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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


Rolf Kuhn

SMILE-Famous themes from Hollywood

RIAS Big Band

Intuition – INT 3342 2



  1. When You Wish Upon a Star
  2. Singin’ In the Rain
  3. Smile
  4. Sonny Boy
  5. The Windmills of Your mind
  6. Flintstones
  7. Out of Africa
  8. You Are My Lucky Star
  9. People
  10. On a Clear Day You Can See for Ever
  11. As Time Goes By

Rolf Kuhn – Clarinet

RIAS Big Band

Cologne Voices

Rolf Kuhn is not very well known in the UK, but he is a world-class jazz clarinet player as well as an outstanding musical director. He was in the Benny Goodman band in 1957 on alto sax and deputised for the leader on some occasions, could I say more? This album was a sort of last act of defiance before the RIAS Big Band, one of Europe’s finest big bands, was wound up because of financial constraints. For some years prior to this recording the band had been coached by American trombonist Jiggs Whigham, his influence shows as it does currently with the BBC Big Band.

Rolf Kuhn who is a film buff had for many years wanted to make an album using a big band and on some tracks singers, of film music. This album is the result and both the band and the Cologne Singers, who provide most of the vocals, acquit themselves very well. Rolf’s own clarinet playing is exemplary combining a faultless technique with a perfect tone and a very exciting improvisational ability. There is also some excellent tenor sax jazz solos, but the sleeve note does not say by whom. I do know it was either Walter Gauchel or Gregoire Peters, but I don’t know which!

I found this album very pleasant to listen to, but I wonder which market it is aimed at, there is too much jazz for the UK Easy Listening market and the jazzers, may be put off by some of the vocals. The one by Max Raade on track 1, is particularly unusual for an album of this type, being rather ‘Webster Boothish’ (remember him) in it’s delivery. My sincere advise however is, don’t be put off, there is a lot of very high-class music on this record. Some very fine arrangements of some very good film themes are delivered in an interesting way, highly recommended. Rolf Kuhn’s clarinet playing is worth the price of the album and the RIAS Big Band and the Cologne Singers have put together a production well worthy of their outstanding talents.

I liked the Out of Africa track particularly, it is a theme I am unfamiliar with, but somehow it feels as though you know it!

Don Mather





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