Embryonic Embryo jazz revelation
W. T. Hoffman | Pennsylvania, United States | 03/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was really shocked, at how great a jazz Vibraphone player Christian Burchard was. As at teenager, he was hanging with as many jazz musicians as he could find. Later, he moved to Munich, and hooked up with Mal Waldron, a big name in Jazz. (If any of you have the basic Jazz fake book, you will find some of Mal Waldron's composistions in it.) Burchard formed Embryo after the teenager's tenure as a jazz musician. When some of Amon Duul's communial hippie philosophy,and psychedelic music reached Burchard's ears, "Cool School" jazz wasn't happening anymore. Then again, in 1969, a revolution of drugs, music, and politics overturned society everywhere. The same transformation occured when classically trained composers like Helmut Schmidt went to NYC and lived in the Chelsea Hotel, only to return to Germany and form CAN. Altho not a music school graduate like most the CAN members, Burchard had started out as a true "Wunderkind", able to play Vibraphones like Lionel Hampton, as a teenager. For that revelation alone, this CD is indispensible, if you have any love for the EMBRYO band, and their evolution. What you will hear, is a typical jazz "cool school" quartet, of bass, drums, piano (Mal Waldron) and vibraphone (Burchard.) Naturally, Waldron leads the group, and they play most of his composistions, altho one piece represents an early composistional attempt of Burchard, "For Eva", his teenage wife.
The quality of the recording isn't bad. It's not a studio peice, but rather recorded live at a gig. There was some drop outs at one place, and once someone brushes up against the mic. Also, there are applauses. But the audience is quiet, and the music is well represented. (I thought the vibes a bit too loud, and overbearing the piano sound.) Apparently the shows were recorded professionally, with the hopes of a release back in 1967. More than anything, it is fun to compare the sound of this release, with the next Embryo release that had Mal Waldron on piano. (The ROCKSESSION/STIEG AUS recordings.) A complete movement from cool school jazz, to jazz-world beat-rock fusion, in just a few years.
I would recommend this CD, to any EMBRYO fan, who has the least bit of interest in jazz. Even if you have no interest in Krautrock's roots, consider it a good introduction to the jazz pianist Mal Waldron."