompers, and performs daily on board the Natchez Paddlewheeler. He has also garnered considerable success in pop music as a trumpeter on the Squirrel Nut Zipper's million-selling CD, "Hot," which earned Heitger a platinum record.

Engelbert Wrobel (Germany), clarinet, saxophones

was born on November 19, 1959 in Dormagen and grew up in the small village Abenden.  He is one of the top clarinetists and saxophonists on the international jazz scene. Engel comes from a musical family – music was always playing in the house. However, he got to know jazz from the records of a friend and knew immediately that that was his music.

 He is not only known for his full sound, his virtuosic and spirited clarinet playing, but also for his ability to touch his listeners with soft tones like no other. He has been organizing tours with international musicians for many years and has brought many great jazz players to Europe, thus enriching the local scene.

 He studied classical clarinet at the Musikhochschule Düsseldorf, but during this time already played in the popular European band, Rod Mason's Hot Five, before he founded the Swing Society in 1989, which was one of the most outstanding international bands of this style for over 20 twenty years. To this day, he shines as a soloist in Peter Fleischhauer's King of Swing Orchestra as "Benny Goodman interpreter."

Paolo Alderighi (Italy), piano

born on November 5, 1980 in Milan, and grew up in a jazz-loving family. His father was a passionate record collector and played bass and banjo in an amateur jazz band. At the age of eight, Paolo received his first piano lesson and from the age of 10 he studied at the conservatory, where he graduated at the age of nineteen. Paolo grew up listening to the sounds of the great stride pianists, who were a rich source of inspiration for him in his father's recording collection. Searching for role models, he discovered the records of the piano giants Fats Waller and Earl Hines; his idols soon included Erroll Garner.

 After some activity on the classical music scene, where he performed as a soloist and with orchestra and also won several prizes, he devoted himself entirely to jazz and began to play in various jazz formations, mainly in traditional styles. He also worked as a solo pianist. In the meantime, he has collaborated with a number of internationally renowned jazz musicians and is a welcome guest at many festivals in the US, Europe and Japan.

Bernard Flegar (Germany), drums

was born on July 31, 1977 and is based in Ulm. He was taught by Barrett Deems (drummer of the Louis Armstrong All Stars), the legendary Butch Miles (drummer of the Count Basie Band for many years) and Pete York. He is a very sensitive band member and an excellent, technically experienced soloist. He has played with many jazz stars, including such well-known musicians as Chris Barber, Ken Peplowski, and others.

 In 2019, Australian drummer Anthony Howe, who lives in Singapore, toured with the quartet. He is in demand all over the world a completely unique style. He is an incredibly "hot" and rousing instrumentalist with an enormous drive. As a child, he received classical piano and violin lessons before he sat down at the drums. He has caused a sensation at many festivals in Australia and Europe.


(translated by Stephanie Trick)

© 2024 Engelbert Wrobel