Michael Hornstein was born of a German father and an Italian mother in 1962. He started playing the piano at the age of 10 and later saxophone at the age of 14. Michael Hornstein began as a self-taught musician under the influence of listening to Charlie Parker. He studied music at the University for music and interpretative arts in Graz from 1979 to 1982. In 1983 he received a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music.
He has collaborated with musicians like Sunny Murray, Al Porcino, Albert Mangelsdorff, Udo Lindenberg, Hector Martignon, Blank & Jones, Bob Dorough, Billy Hart, Fred Braceful, Gary Peacock, Joe Bonner, Sandra Kaye and Joe Madrid among many others. In his recorded works one finds flavours of jazz, drum and bass, trip hop, electronic music as well as a series of commissions for silent movies, shortcuts and artvideos.
He has participated in festivals and productions all over the world, as well in collaboration with the Goethe Institutes: Georgia, Serbia, Bosnia, Spain, Mexico, Cuba, USA, Colombia, Greece, Italy, China, etc. His longer stays abroad from Germany include time in New York, Sevilla, Bogotá.
He worked as a Professor at the University Javeriana in Colombia in 2003. Since 2004 he works as well as a producer for international folklore, emphased on Latin America in countries like: Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Venezuela, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Haiti and in 2008 with members of the Buena Vista Social Club in Cuba. He is featured on the compilation Cafe Del Mar Vol.14 with the track Carma.
* Langsames Blau (Enja, 1993),
* Dry Red (Edition Collage, 1994),
* Innocent Green (Enja, 1996),
* Asphalt (1999),
* Jazz On Mars (2001),
* Danza Mestiza (Milenium, Colombia, 2003),
* Draught, (Leo records, London, 2005)
* Westend (CSM, Austria, 2006),
* Let It Go (Spice records),
* Carma Cafe Del Mar Vol. 14
the Kilomto the sharp-witted magician of sound mixes relaxed grooves
with cool live music. And when - to top it all - the go-go girls dance,
then the barriers between Trash and High Class Club Sound finally fall.
Every Thursday at Christian Blau´s "Kilombo": The converging point for
up-to-the- minute alternative barroom culture between Vienna and
Berlin. In the middle of Munich. (GO Munich 2003)
Write-up on "Jazz Orange"
Süddeutsche Zeitung (South German National Daily) 2002
The youthful, fragile looking saxophonist, probably one of the greatest contemporary musicians of our time, brings to the stage an atmosphere all of his own. The person in question is Michael Hornstein. Together with his ingeniously selected band, 40 year old Hornstein played an equally ingenious late-night-session at the Gräfelfing Cultural Festival on Saturday. With their number "Everybody Dance", which lasted for more than half an hour, they managed to get the sozzled and overtired audience in the large circus tent up on their feet again. It only took moments to get the first people up and after 30 minutes, masses of people were dancing in front of the stage. "Jazz Orange" was the title of the two-hour performance. And the variety of the dancers´ styles reflected the extraordinary individuality of Hornstein´s music and interpretations. With apparent ease he managed to create a cohesion between the band members which other musicians have to strive hard for. He gave his percussionist, "Mister M.C.", for example, a lot of space to find his own way. An Afro-Jungle sound with much drumming and vocal impressions à la Al Jarreau in his best years astonisched with his dominance. Hornstein, on the other hand, stayed modestly in the background much too often, intentionally leaving the show to the others. That´s what one would expect of him. He can afford to feature his musicians, for when he does pick up the sax, then the true saxophone fan hears only his sound. Immaculate intonation and musical surprises in spirited interpretations of, for example, "Fly Me To The Moon" dissolved existing thought-structures about classical jazz. The resulting music was funky pop-jazz with a large dash of Afrobeat. For Hornstein it´s the groove that counts, the tingle in the stomach, which makes for his idiosynchratic and characteristic sound. He moves like a dancer as he plays, and he plays with chewing gum in his mouth. He never loses eye contact with his rhythmic motor on percussion. Japanese borne Miyabi Sudo on keyboards is conspicuous by her modesty. Towards the end of the concert she becomes more assertive. The groundbeat is provided by Chris Lachotta on his excitingly styled electric bass violin, which seems to consist only of a wide fingerboard.
Each of the band members to their own way on the stage; each is an extreme individualist. Hornstein leaves them a lot of rope and, at the operative moment, gathers them together again. Conceptual music exists alongside extravagant interpretations. This is the hallmark of his absolute professionalism. It could have continued like this until the wee small hours, but the legal closing down time still didn´t put an end to the concert until way after midnight. GABRIELE FELIX, SZ 08/2002
Michael Hornstein with the "the new trio"
"...a unique experience... miraculously balanced mixture of originals and masterlike improvisations... absoluteley balanced..."
(Uno mas uno, mexicó city, 28.4.99)
"Without any doubt the climax of the eurojazzfestival was the concert of the new trio.
With its fragil and vulnerate music of the trio the audience was enthralled by the music...
The three musicians melt into a homogenic sound... are able to do what hey want with the art of the break... creating solos, duos, trios, floating waves of sounds, music of a unique seductive beauty..."
(La Jornada, mexicó city, 29.4.99)
“... on their concert at the Cultural Cabanas on the 22.4.99 the three members of the new trio proved very impressively, why they are noted as the most important representatives of the young music scene in germany. In the unusual orchestration: Guitar, alto saxophone and piano they created the almost impossible: A unique, till now not to be heard music, but no intellectual idea, but so natural, that there is the question, why there is not more music in that orchestration... a unforgettable evening, that leves a deep impression...
(Público, Guadalajara, 24.4.99)
Jugoslavian Tour 2000
"Concert for alto saxophone and silence"
... one of the most outstanding representatives of modern European jazz, Michael Hornstein, combines on "Jazz On Mars" his abilities as improviser, saxophone player, film composer, producer of electronic music, entertainer... the unimaginable is achieved – a soloist with a sophisticated concept fills an entire entertaining gripping evening ... brilliant treatment of silence, pauses and the background sounds in and outside the "Klub M" … unmistakable personal sound of the saxophone, changing in single phrases from deep vulnerability to archaic violence ... every composition tells a very unique story ... music that is effective and pleasant even on a physical level...
(G. Iejanovic in Narodne Novine, Nis 19.9.00)
"Magic moments at the ethnographic museum"
"... Hornstein presented himself with a unique mixture of improvised music, film music, minimal music, ambient and contemporary jazz ... an outstanding live performance, which produces a movie in the head of the listener .... ranging from minimalist playing just on the mouthpiece of the saxophone to brilliant virtuoso cascades and ‘sheets of sounds’ in the tradition of John Coltrane. Cleverly combined with very different background sounds ... with almost meditative urgency Hornstein created an electric charge... magic moments with music "out of this world"
(Dnevni Telegraf, Belgrad 23.9.00)
"In the sign of the celebrator"
... the performance of German alto saxophonist Michael Hornstein - internationally noted among other things for his collaboration with Gary Peacock - was one of the highlights of the festival for improvised music in Kanjiza. Michael Horntein came alone because his bandmembers had fallen ill, and spontaneously developed a amazing concept and justified his reputation as a seasoned improviser. First he played as a Duo with the Hungarian percussion player Geroly Tamas, what might most closely be termed ethno jazz. After that they brought in the bass player Mezey Szrilard and as a trio delivered an impressive flight of collective improvisation. In the end Michael Hornstein encountered jazz legend Mal Waldron. First with professional coolness, but then with what seemed endlessly rising spiritual intensity on the highest energy level. The enthusiastic audience saw an unforgettable meeting of cultures and generations, exactly in the original spirit of this festival...
(Slobodan Arandelovic in Danas, Belgrad 21.9.2000)
Translations: Elvir Mesalic
Between improvisations on the saxophone and atmospheric soundscapes tensions are built, which create a wide space for the associations of the listeners. The first tune "Silence of" uses the acoustics of the room where the performance takes places - the thing conventionally called silence. The sounds of the room itself, the reverberations and background noises become part of the music. The acoustic situation is not just used as the precondition of the music, but becomes the sound box and dialogue partner. This is followed by the saxophone confronting pre-produced surreal soundscapes, that can be understood as imaginations of silence. These electronic sheets of sound are combined with clearly defined saxophone improvisations - two levels of composition, which rub together and with the acoustic definitions of the specific location. The listener becomes part of the music and changes through his imagination the real acoustic definitions of the room. Jazz on Mars changes the perception of the acoustic world we live in.