Jazz CD Reviews

Albert Mangelsdorff Quintett – Legends Live – JazzHaus

A lively and accessible version of jazz.

Published on December 29, 2012

Albert Mangelsdorff Quintett – Legends Live – JazzHaus

Albert Mangelsdorff Quintett – Legends Live – JazzHaus 101706, 69:52 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:

(Albert Mangelsdorff – trombone; Heinz Sauer – tenor & soprano sax; Günter Kronberg – alto sax; Günter Lenz – bass; Ralf Hübner – drums)

The list of jazz stars from Germany is not long, but heading any such list would have been trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff. At the time of his death in 2005 at the age of seventy-six, he had built a reputation as one of the most influential musicians developed outside the United States. This Legends Live concert from 1964 shows the trombonist and his band at the peak of their creative powers.

Writing in The Oxford Companion To Jazz, Oxford University Press 2000, Gunter Schuller said the following about Mangelsdorff; ”in his wholly individual ‘free jazz’ style, he has in effect reinvented the trombone, creating an extensive unprecedented repertory of fresh ideas, techniques, sounds, and effects unique to his instrument”.

So following a tour of the Far East in early 1964, the band returned to Germany to perform this concert in June of that year and use some of the musical concepts that had been picked up during the tour, such as “Burungkaka” from Mali, “Now Jazz Ramwong” from Thailand, and “Sakura Waltz” from Japan. Needless to say these compositions, plus the other tracks on the disc, are all intense free jazz pieces based on a bebop or funk structure. While Mangelsdorff’s trombone is the dominating instrument throughout the session, he is more than ably supported by the other members of the band.

Alto saxophonist Günter Kronberg shows his strong and tense playing in “Set ’Em Up”. The dynamic bass and drum duo of Günter Lenz and Ralf Hübner demonstrate their musical and harmonic facility in their own composition “Raknahs”. And tenor saxophonist Heinz Sauer, who is a penetrating soloist, offers his Coltrane-like take on “Theme From Pather Panchali”.

After almost fifty years in the archives, this release showcases a lively and accessible version of jazz.

TrackList: Now Jazz Ramwong; Set ‘Em Up; Raknahs; Sakura Waltz; Burungkaka; Theme from Pather Panchali; Far Out Far East; Okaka; Es Sunger Drei Engel

—Pierre Giroux

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