Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Willers, Andreas, guitarist, composer; b. Rendsburg, Germany 5 December 1957. His parents were Gerd (1925-1978) and Annemarie Willers (b. 1929). He has one brother,
Thomas (b. 1955). Growing up in the neighbouring village of Budelsdorf, he took lessons on recorder and took up the guitar by himself, later enriched by an occasional lesson or workshop (Remscheid, Weikersheim). At age fourteen he started to perform in local rock bands, dance/top 40 bands and eventually the local amateur big band.
After Abitur he started to study musicology and sociology in Hamburg but soon opted for music fulltime by taking the one year programm at the Guitar Institute of Techology in Hollywood, CA, in 1979-80, studying with Joe Diorio and many others. Tenor saxophonist Gordon Brisker was his theory teacher at GIT. He made his first major appearance at the Total Music Meeting festival.
Willers moved on, studied with Dave Holland, Dave Liebman and John Abercrombie at the Banff School of Fine Arts (Alberta, Canada) in 1983, and moved to Berlin in 1984 after studying composition briefly in Hamburg. In Berlin he started a long cooperation with reedplayer Gebhard Ullmann that spawned several albums in different formats (e.g. as a duo, in the quartett Out to Lunch and the trio Minimal Kidds), awards and concert tours for the German Cultural Institute through almost all continents.
Temporarily handicapped by health problems, Willers started to concentrate on his own projects. Since the early nineties he has kept a working band in the guitar/bass/drums format (with drummers Bobby Previte, Jim Black a.o.) that was called Blue Collar. Willers has written for the Jazz Baltica Ensemble and for the Andreas Willers Octet.
Projects have included works on novelist Gunter Grass, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Giuffre.
Willers has played and/or recorded with Paul Bley, Louis Sclavis, Enrico Rava, Bob Stewart, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Trilok Gurtu, David Murray, Mark Dresser, Bobby Previte, Mark Feldman, Jim Black, Steve Arguelles, Dominique Pifarely, Marc Ducret, Anders Jormin, Tom Rainey, Phil Haynes, Lauren Newton, Rita Marcotulli, Elvira Plenar, Kent Carter, Petras Vysniauskas, Matthias Schubert, Gabriele Hasler, Frank Kollges, E.L. Petrowski, Theo Jorgensmann, Uwe Kropinski, Jorg Huke, Volker Schlott, Dieter Manderscheid, Lu Hubsch, Claudio Puntin, Dieter Ilg, Hans Ludemann, Thomas Heberer, Dirk Raulf, Frank Schulte a.o., the Duo Ullmann/Willers, the groups Out To Lunch, Minimal Kidds, Jazz Baltica Ensemble, Festival appearences include Berlin, Vienna, Salzburg, Melbourne, Jakarta, Istanbul, Wroclaw, Munster, Moers, Koln, Leverkusen, Vilshoven, Kiel, Viersen, concerts in New York, Atlanta, Amsterdam, and Graz.
Willers was a founding member of the musicians cooperative "Jazzfront Berlin-Brandenburg" and a member of the "Initiative Kolner Jazzhaus," he taught jazz guitar at the Hochschule fur Musik "Hanns Eisler," Berlin, from 1991-96.
Willers, his wife Katharina Rossmuller (b. 1966) and their two children Jan Lukas and Karla live in Kleinmachnow close to Berlin after a couple of years spent in the Cologne area.
Hier & Als Auch (1981); Ullmann/Willers: Playful (1984); Out To Lunch (1986); Enrico Rava/Ullmann/Willers (1989); The Private Ear (1990); Ullmann/Willers: Suite Noire (1992); Ullmann/Willers: Playful '93 (1993); Cityscape (1993); Can I Go Like This? (1994); Andreas Willers & friends play Jimi Hendrix (1995); Ullmann/Willers/Phil Haynes (1997); Blue Collar (1997); The Ground Music (2000); Tin Drum Stories (2000); In the North (2003)
Minimal Kidds: No Age (1987); Gabriele Hasler: dAs prOjekT (1988); Jazz Baltica Ensemble/David Murray '92 (1993); Gabriele Hasler: Sonetburger (1993); Dirk Raulf: Friedrich Hollaender (1996); Gabriele Hasler: Familiengluck (1997)
Works About Willers (omitting reviews):
Andreas Willers is mentioned in the books OEJazz Guitarists1 (Oreos Verlag,
1994) and OErororo Jazz Lexicon1 (Rowohlt Verlag, 2002), among others.
Interviews include: Jazzpodium (1987), Gitarre Aktuell (I/1999), Jazzthetik
(Dec. 2000), Vintage Guitar News (IV/2000)
Deutsche Phono Akademie 1983, SWF-Jazzpreis 1987 together with Gebhard Ullmann, and one nomination in 2000, several large Berlin Jazz Scholarships.
b/w closeup w. guitar
photographer: Matthias Krause
can be used free of charge