Alex Riel

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Alex Riel
Alex Riel photo by Gorm Valentin
Alex Riel photo by Gorm Valentin
Background information
Born (1940-09-13) 13 September 1940 (age 83)
Copenhagen, Denmark
GenresJazz, rock
Years active1962–present

Alex Riel (born 13 September 1940) is a Danish jazz and rock drummer.[1][2] His first group Alex Riel/Palle Mikkelborg Quintet won Montreux Grand Prix Award at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1968 and it was published in Billboard's June 1968 edition.[3] He is married to the writer Ane Riel.


Riel has recorded with, among others, Booker Ervin, Kenny Drew, Kenny Werner, Bob Brookmeyer, Thomas Clausen, Bill Evans, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Jackie McLean, and Dexter Gordon. He has also worked with a wide range of important jazz musicians, including Ray Brown, Donald Byrd, Don Cherry, Art Farmer, Stéphane Grappelli, Hank Jones, Thad Jones, and Ben Webster. He formed a renowned jazz ensemble with bass player Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Kenny Drew.[4]

He was also a founding member in 1968 of the Danish rock group The Savage Rose.[5] His album The Riel Deal won a Danish Grammy Award Jazz in 1996.

In September 2010, Riel reached seventy years of an age and it was celebrated at the famed Jazzhus Montmartre. The event was broadcast live with the title Celebration of a Living Jazz Legend by the Danish national television station TV2 which was also showing rare photos depicting Riel with Duke Ellington, Ben Webster, Bill Evans and The Savage Rose.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Alex Riel married Ane Riel in 2002, an awarded author of crime fiction. They have lived in Liseleje in North Zealand since 2005.[7]



As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

With Dexter Gordon

With Bob Brookmeyer

  • Holiday (Challenge, 1981)

With Ken McIntyre

With Jackie McLean

With Archie Shepp and Lars Gullin

With Sahib Shihab

With Thorgeir Stubø

With Radka Toneff

  • Live in Hamburg (Odin, 1981)
  • Butterfly, track 4-6 (Curling Legs, 2008)

With Ben Webster



  1. ^ Jeg skal sgu sidde ved trommerne Af Bine Madsen. Dagbladenes Bureau, 9 February 2010. Same interview in Flensborg Avis, 17 February 2010, Side 18
  2. ^ Alex Riel Horsens Folkeblad, 16 February 2010, 2. sektion, Side 12
  3. ^ "Montreux Fest Carves Jazz Niche". Billboard. 29 June 1968. p. 93. Retrieved 15 August 2023.
  4. ^ Jazz at Foreign Ministry of Denmark
  5. ^ Riel og rytmen. Portræt: Alex Riel Af Tove Skytte Erngaard. Jyllands-Posten, 27 July 1997, Kultur og tv, Side 1
  6. ^ "Alex Riel 70 Year Celebration Danish National TV Live". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  7. ^ "Ane Riel-9a-b" (in Danish). forfatterweb. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Danish Jazz Musician Award 1965 Presented by Duke Ellington and Sam Woodyard". Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Life Time Achievement Award". Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2010.

External links[edit]