b. 25 December 1932, Merseburg, Germany. Playing soprano and mainly tenor saxophone, Sauer has become one of the most noted German free jazz players. Based in Frankfurt, he has played with the Frankfurter Trio in 1959. As his reputation spread he was given a huge boost owing to a spell in the 60s with Albert Mangelsdorff’s quintet alongside Kenny Wheeler, Richie Beirach, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette. He also played with Lester Bowie and the Baden-Baden Free Jazz Orchestra on 1969’s Gittin’ To Know Y’All. In the late 70s Sauer worked with George Adams on the album Sound Suggestions. He also played with Adams and Archie Shepp, recording Frankfurt Workshop ’78: Tenor Saxophones. Powerful and intense, Sauer’s dramatic playing built an extensive and faithful following and he continued to record through the 80s and 90s, often working with pianist Bob Degan and also recording with bass player Stephan Schmolck and with the NDR Big Band. Among others with whom he played in these years were vibraphonists Dave Pike and Terumasa Hino, guitarist Volker Kriegel and tenor saxophonist Alan Skidmore. Among recordings are those with drummer Makaya Ntshoko (on 1974’s Makaya And The Tsotsis), and Voices (on 1976’s Rediscover The People and 1981’s Fur Wilhelm E).
Perhaps surprisingly, Sauer’s career entered a new phase in the early 00s when he teamed up with pianist Michael Wollny, who was born in 1978. The pair formed a duo characterized by a strong musical bond that made light of their age difference.