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
Copenhagen, Denmark
Died9 June 2024(2024-06-09) (aged 83)
Liseleje, Denmark
GenresJazz, rock
Years active1962–2024

Alex Riel (13 September 1940 – 9 June 2024) was a Danish jazz and rock drummer.[1][2] His first group Alex Riel/Palle Mikkelborg Quintet won the Montreux Grand Prix Award at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1968.[3] He was married to the writer Ane Riel.



Riel recorded with, among others, Booker Ervin, Kenny Drew, Kenny Werner, Bob Brookmeyer, Thomas Clausen, Bill Evans, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Donald Byrd, Don Cherry, Thad Jones, and Ben Webster. He formed a jazz ensemble with bass player Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen.[4] Riel 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.[citation needed]

In September 2010, Riel's 70th birthday celebration at the Jazzhus Montmartre was broadcast live with the title Celebration of a Living Jazz Legend by the Danish national television station TV2.[6]

Personal life and death


Riel married crime fiction author Ane Riel in 2002. They lived in Liseleje in North Zealand from 2005 until his death.[7] He died at his home there on 9 June 2024, at the age of 83.[8]





As leader


As sideman


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. ^ Trommeslager Alex Riel er sovet ind efter uhelbredelig sygdom (in Danish)
  9. ^ "Danish Jazz Musician Award 1965 Presented by Duke Ellington and Sam Woodyard". Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  10. ^ "Life Time Achievement Award". Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2010.