After he retired from the NDR in 1994 he maintained an active schedule that included playing, teaching, and recording engagements, He also taught at conservatories in Hamburg, Bremen
, Hannover, Rotterdam
, and Amsterdam, and authored "Crossover,'' a jazz instruction book. "He was a sincere, classy guy, a gentleman musician," is how van Rooyen describes him. "He believed 100% in his music and had a lot of integrity. Plus, he stood absolutely behind the music, and was also a supportive colleague. He was one of the few musicians that I knew that had played with Clifford Brown
. I respected him not only as a musician, but as a man."
When I tell van Rooyen about the Oslo jam session during the Oslo Jazz Festival when Herb held his own surrounded by younger players, he smiles and says: "He had a great enthusiasm, and a never-failing appetite and interest for music until his 80s. In the last years when he played while perched on a stool on stage, Herb simply said, "I'm getting older." True that. But he still had the chops.
Herb Geller was born in Los Angeles, California on November 2, 1928; he passed away in Hamburg, Germany on December 19. 2013. Photo Credit