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.
This first album of Volker Kriegel’s Mild Maniac Orchestra, one of Europe’s most influential and successful fusion groups. Keyboardist Thomas Bettermann would go on to record 8 albums with Kiegel, and bassist Hans Peter Ströer and Dutch drummer Evert Fraterman would continue to work with Kriegel for close to a decade. They were Kriegel’s rhythm section for all four of the Orchestra’s MPS dates. Funk You Very Much drives with a shake-your-booty beat and a powerful solo by renowned English saxophonist Allen Skidmore. There’s the warmth and fantasy of Ballad Garden and Palm Dreams with percussionist Nippi Noya, and Octember Variation continues the ethereal feel with Kriegel’s sitar sound and guest Wolfgang Dauner on synth. On Und Schön Ist Die Fahrt (And It’s a Beautiful Trip), outstanding guitar and keyboard solos resound over a relaxed funk groove, while Dora tells a story with a country flair, and Flugsteig B (Boarding Gate B) continues in country-funk fashion. Spiral Crackers is simply funkadelic. An album to sit back and snap your fingers and tap your feet to – better yet – get up and dance!