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Gilles Zimmermann


As people asked, this biography has been completed, and I´ll add other elements and observations, as they are all important to understand what I am doing even now. Beware, you´re in for 40 years... (you can download the Electronic Press Kit for a short version)

After being thrown out of Paradise, landed in Nancy (F), childhood in Cameroon, then back to France and culture shock of being thrown in a new world full of vulgarities, has felt alien everywhere ever since. 

Started 1972 with self-taught blues guitar and piano, studied classical double bass in Conservatoire de Nancy (prof. B. Vautrin), always improvising. Meets John Jackson in 1973 (blues guitarist-singer in the American Folk Blues Festival) and learns the blues under his guidance over 3 years. John Jackson

1974 - 1977 - Working as stage manager for the Festival International de Théâtre Universitaire de Nancy (Kazuo Ono, and countless theater productions from all over the world)

1975 - 1979 - Various Rock and Progressive rock bands, Z le Mongol is born, KZLM, Axe ("jazz-rock libertin")

Axemusic that makes your nose bleed...

1979 - 1983 - Workshops with Martial Solal, Didier Levallet, Sam Rivers, ARFI, Bernard Lubat. Tuition with Jef Gilson (sort of "harmolodic concept"). Lives in the south of France (Drôme) playing with Chaos and Circus Podingo. Back to Nancy, jazz and (french) musique improvisée (Petit Orchestre Joyeux, Grand Orchestre Mongol, AZ xtet, Dodo Hitchcock, Superlardin).

First studio recordings, discovers through necessity multitrack recording (the whole band recorded, you need to correct an instrument, you play it, and at the end of the production you realize you´ve played all instruments - little Mike Oldfield is born)Superlardin

Music for 2 theater productions for Théâtre de la Cuvette.

Music for TV series "Maigret se Trompe" (A2). President of Nancy Jazz Association 1982.

Poland tour with Le Petit Orchestre Joyeux. Session guitarist with Blues artist Mickey Baker.


Composer and musician for "la Saga du Naja" in Nancy Jazz Pulsations 1983


Z le Mongol vanishes in another dimension. Moves to London in 1984, stayed long enough to tour extensively Europe with various pop singers (Bill Pritchard) and rock bands. Music journalist for Guitares & Clavier. Discovers the cultural industry.db_Bill_Pritchard_Marquee5

Goes to Munich - Bavaria in 1991 for a filmscore for "Schlösser" - Peter Zobel on ZDF

Münchner Mag Schlösser mini

1991 - Meets Jean Poncet, paradigm inducer and Xavier Mignon, discovers metaphysics. Although he had long suspected that the world was somehow going berserk, finally grasped the why and how.

1992 - Second filmscore for "Tokyo-Pankow" - Peter Zobel on ZDF. Performances with various artists (Transports, see below), learns harmonic singing, since then countless performances and collaborations with sculptor/singer Barbara Henning and various harmonic choirs

Took up the viola da gamba in 1993, resumed musical studies to study European traditional music at the Institute of Musicology of the University of Munich and the Bayerische Academy der Wissenschaft (under the direction of prof. Bernhard, who allowed access to the huge libraries). Must however look for the missing elements (on improvisation in particular) in the extra-European, Indian, Arabic and Chinese traditions (because there are many documents, more or less well translated, but metaphysics is very useful for deciphering certain passages). However, the motivation has always been about reviving European modal improvisation music, not about pretending pseudo yoginess.

1995 - Augsburg plays with Havana Blend (salsa), Eye Sample (own ensemble) and Big Band MW



Concerts and collaborations with Al Gromer Khan, Amelia Cuni and Peter Michael Hamel

Gasteig Hamel Khan 95 resizeAL-6

Trip to India in 1997, meeting real traditional musicians, tuition with Amjad Ali Khan in New Dehli and most of all Keshavram N. Iengar in Mysore db_Iengar5_crop_optim4

You won´t  find anything about K.N. Iengar, he is completely unknown, except in Mysore and from specialists.

He was one of the 3 remaining Khyal singers of the "Sadarang" style (700 years tradition). You won´t find any recording either, as he refused to record music, because it is "dead music" (he did an All india Radio series though, of which he entrusted 4 cassettes to GZ)

Meets Mrs Premlata Sharma from Benares Music College. The trip confirmed many things (like the "natural" tuning explained in Plato´s Timaeus and used in the CD La Nuit et le Jour).

First CD in 1997

La Nuit et le Jour Cd_cover La_Nuit_et_le_Jour-320

Since then multiplying musical encounters with as many traditional musicians as possible.

1998 -

Theater production Art Company "Spleen von Paris" (after C. Baudelaire) as musician and actor

1999 - First production in own digital studio, reworking and mixing live recordings of the Tollwood performances of 1991/92 with later studio recordings


Transports CD_Transport cover

1999 - Collaboration with Iranian musician Darioush Shirvani. The CD Jour Solitaire wins the Music Prize of the City of Munich 1999

CD Jour_Solitaire Darioush Shirvani

2000 - 2001 Orchestre Interculturel in Augsburg, multimedia show  The Inverted Tree.

IOA Funambules

2002 - Decides to be father.

1999 – 2005 Countless concerts in NL, Sweden and Germany, Hackbrett Festival 2005 Munich with Darioush Shirvani

Fond concerts hackbrettFestival5111921

2002 – Decides Jan Goorissen in Utrecht to build the Ruby Gamba, the first electric viola da gamba. Model 0, then 1 and 2. Presentations at the Frankfurt International Music Fair and french IRCAM.

2005 - started The Missing Link as working band,

first as a trio with Verena Kronseder and Doris Seitner


then with Bernd Mahne on violone


Collaboration with Colombian singer Maria Cristina Hurtado - 2006/7

MC Hurtado - IMG_4674

Verena Kronseder (Germany), Viola da Gamba
Rüdiger Maul (Germany), Percussion
Temur Bukhnikashvili (Georgia), Bassoon
Giorgi Gvantseladze (Georgia), Oboe


2009 – Invited by Oliver Pade for the recording of 2 songs in the Faun album "Buch der Balladen

2010 - Concert with Native American Jackie Tice in Barcelona

Jaclie Tice a_pic_4_1600

BWV 1130 - duo Bach & improvisation with Joseph Warner, doublebass. This duo unfortunately died of an acute crisis of German perfectionite.IMG_0035

2011 - Becomes single father.

Around 2008 - Meeting with tabla player Prabir Mitra, new repertoire with Sucheta Ganguly, vocal, Gaspare Sepio, keyboards & accordion and percussionists Bic König and Uli Siebenborn


 The Missing Link 

CD The Missing Link 2013

Because of the catastrophic cultural state in Europe recently decided to reorientate his music production towards his french/european roots


DVD production with Xavier Mignon´s photos and texts about John´s Apocalypse

Serene Apocalypse


EP Asian Fans 


Documentary for Vietnam TV

Vietnam Tin Toi


The Wind Cries Satie

arrangements of 14 Erik Satie compositions with viola da gamba (many viols and electronics) for Modern Broken Consort, i.e. modern viola da gamba ensemble


Music for Manouchehr Abrontan´s Documentary:

The Little Thing Has Many Faces


extended soundtrack release:

Musik For When they Left The Tower

Currently working on future albums with own compositions, mostly on unsquare rhythms, far-east esthetics (Eventails Asiatiques, 5/4, Turtle Song 6/4, Dragon, 9/4) then african (Africain, 12/8 . Funambules, 13/8) and european (Papillons, 11/8 - Cycle Mix, 7/4 - Libellules, 5/4)...

all traditional musicians, Pythagoras, Plato, Boethius, Sarngadeva, Al Farabi, André Maugars, Gesualdo, JS Bach, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, Béla Bartók, Edvard Grieg, Jean Sibelius, Alexander Scriabin, Olivier Messiaen, Maurice Ravel, Steve Reich, Moondog, Thelonius Monk, John Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Carla Bley, Ron Carter, Bill Laswell, Jaco Pastorius, Joe Zawinul, Gong, Allan Holdsworth, Martial Solal, McCoy Tyner, Steve Vai, Jordi Savall, Arvo Pärt...

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