After co-leading the JBBG – JAZZ BIGBAND GRAZ from 2002 until 2019 I decided to step back from leading the band, but I still very much enjoy working with my partner Horst-Michael Schaffer. In 2018 we developed the idea of a smaller unit, which might also function as a laboratory for new ideas for the large band and which provides more space, when it comes to improvising. Next to Horst-Michael and myself we invited long-time band member, keyboarder Uli Rennert as well as the latest edition of our rhythm section, young Austrian bassist Thomas Wilding as well as drummer Tom Stabler.

In February 2021 Uli tragically died because of the side effects of his COVID-infection. After a few speechless months we came to the conclusion that he definitely would have insisted in carrying on. So we invited the Armenian pianist Karen Asatrian into the band. Providing his own artistry he, of course changed the colour of the band. I certainly believe that Uli would have approved it!

As a part of a concert series we invite guest artists, who we are closely affiliated with. In the past we performed with David Helbock, Christian Bakanic, Hanno Busch, Nguyên Lê, Matthias Loibner, Rick Margitza, Adrian Mears, Wolfgang Puschnig and Sebastian Studnitzky among others.


  • Horst-Michael Schaffer – Trumpet, Flügelhorn, Vocals
  • Heinrich von Kalnein – Tenor- & Soprano Saxophons, Flutes
  • Karen Asatrian – Piano, Keyboards
  • Thomas Wilding – E-Bass
  • Tom Stabler – Drums, Live Electronics