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Space Age Music Maker

Claus Ogerman

  • Born 29 April 1930, Ratibor, Germany (now Raciborz, Poland)

Watusi Trumpets LPAlong with Lalo Schifrin, Ogerman created some of the fruggin'-best arrangements of the "now sound." His two mid-60s instrumental albums for RCA--Watusi Trumpets and Saxes Mexicano--are well worth looking for, as are his arrangements for Cal Tjader's "Soul Sauce"-era albums on Verve.

Ogerman studied classical piano in Nuremberg after graduating from gymnasium, then joined Kurt Edelhagen's pioneering German jazz band. He spent five years with rival bandleader Max Greger, during which time he began doing arrangements and composed scores for 14 German films.

In 1959, he emigrated to the U.S. and worked for television and recording studios as a commercial arranger. By 1963, he had become something of a house arranger for Verve, where he worked on albums by Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Tjader. He then moved with producer Creed Taylor to Herb Alpert's A&M label, where he worked with Paul Desmond and others.

By the end of the 60s, he began moving away from commercial work and concentrated on his own compositions and recordings. He recorded intermittently for a variety of jazz labels, mostly complex pieces for larger ensembles.


  • Fiddler on the Roof, RCA Victor LP
  • Watusi Trumpets, RCA Victor LSP-3455
  • Saxes Mexicano, RCA Victor LSP-3640
  • Gate of Dreams, Warner Brothers WB 3006
  • Aranjuez, Jazz Man 5015

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