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Downstairs at the Vortex: The Great Harry Hillman

Nils Fischer – SopSax/BCL

David Koch – Guitar

Samuel Huwyler – Bass

Dominik Mahnig – Drums


Nils Fischer is a saxofone and bassclarinet player with a favour for low frequencies. He likes playing different styles of jazz. Born in 1988 in Gelsenkirchen (GER), he enjoys saxofone lessons with Andreas Krennerich at „Musikschule Germersheim“. In 2008 he moves to Lucerne for his jazz studies. Urs Leimgruber, Reto Suhner and Frank Möbus deeply influence his musical personality. In July 2013, he finishes his „Master of Perfomance“ and in February 2015 his „Master of Pedagogy“. His working band „The Great Harry Hillman“ (w. David Koch – Git; Samuel Huwyler – Bass and Dominik Mahnig – Drums) is playing tours through Europe since 2009. In spring 2015, the group wins the „ZKB – Jazzpreis“ (Moods)“. Nils Fischer is sideman with the groups (amongst others) „Laurent Méteau’s Metabolism“, „Marena Whitcher’s Shady Midnight Orchestra“, „Blaer“, and „Raphael Jost and lots of horns“. David Koch, born in 1988 in Sursee, has always lived out his musical interests in intensive stages. Growing up the son of a classical flautist, he was surrounded by classical music during his childhood. Between the ages of 10 and 20, he played the flute on the road for the Irish folk and klezmer group Planxty Irwin. During this time he began to play the guitar. Starting with klezmer, he discovered and was inspired by the work of John Zorn and the music of the New York downtown avant-garde. This led to his jazz training at the Lucerne School of Music, where he was hugely influenced by Kurt Rosenwinkel, Gerry Hemingway and especially Frank Möbus. He completed his master’s training under Frank Möbus. Committed to the indie rock band “Book On Shelves”, he began to explore and appreciate the sound aesthetics and possibilities of pop music. David Koch is a sound engineer and DIY researcher who tackles all of his projects with intensity and passion. He has a whole range of effects equipment, which he has modified or built himself, to ensure that he has all of the sound options he needs, even in live situations. He is a member of “The Great Harry Hillman” and has launched his latest project, the duo VSITOR, alongside Lea Fries. Samuel Huwyler uses his creativity as a source for his work in music and graphics. Born in 1988 in Endingen Switzerland as a son of a jazz drummer music surrounded him permanently. Musical instruments and drawing utensils evoked his passion to implement and present his ideas in early years. After 4 years of lessons in classical guitar he discovered the electric guitar and founded his first rock band „TRD“, that is still active. Fascinated by string instruments he changed to electric bass at 16, this was the crusial point for his later studies at Hochschule Luzern. Wolfgang Zwiauer, Uli Heinzler and Heiri Känzig influenced his career as a bass player. In 2013 he passed his „Master of Arts – Major Performace Jazz“. The Aargauer Kuratorium invested him with a grant in 2015. Currently he tours with his working band „The Great Harry Hillman“ (ZKB Jazzprice 2015), „Laurent Méteau’s Metabolism“ and further projects in Europe. Dominik Mahnig, (1989) was born in a musical family in Willisau (Switzerland). He has been fascinated by drums ever since and is a numerous winner of the Swiss Drummer Competition. His fist contact with Jazz was a solo concert by Cecil Taylor. Taylor’s intuitive and energetic playing left its mark on the young drummer and further important impressions at the famous Willisau Jazzfestival should follow. After his Bachelor degree in Lucerne, he moved to Cologne for his Master Studies, where his groovy and powerful playing was expanded with the sensitive style of this German hotspot, what gave him an important versatility. He studied with Gerry Hemingway, Frank Gratkowski, Jonas Burgwinkel and many more. He plays with the THE GREAT HARRY HILLMAN, the ZOOOM TRIO, DIE FICHTEN, BOTTER and shared the stage with Mark Dresser, Simon Nabatov, Robert Landfermann, Matthias Schubert etc.. In 2013 the Wilhelm-Fabry price Hilden (GER) honored him for a strong creative statement.

“The Great Harry Hillman – the current definition of what it means to be a new young modern jazz band in these times. Four very strong individual musicians come together to create an extremely personal style of music that could only exist through time invested band chemistry. From fragile melodies, twisted grooves, to massive band climaxes, they deliver flawless and exciting music.“ – Jim Black (2015)

“The Great Harry Hillman masterfully blends athmospherics with improvisation” – All about Jazz / Karl Ackermann / 18.05.2017

“If you like your jazz a bit of the beaten path and with plenty of rock infusion, TILT is an easy recommendation for you” – See of tranquility / Pete Pardo / 25.07.2017

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