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PLATTNER & PLATTNERS
JAZZ CORPORATION

 

Helmut Plattner, born 1940, is one of the founding fathers of the Jazz scene in his native Niederösterreich, the largest of Austria’s federal provinces. Together with friends from the Wachau & Tullnerfeld regions, in the early 1960’s he had a major part in setting up a Jazz club in Krems, a beautiful and cultural-minded town on the Danube, at the Eastern edge of the Wachau, about 40 miles from Vienna.

As a trumpeter, bandleader, arranger, and sometimes piano & reed player, he shaped many bands in the Krems region–among them the Courthouse Jazzband and the legendary Studio Combo–, but he also made his mark in the jazz scene of the Austrian capital, where he was a welcome guest in Vienna’s foremost traditional bands: the Barrelhouse Jazzband, the Blue Note Six, the Red Hot Pods and the Storyville Jazzband, to name just a few.

Not satisfied with this achievements alone, during the 1960’s he had–obviously not without the help of his wife Erika, who happened to have played the guitar in the Studio Combo, but meanwhile had switched her focus to Classical Music–fathered and raised three children, all of whom turned out to have a proclivity to music, in particular to jazz. The next step predictably was to incorporate his offspring into musical projects, and eventually to unleash the ultimate Austrian family band: the first of international renown since the Trapp family of ‘Sound Of Music’ fame, and certainly the first ever in Austrian jazz: Plattner & Plattners Jazz Corporation.

 The original edition of that ensemble comprised the domestic front line of Helmut Plattner (trumpet), the younger son Bernhard (trombone) and the elder son Christian (clarinet & alto saxophone). In the rhythm section there were two old friends from Krems: Gereon Wolter (banjo & piano) and Peter Bauer (double bass); and Leslaw Tenczar on drums. At least in the formative years, the stylistic emphasis remained on Traditional Jazz of all varieties–Dixieland, New Orleans & Chicago Jazz, intermingled with brief excursions into Swing & Bebop.

Appearances first at private parties, then in Vienna’s famous Jazzland, and soon after at radio & television shows ensued. Two LPs were recorded (‘Heavy Dixieland Package’ & ‘What A Wonderful World’, both on Wildcat Records, the second one featuring British trombone great Roy Williams), and a busy concert schedule all over Austria and the neighbouring countries followed suit.

Several occupational changes (Peter Bauer being called to the University of Cologne, Germany, to hold a teaching post for Medical Statistics; Christian Plattner concentrating on an international career in both Management & Music; Bernhard Plattner quitting the music business altogether) resulted in changes of personnel. Over the years, Plattner & Plattners Jazz Corporation and the closely related Swing and Mainstream outfit Plattner & Co have included the family’s youngest offspring, Susanne Plattner (guitar & vocals), bass player Martin Treml, trombone player & arranger Heinz Czadek, Thomas Schwetz–a member of the equally musical Schwetz family from Böheimkirchen & former pupil of Christian Plattner–on clarinet & tenor saxophone, pianists Ronnie Weisz & Heribert Kohlich, and drummer Walther Großrubatscher.