Swinging Mallets play Bach


Roland Härdtner - marimba,vibraphone

Boris Ritter - piano

  • national German level award winner „Jugend musiziert” (Young Musician)
  • award winner “Jugend komponiert” (Young Composer)
  • former piano player „Bundesjazzorchesters“
  • awarded with the “Outstanding Musicianship Award” from the Berklee College of Music Boston, USA

Klaus Dusek - bass

  • bass player at various jazz formations, amongst others at the “New Jazz Festival” in Moers
  • first price at „Jugend jazzt“ (Young Jazz Musician)
  • international concert tours and numerous CD-recordings
  • contrabass player at the „Orchester Pforzheim“ since 1984

Lars Binder - drums

  • several times first prices at „Jugend jazzt“ (Young Jazz Musician) and „Jugend musiziert“ (Young Musician) at federal state and national German level
  • studies of jazz- and popular-music at the Hartt School of Music Hartford, USA
  • concerts all over Europe, the USA and the Near East


„Swinging Mallets play Bach“ - a musical play with different sticks and styles. This play means to Roland Härdtner a special challenge, namely to arrange works by J. S. Bach in different musical styles.

The idea of interpreting Bach in an unconventional way ist not new, but it was the intention not to limit oneself to a specific form. In fact, it was aimed to play the music of the „father of all composers“ with different stylistic means of modern times. One has to keep in mind that the tonal possibilities of this orchestration to play in jazz-, latin-, rock-, pop-, funk- or fusion-style are limited. Nevertheless, the success of this idea is shown by the great interest of radio and press even before CD release and by the numerous reactions of cultural artists of all shades.


Prof. Rolf Schweizer (church music director): Only when you let yourself in to this interpretation of Bach's compositions without prejudice, you will experience that Bach belongs to these composers, whose works are capable of entering new musical areas even nowadays.

Ernö Weil (intendant): This time it is „Bach for Mallets“ and the whole thing is very „fraiche“ (fresh) but not disrespectful.When you listen to the CD it first sounds easy and improvising, but it is based on precise knowledge and concentrated studies of the originals, high technical skills, musicality and a feeling for swing. The result is a pleasure to hear and nothing to sneeze at!


Claude Bolling, the „father of french jazz“ writes about his recording:

This fabolous recording is a further proof, that Johann Sebastian Bach is really a pioneer of swing music – and what a swing! „Bach in Swing“ bubbles under the sticks and the mallet instruments of Roland Härdtner. This great classical compositions achieve such a dimension and vitality that their composer would be delighted to listen to them.

The combination of Johann Sebastian Bach / Lionel Hampton is rather unexpected, first it was a challenge then a big success, respectively in musicality as well as in the perfection of the performance. 

Axel Klauschke (jazz club owner and concert promoter):

That J. S. Bach can be considered as the first „jazzer“ in music history, isn't a secret any longer. What the „Swinging Mallets“ do here is basically not new, but more than impressive. The groove is right, the arrangements convince me and the trio is very well orchestrated. Roland Härdtner's style of his „play Bach“ on marimba and vibraphone is a class of its own and has to be experienced in a live concert! A completely enthusiastic audience and more engagements (as in my club) will be the logical consequence.

Gerhard Baral (concert promoter): High musical quality, a brilliant way of playing and a great expressiveness determine Roland Härdtner's arrangements. He works in the tradition of the great international vibraphone players and even sets new standars when recording CDs and especially when performing a concert.

Press reviews:

Works (selection): Johann Sebastian Bach

  • Allegro aus der Sonate C-Dur BWV 1033
  • Air aus der Ouvertüre D-Dur BWV 1068
  • Toccata und Fuge d-Moll BWV 565
  • Choral Jesus bleibet meine Freude BWV 147
  • Bourée aus der Suite Nr.2 e-Moll BWV 996
  • Siciliano aus der Sonate G-Dur BWV 1031
  • Inventionen Nr.1 und Nr.13 BWV 772 und 784
  • Präludium f-Moll aus dem Wohltemperierten Clavier BWV 881
  • Präludium C-Dur aus dem Wohltemperierten Clavier BWV 846
  • Badinerie aus der Ouvertüre Nr.2 h-Moll BWV 1067
  • Choral Befiehl du deine Wege BWV 244
  • Italienisches Konzert F-Dur BWV 971