Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
3 1/2 stars
Phasedin | New Jersey | 02/21/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Through my love of jazz label ECM records, and bassist/composer Eberhard Weber in particular, I started picking up recordings by the United Jazz and Rock Esnemble. The ensemble featured bassist Eberhard Weber as well as other well know musicians from the German Jazz scene. A part of this group was guitarist/composer Volker Kriegel.
I decided to pick up some of Kriegel's solo recordings to check them out. Right now Amazon lists only 3 of them (all out of print but still available from their Marketplace sellers).
Do a search on Amazon though, and Kriegels name will come up as being involved with numerous books. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but as it turns out, Kriegel earned a living (particularly in recent years) as an illistrator of childrens' books! At least that's what an online bio I discovered on him claimed.
Kriegel it seems never got very well known outside of the European jazz community, even though some of his releases did make it onto US shores (although the label that released these is now gone as well).
Well, Kriegel's music is an inteesting take on jazz with some fusion flavorings there as well.
Of the 3 solo slbums I have (the same 3 listed here on Amazon), I must say I feel "Journal" is probably the best. All 3 of the Kriegel solo discs I have are quite short-about 39 minutes, but they were made around the early 80's when this was typical playing time for LP records in the time just before CD's came into existence.
I sure wish there were more of Kriegel's discs around-he did record many more than the 3 later solo discs that Amazon lists (which are "Journal", "Schone Aussichten" and "Palazzo Blue").
Personally I prefer "Journal". For one, it has 9 tracks and touches on the fusion stuff, but also shows Kriegel in a quiter, more intimate light than we get to see him on his other 2 discs from this same period. It also features appearences by Eberhard Weber (bass), Martin Kolbe & Ralf Illenberger (acoustic guitars),
Ralf Hubner (drums), Ernst Stroer (percussion), most of these guys should be well known to fans of European jazz.
There's even a rare solo guitar-only track which is quite nice.
Sadly I just discovered that Kriegel passed away in mid 2003. He was only 59 from what I read. Very sad to loose another great (though too unknown) jazz musician before he could give us more music..
Here's the online bio I discovered on him, written by Frank Gingeleit:
We didn't hear very much about the German guitarist and "Father of Jazz Rock" during the past couple of years; at least over here in Germany we could sometimes read some articles and reviews when he had written or illustrated a new book for children. Sadly enough it was his death at his daughter's house in Spain on June 15th, 2003 at the age of 59 that brought his music into the papers and the minds of people again. Kriegel started to play Jazz in Frankfurt, Germany together with Albert and Emil Mangelsdorff in the early Sixties while he was studying sociology as a scholar of Theodor W. Adorno (the chairman of the famous "Princeton Radio Research Project" in the US during World War II and the inventor of the term "authoritarian personality"). Kriegel never graduated in sociology but he brought the element of critical intellectuality into music (some older readers might remember that there once was a time when the truth was also searched for in chords, and the critical attitude kept that process moving). The early Sixties were the period of preparation and anticipation in almost secret avant-garde circles of what later became known as the ferment of "the" Sixties. And unlike most other periods of societal change music and music related topics played an important role in the worldwide upheaval of that time. The invention of new styles of music and the breaking up of strict musical categories were one of the most important indications of that period. Interestingly enough the term Jazz Rock was born before Rock became the big and accepted category that it is up to this day when Volker Kriegel was the guitarist of the Dave Pike Set, the quartet of the US avant-garde vibraphone player who lived in Germany at that time. Only a little later Kriegel founded the Mild Maniac Orchestra together with the keyboardist Rainer Brüninghaus. In the early Seventies he recorded some of the most sophisticated early records for the famous MPS label, partly as a band leader and partly as a sideman for others, among them two recordings of the Jazz and Blues violinist Don "Sugar Cane" Harris, the second recorded live on the Berlin Jazz Days 1971 together with Wolfgang Dauner, Terje Rypdal, Neville Whitehead and Robert Wyatt. Among Kriegel's musical mates of this period were such international celebrities as Alan Skidmore, Nippy Noya, Albert Mangelsdorff and Eberhard Weber. In 1976 Kriegel was one of the co-founders of the United Rock and Jazz Ensemble together with Jon Hiseman, Barbara Thompson, Albert Mangelsdorff, Wolfgang Dauner, Eberhard Weber and others. Together they performed a series of very sucessful records and concert tours. And it was the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble's farewell tour in 2001 that also was Volker Kriegel's "farewell" to the musical world.