His clarinet solos are legendary, his performances with max greger and bill ramsey cult. With his dance orchestra, he achieved worldwide fame in the 1950s: we’re talking about hugo strasser. The old master embodies the german swing-ara like no one else. He arranged and composed numerous melodies.
Also marco plitzner, bandleader of the award-winning "blue moon orchestra, couldn’t get around the old master of the singing and swinging clarinet. The weibenbrunner arranged strasser’s "manhattan jive" for his orchestra new. That was four years ago. The two musicians have been friends ever since.
Since october 2011, the "king of dance music" has been in a new home, who celebrates his 90th birthday in april. Celebrates his 50th birthday with the "blue moon orchestra on rough germany tour. On the first two days of the new year they performed in kronach. Strasser stood like one with the orchestra musicians and vocal performers on the stage of the kreiskulturraum, where he "belted out" one hit after another on his clarinet.
"Call me hugo!"
"If you want to rearrange an artist’s piece, it’s only good manners to ask them. So i tracked down hugo strasser’s cell phone number. I was really excited when I called him", plitzner remembers the first contact. Strasser was very friendly and was pleased with the interest shown. The weibenbrunner tells: "hugo strasser gave my orchestra ten wonderful arrangements of sheet music to rehearse. He wanted to listen to it himself at one of our concerts."
Hugo strasser is a complete stranger to rigid structures, plitzner explains. He immediately said: "call me hugo"!" And the bandleader is happy: "although we are separated by almost 50 years, we have a good friendship. We learned a lot from hugo during our joint performances."
Music brings joy
old master strasser says: "playing the beautiful tunes still gives me great pleasure – especially when you are accompanied by such a great orchestra." His musical role model has always been benny goodman. Although he is unattainable, he has always emulated him.
Strasser’s mother loved music, but was always against her son becoming a professional musician. "She said: this is a starvation profession. You’ll be on our backs for the rest of your life", the old master remembers with a smile and adds: "she is 86 years old and could still experience my successes."
No alcohol, no cigarettes
when asked how he still manages to be in such good shape at his age, strasser answers unequivocally: "i am an absolute teetotaler and non-smoker."
But these could not be the only reasons. Apparently, going on stage replaces the fountain of youth for him. The almost sold-out concerts in kronach were also a testimony to the fact that hugo strasser lives for his music. He presented himself as his fans know and like him: in the best of moods, charming, flirting with his age, enjoying the admiration of his fans and always with a snappy saying and all kinds of anecdotes from his career on his lips.
above all, he is an excellent clarinetist who plays music in a way that age has not affected his playing in the least. It was incredible what "magic" tone of soft fulle and singing charm he elicited from his clarinet, and with it stole the show from his younger professional colleagues.
The "blue moon orchestra brought back to the stage many well known but also long forgotten swing classics. Musical treasures of german swing orchestras of the post-war period, american big-band swing in the style of glenn miller& were heard co. As well as own compositions.