June 14, 2024

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Albert Mangelsdorff: companions in the interview – Two concerts for the anniversary: Video

Albert Mangelsdorff, who died in 2005, is considered the most important ambassador of European jazz. And he revolutionized the trombone game with his polyphonic playing.

The Institute for Urban History and the Hessian Radio dedicate two concerts to Mangelsdorff’s birthday. Musicians of all generations pay homage to their prominent colleagues, including saxophonists Heinz Sauer and Christof Lauer, and trombonist Nils Wogram.

Sauer was from 1960 a longtime companion of the hobby ornithologist (“The song of the birds was a sound ideal and constant model for his music,” it says in Wikipedia), produced with Mangelsdorff in the US celebrated records such as “Never Let It End «one; Christof Lauer joined the hr jazz ensemble in 1979 to play alongside the man he had admired as a youngster in the jazz cellar; Finally, in 2013, Nils Wogram (45) received the prestigious Albert Mangelsdorff Prize. In addition to Lauer, the young trombonist is one of the musicians who pay homage to the 49th Germany Jazz Festival Mangelsdorff in solo, duo, trio and quintet formations alongside the hr big band. In a conversation with the Main Echo they remember Albert Mangelsdorff.

What is your first memory of Albert Mangelsdorff? Heinz Sauer: When I think of Albert, I think of the moment when he asked me if I would play with him. His Danish saxophonist returned to Copenhagen and had a month’s engagement with his quartet in a club called Atlantic Bar in Stuttgart. It was crazy for me, who was still studying mathematics and physics, but at short notice I decided to give up my studies and play with Albert.

According to the quartet as well as the quintet, from 1961 onwards, the emancipation of European jazz was promoted …

Sauer: Albert Mangelsdorff is a kind of philosophy for me. He used to say, Heinz, do not always listen to the Coltrane, let’s stay in our own culture. That was it, for me, the deciding factor. We would never have managed to play like the Americans because we have a different cultural background. Let’s play our own music. That was Albert for me.

What marked the music? Christof Lauer: When I started to listen to jazz and went to the jazz cellar for the first time in the late sixties and early seventies, those were the times when the mail went off. That was also where I first noticed the music of Albert Mangelsdorff correctly. That was European jazz, had little to do with what came from America. That fascinated me more, maybe because of my musical career and because I had studied cello. It was a time of change, it was incredibly risky, they trusted each other that something new developed in the interaction, which was not discussed. It was not a clinging to the familiar, but the attempt to throw off the ballast. And it was a constant search.

Sauer: The new has naturally fascinated the youth. The older generation was not so gracious and looked down on us. We just did jazz. I say that drastically: For her we have betrayed our culture …

And created a new one …

Sauer: That may be so. Albert was a revolutionary. I’ve been touring with him for fifteen years. Since then I’ve heard a lot from him at the concerts during this time, having experienced many wonderful moments that did not exist on plates. They are irrecoverable.

Not only on solo productions such as “Trombirds” in 1972, he introduced his polyphonic play, even that was considered a revolutionary …

Nils Wogram: Albert has achieved the ideal of a jazz musician: two notes and you know it is him. And not only because of his polyphonic play. Phrasing, melody lines and sound were unmistakable.

Albert had a clear musical vision, which he uncompromisingly implemented. He is an absolute role model for me.

Nobody plays the trombone past Mangelsdorff. Fortunately, his legacy is passed on and today there are some trombonists who are familiar with his style and playing techniques. He was an innovator on the instrument.

Sauer: It did not impress me so much with the multi-part playing, that was not the essence of Albert, he also invented that on the side. Of course that was great, the way he did it, many do it, but they can not do it that well. He was very creative. If I wrote a piece, Albert still had ideas on how to do it better, really good ideas. That has honored him.

With all the praise and status even in the motherland of jazz, Mangelsdorff remained likable modest …

Sauer: It did not impress me so much with the multi-part playing, that was not the essence of Albert, he also invented that on the side. Of course that was great, the way he did it, many do it, but they can not do it that well. He was very creative. If I wrote a piece, Albert still had ideas on how to do it better, really good ideas. That has honored him.

With all the praise and status even in the motherland of jazz, Mangelsdorff remained likable modest …

Lauer: Of course, when I became a member of the hr jazz ensemble in 1979, I was excited and a little stunned with awe. Considering what he musically brought to the world, he was a totally humble person who never totally stayed on Earth and even one who was more likely to question himself and was always interested in evolving.

Sauer: I know him better (laughs). Nevertheless: That’s right. He was definitely an understated guy that does not exist anymore.

But in his art Mangelsdorff was certainly relentless …

Sauer: I would say so. I said somewhere in an interview that Albert was tough. He asked me shortly before his death what I meant by that. That was hard to explain. Dear Albert … But he knew very well – and that’s no different in art – what he wanted. He was tough then too.

Wogram: Albert Mangelsdorff has done a lot both nationally and internationally and written music history. His absolutely unmistakable playing, his original compositions and his clear, modest attitude have had a lasting effect on the German jazz scene. The musical world class of a German musician resident in Germany was and is something special. Concentrating on content and the essence of jazz is what Albert radiated. Worldwide his style of playing was unique and earned him a lot of reputation. At least among the professionals and fellow musicians. In Germany, Albert had even a social significance and has brought the jazz a lot of popularity.

“Playing for Albert,” Frankfurt, Institute for Urban History, 9 September, 5 pm; »Hats off!«, Opening concert at the 49th Germany Jazz Festival, Frankfurt, Alte Oper, 22 October, 8 pm.

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