Teddy Stauffer and his Original Teddies – I’m Gonna Lock My Heart, 1938 / Ernst Höllerhagen (cl)
Ernst Höllerhagen. He was considered extremely talented. It has been said that he bid farewell to a Gestapo officer who wanted to forbid jazz music with „Heil Benny Goodman“.
He had a facial paralysis and sometimes couldn’t play the clarinet. During these periods he played the violin a lot. Only a few people knew of this other passion of Höllerhagen’s. I admired him as a musician and we travelled all over Europe together.
Once while on tour in Copenhagen, Benny Goodman and his band suddenly came into the club where we were playing. Your interview-partner Dick Hyman was also there with us and I met this amazing pianist there for the first time. Höllerhagen was with us on stage and played brilliantly as usual. Benny Goodman turned his back on his own people and table and listened attentively to our concert, which he clearly enjoyed. He came up to us and told Höllerhagen, that he had never heard such a talented clarinettist in Europe and congratulated him. That was a tremendous compliment, not only for Höllerhagen, but also for me and the whole orchestra.
The paralysis symptoms eventually got better, but they came back and, in 1956, Höllerhagen took his own life in a hotel room in Interlaken, Switzerland. The suicide was directly related to his illness. It was rumoured that he killed himself over a girl, but I don’t believe that. I don’t know who that girl should have been.
Ernst Höllerhagen Quartett, The Elite Special Recordings, 1942-46
Ernst Höllerhagen – cl / Buddy Bertinat – p / Gene Favre – b / Polly Guggisberg – dr
Ernst Höllerhagen Quartett – Exactly Like You
Ernst Höllerhagen Quartett – Contact Benny
Ernst Höllerhagen Quartett – Take the “A” Train
Ernst Höllerhagen Quintet – ‘S Wonderful