German commentators unhesitatingly – and understandably – reach for the superlatives when they describe Wolfgang Haffner. He is the country’s "best drummer" (Die Welt), also the "coolest" (ARD ttt), and the "most important drummer of his generation" (Süddeutsche Zeitung).
Haffner was born in 1965 and his career started to take shape from an early age. At 18, Albert Mangelsdorff recruited him as a member of his band. As a result he got to play not only with the top flight of German jazz musicians from all generations – from Klaus Doldinger to Till Brönner to Michael Wollny – but he has also been one of the very few Germans to have known international success: US stars like Pat Metheny, Randy and Michael Brecker, Chuck Loeb and John Abercrombie have come to place their trust in his infallible sense of forward propulsion and in the inspiration that his creativity brings, just as top Scandinavians such as Nils Landgren and Lars Danielsson have as well. Because of his extremely powerful and dynamic playing, Haffner is also one of the most sought-after sidemen for rock and pop stars like Chaka Khan, the Fantastic Four, and even Nightmares on Wax.
Haffner shares one trait with many of the very best in his field, in that was never satisfied with just drumming. It was not long before he had started composing and producing as well. And he also got his own projects off the ground: the albums which Haffner has released under his own name now make him one of the most successful jazz musicians and bandleaders in Germany.
Wolfgang Haffner is a past master when it comes to atmosphere, groove and flow. His unmistakable feeling for the sublime in music and his ability to create mood and atmosphere are what set his music apart. He has found his own personal style, and as a bandleader he has evolved the typical Haffner sound which is immediately recognizable after just a few bars.
Haffner has also built a substantial track record and reputation as a producer for bands such as Mezzoforte and singer Max Mutzke. His playing can be heard on over 400 albums; he has played at the most important jazz festivals in the world and has toured in 100 countries, from Japan to the USA, from South Africa to Brazil.