Trumpeter Franz Hautzinger started on the Austrian jazz scene in the late '80s, recording a handful of albums for the label Extraplatte mostly as a member of the groups Mühlbacher usw., Nouvelle Cuisine, and Striped Roses. After a three-year recording hiatus from 1998 to 2000, during which time he extensively radicalized his sound, Hautzinger came back with the solo CD Gomberg (2000) and the debut by his group Dachte Musik (2001), both released by the then up-and-coming German label Grob. These and his participation in the composers' ensemble Zeitkratzer brought his playing to the attention of an international avant-garde audience at the beginning of the new millennium.
Hautzinger studied trumpet and composition at the Graz Academy of Music and the Performing Arts and at the Vienna Conservatory. He began to teach at the Vienna University of Music in 1989, at about the same time he started to record. At first strongly influenced by Miles Davis' modal jazz, Hautzinger's trumpet playing gradually evolved toward more contemplative, impressionistic realms that bear similarities with Bill Dixon's sound world. Yet, he remained flexible in the first half of the '90s, sticking to a role of session trumpeter.
In 1993, he joined the group Striped Roses which also included saxophonist Helge Hinteregger and bassist Werner Dafeldecker. All three were jazzmen on the verge of moving away from jazz. Together with guitarists Martin Siewert and Burkhard Stangl, also with similar backgrounds, they began to put together a number of projects. The first of these was ZOSB, a duo with Hinteregger (who had begun to explore samplers and electronics) that released Zong of Se Boboolink in 1994.
A first step toward a radicalization of Hautzinger's sound was achieved when he shifted from standard trumpet and flügelhorn to the quartertone trumpet. In 1997, he appeared on the first album by Hinteregger's Comforts of Madness (Per S. E.) and released his first CD as a leader, Bent, which features Hinteregger plus Londoners Oren Marshall and Steve Noble. The next year he appeared on Boris Hauf's CD Efzeg (later the name of his group) and released Speakers Corner, a trio session with Siewert and drummer Wolfgang Reisinger (a regularly performing group under the name Trio F).
After that he retreated to his bedroom, occasionally playing live and guesting on albums but not recording as a leader for three years. He developed a new vocabulary on quartertone trumpet that involved the abandon of notes to focus on breath (air) and the possibilities of the instrument as a resonating body. He resurfaced in late 2000 with Gomberg and the quartet Dachte Musik (with Stangl, Radu Malfatti, and Gunther Schneider). He also joined the Berlin new music ensemble Zeitkratzer, replacing trumpeter Axel Dörner. He visits London regularly since 1999 and has performed with the London Improvisers Orchestra and recorded with Derek Bailey.