2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:28
He wrote a large number of pieces of music, and his fans, lovers of live music, filled the huge concert halls. James Last was on stage until recently, because that's where he felt at home, among his favorite admirers of his talent.
Hans Last was born on April 17, 1929 in Bremen. He inherited his musical talent from his father, who played drums and bandoneon (a type of harmonica). Deciding to repeat the musical fate of his father, in 1943 James Last (pseudonym of Hans) went to the army music school in Frankfurt am Main. For the music-loving James, this was the only way to begin his musical education. At school, he learned to play the bassoon and double bass, although he passionately dreamed of playing the clarinet.
During the war, the school was destroyed, students are transferred to another army music school Bückeburg. The teaching instrument double bass survived among the musical instruments studied, but his desire to learn the clarinet was again not fulfilled. Tuba has appeared in the music schedule.
ThisIt turned out to be a stroke of luck for Last, as he realized that this instrument could be perfectly combined with drums and accordion. Unfortunately, Last's music was march-like in the beginning, and the improvisation he later grew to love had to wait a while.
In 1945, new events take place in the biography of James Last, connected with the return to Bremen after completing his studies. Being a professional musician, in 1946 he and his brothers Robert Last and Kai Werner began to work in the orchestra created at Radio Bremen. In addition, they toured a lot. During the tour, Last gets acquainted with folk melodies, collects them, and processes them in a new way. During this time, James composed his first musical composition for the film The Hunters.
Thanks to his extraordinary talent, the nineteen-year-old youth creates his first Hans Last String Orchestra. He invited the violinist Helmur Zakharia to the orchestra, with whom he goes on tour in Europe.
Jazz is a great passion
In addition to his work in a dance band, James Last has a passion for jazz. Thanks to American radio stations, I got acquainted with a new musical style - American jazz. He imitated his idols Chubby Jackson and Danish Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen quite successfully. In 1950-1952, James Last was chosen by the men's magazine The Gondola as the best jazz bassist. A year later, he attracted the attention of such famous colleagues as Paul Kuhn, Max Greger and Fred Bunge.
In the biography of James Last, another event is participation with other jazz musicians in the created German All Stars. And in 1953, at a jazz festival in Frankfurt am Main, a performance at a concert. Thanks to the unusually good interaction, the concert at Telefunken came out as a long-playing album.
The use of a tape recorder, in which the load duplicated individual parts of the string several times, was new for that time. Therefore, it seemed that there were much more musicians than in reality. It was a sensation in music.
The biography of James Last in 1955 was supplemented with information that he married W altrud from Bremen and moved to Hamburg-Langenhorn. The reason for the move was his new contract job as bassist with the NWDR dance band. In 1957, the Last family increased, a girl was born, who was named Rina (Ekaterina), and a year later, another replenishment, this time the wife made James happy with a son, who was named Ron (Ronald).
Finally, an arranger
In the early 60s, James Last wrote arrangements for the Last Becker Ensemble and the Bremen Radio Orchestra. Many musicians collaborated with Polydor, soon James Last was also invited to collaborate with this record company. The recorded two records did not bring him satisfaction.
However, known for his continuous releases, he releases up to 12 albums a year. He continues to work on music all the time, being in search of somethingsomething unique and new, such as arrangements of famous melodies. James Last created his own orchestra in 1964. In 1965, Polydor released the album Non Stop Dancing 1965, which becomes popular and has a real, overwhelming success. It was in this year and on this disc that the pseudonym of Hans Last appeared - James. Polydor, without informing the author, changed his name. As it turned out later, this was a necessary condition for the implementation of the project on the international market.
Tours and awards
James Last becomes one of the favorite and popular arranger musicians. The biography of James Last in the 70s is full of constant touring. In 1972, James Last made a big tour of the Soviet Union.
And in 1974 he drew 60,000 people to a charity concert in Berlin in front of the Schöneberg City Hall, which was broadcast in full on television. After that, tours took place all over the world. With his orchestra, James Last performed in East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, England and Ireland, Scandinavia, Holland, gave guest performances in the GDR. Ordinary concerts on tour eventually turned into real high-class shows!
In 1977, James Last writes his popular composition - Einsamer Hirt ("The Lonely Shepherd"). In 1980, he moved to Florida with his family and created a recording studio there, releasing new albums.
In 1991 he was awarded the ZDF, a special prize for many years of international success. In 1995 he was awardedHonorary Echo 1994 Life Award. In 1996 James Last released two new records filled with Russian melodies and current hits. In the same year, he again went on tour in Germany for the first time in 10 years. 1997 was a difficult year for James last, after 42 years of marriage, his beloved wife W altraud died.
In 1999, Last celebrated his 70th birthday, in the summer he married Christina Grunder, who is 30 years younger than him, and went on a big European tour with almost 50 concerts. 150,000 tickets sold marked the most successful tour in 1999.
In one of his interviews, James Last said:
…I just compose music that comes from my heart, music that I love myself. And when I see millions of people like me listening and hearing this music that I want to convey to them that I am really happy…
The result of the musician's activity can be called his original albums, which have been sold in numerous editions around the world. And their author received an infinite number of awards and titles. The discography of James Last consists of more than two hundred of his most famous works, including:
- Non Stop Dancing.
- James Last in Holland.
- Live in Europe.
- Christmas Dancing.
James died on June 9, 2015 at the age of 86, was buried in the Ohlsdorf cemetery in Hamburg.
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