Simon Cato Spang-Hanssen

Simon Cato Spang-Hanssen

Musicians | Instrument: Saxophone | Location: Copenhagen

Finally, the freshness of the soprano-sound of Simon Spang-Hanssen, seems, to me, to be one of the most convincing today.

—Jean-Pierre Moussaron, Jazz Magazine, France

Updated: January 7, 2024

Born: April 13, 1955


Born in Copenhagen, Denmark on April 13th


Starts playing alto-saxophone, later also tenor and soprano


Member of ”Strange Brothers” with Peter Danstrup , Ole Rømer and John Tchicai.


Receives the annual Ben Webster Price and creates his own quartet “Spacetrain” with Ben Besiakov, Jesper Lundgaard and Alex Riel.


Plays in many different groups with among others: Jan Kaspersen, Pierre Doerge, Marilyn Mazur, Atilla Engin, Okay Temiz, Mozar Terra, Chuim, Jesper Zeuthen,the Voodoo Gang….


Joins the sextet of Brazilian drummer and composer Nenê, tours in Denmark and France (double-concertsl with Hermeto Pascoal e Grupo).


Moves to Paris and plays with a.o.: Denis Badault ( National Jazz Orch.,quartet,duo,) Andy Emler, Nguyên Lê, Quintet Moutin, Ramuntcho Matta, Edouard Ferlet and with his own projects including musicians such as: Richard Bona, Billy Hart,Niels Lan Doky, J.F. Jenny-Clarke, Bojan Z., Alain Jean-Marie, Simon Goubert,Xavier Desandre, Mariane Bitran…


Release of ”Mardi Gras, Chez Toi” and creation of ”Maaneklar” (a quintet with sax,flute, bass and two percussionists).

Release of”Ekwata”, duo with D. Badault.


Moves back to Copenhagen and creates the tentet ”Central Earth” with among others: Poul Reimann,Fredrik Lundin, Bjarne Roupé, Marc Davis,  Anders Mogensen…records ”Wondering” with Maaneklar  for Dacapo.


Concerts and recording with a new quartet with Thomas Clausen, Jesper Lundgaard and Billy Hart.( ”Identified” Dacapo ).

First performances with ”Ear Witness”  with Emil Spányi, ,Linley Marthe and Felix Sabal-Lecco.


Creation of ”Flower Machine” with Thomas Agergaard, Klavs Hovman and Marilyn Mazur.


Concerts   in quintet with a.o. Anders Bergcrantz and Kasper Villaume.


“French Quartet” with Franck Tortiller, Yves Torchinsky and Francois Laizeau ( ”Noctiflore” Altrisuoni ). Release of ”Dancing on Monday” with Flower Machine. Member of the ”United Notions” saxophone-quartet.


Release of ”Ear Witness” and ”Live in Copenhagen Jazzhouse” w. Central Earth (Music  Mecca ).


New 5-tet with Bob Rockwell, Peter Dahlgren, Jeppe Skovbakke/ Yasser Pino and Karsten Bagge .

”Rainbow Spirit” with Dawda Jobarteh, Thomas Fonnesbech and Ayi Solomon.


Member of Edouard Ferlet’s ”l’Echarpe d’Iris” with Alain Grange and Xavier Desandre. New octet-version of ”Maaneklar” with a.o. Kristian Jørgensen, Bent Clausen, Benita Haastrup, Mariane Bitran…Member of Emil Hess “Evolution Nonet”. Quartet with Mario Canonge, Michel Zenino and Tony Rabeson. Member of Niels Praestholms “EMBLA”.


Start of the record label Alisio ( Spangster Records), release of Rainbow Spirit and ”Coexistence” with the 5-tet. Member of Alain Apaloo’s “API PIPO”.


release of “The Riddle” with Ear Witness. Live-recording in Copenhagen Jazzhouse with “MAANEKLAR XL”.  Nominations for Danish Jazz Awards: Composer of the Year, Album of the year: Coexistence, cross-over album of the year : Rainbow Spirit.

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Take Five With...

Take Five With Simon Spang-Hanssen

Read "Take Five With Simon Spang-Hanssen" reviewed by Simon Spang-Hanssen

Meet Simon Spang-Hanssen:First concerts in 1976 with John Tchicai and Strange Brothers, later also with Ben Besiakov, Jesper Lundgaard, Alex Riel, New Jungle Orchestra, Jan Kaspersen, Mozar Terra, Doug Raney.In Paris, from 1985-98: Orchestra National de Jazz, Denis Badault, Andy Emler, Nguyên Lê, Quintet Moutin, Ramuntcho Matta, Edouard Ferlet.Since 1998, mainly leader of my own ensembles with, amongst others, Kristian Joergensen, Bob Rockwell, Marilyn Mazur,Linley Marthe, Dawda Jobarteh, Thomas Fonnesbech, Mariane Bitran, Xavier Desandre, ...

Album Review

Simon Spang-Hanssen: Ear Witness

Read "Ear Witness" reviewed by Annika Westman

Ear Witness--whose members are from Denmark, Hungary, Mauritius, and Cameroon--is not exactly your average jazz quartet. To be a bit more precise, let's call this music what it is: funky fusion. Ear Witness is one of Danish saxophonist Simon Spang-Hanssen's many projects, and he wrote eight of its pieces (the ninth is a group composition). Each song has a catchy theme, which is one of Spang-Hanssen's trademarks. Sometimes they're almost too catchy for me, since they have a tendency to ...

Album Review

Simon Spang-Hanssen Quartet: Noctiflore

Read "Noctiflore" reviewed by Annika Westman

After having listened through Noctiflore several times under various circumstances, I bathed my ears properly in it one afternoon. There is no other remedy as good as an ear bath! To sit or lie comfortably with your eyes closed and disperse your ears into music, at a reasonably loud volume, with nothing else happening except the musical movements. Remedy for what? Well, I'd say for just about anything. There's not much in this world that can't be cured by one ...

Album Review

Simon Spang-Hanssen & Maneklar: Wondering

Read "Wondering" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Wondering, is a new release from the fine Denmark based record label, “Dacapo Records”. Danish jazz is alive and well while making gainful commercial and artistic strides within the International Modern Jazz scene. On Wondering, saxophonist Simon Spang-Hanssen with his group, “Maneklar” parallel Denmark’s beloved “New Jungle Orchestra” with the incorporation of cross-cultural rhythmic elements along with, East meets West slants and motifs.

Simon Spang-Hanssen is a very impressive technician whether performing on alto or soprano sax. Simply put, this ...

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"One has a clear sense of continuous intensety and inner glow when the saxophone- player Simon Spang-Hanssen is onstage. " Kjeld Frandsen , Berlinske Tidende (DK)

"Simon Spang-Hanssen, tenor & soprano saxophone, whose imagination seems unexhaustible..." Michel Contat , Telerama ( FR )

"He makes you think of Johnny Griffin because of the vélocity and the impatience, Dexter Gordon because of a sort of half-feinted nonchalance , immediately contradicted by his George Adams side ( a certain way of transgressing the references by lyricism and excess )" Franck Bergerot , Jazz Hot ( FR )

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Primary Instrument




Clinic/Workshop Information

Ensemble-playing. Based on a series of originals the students( all levels ) works with interpretation, form , section-work, creativity, spontaneous arrangements, reading, understanding of structure, sound, improvisation... Ideally the clinic runs for a couple of days and end with a concert.

"Rhythmic Music Conservatory", Copenhagen ,the Fyen Conservatory, music-schools in Sønderborg, Brandbjerg(Denmark )... Clinics in Grenoble,Rouen, Montpellier (France ), Mexico D.C.

Weather Report
band / ensemble / orchestra
Gil Evans
composer / conductor
Lionel Loueke
guitar, acoustic
Steve Clarke
bass, electric

Artists who share similar musical characteristics to Simon Cato Spang-Hanssen.

Sonny Rollins
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Wayne Shorter
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Gil Evans
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Charlie Parker
saxophone, alto



Little Island

From: Green or Purple
By Simon Cato Spang-Hanssen

Speaking To The Wind

From: Speaking To The Wind
By Simon Cato Spang-Hanssen

Painting Riddles On The Wall

From: Back To Earth
By Simon Cato Spang-Hanssen


From: Luna Moon
By Simon Cato Spang-Hanssen