Born on July 4, 1960 saxophonist / flutist Heinrich von Kalnein is one of the most high-profile jazz artists of today’s Austrian and German scene. After graduating with honors from the University of Music Graz, Austria in 1987 he continued his studies with David Liebman, Bob Berg, Oliver Lake and Alan Skidmore among others. He developed a very distinct musical profile by taking his melodic concept and jazz roots into the realm of worldbeat, free improv and electronic music.
After initially working with the avant-garde trio ‘X-tra’ together with keyboarder Uli Rennert and Swedish trumpeter Lars Lindvall (LP ‘Electric Poems’ Extraplatte 1989 and ‘life traks’ Plainisphare 1992) as well as the Austrian group The QuARTet (CD ‘Tell Me Your Story’ 1992 Extraplatte and ‘Tales of Tomorrow’ 1994).
In the 1990ies he toured extensively all over Europe with his own HvK Group. Their CD “New Directions” (Nabel Records) was nominated for the prestigious ‘Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik’. Their second CD “Perfect World” featured French guitarist Nguyên Lê among others.
With the Indo-Jazz Worldmusic Project ‚Free Winds’, a trio comprised of, next to him saxophonist, nadaswaram virtuoso Roland Schaeffer and tabla player Jatinder Thakur he produced two recordings for the Austrian Shamrock Label (Intuition Music). This group also toured India and Sri Lanka.
With JBBG – JAZZ BIGBAND GRAZ, which he (co-) lead from 2003 until 2019, he performed a.o. with the vocal groups ‚Take Six’‚ ‚The New York Voices’ as well as with singers Jon Hendricks, Dianne Shur and Kurt Elling. With their CD ‚Joys & Desires’ (2005) featuring the work of drummer John Hollenbeck and vocalist Theo Bleckmann they got critical acclaim worldwide, which led to performances at the 2006 IAJE–conference in New York as well as the Northsea Jazzfestival. With their 2008 production ‘Electric Poetry & Lo-Fi Cookies’ blending the worlds of electronic music and jazz they developed a sound of their very own performing all over Europe. Their CD ‚Urban Folktales’ (2012 ACT Music & Vison) featured Austrian hurdy-gurdy virtuoso Matthias Loibner as well as German saxophonist Johannes Enders. In 2016 they released their current production ‘True Stories’, which again was nominated for the ‘Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik’.
In 2007 he started his trio KAHIBA featuring Swiss drummer / electronic musician Gregor Hilbe and Austrian accordionist / pianist Christian Bakanic. With this very unique band he released four highly acclaimed CD’s. Since 2016 the Turkish pianist Anil Bilgen is part of the band.
Between 2014 and 2018 he was playing in a duo with US-based composer / pianist and GRAMMY-winner Michael Abene. In 2015 they released their critically acclaimed CD ‘Dreamliner’, which received a GRAMMY – nomination.
Currently he is working with his trio KALNEIN / LÓPEZ / SCHWARZ – Into The Now! (CD / LP ‘A Night In Vienna’) and the all-star quintet JBBG – SMÅL – GRAN RISERVA together with his longtime JBBG partner, Austrian trumpeter / vocalist Horst-Michael Schaffer. He also is performing regularly as a featured guest artist with the Brazilian MERETRIO
He worked as a musical producer and bandmember (‘All That Strauss’) with the Vienna Art Orchestra performing worldwide. Currently he is living in Graz and holds a position as a professor for jazz saxophone, jazz flute and ensemble at the Jazz institute of the University of Music Graz KUG.
Performances also with Julian Arguelles, Iain Ballamy, Django Bates, Carla Bley, Bob Brookmeyer, Jay Clayton, Wayne Darling, Gil Evans, Heiner Goebbels, Jerry Granelli, Doug Hammond, the Peter Herbolzheimer Bigband, Peter Herborn, Marc Johnson, Sheila Jordan, Nguyên Lê, Rene Lussier, Charlie Mariano, Bob Mintzer, Phil Minton, Glen Moore, Wolfgang & Christian Muthspiel, Simon Nabatov, Ed Neumeister, Wolfgang Puschnig, Marc Ribot, Paquito d’Rivera, Steve Swallow, Dave Taylor and the Austrian National Public Radio symphony (ORF Radiosymphonieorchester) among others.
Festival appearances: Jazzfest Berlin (D), Jazzfest Bonn (D), Bolzano (I), Bremen jazzahead (D), Hofheim (D), Snow Jazz Gastein (A), Gdynia (PL), Guimaraes (P), Graz (A), Hamburg Elbjazz (D), Lisboa (P), Madrid (E), Magdeburg (D), Maribor (Slo), Melbourne (AUS), New Delhi (IND), New York (USA), Perth (AUS), Ploiesti (Ro), Saalfelden (A), Salzau Jazz Baltica (D), Salzburg Jazzherbst (A), Sibiu (Ro), Stavanger Maijazz (NO), St.Ingbert (D), St. Petersburg (RUS), Strasbourg (F), Usti Nad Labem (CZ), Trencin (SK), Tuxtla Gutierrez (MEX), Vienne (F), Wangaratta (AUS), Warsaw (PL), Weilheim (D), Wien (A), Wiesbaden (D), Wiesen (A), Wroclaw (PL).
“A lovely player on both tenor saxophone and alto flute, always melodic in his improvisations, always conversational in tone.”
(Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast (London)