See Katja live on tour with Rod Stewart!
Katja Rieckermann was born Feb. 24th, 1966 in Lubeck, Germany. Her early musical influences formed listening to the jazz and soul music of the 70's like Michael Franks, Al Jarreau, David Sanborn, Chaka Khan, Wayne Shorter, and Weather Report.
At home, she always envied her brother Ralph playing guitar who later became a member of the German rock group, "The Scorpions", and by the time Katja turned twelve, she knew she also wanted to play an instrument. She was hanging out with friends like Sven Bunger now a successful German music producer, and Andy Hess (Black Crowes, Joan Osborne, Government Mule, etc.) who played the R&B stuff she liked, and she'd go see their bands play the cool funk and rhythmic jazz that she loved.
When Katja was sixteen, she went to an Al Jarreau concert and saw David Sanborn playing with him. That's when she knew that the saxophone was going to be her instrument.
After graduating school, Katja moved to Paris for a year to study French during which time she became even more interested in music and the desire to play. Katja speaks four languages, including German, English, French, and Spanish. Katja has performed in over 30 countries and wants to continue to relate to her audience on the world stage.
In 1986 Katja came to San Jose, California to visit her boyfriend Andy Hess who was studying music and playing in a blues band that Katja would go see. There was a girl sax player, Diana Tucker that played with the band and it was then that Katja decided to start studying the saxophone. Katja was going to stay longer in the U.S. but decided to go back to Germany where she bought a sax and start taking lessons.
Katja studied alto saxophone at the Yamaha Music School, in Hamburg Germany, the Kontaktstudium Popularmusik, and the prestigious Berkelee College of Music, in Germany. She also studied with Eric Marienthal when she lived in Los Angeles. As a result, she was able to begin working as a professional musician in several bands performing in a variety of musical styles building her repertoire and the ability to easily play with any musicians style.
After appearing live in concert with the German band "The Scorpions" in 1997, and as a guest soloist with the Canadian rock band "Saga" on their Scandinavian tour, Katja decided to move to the States permanently in 1998 following her brother Ralph Rieckermann who had moved to L.A. several years earlier and was playing bass for "The Scorpions". Katja began going out to jazz, blues, and other live music clubs everynight and would often sit in with the bands in order to meet people in the business and get her name known as a new hot sax player. At this time Katja was totally dedicated to practicing and playing with the intention of getting a great gig. She knew deep in her heart that all her efforts would soon pay off and felt that something great was destined to happen in her life as a musician.
1999 Katja got one of her first big breaks when she was introduced to flamenco guitarist "Nocy" where she performed at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for two months in the Fontana Lounge. She was asked to move to Las Vegas and continue performing, but she knew that there was something much bigger on her horizon.
In 2000 Katja joined actor/musician Branscombe Richmond (known from the hit TV show "The Renegades") on tour in Europe , the States, Tahiti and many other countries. She also continued to appear locally with Jeff Goldblum, with whom she had been working with since 1999, performing jazz standards. In September 2001 Katja was performing as a recurring musician on the hit television show "Ally McBeal".
On September 10th 2001, Katja's friend, Andy Hess of the Black Crowes, brought her to the "Joint", a popular musician's hang in L.A. where she met Carmine Rojas, musical director for Rod Stewart. Auditions had just taken place for a female sax player for Rod's band, but someone else had been hired. About two weeks later, in a turn of fate, Rod's musical director called Katja. Rehearsals with the other sax player had not worked out and Katja auditioned and got the gig.
For the last 5 years, Katja has been on tour with Rod Stewart. The first tour was "The Human Tour" starting in America, Australia, Mexico, and Europe. Next was "The American Songbook Tour" which started in America and Canada finishing in Australia And Europe. Katja will continue to perform with Rod beginning again in January of 2007 on his new world tour promoting ‘Still The Same…Great Rock Classics Of Our Time’. Katja also appears with Rod Stewart on his two latest DVDs: Live At The Royal Albert Hall and The Great American Songbook. She has also appeared with Rod on the "Tonight Show" starring Jay Leno.
Katja has also performed with Brooks and Dunn, Al Green, Carole King, David Foster, Reba McEntire, Johnny Lang, Tom Scott, and Randy Newman, and many other stars in the music business.
In between her touring schedule, Katja decided to make her own album of originals and covers of some of her favorite songs. Now she's releasing her first solo CD and it's available here at CD Baby!