This album of duos stands out as one of a kind; recorded during a phase in which he began to consistently incorporate a freer musical language into his playing, and set within a constellation of diverse duo formations, there emerges an exciting portrait of the central figure in German jazz: Albert Mangelsdorff.
With tongue in cheek – or better said – in mouthpiece, Mangelsdorff accompanies Don Cherry on a journey that culminates in a zany duel staged almost without instruments. With his close friend Elvin Jones, Mangelsdorff unfurls so many melodic and metric parameters that one could believe they are listening to a full combo that dissolves conventional time patterns into kaleidoscopic polyrhythms, whereas the colorful tonal confrontation between Karl Berger’s agile, inspired vibes and the questioning, challenging trombone stands out as a lesson in Avant-garde brainstorming.
A rollicking, mischievous nocturne intertwined with a bit of mystery is woven out of the conversation between Mangelsdorff’s trombone and Attila Zoller’s dreamy guitar play. Because a long, close artistic partnership conjoins Saxophonist Lee Konitz and Mangelsdorff, they seem to be able to breath with one breath as they generate the synergetic dynamics and dramaturgy of their short Al – Lee. On the album’s last piece, a lyrical, bluesy sensibility shines through pianist Wolfgang Dauner’s and Mangelsdorff’s interplay.
Recorded over an 18 month period, the album paints an intimate, playful portrait of one of the most significant personalities in jazz – not just “made in Germany”, but mirrored in the contrasting styles and close friendships of his fellow musicians.
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