Johannes Barthelmes

Jo Barthelmes Photo
Jo Barthelmes, Photo: Bernd Kumar


Johannes "Jo" Barthelmes (*1953 in Speyer) is a German musician (saxophone, composition) and photographer based in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

1989: SWF Jazz Award
1994: German Record Critics Award (quarterly list) for the album "Trane's Tree“
1998: German Record Critics Award (quarterly list) for the album "For Her“

After almost 2 decades of an involuntary break and without owning an instrument during this time, the internationally renowned musician finally returns to perform on stage in 2020.

Life & Work
Johannes Barthelmes studied at the „University of Music and Performing Arts“ in Graz, Austria, majored in saxophone.
He has led his own bands since the early 1990s and has performed worldwide (among others) in duo with pianist Uli Lenz, with whom he released the CDs "Konzert der Verlorenen Söhne" and "Trane's Tree".
Before he stopped playing for a long while the following could be read in a review of one of his last concerts: “...his music comes from a place of deep-seated emotions... Johannes Barthelmes does not play the kind of pleasant candle-light dinner jazz that you find quite nice but then quickly forget again…“

Productions With:
Hannibal Marvin Peterson tp (USA), Idris Muhammed dr (USA), Billy Hart dr (USA), Ronnie Burrage dr (USA), Charles Tolliver tp (USA),
Vladimir Tarasov dr (LTU), Furio di Castri b (I), Vitold Rek b (PL),
Nigel Hitchcock as (GB), Günter Lenz b (D), Uli Lenz p (D),
Bardo Henning p (D), Cindy Blackman-Santana dr (USA),
Gary Valente tb (USA), Santi Debriano b (USA), Elliot Sharp g (USA),
Bill Bickford g (USA), Joanne Brackeen p (USA), et

Musician and critic Volker Kriegel in the FAZ in 1997: “…Johannes Barthelmes plays a truly awesome tenor, he has a great, powerful sound, a stirring performance, he has fire, technique, ideas…"

rororo-Jazzlexikon: " relation to John Coltrane, Johannes Barthelmes ranks among Europe’s top saxophonists.“

Jazz publicist Ulrich Olshausen counts his duo recording "Konzert der Verlorenen Söhne" (1992) with pianist Uli Lenz among one of the best jazz productions of post-war Germany."

The "Jazz Pope" Joachim-Ernst Berendt wrote on 27.02.1992: "Dear Johannes Barthelmes, thank you for your really great duos ("Konzert der Verlorenen Söhne", 1992). It was a coincidence that I heard your music on the same day as Stan Getz' last duo album, and I really felt your music was on a par with it....“

Current Album

Jo Barthelmes Hipnosis - Pasión O Muerte

Jo Barthelmes Hipnosis - Pasión O Muerte

Johannes Barthelmes - saxophones
Davide Incorvaia - piano
Carmelo Leotta - bass
Paolo Eleodori - drums

Buy Album

"...excellent, intense comeback album of Johannes Barthelmes. It is amazing how much power, how much brilliance and passion his playing has... "
(Matthias Wegner, Deutschlandradio Kultur 10.05.2021)

After twenty years of musical abstinence, due to health problems, Johannes Barthelmes formed a new band. The quartet Jo Barthelmes Hipnosis with the Italian musicians Davide Incorvaia (piano), Carmelo Leotta (bass) and Paolo Eleodori (drums) presented a new album “pasión o muerte" (April 2021), which was received with enthusiasm by international critics.

Jazz journalist and music critic Bert Noglik on April 25, 2021: "...very impressive, very passionate and strong, jazz with great emotions, which has become almost rare today".

Wolf Kampmann writes in JAZZthing (June - August 2021):
"the jazz sensation of this spring is certainly the return of a Berlin scene titan. After 20 years of concentration on other artistic fields, saxophonist Johannes Barthelmes celebrates his comeback. On "PASIÓN O MUERTE" (Unit/Membran) he fires coltranesque power jazz into the universe, fully demonstrating his unwavering brilliance on the saxophone. It feels like he never left."


  • 2021: pasión o muerte (Unit/Membran UTR 4987)
  • 1999: Kyria (bardo musik BCD 005)
  • 1997: For Her - The gentle side of Johannes Barthelmes (Lagerhaus Music LMCD 001)
  • 1996: Blues for George (Bellaphon CDLR 45113)
  • 1993: Trane’s Tree (Konnex KCD 5057 / BISS)
  • 1992: Konzert der verlorenen Söhne (Konnex KCD 5035)
  • 1991: Crossing (Ear-Rational ECD 1023)
  • 1990: Kiss on the Bridge (Ear-Rational ECD 1020)
  • 1988: Dost (Konnex KCD 5018)
  • 1985: Serene Live (WOM 66.23826)
  • 1982: An Anna Blume (Metronome 006.544)


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