A 20th Century Renaissance man, cartoonist, film director, author, radio personality, record company owner, German guitarist Volker Kriegel played an important role in the European jazz-rock and fusion movements. Co-founder of the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, Kriegel’s own groups and collaborations with American vibraphonist Dave Pike gained him a world-wide audience, as his 14 albums for MPS as leader and 15 as sideman can attest.
Inside: Missing Link
Volker Kriegel assembled a band of some of the leading musical visionaries on the European jazz scene for this 1972 double album. The first album contains four extended pieces in a hip mix of rock & jazz with pulsating arrangements and distinctive solos. Take a listen to Kriegel’s classy play on Slums on Wheels, with trombone icon Albert Mangelsdorff’s flashy solo followed by English saxophone giant Alan Skidmore’s scintillating soprano. The piece moves into an up-tempo jazz feel and German saxophone master Heinz Sauer’s passionate solo. The “E” Again features English keyboard legend John Taylor’s electrifying play, and Kriegel’s majestic solo. The Afro-jazz-rock of Zanzibar features powerful solos from the entire band. Freely interpreted ethno influences on Missing Link move into an English pop-rock mode with a mellow-toned trombone and intense guitar and sax solos. The horns take a seat on the last six pieces as Kriegel and Taylor shine in the spotlight. Für Hector is a jazzy up-tempo romp, and Remis hints of something south of the border. The exotic warmth of India pervades German bass great Eberhard Weber’s Tarang as he picks up the Indian instrument of the same name and then takes an expressive bass solo. Kriegel catches the melancholy ambiance of Brazillian icon Caetano Veloso’s poignant ballad Janellas Abertas. Plonk Whenever swings fast and furiously into the realm of free jazz, whereas on Kriegel’s Definitely Suspicious, an unaccompanied acoustic guitar bookends propulsive electric guitar and keyboard solos. On Finale Kriegel plays a filigree 14-second melodic strain. Exciting top-flight fusion!
The album has been reissued in 2023. Remastering from the original master tapes has been done by Grammy-nominee Christoph Stickel. Additional liner notes were written by Olaf Stötzler.
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