Hans Reichel

  • Hagen (Niedersachsen, Germany), 1949 – Wuppertal (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany), 2011
  • Performer (daxophone)

Hans Reichel was born in Hagen, Germany. He began to teach himself violin at age 7, playing in the school orchestra until age 15. Around age 15, he began to play guitar and became interested in rock music, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and later, Frank Zappa, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix. He played in various groups before giving up music for a time while studying graphic design and working as a typesetter. He came back to music in the early 1970s, when he recorded a tape of guitar music. This recording was sent to the jury of the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt, where he was asked to appear in a special concert for newcomers. Discussions with Jost Gebers, the founder of Free Music Production (FMP), led to the release of Wichlinghauser Blues in 1973.

The majority of Reichel’s body of work consists of solo recordings, along with performances in smaller group settings. He has recorded duets with a wide variety of musicians, including accordionist Rüdiger Carl, cellist Tom Cora, and a number of guitarists including Kazuhisa Uchihashi and Fred Frith. He was also a member of the September Band (along with vocalist Shelley Hirsch, Rüdiger Carl, and drummer Paul Lovens), and has also performed with larger ensembles led by the likes of saxophonist Thomas Borgmann and by American composer / conductor Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris.

Reichel has constructed and built several interesting variations of guitars and basses, most of them featuring multiple fretboards and unique positioning of pickups and 3rd bridges. The resulting sounds exceed the range of conventional tuning and add interesting effects, from odd overtones to metallic noises, to his play. His “daxophone” is a single wooden blade fixed in a block containing a contact microphone, which is played mostly with a bow.