German guitarist Volker Kriegel played an important role in the development of European fusion. His own groups and collaborations with American vibraphonist Dave Pike gained him a world-wide audience; Kriegel also had a talent for bringing together fascinating combinations of top-flight musicians (check out some of his other MPS re-issues). Topical Harvest is no exception. Famed percussionist Ray Mantilla founded the legendary drum group M’Boom with Max Roach, and worked with Charles Mingus and Dizzy Gillespie. Peter Giger headed the internationally renowned Family of Percussion, German drummer Joe Ney worked with such American masters as Roland Kirk and Dexter Gordon. Keyboardist Rainer Brüninghaus and bassist Peter Ströer were Kriegel’s long-time musical partners. Eight of the ten compositions are Kriegel’s, and the music is imprinted with his signature: sinuous melodies and exciting solos over a foundation of rock and funk. Hypnotic Pignose features the rhythm section’s funky drive and Kriegel’s glistening guitar lines, whereas Circus Gambet ventures into a soulful minor mode, and the dreamy Hallo Albert has trombone great Albert Mangelsdorff and Kriegel in the forefront. Remember Gereba is a percussive festival with a guitar-trombone interlude, followed by a rocking Sister Matic, while Oriente swings in a lilting ¾. There’s a samba feel to Bahia Next Year, and Tribut, a one minute Kriegel/Ströer duet, would feel right at home on the bayou. There’s a mix of country and funky rock on Let’s Say Windmill, and the wistful rock ballad Saturnalia closes out the album with Kriegel and Ströer once again in duo. Another masterpiece by one of the leading figures of European jazz rock.