By Patte Purcell

It’s always a thrill to see a musician that takes music to a new level. Hans Zermuehlen is one of these artists. This impressive 6 ft. 4 German keys player really rocks the house with his mastery and he never ceases to amaze me.

I started his interview by asking him how he became a musician. He explained that as a child his great grandmother had a piano. It was purchased for her by her daughter, Hans’ grandmother, a maid who lived in Chicago and saved all of her money, $419.00 to be exact to buy an upright piano for her mother. This is where the story begins.

The piano became the entertainment center for the family. He and his brother were ‘forced into’ piano lessons at the age of 8. He quit after 1 year. He ended up making a career of it. His brother had a record player and band equipment in the basement where they learned to play everything from the Beatles to Jimmy Hendrix by ear.

His father, a librarian, bought a gift for each of their children; Hans chose a Hammond MS chopped but ended up trading it for a Fender Rhodes Synthesizer. He got his first call from a musician’s service for a tour in Canada and so off he went. Bill Bridges the band leader picked him up and they rehearsed in his basement for 3 weeks before hitting the road.

He spent the next 3 weeks in Canada, the year was 1979.

Hans was chosen to tour with Air Supply from 1993 to 1995. He traveled all over the world with them from South America to Asia.

He got a career change with Frank Gamble of Chickorea (Return to Forever) and that’s when he moved to the smooth jazz genre.

Hans quipped that ‘he never thought he’d move to LA and work there but dreams come true’ and so they did.

Hans has played with everyone in the smooth jazz industry: Rick Braun, Jeff Lorber, Steve Oliver, Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Brian Simpson, Blake Aaron, Slim Man, Michael Lington, just pick a name, he’s probably played with them.

His very favorite smooth jazz artist is Will Donato and he’s played with Will more than any other artist. He effused that Will is the nicest human being on the planet. I certainly have to agree with him on that one.

I asked him what his goals are. He said he doesn’t have a lot of time to do much of anything other than play, he’s an in demand artist. He opined that what used to take a month to learn and rehearse is now done in a week.

I can certainly vouch for that. He played with Slim Man last year and came in, sat down and nailed it without so much as a rehearsal. I must admit, I’m impressed.

He’s written a lot of songs but hasn’t gotten to record them because he’s just too busy.

Hans will be appearing at Smooth Jazzfest at the Riviera on Oct. 5 with Joe Baldino and his 11 piece band on the main stage and then at the VIP After party. Headliners are Greg Adams and East Bay Soul with the complete 10 piece band, and Slim Man and band. For tickets to the event call Patte Purcell at 1-702-219-6777 or visit

To contact Hans visit him at