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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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ALBERT MANGELSDORFF

Legends Live:
Albert Mangelsdorff Quintet, Audimax
Freiburg, June 22, 1964

Jazz Haus SWR 101706

 

 

Now Jazz Ramwong (Albert Mangelsdorff) [14:22], Set ‘em Up (Albert Mangelsdorff) [9:30], Raknahs (G. Lenz & R. Hübner) [4:27] Sakura Waltz (Albert Mangelsdorff) [3:38], Burungkaka (Albert Mangelsdorff) [4:49], Theme from Pather Panchali (Ravi Shankar) [10:42], Far Out Far East (Albert Mangelsdorff) [5:17], Okaka (Traditional) [7:18], Es sungen drei Engel (Traditional) [9:46]
Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone), Heinz Sauer (tenor and soprano saxophones), Günter Kronberg (alto saxophone), Günter Lenz (bass), Ralf Hübner (drums)
rec. live at Audimax Freiburg,West Germany, June 22, 1964
Jazz Haus SWR 101706 [69:52]
 
Yet another disc in Jazz Haus’ releases of SWR radio recordings this time brings us the one true jazz megastar Germany ever produced, the late, great Albert Mangelsdorff, trombonist ‘extraordinaire’. Following an extensive tour of the far east Mangelsdorff and his quintet returned energised by their collective experience and went on to produce their most famous ever recording Now Jazz Ramwong. This disc produced from a recording that has laid half forgotten for the best part of fifty years demonstrates how this quintet well deserved its legendary status. Drawing inspiration from various of the countries that tour took in we are treated to a fantastic concert of innovative music that is yet further proof that America is not the only well source of great jazz. Now Jazz Ramwong starts us off in Thailand in a pulsing and exciting 14 minute essay on how to represent the essence of a country in music. With the rhythm section providing the driving beat as background each horn gets its moment to shine and shine they certainly do, Mangelsdorff himself taking the centre spot only after the first 9 minutes has elapsed and showing how lyrical he could make that unique instrument sound. Set ‘em Up is the second of the five pieces on this disc that Mangelsdorff wrote and has Günther Kronberg showing us what a great alto sax player he was with some pure, raw sounds as he ‘spars’ with Ralf Hübner’s drums whilst further highlighting how original Mangelsdorff was as a composer. Raknahs was co-written by Hübner and bassist Günter Lenz and is another exploration of one of the places the quintet stopped off at on their tour and which shows us Lenz’s superb bass whose sounds are beautifully fat and lush; short it may be but it is certainly sweet. Sakura Waltz whisks us off to Japan for an all too brief visit as the music dances its way in a style immediately recognisable as Japanese. Whether Africa was also a stopping place on this tour I don’t know but Burungkaka draws its inspiration from Mali so I read in the liner note and is another little gem among the others on this disc and which allows Mangelsdorff free rein to show his jazz trombone credentials (as if he needed to!). Theme from Pather Panchali which Ravi Shankar wrote for the film of the same name plants us in India for an all too brief ten minutes and which, after a wonderful Mangelsdorff intro with some lovely low sounds from his trombone allows us to hear Heinz Sauer in Trane mode as his horn creates a mesmerising sound so reminiscent of the great American tenorist who rewrote the saxophonist’s rulebook. Far Out Far East is another tune inspired by the same trip while Okaka, a traditional tune also sounds as if it is originally from Japan and shows off Sauer’s lyrical soprano sax. The final tune on the disc, also traditional, is German in origin and the title Es sungen drei Engel is also the title of one of Gustav Mahler’s songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. That could be just a coincidence, though since wunderhorn translates as magic horn it is a fitting one since that perfectly describes the trombone when played by ‘magic’ Mangelsdorff. This tune is a great way for this disc to end as it shows absolutely why this German Jazz Giant achieved almost legendary status in his own lifetime. That this concert has been preserved in SWR’s archives and now released in superlative remastered sound is not only a minor miracle but a recording to marvel at and to treasure.

Note: this album also can be purchased as a vinyl disc:

Albert MANGELSDORFF (1928-2005)

Legends Live: Albert Mangelsdorff Quintet, Audimax Freiburg, June 22, 1964

Now Jazz Ramwong (Albert Mangelsdorff) [14:22], Set ‘em Up (Albert Mangelsdorff) [9:30], Raknahs (G. Lenz & R. Hübner) [4:27], Burungkaka (Albert Mangelsdorff) [4:49], Theme from Pather Panchali (Ravi Shankar) [10:42]

Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone), Heinz Sauer (tenor and soprano saxophones), Günter Kronberg (alto saxophone), Günter Lenz (bass), Ralf Hübner (drums)

rec. live at Audimax Freiburg,West Germany, June 22, 1964

SWR Music Jazz Haus 101727

This is a reduced version of cd SWR Music Jazz Haus 101706 (see review) with only 5 of the cd's 9 tracks so will probably appeal mainly to devoted vinyl fans. It includes a code to enable a digital download of the album but which still only contains the same 5 tracks. If you know the music of this great representative of German jazz from the post-war period you'll no doubt prefer to go for the cd and get the benefit of all the music.

Steve Arloff



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