Saturday, April 14, 2018

Olaf Kübler & Jan Hammer Trio - 2007 - Turtles - Live At Domicile 1968

Olaf Kübler & Jan Hammer Trio 
Turtles - Live At Domicile 1968

01. Blues For Jiri 4:12
02. Turtles 3:33
03. Stella By Starlight 7:44
04. Old Country 6:38
05. Solamente 6:09
06. Cork Screw 7:16
07. For T 5:26
08. Honey Suckle Rose 8:38
09. Sangrita Con Tequila 4:03
10. Let It Go 7:27

Bass – George Mraz
Drums – Cees See, Michael Dennert (tracks: 8 & 10)
Organ – Jan Hammer (tracks: 8 & 10)
Piano – Jan Hammer
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Olaf Kübler

Turtles, released in 2007 by German jazz label Enja, was actually recorded live in 1968, at The Domicile, a jazz club in Munich. The band, led by German saxophonist Olaf Kübler, features pianist Jan Hammer, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Cees See -- Hammer and Mraz had just fled from Czechoslovakia and lived at the Domicile, becoming part of the club's house band together with Kübler and See for three months, during which time they played almost every night. What makes this archival release interesting is that it was recorded before the musicians went on to do what they became famous for: the performance took place before Kübler became the manager of underground band Amon Düül and played with the Police, Udo Lindenberg, and Eberhard Schoener; it took place before Jan Hammer became the keyboard wizard in John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and composed the Miami Vice theme; and it took place before Mraz played with Oscar Petersen and became one of the most highly regarded jazz bassists. In 1968, this band simply consisted of four newcomers who performed an entertaining jazz set. The group's musicianship is excellent: Hammer is an empathetic accompanist and delivers an intense solo on "Blues for Jiri," Mraz gets several fine solo spots, and Kübler swings effortlessly with his Turrentine-influenced tenor sound. The set mostly sticks to an earthy hard bop style, with several compositions by the group members (Mraz's title tune is especially catchy) mixed with covers (the standard "Stella by Starlight," Turrentine's "Let It Go"), but there are also excursions into bossa nova (Hammer's "Solamente") and free jazz (Kübler's "Cork Screw") -- both popular currents in late-'60s jazz. On two soul-jazz numbers, Hammer switches to Hammond organ, and Michael Dennert replaces See. To make this set even better, the sound quality is excellent -- not only for an almost 40-year-old archival recording. There is nothing earth-shatteringly original to be heard here, and the musicians were still forming their own distinctive voices, but this album is both an interesting look at an early stage in these musicians' careers, and a thoroughly enjoyable recording with excellent performances. It makes you wonder what other gems Kübler's and The Domicile's archives might hold.

New Jazz Trio - 1983 - Alternate Takes

New Jazz Trio 
Alternate Takes

01. Snaro (Take 3) 4:19
02. Haranca (Take 1) 8:00
03. Val (Take 1) 6:16
04. Ceon (Take 2) 4:37
05. Bambura (Take 3) 4:35
06. Snaro (Take 4) 4:36
07. Tram-Bo-Tro (Take 2) 5:44

Double Bass – Peter Trunk
Drums, Percussion – Cees See
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Manfred Schoof

Recorded on January 27th,1970 in Köln/Godorf.

Taken from the same astonishing 1970 session that resulted in the New Jazz Trio's first LP, Page One (MPS), these alternate takes were first released in 1983. Rather than a reheated plate of leftovers, however, these versions add a significant chapter to the all-too-limited recorded history of this remarkable group. Brilliantly captured by producer Conny Plank, these tunes sound as fresh today as they were when first set down on tape.

New Jazz Trio - 1972 - Page Two

New Jazz Trio
Page Two

01. Currents 4:33
02. Feathered Friends 5:30
03. ...... And Accents 4:09
04. Sunmoonata 5:42
05. Ludus Totalis 5:03
06. Dolbi 3:07
07. Open Zoo 7:00
08. Portraits 4:19
09. Hommage 5:04
10. Absolute 3:00

Recorded at Rhenus Studio, Godorf, February 6, 1972.

Bass, Cello – Peter Trunk
Cornet, Flugelhorn – Manfred Schoof
Drums, Percussion – Cees See
Cello – Otello Liesmann
Viola – Johannes Fritsch, Manfred Niehaus
Violin – Cristel-Renate Wüstenbecker, Koenraad Ellegiers

Here we have Manfred Schoof, a founder of the European Free Jazz scene with a long history of recording with Irene Schweizer or Peter Brotzmann, or Evan Parker or Alexander von Schlippenbach, and, further afield, George Russell, in full flow.  He is accompanied by Peter Trunk and their Dutch partner Cees See.   While they were very much part of the avant garde, free tradition, there is a great deal of jazz history in their playing.  It is not so much that they’re trying to burn the bridges of the tradition (as some of their counterparts might have been attempting back in the early ‘70s) so much as building a new bridge.  Trunk’s bass playing carries a huge debt to the post-bop of the late ‘60s, providing lines that sing more than simply carry the rhythm.  On this recording, you get see why he was so highly regarded (sadly dying in a car accident a couple of years after this set was originally released, at only 37 years of age).  Schoof’s playing (on the both trumpet and flugelhorn) is far less bombastic than other players of the time; even at his most frantic, he works melody and harmony into his playing.  This is, perhaps, not too surprising given the wide range of musical fields in which he worked, being equally at home in opera or classical music as jazz.  Schoof’s melodic lines draw the bass into closer, possibly modal, patterns, such that the ‘free’ aspects tend to be rhythmic rather than aharmonic.  See’s percussion work builds on this, or perhaps creates, the rhythmic gymnastics in the playing, with each piece skittering across time signatures supported by his restless pulsing.  in addition to drumming, See is proficient across a range of instruments, and these are used to provide colour to several pieces here.

On ‘Page Two’, the string quintet lend an air of contemporary chamber music, with the scrabbled pizzicato playing between Trunk’s bubbling bass lines and Schoof’s melodic excursions. This adds an interesting texture to the music, but the heart remains the trio and their ability to work together.  At times a lone violin or viola or cello might venture up a line or two of arco playing, drawing other members of the quintet, but this tend sinks back into the melee of ensemble playing.  What is fascinating is the way that acoustic instruments, in the right hands, can create effects that might be rendered electronically in modern sets; violins playing as if on a tape being rewound, or the bass and trumpet getting louder and then fading as if a directional microphone is being moved across them. 

With the addition of a string quintet, The New Jazz Trio’s ‘second page’ expands on their first MPS album, Page One, by ingeniously melding the heady experimentation of the classical Avant-garde with the exuberant spontaneity of free jazz. For Schoof, the overall musical interaction rather than the individual solos had precedence. He specified that, “on every track all musicians played spontaneously.” Yet soloistic passages weave in and out of a music that ranges from Ornette-like free jazz blanketed by the string section’s “white noise” in Currents, the pointillist Feathered Friends, the frenetic…And Accents, the Mysterioso Sunmoonata, the frenzied Ludus Totalus, a deliriously jazzy Dolbi, the otherworldly Open Zoo, the receptive free-for-all of Portraits, the pulsating insistence of Hommage, on through to the intense drive of Absolute. This was a daring album for its time, one that has maintained its sense of urgent relevancy for nearly a half century. 

New Jazz Trio - 1970 - Page One

New Jazz Trio 
Page One

01. Palar 6:30
02. Bambura 5:00
03. Snaro 3:45
04. Val 3:25
05. Cert Van 2:25
06. Ceon 4:43
07. Haranca 8:50
08. Rum-Pa 4:00
09. Tram-Ba-Tro 6:13
10. Naimed 1:42

Bass – Peter Trunk
Drums, Tabla, Percussion, Flute, Harp – Cees Cee
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Manfred Schoof

Recorded at Rhenus Studio, Godorf, January 1970
Engineer – Conny Plank
Producer - Cees Cee

CEES SEE (born 5 January 1934 in Amsterdam, † December 9, 1985) was a Dutch jazz drummer and percussionist. The self-taught first played with the Dutch band The Miller and Jack Sels, Herman Schoonderwalt, Rob Madna, Pim Jacobs, Kenny Drew, Donald Byrd, Wolfgang Dauner and Dusko Goykovich. He became known in the second half of the 1960s as a member of the quartet by Klaus Doldinger. He then played in the New Jazz Trio by Manfred Schoof, but also took up with Olaf Kübler and with Volker Kriegel. He founded his own Perkussionistenquartett, was the first jazz drummer in the Netherlands, who taught at a conservatory, and published the treatise "The drums in jazz." In 1956 he was briefly married to singer Corry Brokken.

PETER TRUNK (born 17 May 1936 in Frankfurt am Main, † 31 December 1973 in New York City) was a German jazz musician (bass, bass guitar, cello), composer and arranger. He first played with the British trumpeter Stu Hamer and the German pianist Werner Giertz. In 1957 he accompanied American jazz stars such as the tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims and drummer Kenny Clarke, 1959 the equally famous tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and the Dutch singer Rita Reys. He was well known by the early bands of Albert Mangelsdorff, in his "jazz ensemble of the Hessischer Rundfunk" he played well. In the early 1960s he was house bassist of the Berlin Jazz premises "Blue Note" (his colleagues were the Dutch and the German pianist January Huydts drummer Joe Nay).
In 1966 he took part in the recordings of the music of the film Will Tremper-film Playgirl part. Under the direction of Peter Thomas can be heard on the soundtrack released on a Philips LP also Klaus Doldinger (sax), Ingfried Hoffmann (Hammond organ) and Rafi Luderitz (drums).
Later trunk was involved with Klaus Doldinger and the orchestra of Kurt Edelhagen. In the years up to his death, he played free jazz in the tradition of Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman, for example, in the new jazz trio with trumpeter Manfred Schoof and drummer Cees See.
His play on the double bass was characterized by a sonorous, full, round tone, melodic and rhythmic precision and a variety of ideas. Also noteworthy are his play on the electric bass and the cello.
In the spring of 1973, Peter Trunk founded his octet sincerely pt with the sheet set Manfred Schoof, Shake Keane and Jiggs Whigham, and the rhythm section of Jasper van't Hof, Sigi Schwab, Peter Trunk, Joe Nay, Curt Cress. He self-produced their first recordings with the new lineup. During the subsequent tour Udo Lindenberg Doldinger's Passport to replace the exchanged Curt Cress. Immediately before the second tour his tragic fate overtook him in New York he was fatally injured in New Year's Eve 1973 by a taxi driver. Trunk was from the late 1950s to 1973, one of the most significant jazz musicians on the European jazz scene.

MANFRED SCHOOF (born April 6, 1936 in Magdeburg) is a German jazz trumpeter (also flugelhorn, cornet) and is considered "the great romantics among the acts in Germany jazz avant-garde" (Hans Kumpf). He has also appeared as a composer. From 1990 he was professor at the Academy of Music in Cologne.
Schoof studied 1955-1957 at the Music Academy Kassel, 1958-1963 at the Academy of Music in Cologne, where he was a composition student of Bernd Alois Zimmermann. He first played with Fritz Muenzer and Gunter Hampel and with Harald Banter. His first quintet he founded in 1965, this was a pioneering and leading role in the development of free jazz in Europe only to 1967 existing group. "Born of an elaborate compositional frame of reference and a great attention to formal details" is its documented on three albums music "quite in balance of design and compositional freedom". Schoof continued to work with artists such as Albert Mangelsdorff, Peter Brötzmann, Mal Waldron , Irène Schweizer, the Kenny Clarke / Francy Boland Big Band, the Gil Evans Orchestra, the German Allstars and the George Russell Sextet together. He also works with since its incorporation in 1966 at the Globe Unity Orchestra. As an arranger and soloist, he also worked for Kurt Edelhagen.
Also Schoofs interpretations of various works of contemporary music (such as "The Soldier" by Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Johannes Fritsch) caused a sensation. After he appeared in the early 1970s with his New Jazz Trio, which he also a clever improvising string quintet combined, he founded in 1975 his second quintet, which in addition to the Luxembourg bass clarinetist Michel Pilz and the Dutch keyboardist Jasper van't Hof was the rhythm section of the classic Albert Mangelsdorff Quintet (Günter Lenz and Ralf Hübner). The quintet rehearsed with this plate Scales in 1977 "a virtuoso and also colored music, playing together in the intellectual and the emotional in a special way," honored as the great German Record Prize. Schoof in 1980 received the first Price of the Union German jazz musicians. In that year he founded the Schoof Orchestra began in 1982 and a multi-year collaboration with pianist Rainer Brüninghaus. Since 1987 he is member of the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band and the European Jazz Ensemble. From 1996 on, he played with Albert Mangelsdorff, Klaus Doldinger, Wolfgang Dauner and Eberhard Weber in the lineup Allstar Old Friends.

In 1970, three of Europe’s leading first-wave Avant-gardists united to form the New Jazz Trio. They personified the evolution of modern jazz into the realm of a freer more exploratory direction. German trumpeter Manfred Schoof felt at home with the exquisite simplicity of Mal Waldron as well as the cyclonic free play of Peter Brötzmann, maneuvered through the mainstream jazz currents of the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band and the outré experimentation of The Global Unity Orchestra. German bassist Peter Trunk and Dutch drummer Cees See were like musical freethinkers. Trunk, especially, was lauded by his peers. Guitarist Attila Zoller stated that he was “as good as any of the best American bassists”, and German jazz guru Joachim Ernst Berendt called Trunk “the best bassist in German jazz.” Unfortunately, Trunk died in 1973, but this and MPS companion album, Page Two, chronicle the trio’s seminal music

On Page One spontaneity is the name of the game, but within the freedom there is a continual sense of form, melody, and swing. For the three, improvisation is a method of spontaneous composition. Themes appear, unconstrained, morph, return transfigured. Each piece shines with its own particular iridescence, and with its heady, joyous freedom and chamber music quality, the trio skirts the genre’s chaotic pitfalls. From the catchy rhythmic/melodic riff and hard swing of Palar, to the haunting minimalism of Cert Van, on through the rapid-fire assault of Naimed, it’s an alluring set!

A pleasure for collectors. Enjoy!

Variospheres - 2017 - Live in Solothurn 1976

Live in Solothurn 1976

01. Unidentified Piece 14:00
02. Man Of The Light 16:47
03. Way To Oasis 11:31
04. The Sound Of Gold 15:55
05. Turbulent Plover 11:02
06. On The Farm 7:25

Bass – Hans Hartmann
Drums – Janusz Stefanski
Piano, Electric Piano – Michel Herr
Violin – Zbigniew Seifert

The recording took place in Solothurn, Switzerland on 18 January 1976.

This is an archival release of a live recording by the European quartet Variospheres, led by the legendary late Polish Jazz violinist Zbigniew Seifert, which also included Belgian pianist Michel Herr, Swiss bassist Hans Hartmann and Polish drummer Janusz Stefanski. They perform six compositions, four of which were composed by Seifert, one by Herr and the remaining one is unidentified. 

Variospheres, which existed actually in two different lineups, was Seifert vehicle for European touring and of course part of his personal development as a composer and a player. Recorded in January of 1976 this live performance was a beginning of a hyperactive period in Seifert´s life. In that year alone he recorded albums with Joachim Kuhn ("Springfever" for Atlantic) and Charlie Mariano ("Helen 12 Trees" for MPS) and his first album as a leader ("Man Of The Light" for MPS) as well as his solo violin album ("Solo Violin" for EMI which was released only a couple of years later). Sadly that year also brought the discovery of his illness, which took his life just three years later. 

The music is typical of the modern European Jazz of that period, which was heavily involved in post-Coltrane Free improvisation and constant search of new forms of expression. The European scene, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, was buzzing with incredible productivity and discovery, and Seifert and his quartet represent the atmosphere of the period perfectly. 

Although the sound quality of this recording is far from perfect, it manages to bring forward the incredible intensity of the music and the total involvement from the musicians. Seifert and Herr deliver lengthy fiery solos and the rhythm section supports the music and drives it ahead, both during the more swinging parts as well as during the freely improvised parts. Seifert´s incredible compositions are always a delight. 

The importance of the fact that this music is finally seeing a release, over forty years after it was recorded, is enormous. It adds to Seifert´s relatively limited recorded legacy and sheds light on a very interesting period in European Jazz, which is always more than welcome. For the numerous Polish Jazz and Seifert´s music connoisseurs this is an obvious must, and we should all be grateful to the Zbigniew Seifert Foundation, run by the incredible Aneta Norek, who is also the author of the excellent Seifert´s biography, for faithfully bringing Seifert´s legacy into the limelight!

Zbigniew Seifert gained more fame during his life beyond Poland's borders. He recorded with the greatest personalities in the world of jazz, like Jack DeJohnette and John Scofield (playing at Seifert as a session musician!). Few of this class of jazz violinists honored jazz music of the twentieth century. Seifert is a prominent figure, also in Poland for a long time known to record collectors, only thanks to the concert album "Kilimanjaro." In recent years, artist's music has been rediscovered by the young musicians inspired by his work.  The International Jazz Violin Competition Seifert Competition, during which the most perfect young violinists are selected, and a thriving Foundation for them. Zbigniew Seifert effectively promotes the music of his patron. Since 2017, the Foundation has also been involved in the publishing of albums. 
After the excellent album "Seifert" by Atom String Quartet, the next titles in the catalog of the label created at the Foundation are "Solo Violin" and "Live in Solothurn" , opening a series of albums containing archival recordings by Zbigniew Seifert.

"Live in Solothurn" is a concert from January 18, 1976, which took place in Switzerland, as part of the Second International Swiss Jazz Days, in the Variospheres quartet (Zbigniew Seifert - violin, Michel Herr - keyboard instructor, Hans Hartmann - double bass and Janusz Stefanski The album features concert versions of Seifert's famous compositions such as "Man Of The Light", "Way To Oasis" or "Turbulent Plover" , but also the song "The Sound Of Gold" by the composition pianist Michel Herr.
It is a music full of spontaneity and energy, created spontaneously but created thanks to an incredible agreement between artists. Each of the musicians seems to be democratically representing such and not a different course of each of the songs. Seifert seems to be at the top of the form: playing with emotions, in ecstatic raptures, almost with fury. At every moment we see that we are dealing with four strong personalities, who in Variospheres are able to create everything for themselves, not saving themselves for a moment.
The brilliant music that reaches us within 77 minutes is also an example of the direction in which jazz followed in the mid-1970s. It is hard to believe that the material has not been published in the form of a record so far, for more than 4 decades resting in private archives of Swiss jazz animators, Renate and Six Trutten's marriages. The publication of this material is an event on a global scale, and its value is invaluable. 
The recordings from 1976 were subjected to thorough digital remastering in the Austrian Mukhara World Sound, and the carefully released album was equipped with a book containing archival photos and statements of musicians taking part in the recordings. 
Big applause for the Fundacja im. Zbigniew Seifert for presenting these priceless recordings to the world!