Achim Kaufmann (piano, composer, electronics) was born in Aachen, Germany, and has been living in Amsterdam since 1996.
He is involved in a number of different projects, some of them all improvised, some of them featuring his own compositions: His gueuledeloup quartet (with Michael Moore, John Hollenbeck, Henning Sieverts) "melds elements of the free zone with tenderly executed dreamscape type passages" (allaboutjazz) Their two CDs, Gueuledeloup (Red Toucan, 2002) and Double Exposure (Leo, 2000) have been called "models of some of the finest forward-thinking chamber jazz coming out of Europe today."
The improvising trio of Achim Kaufmann, Frank Gratkowski and Wilbert de Joode has released two discs so far (on Konnex and on nuscope) and is currently preparing their third release of energetic, multi-layered improvised chamber music.
Trio Kamosc (with Michael Moore and Dylan van der Schyff) is another group that mixes composition and improvisation in unique ways, including "blatantly traditional" materials that are treated as found objects.
Achim currently works on repertoires for different piano trios which he will record during the course of the year.
Besides, he has written music for string quartet and works as a solo performer. In 2001, he was awarded the prestigious German SWR Jazz Award.
Coming from a musical family, Achim started getting interested in the piano, improvisation and composition at age 15 and also took clarinet lessons for a while. Later he attended the Cologne Conservatory where he studied with Frank Wunsch and Rainer Bruninghaus. In 1986, he received a scholarship for the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada to study and work with David Holland, Steve Coleman, Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, Richie Beirach, and others. He also studied privately with Steve Lacy in Paris.
In the 80s and 90s, he worked in various bands and projects in the Cologne area and throughout Germany, covering a wide spectrum of musical genres - mainstream jazz, fusion, contemporary classical music, music for the theatre, free improvisation, and pop-influenced music.
Since the early 90s, Achim has focused more on writing music for his own groups (mostly trios) which led to his CD Weave, released in 1997. After his move to Amsterdam, he formed a quartet with reed player Michael Moore and percussionist John Hollenbeck.
In the last few years, he has also been increasingly active in the field of improvised music as documented on the trio CDs Kwast and Unearth with Frank Gratkowski and Wilbert de Joode.