Carolyn Breuer & Andrea Hermenau
The daughter of renowned jazz trombonist and pianist Hermann Breuer was born in Munich on July 4, 1969. Her father Hermann Breuer introduced Carolyn, who had switched from piano to classical saxophone lessons, to the basics of jazz. Evening house music with her father became a “ritual.” So it was only natural that she played in several bands from the age of 15. At 19, Carolyn joined the Bundesjugendjazzorchester under the direction of Peter Herbolzheimer as the first female member. In Hilversum, Carolyn studied jazz at the conservatory from 1988 to 1993, with Holland’s leading saxophonist Ferdinand Povel, who later even included his former student in his band. During her studies, she played in the house band for Thomas Gottschalk’s Late Night Show. With her own Carolyn Breuer Quartet, she regularly played month-long engagements in Athens. She played saxophone in a promotional film for drum tobacco, which was shown in cinemas worldwide. In addition, at the age of 21, she recorded her first CD “A Family Affair” together with her father for the established jazz label “Enja-Records”. With this project she played at numerous festivals, including the Jazztage Burghausen.
After her state exams she recorded the CD “Simply Be” together with the Dutch jazz singer Fay Claassen for the Dutch label “Challenge-Records”. A year later she recorded the CD “Acquaintance” also for “Challenge Records”. This was followed by a long stay in New York where she took lessons with George Coleman, who worked with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, among others. At one of her concerts Branford Marsalis became aware of her and was so enthusiastic about Carolyn’s playing that he spontaneously offered to come to New York to teach her. She paid for the first lesson with an “Ajax” T-shirt. Marsalis also wrote the liner notes to her later album “Serenade.” After returning to Amsterdam, she toured with her quartet in Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Turkey and Greece. Invitations from festivals such as the Berlin Jazz Days, North Sea Jazz Festival (alongside George Coleman!) followed.
Andrea Hermenau graduated from the Gymnasium Tegernsee in 2000 and in the same year won the composition competition “Mix on the Road” for the magazine Keyboards. This prize took her to Nashville, and with studio musicians and producer Jim Bonnefond (from Kool & the Gang), her original composition was recorded.
From 2001 to 2006, Hermenau studied jazz piano with Titian Jost and jazz vocals with Karren Edwards and Lisa Wahlandt at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich. During this time she was a member of the Landesjugendjazzorchester Bayern and the band Etna, which won the “Landesjugend jazzt” competition in Bavaria in 2002 and recorded two albums. At the same time, her long-term cooperation with Harald Rüschenbaum came into being, playing in his big band and the quartet “Cosmodrom”.
Another cooperation arose with the band Frankzone featuring Johannes Enders, who produced a CD for Deutschlandfunk. From 2005 to 2007 she was engaged as a percussionist at the Residenztheater for the play “Die Backchen” by Euripides, directed by Dieter Dorn.
She studied jazz composition with Prof. Thomas Zoller at the University of Music in Dresden and graduated with distinction in 2010. Shortly after, the album “Joshua” (Traumton Records) of the Fjoralba Turku Quartet was released, where she participated as arranger and pianist. She recorded the music she had written during her composition studies with her quartet, and the album “Die Nachtpracht” (Unit Records) was released. With the band “Die Drei Damen” she tours regularly in Germany and Europe. The group has released four albums on the Enja label. She has also recorded music for various films, e.g. “Almanya” and “Die guten Feinde”. In spring 2020 she was nominated for the BMW Welt Jazz Award with her quintet and in 2021 she received the city of Munich Förderpreis. Her collaboration with saxophonist Carolyn Breuer was documented on vinyl in 2021. In April 2023, the album “Oneironaut” by Carolyn Breuer and Andrea Hermenau was released on the Enja label and was nominated for the German Record Critics Award.