Born in Denmark , Hasse Poulsen started off his music at the age of 9 by playing the violin. At the age of 13 he took up the guitar and studied with singer-songwriter Tom Bailey as well as with flamenco and latin guitarist Christian Sievert. In high school he studied jazz guitar with Karsten Houmark and played in the school jazz band led by the Ramus Bennike, a very accomplished guitarist highly influenced by Joe Pass.
After high school and a year working first in a kindergarten, later as a carpenters apprentice, he studied at Berklee College in Boston and returned to the new « Conservatory of Rhythmic Improvisational Music » in Copenhagen, where teachers such as NHØP, Horace Parlan, Ed Thigpen, Thomas Clausen, Alex Riel, Emmanuel Rahim, Atilla Engin and many more shared their experiences.
Trying to find an attachment to more local music, Poulsen studied composition for 2 years with Bent Sørensen, which introduced the modern art idea of creating ones own language. From this period came the idea that the language of contemporary music should become an active music, not just a composed and theoretical music, but a scope a living musical languages where atonality was as central as any other sound possibility. This, of course, led directly to a period of wholehearted work with improvisation and with improvising musicians of concerts with musicians such as Lotte Anker, Peter Friis Nielsen, Mark Sanders, John Butcher, Phil Minton and Joëlle Léandre and later on Luc Ex, Sidsel Endresen and many others from this stylistic stream.
In 1991 The group Sound of Choice was founded by Poulsen, and drummer Lars Juul. This group became the main vehicle for Poulsen’s musical experimentations for more than ten years : Compositions of all sorts, from atonal jazz forms, to tonal, to graphic scores, to concepts to electronics, free improvisation, to performances....The mere character of experimentation and style changing excluded this group from popularity but it still played many concerts, mainly around Scandinavia. In 2005 the CD Rugby in Japan presented Sound of Choice as a contemporary jazz trio.
Another central group was Anker Friis Poulsen with saxophonist Lotte Anker and bass guitarist Peter Friis. This was a completely improvised trio that in many occasions played with invited guests such as Peter Brötzmann and Terje Isungset, Arve Henriksen and many others.
In the early nineties Poulsen cooperated with 4 other youngsters opening and maintaining the AV-ART gallery, which featured exhibitions, concerts. The gallery lasted for three years and organised several festivals for improvised music and experimental jazz. Av-Art later became a musicans collective and a record label.
In 1997 Hasse Poulsen moved to Paris and formed the trio 49° Nord and improvising trio with Christophe Marguet and Bertrand Denzler.
In 2002 Louis Sclavis invited Poulsen into his new quartet Napolis Walls with Vincent Courtois and Médéric Collignon, a quartet that in many ways has been of immense importance to Poulsen.
The same year the trio Das Kapital played their first concert. Slowly but surely the main group for Poulsen became the this trio with it’s three very active and determined members.
Das Kapital first played completely improvised music.
Since 2009 Das Kapital plays Hanns Eisler has played about 40 concerts a year. Tours in Austria, Germany, France. Denmark, Finland, White Russia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Kirgistan, Mexico, El Salvador, Lithuania, Serbia, Bosnia, Hungary, Rumania, Honduras, Morocco, Estonia, Norway, Holland, Belgium.....
Special projects such as Das Kapital Cinema and Wonderland have been very active and havve resulted in the DVD Wonderland. And in special projects for cities and festivals. Notably the closing of the Berlin Jazz Festival in 2012 with ”Wanted Hanns Eisler”.
Other projects such as ”Hymn to Democracy” created in Grenoble in 2012
Eisler Explosion where tunes by Hanns Eisler were arranged by Tim Garland, Stéphane Leach, Eric Desimpelaere for Das Kapital and Vooruit Harmonie Orkest to mark the 100 anniversary of The Vooruit in september 2013. A CD is on its way.
The expériences of Napolis Walls became decisive in Poulsen’s need to return to a more jazz-based style mixing compositions and improvisations. This is clear on the three lates releases of Sound of Choice: Invisible Correspondance, Rugby in Japan and Hippies with Money as well on the two Das Kapital plays Hanns Eisler CD’s with Das Kapital, not to mention the ambitious projects “L'art abstrait n’a pas dit son dernier mot” and “Progressive Patriots. “
In 2014 Poulsen released the singer-songwriter CD THE MAN THEY CALL ASS sings UNTIL EVERYTHING IS SOLD. This has marked a radical change in focus where songwriting and singing is taking a larger place.
The new quartet buildt around SPEEQ (Luc, Ex, Mark Sanders, Sidsel Endresen or Phil Minton) The Langston Project with Debbie Cameron taking the place of singers Endresen and Minton is a song cycle composed on the poems of Langston Hughes. The CD will be released in january 2015.
Hasse Poulsen leads the groups the quintet Progressive Patriots since 2008 with Guillaume Orti, Stéphane Payen, Henrik Simonsen and Tom Rainey, and The Langston Project (Debbie Cameron, Luc, Ex, Mark Sanders)
He co-leads Das Kapital since 2002 (Daniel erdmann & Edouard Perraud), SighFire with Peter Corser and Or Solomon and Spezial with Olivier Lété and Julien Chamla, and . A new group is taking form with Italian clarinettist Romano Pratesi and great drummer Christophe Marguet.
A couple of serious duos are taking form: Busking with Hélène Labarriére which plays instrumental versions of more or less famous songs, and the freecore improvising duo with Stéphane Payen.
He plays as a sideman with Hélène Labarrière Quartet.
Hasse Poulsen co-founded the Galerie AV-ART in 1990 and the label AV-ART records in 1995, the label Quark en 2005 and the label Das Kapital Records en 2011.
He has received several artistic grants, notably the Danish National three-year grant of art in 2002-2004.
Artist in residence in the Champagne Region in 2008-2010 and at Banlieues Bleues /la Dynamo in 2009-2010.