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Alex Riel
September 13, 1940
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Alex Riel Drummerworld

Alex Riel - the Charles Lloyd Quartet - Bobo Stenson
Blues For Duke

Alex Riel Drummerworld© Goffredo Loertscher
Alex Riel
Alex Riel was born September 1940 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and has since the sixties remained firmly established as one of the most significant and influential jazz drummers in Europe.  His career began in the early sixties where he was the house drummer at the legendary jazz club "Montmartre" in Copenhagen. The rhythm section also included bass player Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and alternately pianists Tete Montuliu and Kenny Drew. During this time Alex Riel got to accompany a vast number of visiting international stars as Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Dorham, Don Byas, Donald Byrd, Yusef Lateef and many more.

This experience led to Alex Riel being chosen as the “Danish Jazz Musician Of the Year” in 1965, and shortly hereafter he released his first recording as a bandleader. It was a trio recording with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Kenny Drew which has now become collector’s item.  In 1965-66 Alex Riel also toured in Europe as a member of the renowned pianist Bill Evans’ trio with bassist Eddie Gomez.  

Over the years Alex Riel has played with an impressive number of fine jazz musicians representing both the traditional and the modern way. His very first impression of jazz drumming was that of Big Sid Catlett and Zutty Zingleton, and this early influence is still perceptible in his playing. However Riel’s appearance with musicians such as Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Archie Shepp, Michel Petrucciani, Gary Burton, John Scofield etc has made him widely known as an outstanding modern drummer taking up the styles of drummers Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes and Tony Williams.

Alex Riel has also been working a great deal outside the jazz area. He was a founding member of “The Savage Rose” - one of the most significant Scandinavian rock groups ever – with whom he recorded several albums. They toured extensively around Europe and US in the late 60s and early 70s. In 1969 they played at the original Newport Festival in USA where they shared the stage with Jethru Tull and James Brown. In addition to this, Alex Riel has drawn attention to himself as a rock drummer through his long time work with the successful Danish singer and composer Sebastian. Riel has furthermore been playing in a number of jazz-rock fusion bands. 

Ever since the late 50’s Alex Riel has played as a sideman on several hundred jazz recordings with various international artists. During the last decade he’s been releasing CD’s in his own name as well. These recordings are featuring contemporary stars such as Jerry Bergonzi, Michael Brecker, Kenny Werner and Mike Stern – but also “old” favourites like trumpet player Harry Sweet Edison and bassist Eddie Gomez.

In the recent years Alex Riel has worked a great deal with the Hamburg based NDR big band featuring Abdullah Ibrahim, and toured with a vast number of smaller groups, including groups led or co-led by himself.  He’s also been playing various studio jobs and concerts with artists like Phil Woods, Charlie Mariano, Lisa Nilsson, Stefano Bollani, Palle Danielsson, John Taylor, Johnny Griffin, Jacky Terrasson, Andy Sheppard, Palle Mikkelborg, Didier Lockwood and Pat Metheny.

Alex Riel has received several awards and marks of honour throughout his carreer. In fact he is regulary being referred to as “a living legend”. It is however his youthful playfulness on stage and his obvious enjoyment of playing the drums that perhaps to this day characterize him more than anything.

Please see www.alexriel.dk for further info, discography, press photos etc

Alex Riel Drummerworld

Alex Riel Drummerworld

Mads Vinding Trio - Ray Brown - Ben Webster - Jean-Luc Ponty - Pat Metheny - Vera Lynn - Lisa Nilsson - Didier Lockwood - Jesper Lundgaard - Heine Hansen - Hanne Boel - Art Farmer - Tubby Hayes - NDR Big Band - Mike Stern - Chris Minh Doky - Niels Lan Doky - Jerry Bergonzi - Lutz Buechner - Carsten Dahl - Jesper Lundgaard - Bob Brookmeyer - Niels-Henning - Ørsted Pedersen - Peter Vuust - Michael Brecker - Randy Brecker - Stephane Grapelli - Cat Anderson - John Abercrombie - Sven Asmussen - Albert Ayler - Toshiko Akiyoshi - Nat Adderley - Jan Allan - Arild Andersen - Benny Bailey - Gordon Beck - Uli Beckerhoff - Han Bennink - Rolf Billberg - Paul Bley - Francy Boland - Richard Boone - Allan Botschinsky - Dee Dee Bridgewater - Donald Byrd - Don Byas Quartet - Jon Balke - Etta Cameron - Ian Carr - Philip Catherine - Don Cherry - Jon Christensen - Buck Clayton - Ted Curson - Wolfgang Dauner - Wild Bill Davidson - Nathan Davis - Arne Domnérus - Klaus Doldinger - Kenny Dorham - Kenny Drew - Urszula Dudziak - Jack Dupree - Johnny Dyani - Roman Dylag - Roy Eldridge - Rolf Ericson - Booker Ervin - Maffy Falay - Mongezi Feza - Tomas Franck - Bud Freeman - David Friesen - Bill Frisell - Benny Golson - Terry Gibbs - Astrud Gilbert - Paul Gonsalves - Babs Gonzales - Dexter Gordon - Dusko Goykovich - George Gruntz - Rune Gustafsson - Scott Hamilton - Jan Hammer - Slide Hampton - John Handy - Jon Hendricks - David Horowitz - Fred Hunt - Abdullah Ibrahim - Chuck Israels - Theis Jensen - Howard Johnson - J.J. Johnson - Hank Jones - Thad Jones - Carmell Jones - Clifford Jordan - Duke Jordan - Barney Kessel - Erich Kleinschuster - Jimmy Knepper - Eero Koivistoinen - Krzysztof Komeda - Volker Kriegel - Joachim Kühn - Steve Kuhn - Rolf Kühn - Steve Lacy - Bireli Lagrene - Birgit Løkke Larsen - Yusef Lateef - Andy LaVerne - Charles Lloyd - Eddy Louiss - Jackie McLean - Bobby McFerrin - Jim McNeely - Albert Mangelsdorf - Manhatten Transfer - Charlie Mariano - Red Mitchell - James Moody - George Mraz - Marc Murphy - Niels Petter Molvaer - David Murray - Zbigniew Namyslowski - Ray Nance - Oliver Nelson - Sal Nistico - Joe Newman - Albert Nicholas - Cæcilie Norby - Walter Norris - Novi Singers - Horace Parlan - Fritz Pauer - Nat Peck - Alladär Pege - Åke Persson - Oscar Peterson - Ray Pitts - Al Porcino - Ferdinand Povel - Russel Procope - Jimmy Raney - Enrico Rava - Jerome Richardson - Shorty Rogers - Adelhard Roidinger - Dom Um Romao - Bernt Rosengren - Frank Rosolino - George Russel - Terje Rypdal - Wolfgang Schlüter - Zbigniew Seifert - Bud Shank - Archie Shepp - Bobby Shew - Sahib Shihab Quintet & Sextet - Alan Skidmore - Martial Solal - Lew Soloff - Tomasz Stanko - Bo Stief - Billy Strayhorn - Fredy Studer - Idrees Sulieman - John Surman - Steve Swallow - Swingle Singers - Grady Tate - John Taylor - John Tchicai - Clark Terry - Eje Thelin - Barbara Thompson - Jukka Tolonen - Mel Tormé - Donn Trenner - Peter Trunk - Michal Urbaniak - Ack Van Rooyen - Jasper Van´t Hof - Mal Waldron - Benny Waters - Eberhard Weber - Lasse Werner - Kenny Wheeler - Ernie Wilkins - Cootie Williams - Nancy Wilson - Kay Winding - Norma Winstone - Jimmy Witherspoon - Jimmy Woode - Phil Woods - Leo Wright - Jan Wroblewski - Sonny Boy Williamson - Monica Zetterlund...and many more...

Alex Riel DrummerworldAlex Riel Trio
Jesper Lundgaard - Alex Riel - Heine Hansen

Drummerworld Video
Alex Riel - Bill Evans - Eddie Gomez
Autumn Leaves - 1966
very rare document - from Alex Riel's private archive

All Alex Riel Videos are
Alex Riel Drummerworld

Alex Riel Drummerworld © Gorm Valentin

Drummerworld Video
Alex Riel
Extended Drum Solo
from: Danish Drum Legends - Volume I

All Alex Riel Videos are
Alex Riel Drummerworld

Alex Riel Drummerworld

Alex Riel Drummerworld

Alex Riel DrummerworldAlex Riel, Kenny Drew, Ben Webster, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen
photo: Jan Persson

Alex Riel Drummerworld

Alex Riel - Bill Evans - Eddie Gomez
Concert 1967 Danmark
very rare document

Alex Riel DrummerworldDuke Ellington and Sam Woodyard presenting the award
"Danish Jazz Musician of the Year" to Alex Riel
photo: Jan Persson

Alex Riel DrummerworldAlex Riel and comedian and pianist Victor Borge

Alex Riel - Bill Evans - Eddie Gomez
Full Appearance - 1966
very rare document - from Alex Riel's private archive

Alex Riel DrummerworldAlex Riel, Ben Webster, Kenny Drew, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen

Alex Riel DrummerworldAlex Riel, Eddie Gomez, Bill Evans and Monica Zetterlund 
photo: Jan Persson

Alex Riel Drummerworld

Alex Riel Drummerworld
Bernhard, You have made a truly amazing and unique contribution to the world of drumming, and I’m very proud to have been included here.

Hope our paths will cross again soon so we can take up the chat - and drumming! - where we left it last time. Both the Missus and I would love that very much!

All the best to you and the family
Alex Riel

Alex Riel Drummerworld

Drummerworld Video
Alex Riel - Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen - Ulf Wakenius
"LINES" by Ulf Wakenius
ZDF Jazz Germany - 1992

All Alex Riel Videos are
Alex Riel Drummerworld

Alex Riel DrummerworldHans Ulrik - Poul Halberg - Frans Bak - Bo Stief - Alex Riel

Alex Riel Drummerworld Alex Riel & Eddie Gomez

Drummerworld Video
Alex Riel - Jesper Lundgaard - Heine Hansen:
Jazztrio Trading Eight's
from: Danish Drum Legends - Volume I

All Alex Riel Videos are
Alex Riel Drummerworld

Alex Riel Drummerworld Savage Rose

Alex Riel DrummerworldStefan Pasborg presenting
"Life Time Achievement Award" from IFPI

Alex Riel DrummerworldPat Metheny - Alex Riel

Alex Riel Drummerworld thanks for your visit!

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