HHG 1972

In the beginning: Hans-Hermann Groß on his first Dr. Böhm Organ (around 1972)

Manfred Stiel

Manfred Stiel on bass

Hermann & Henning

Henning Sämmer on guitar and Hans-Hermann on keyboards during a concert

Sigi Rothert

Sigi Rothert, vocals, during a party. She did not drink all the bottles, nor the bowl cup.

Fritz & Jörg

Friedrich Roppel and Jörg Troharsch during a concert

Jan Richter 1996

Live at the »Cavete«, around 1996: Jan Richter (git)

stage 2000

Concert in Marburg, around 2000


»Estragon«, a jazz-rock band from Marburg, Germany, was founded back in September, 1975. The four musicians all had gathered experience in other bands. They shared the desire to fuse their different musical preferences like rock, funk and jazz into an interesting mixture, thereby allowing each band member to add their own ideas. Manfred Stiel (git, bs) and Hans-Hermann Groß (keys) had already played together since 1974 in the local band »Brainstorming«. Jörg Troharsch (dr) and Henning Sämmer (git) were found to complete the new band. The rehearsal room was a rebuilt pigsty, which was found in a farm nearby, which served as the band’s home for quite some years.

All musicians added own ideas and pieces, so that after some time, such remarkable songs like »Sunchild«, »A well founded emergency slaughter« and »Time will show you« found their way into the repertoire. The band’s first concert took place at December 20th, 1975 in Kirchhain. At the same time it was the farewell concert of the band’s predecessor »Brainstorming«.

»Estragon« was a band with multiple member changes right from the start, because the band members often were studying, were in education, or were even liable to military service. This made working with the band interesting, but resulted in long rehearsal phases without concerts. When the band finally was ready to go, the next personal change happened quite often.

Henning Sämmer left the band in spring 1976. He was replaced by Edgar Frost (bs), so Manfred Stiel changed from bass to guitar. During this phase songs like “»Dreaming« and »Branches of a tree« were written. A short time later Sigi Rothert (voc) joined the band, adding vocals to the songs. Most of the time, »Estragon« played instrumental music. When Edgar Frost left the band in late 1976, Jürgen »Ünenü« Fehrs played bass for some months, followed by Uli Born, who influenced the band’s direction with his jazz oriented double-bass playing. From pop/rock the the band moved to jazz/funk. When multi-instrumentalist Gerd Ludwig took the place of the guitar player, the direction was even more pushed into jazz. Some concerts were played in this phase: Jazzclub Marburg, Kassel and Bremen, to name only a few. I remember us carrying the Fender Rhodes piano up the endless stairs to the Marburg jazz club Domizil …

1977 brought the next change. Uli Born left the band and was replaced by Jörg Sebald. A nice and successful concert was played open air in Schwalmstadt.

When I started with my studies in Kaiserslautern, I had to reduce the musical activities in Marburg. During this phase I was more engaged with a jazz band in Kaiserslautern. After finishing my studies in winter 1983/84, I was interested in reforming »Estragon« again. Jörg Troharsch and myself decided to continue with the band, and started with young bass player Friedrich Roppel as a trio. In February 1984, Eberhard Grimm (sax) joined the band. The band changed their name to »Mr. Inninger« during this phase.

During my first employment, and founding my own company, later on, I once again had to reduce my musical activities. In 1994 another phase of the band began. And this time it was a complete reset. Blind drummer Christian Schöpplein, Matthias Kraft (bs) and Jan Richter (git) gave the band a new direction. The jazz elements were reduced and the band emphasized their rock roots. But change continued, and 1998 maybe the most remarkable »Estragon« phase started with Joachim Rothe (git) and me (both 40+), together with two extremely young musicians, Ole Muth (bs) (15) and David Mette (dr), (16). In September 1999, »Estragon« played a remarkable concert in Kirchhain together with »Brainstorming«, who played a jubilee concert.

The new millenium finally found the band playing with David Mette (dr), Sebastian Franke (bs), Peter Fischer (git) and Hans-Hermann Groß (keys).

In 2008, after more than 30 years, Hans-Hermann Groß, band founder and keyboarder, meanwhile running his own recording studio, decided to record some of the finest »Estragon« songs in good studio quality, resulting in the current album»Through The Years«, which was published in November 2009. It can be ordered via this website, or via AMAZON.

In May 2011 the second album »Through The Years Vol. 2« has been released. It contains 12 Estragon songs and three excerpts from sessions with different musicians. It also can be ordered via this website, or via AMAZON.

Hans Hermann Groß

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