Martin Kunzler

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Martin Kunzler

Martin Kunzler (born April 29, 1947 in Lörrach ) is a German jazz bassist and music journalist. He achieved particular fame through his rororo jazz lexicon , published by Rowohlt Verlag , which is now considered the standard German work on this genre.


Martin Kunzler was born in Lörrach as the youngest of six siblings and went to the Hans-Thoma-Gymnasium and Wirtschaftsgymnasium in Lörrach. From 1960 he took double bass lessons with Chester Gill , and from 1964 he studied double bass with Michel Delannois and music theory with Gerd Watkinson in Basel . After his marriage and the birth of his son Claudio, Kunzler completed a traineeship as a newspaper editor at the Oberbadischer Verlagshaus in Lörrach from 1966 to 1968 , after which he was editor and features correspondent for the Black Forest Bote until 1969 . In 1967/68 he also had a teaching position at the Lörrach University of Education in the subjects of double bass and the workshop of new music .

At the same time, Martin Kunzler was active in avant-garde musical projects with the Tübingen ensemble of Heinz Kunzler and Wolfgang Hamm and the ensembles around Percy Gerd Watkinson. Numerous concerts and tours as a jazz musician followed, with Oscar Klein , Raymond Droz , Ewald Heidepriem , Hans Deyssenroth , Phil Woods , Lee Konitz , Albert Nicholas , Milt Buckner , Attila Zoller , Stu Martin , Jean-Louis Chautemps , Pony Poindexter and others especially for many years with the American arranger Bob Carter .

From 1970 to 1972 Martin Kunzler was the head of the features editorial team of the Westfalen-Blatt in Bielefeld ; During this time, he published his first book as a co-author alongside Bernhard Conz , entitled Saved on the Steinway Grand . After an interlude at the Badische Zeitung in Freiburg im Breisgau in 1973, he took over the PR department of BASF music production in Hamburg and later in Mannheim in July 1973 . There he was mainly responsible for the record labels harmonia mundi and MPS , one specializing in early music and the other in jazz.

He was also active as a producer, not in jazz but in the classical field (and there especially as a specialist in modern and early music ). In this area he designed many projects as an editor ; important permanent partners were Carl Orff , Gary Bertini , Ireneu Segarra and Peter Michael Hamel .

Martin Kunzler with double bass

After BASF left the music business in 1976, he worked as a freelancer for record companies such as Deutsche Grammophon (archive production), EMI , Wergo , Teldec (Das Alte Werk) or Bellaphon , Südwestfunk , WDR , ORF and in some cases before the German wave , the Schott publishers and newspapers and magazines such as new music newspaper (nmz, Bosse Verlag) the orchestra , Melos, Musica, music and education, Fonoforum, stereo, disk (Holland), German General Sunday newspaper , many newspapers and Popular magazines up to Playboy .

In 1977 he joined Boehringer Mannheim (later Roche Diagnostics ) as a press officer , but retained his freelance activities as an author and producer. From 1980, the work for the first edition of the Rowohlt Jazz Lexicon came to the fore. It appeared in 1988, followed by various supplemented or unchanged new editions and a completely revised new version in 2002.

He is also working on the New German Biography of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences . There were also activities in the museum sector , including essayistic contributions to exhibition catalogs and, in 2002, marketing for a large Jean Tinguely retrospective at the Kunsthalle Mannheim .


  • Saved on the Steinway grand. Bernhard Conz about Conz and others . Busse Verlag, Herford 1971 (together with Bernhard Conz).
  • Jazz Lexicon . Extended new edition Rowohlt, Reinbek 2002 (digitally available from Directmedia Publishing, Berlin 2006).
  1. A-L . ISBN 3-499-16512-0 .
  2. M-Z . ISBN 3-499-16513-9 .

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