Pim

Pimuins Guide to Mal Waldron Records

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I'd seen the Discogs but didn't think to look at Amazon, thanks Pim (how you feeling now btw?)

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21 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

I'd seen the Discogs but didn't think to look at Amazon, thanks Pim (how you feeling now btw?)

I am good thanks for asking! My wife’s mild symptoms have gone away and I did not get contaminated fortunately.

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1 minute ago, Pim said:

I am good thanks for asking! My wife’s mild symptoms have gone away and I did not get contaminated fortunately.

Great, pleased to hear that

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29 minutes ago, Pim said:

 My wife’s mild symptoms have gone away and I did not get contaminated fortunately.

Good news indeed ....

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And another week has passed. Mal made some pretty good records in the early '90's. The enormous variety in settings, personell and styles really keeps on going.

The weeks started with the pretty obscure Where Are You recording with Reggie Workman an the female Italian alto saxophonist Cristina Mazza. It was released on Il Posto, vinyl only. It's the more free oriented and abstract recording of the week. Unfortunately Mal does not play with Reggie here. Mazza is a good saxophone player but the whole record misses some spirit and direction. The mostly free improvisations do not really seem to go anywhere and there's not a lot of chemistry here. An ok record but not essential. New Horizon is the second encounter with Charlie Mariano and it's better than it's predecessor. The theme here is again the European revolutions of the early '90's. It's an excellent record full of joyfull interplay and the music is a little more exciting and free than the other Alfa Jazz session. Especially the long suite is of great interest.

My Dear Family was Mal's last record for Alfa Jazz, though most people probably own the Evidence version. An surprising line up that combines Grover Washington Jr. with Pheeroan AkLaff. It's beautiful music mostly in ballad style. A great showcase of Eddie Henderson's underrated talents. The Japanese traditional 'Sakura' is the beautiful highlight of the album.Then there's another record with Doudou Gouirand and Michel Marre: Le Matin D'Un Fauve. It's definitely an interesting listen as the music goes into lots of directions: jazz, neo classical and world influences. Interesting but not really more than that. Both Gouirand and Marre fail to make a real lasting impression. Their playing is ok but not very original.

The duet with George Haslam: Waldron/Haslam is one of the nice suprises this week. Haslam is a British reed player that played with the likes of Evan Parker, Borah Bergman and many more. His playing his pretty subdued on this record. It's a great duo that works out very well. Haslam is on Baritone and those dark warm voicings sound beautiul with Mal's gentle and at ease background playing. Also feautered this week is the the last duo recording with Steve Lacy: Communiqué. Probably not a real surprise: it’s freakin’great. And also quite different from the other sessions for it has some interesting compositional choices: some by Monk which they never played before and also one by the underrated Elmo Hope.

Finishing this week with the duets with Jeanne Lee: After Hours. I do not want to offend fans with my 3.5 stars but these standards aren’t as interesting as their originals they performed together. But Jeanne is a hell of a singer. I am not a real vocal jazz lover but she has it all: soul, feeling, timing, timbre and technique. I like her, I just don’t really like standards performed in this kind of setting. But better stuff is yet to come. Of all the singers that singed with Mal post Billie: I like Jeanne Lee best.

Thanks again guys, hope again you enjoy reading and of course: listening!

https://snake-out.blogspot.com

https://snake-out.blogspot.com/2020/12/all-reviews-in-chronological-order.html

https://snake-out.blogspot.com/2020/12/all-reviews-by-rating.html

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From a Vocal Jazz lover`s + Mal Waldron follower`s perspective "After Hour" is excellent .... happy Easter !!

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We are getting closer and closer to the end.... But we have still a lot of enjoyable records to go. Mal was very productive, also in his last years. This week was generally pretty satisfying. Some vocal albums, some duos but also the first recordings of his excellent second TUTU quartet with Nicolas Simion.

Monday's album with Judy Niemack: Mingus, Mal & Monk is a nice album. It will never become my kind of thing but Judy has a very pleasant voice and her interpretation of Seagull's is excellent. The following album with Italian singer Danila Satragno is again a bit of a failure. Like more of the Italian singers Mal have worked with: she just isn't much of a singer. She has no technique, subpar timing and just sounds unexperienced. Part from that the sound quality isn't very good either. Fortunately there are the two TUTU's with Nicolas Simion, Ed Schuller and Victor Jones: Mal, Verve, Black & Blue and Remembering the Moment. Simion really is one underrated saxophone player: full of power and passion, a lovely robust sound and a great technique. I love the guy's playing and he was a worthy successor to the great Jim Pepper. Really guys, these TUTU discs are all great. It's intense club jazz at it's best: full of joy and energy. Both Ed Schuller as Victor Jones are also in great shape.The second duo with George Haslam is nice but not as good as their first album together. There's a little less chemistry to be found here but Mal's solo effort Sakura is among his most beautiful records. 

Also present this week are some of the records that we're made on Mal's 70th birthday tour in Japan. His second wife Hiromi arranged that his whole family would accompany him on that tour including his ex wife Elaine and his two daughters with her: Lori and Mala. Also present were Hiromi herself and her 5 children with Mal: Naru, Marianne, Malcolm Jr. and the twins Michael and Sara. According to Jeanne Lee, who was also joining the companionship, sometimes there were more Waldron's on the train than Japanese people. Lee is present at the recording with Japanese flautist Toru Tenda: Travelin' in Soul-Time: an excellent album on BVHaast. Most of the music was played in remembrance of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Especially 'White Rain' is a very impressive composition, based on a poem that was written by a survivor. The closing album of this week is one of the hidden pearls in Mal's discography. Bit, with the excellent Japanese drummer Takeo Moriyama is pure magic if you ask me. An engaging encounter of 50+ minutes that keeps your attention from the start till the end. Lot's of chemistry and interplay and the enormous variety in playing styles is great. It's a pity it's so damn hard to find these days for a decent price. 

Some of the other records from the tour (the duet with Mala Waldron, the second duet with Moriyama, another encounter with Jeanne Lee and Toru Tenda) will be reviewed as part of the awesome Maturity series. Closing now with the Japanese poem that was written by Syo Ito: White Road:

A white road 
A white road in Hiroshima 

Mother walked that scorching road 
Barefoot 
Working clothes all torn 

And I, who had been born 
Just 40 days before 
Held in those arms 
Gazed up with eyes of innocence 
To where the deep blue sky 
Stretched wide, she said 
The white mushroom cloud 
Moved like a sea slug 
Growing wide, and wider still 

Mid-summer phantoms 
And these hateful things 
That happened long ago 
Are so infinitely sad 

The image of that single 
Long white road 
Lies in the corner of my mother’s 
Heart and mine 
And does not even try to die 
The road stretches on and on 
An endless road 
White dust-covered and soiled by grief 

The road began that moment 
The road without and end 
The road we’ve walked without a pause 
For fourteen years 
Mother is tired 
And I am tired 

And when beset by waves 
Of sadness and exhaustion 
She lay a while to rest 
Her tears fell on my face 
And left their patterns in the dust 

A white road 
The white road of Hiroshima

https://snake-out.blogspot.com

All Reviews in Chronological Order

All Reviews by Rating

Edited by Pim

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A pretty intersting batch of records for this week if you ask me. Lot's of duo's again.

Monday's duet with Max Roach is fairly unknown. It was released on George Haslam's SLAM label. The concert was given in honor of Mal's 70th birthday and some of the documentary material was recorded at that concert. It's a great duet by the two old masters and it reflects so much mutual understanding of music. The whole record is based on communication between these two legends. I did not expect this, but I do like the duets with Takeo Moriyama better. The Sangoma Everett disc really is one huge disappointment. That group had so much potential with Mal, Chico Freeman and Cecil McBee. But the compositions are really dull sometimes a little silly even. None of the guys have the opportunity to really shine here, it lacks nice interplay and feeling. 

Black Spirits Are Here Again on DIW with Roberto Ottaviano is really a different story. It must have been difficult for Ottaviano to play in the shadows of Steve Lacy as he sticks to soprano only. But Ottaviano just goes his own way and it really works out well. He has a pretty subdued tone but it results in some very pleasant and beautiful music. Great and accessible stuff. Both of the works with the underrated Romanian reed player: Art of The Duo: The Big Rochade and Misterioso: Live in Zurich are easily recommended. Mal has the same kind of thing with Simion as he had with Jim Pepper. There's chemistry between them, interplay and lots of exciting turns and twists in the music. There's more contemporary stuff like Monk's compositions, but also compositions by Simion that have a more 'Balkan' kind of feel. I love his powerful and robust tone on tenor. 

Soul Eyes on BMG/RCA Victor is mostly interesting from a historical point of view as it was Mal's last real group recording. Big names present there: Jeanne Lee, Steve Coleman, Joe Henderson, Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille. Can't say it really meets up to expectations yet it remains a pretty good record. Big highlights are the stunning version of Soul Eyes with Jeanne Lee's lovely warm vocals and the killer version of the Git Go with Joe Henderson. Today a start with the 'Maturity series': Vol.1: Klassics contains classical compositions only by composers like Brahms, Chopin, Grieg and Bartok. Most of the titles were clearly chosen with Mal's style in mind: they all have that dark lyricism that fits well with Mal's playing. The addition of a vibes player and bassist doesn't really work out very well as both of them aren't very intersting players. The solo pieces are great. 

 

 

 

 

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And now... the end is near... Well not yet of course but I am only two albums away from the end of Mal's discography as a leader (from the year 1965). But there's another 20 sideman albums to review so were not done yet :)

This week had 4 of the Maturity volumes. I really love that artwork and the music is goes anywhere from good to excellent. Mal's duets with his daughter Mala are surprisingly good. I tend to like her singing, though she does not sing on all of the tracks. It's mostly a piano duet with her father and de whole setting is pretty intimate. Nothing special but a pretty satisfying session. There's more duets with Takeo Moriyama and again it's an excellent recording. 40+ minutes of telepathic interplay with one of Japan's top drummers. Love his subdued yet very percussive style. White Road, Black Rain is probably my favorite post 1965 vocal album by Mal with lovely contributions by Jeanne Lee. Hearing her sing a standard like Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child or the impressive Japanese poem White Road gives me goosebumps. The whole recording is a little short in time unfortunately. The Elusiveness of Mt. Fuji is the closing volume of the series. It's an enjoyable solo recording that consists mainly of standards. Nothing mind-blowing but Mal's playing is lovely and well balanced here. Cozy music. The other solo disc on 3361*Black, the self titled Mal Waldron is not as good: it lacks creativity and originality. These 3361*Black discs really sound great and most of the music on it is a nice reflection of Mal's last years. But the big downside of them is that they are so hard to find. I bought all my copies trough Proxy shopping sites trough which I was able to get them from Japanese stores.

Closing of this week with duets. The duo's with Judi Silvano are just really not my cup of tea. It's old-fashioned in style, Judi's vocal skills are okay but I really have a dislike for scatting vocals (or it has to be Ella Fitzgerald). The duets with David Murray are really more my thing. It's a five star album in my opinion. It's a diverse encounter full of twists and turns, tension and sincere beauty. Their styles blend excellent and I love Mal's humble playing in this final stage of his life. It's full of pure and raw beauty.

https://snake-out.blogspot.com

All reviews by rating

All Reviews in Chronological Order

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It's gone by incredibly quickly. I've enjoyed trading it throughout.

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Last 2 albums as a leader this week and starting with his appearances as a sideman. It was raining stars this week with only one exception.

Mal really kept some of his best works for his last records. The Mal you hear here is again a little different. His style is more basic and subdued yet deeply emotional. His last work with Steve Lacy (and Jean-Jacques Avenel) is one of absolute beauty. It's pretty structured but has it's free moments. Beautiful music with topnotch interaction with both Lacy as Avenel. Mal's last recording before his death with Archie Shepp remains a favorite of mine. They had played together multiple times before but it was never recorded and released officially. Shepp's raw and bluesy tone matches hand in glove to Mal's warm and deep voicings in the background. A beautiful, bluesy tribute to Lady Day. Mal past away at the end of that year.

Traveling back in time to the year 1966: the year of Mal's definitive return on the scene in Europe. When he lived in Cologne and Munich in Germany he gigged with so many visiting and residing artists. One of the artists he played with on a regular basis was Yugoslavian trumpeter Dusko Goykovich. The recording Swinging Macedonia is a very nice blend with the Balkan music from Dusko's homeland. Some of those tracks are really interesting, the more straightahead compositions are bit dull here and there. The Nada Jovic record which also includes Dusko (and pretty much the same band of that other recording) is just plain awful. I thinks it's the worst in Mal's discography. Oldfashioned cabaret like non music which you could easily live without. No idea why Cosmic Sounds decided to release it. Mal's first recordings with what was to become Embryo were a pretty pleasant surprise. The music really does not have much to do with rock or Embryo's later music. But the jazzy music performed here is excellent and pretty advanced. A nice look into the German jazz scene of those days and a interesting listen for this was recorded not long before Embryo was formed. It was released on PD label Disconforme but with permission of Christian Burchard. 

This weekend was one with some of Mal's best sideman performances. The Benny Bailey disc with it's killer line-up including Nathan Davis, Jimmy Woode and Makaya Nthoko is enjoyable from the first to the last minute. A steaming live session, advanced and very exciting bop with a delicious live atmosphere. Closing record for this week is the pretty rare Jazz Concert in a Benedictine Monastery. I have a really, really soft spot for Nathan Davis and I love this record. Perhaps it's obscurity contributes a little but this whole record feels like little treasure. That tone man, that tone! Backing support by Mal, Woode and Taylor is superb, great record. Anyone knows where this was recorded? All kinds of sources say something different: some say it was recorded at some religious monk school in Paris (including the cover), other sources say a Benedictine Monastery in Switzerland.

All reviews in a chronological order

All reviews by rating

 

 

Edited by Pim

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6 hours ago, Pim said:

Closing record for this week is the pretty rare Jazz Concert in a Benedictine Monastery. I have a really, really soft spot for Nathan Davis and I love this record. Perhaps it's obscurity contributes a little but this whole record feels like little treasure. That tone man, that tone! Backing support by Mal, Woode and Taylor is superb, great record. Anyone knows where this was recorded? All kinds of sources say something different: some say it was recorded at some religious monk school in Paris (including the cover), other sources say a Benedictine Monastery in Switzerland.

 

Pim, the album was recorded at the concert hall of the Schola Cantorum, a private music school in in Paris. In the late 60s Nathan Davis taught jazz history and improvisation there. The concert hall is the former church of the Benedictines’ Convent, dating from the 17th century.

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Pim said:

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Inquiring minds demand some discussion of the audience “noise” and the quality of that announcer’s voice (more specifically, what that ‘space’ sounds like that his voice was recorded in), etc.

Was this really a real live recording at the Domicile, with a real audience? Or live (there), perhaps with a timid/tiny audience — but then with “faux-audience” sweetening + announcer added later? Or even “live in a studio” somewhere else, perhaps with a tiny (well-mic’d) audience? Or just a studio recording, with “audience” and announcer added after the fact? And that reverb on the announcer!!!?? — and on audience too (iirc).

It’s all rather suspicious, at least to my ears — BUT, thankfully, the music is brilliant!!

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Pim - Excellent work, as always!  :tup 

 

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1 hour ago, corto maltese said:

Pim, the album was recorded at the concert hall of the Schola Cantorum, a private music school in in Paris. In the late 60s Nathan Davis taught jazz history and improvisation there. The concert hall is the former church of the Benedictines’ Convent, dating from the 17th century.

I see, thanks for that information! I will add it to my blog :) 

On 25-4-2021 at 10:08 AM, Rabshakeh said:

It's gone by incredibly quickly. I've enjoyed trading it throughout.

 

1 hour ago, HutchFan said:

Pim - Excellent work, as always!  :tup 

 

Thanks guys. it's a pleasure doing this !

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The Soul Eyes set is outstanding , no idea why this has seen such limited availability even in Japan.

PIm, I've said it before but it bears repeating , thank you for this. It's a really great piece of work you have done.

 

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2 hours ago, Clunky said:

The Soul Eyes set is outstanding , no idea why this has seen such limited availability even in Japan.

PIm, I've said it before but it bears repeating , thank you for this. It's a really great piece of work you have done.

 

Thank you for reading!

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7 hours ago, Clunky said:

The Soul Eyes set is outstanding 

Yep ....

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Another week of sideman appereances, ranging from early seventies till the end of the eighties.

Of course there are the two works with German etno-fusion band Embryo. Both Steig Aus as Rocksession are both very interesting records by this highly creative group. A great melting pot of jazz, rock and Eastern music without getting cliche. Enough space for all of these talented musicians to show what they were capable of and it helps that most of them were originated in the jazz scene. Two of the records that seem to be largely forgotten in Mal's discography are the works with German drummer Klaus Weiss. How unfortunate because they are great. Both the studio session Child's Prayer as the live session with the same band On Tour are highly recommendable and in line with the music that Mal himself produced. The band is composed by musicians that mostly appeared within the German jazz scene. They all play great. It's energetic, intense and exciting music.

The session with Charlie Parker's stepdaughter isn't very good. The band is great (Waldron, Eckinger and Ed Thigpen) but Kim Parker's voice is very limited if not a little out of tune here and there. One of the pleasant surprises in both Mal's as in Anthony Braxton's discography is their collaboration: Six Monk's Compositions. Their pairing doesn't seem very logical at first hand but this is a pretty great combination. They both really complement each other in a positive way. It's also one of Braxton's more accessible recordings. The recording with Marty Cook is the final recording of this week. Though the group has lots of potential, including Jim Pepper, Mal, Ed Schuller and John Betsch, it fails to make up to that very potential. It's a little dull and most of the musicians sound a little uninspired. 

Thanks again and have a great weekend!

All Reviews in Chronological Order

All Recordings by Rating

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Posted (edited)

On 2.5.2021 at 3:47 PM, Rooster_Ties said:

Inquiring minds demand some discussion of the audience “noise” and the quality of that announcer’s voice (more specifically, what that ‘space’ sounds like that his voice was recorded in), etc.

Was this really a real live recording at the Domicile, with a real audience? Or live (there), perhaps with a timid/tiny audience — but then with “faux-audience” sweetening + announcer added later? Or even “live in a studio” somewhere else, perhaps with a tiny (well-mic’d) audience? Or just a studio recording, with “audience” and announcer added after the fact? And that reverb on the announcer!!!?? — and on audience too (iirc).

It’s all rather suspicious, at least to my ears — BUT, thankfully, the music is brilliant!!

Rooster, please have a look at the "Jazz in München" book by Hermann Wilhelm and Gisela Kurtz published in 2007 by Lenter's in Munch.
On page 104 (in a chapter dedicated to the "Domicile" club) they specifically refer to the concert with Benny Bailey and the Mal Waldron trio that according to the authors was a highlight of the concerts at the club after it reopened (following extensive renovation of the club) and became the very first live recording at the Domicile that was released on record (and was the first in a series of "Live im Domicile" releases).
Besides, according to the credits Joachim Ernst Berendt (the jazz pope #1 in Germany and an authority in every respect imaginable at that time) contributed the liner notes. Would he have put his name under something faked up - like those cheapo US records with fake applause on Crown? At that time? With this overriding "art" approach to jazz by everyone involved? Really?

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Well guys: 143 albums reviewed and that's all of Mal's work as a leader, co-leader and sideman. But in no way I want to let it end here. I've got plenty of ideas to continue but I have to take a small break now. Posted the last 5 reviews and a word of thanks today. Another special thanks for the board members here. Hope I inspired you guys and that you will keep on exploring Mal's music. He really was great. 

Read the last ones here:

Snake Out: A Blog dedicated to the music of Mal Waldron

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What a huge and enlightening project, Pim, thanks so much!

I still have to go through your reviews in depth, starting with the highest-rated discs, since post-1963 Waldron is quite unexplored territory for me!

 

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A few stats:

Rating #        
5 12 60      
4.5 25 112.5      
4 40 160      
3.5 32 112      
3 19 57      
2.5 5 12.5      
2 7 14      
1.5 1 1.5      
1 4 4      
  145 533.5 3.7  Average rating

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Well done on this Pim! I've learned a lot and discovered things I would not have otherwise. 

Looking forward to the next instalment, whatever it is going to be.

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On 9.5.2021 at 1:19 PM, Big Beat Steve said:

Rooster, please have a look at the "Jazz in München" book by Hermann Wilhelm and Gisela Kurtz published in 2007 by Lenter's in Munch.
On page 104 (in a chapter dedicated to the "Domicile" club) they specifically refer to the concert with Benny Bailey and the Mal Waldron trio that according to the authors was a highlight of the concerts at the club after it reopened (following extensive renovation of the club) and became the very first live recording at the Domicile that was released on record (and was the first in a series of "Live im Domicile" releases).
Besides, according to the credits Joachim Ernst Berendt (the jazz pope #1 in Germany and an authority in every respect imaginable at that time) contributed the liner notes. Would he have put his name under something faked up - like those cheapo US records with fake applause on Crown? At that time? With this overriding "art" approach to jazz by everyone involved? Really?

I've the book too - and I would argue it is a reliable source. And not at least my old boss Manfred Scheffner, one of the co-founders of ECM, was at the concert. So I was always quite sure that this recording had really happened at the Domicile and not in a studio. Wether they added reverb or whatever during the mixing and mastering process I do not know.


Plus I would like to add some informations about an unreleased studio session in my collection Mal Waldron has recorded in Munich on November 10, 1967 at the Trixi Studio.

The line-up is Olaf Kübler (ts); Mal Waldron (p); George Mraz (b); Hartwig Bartz (d)
The program:
1     Fire Waltz (M. Waldron)     3:37
2     Frustration (M. Waldron)     3:33
3     Soul Eyes (M. Waldron)     2:56
4     Misterioso (T. Monk)     3:12
5     Misterioso (T. Monk)     3:40
6     Rhythm-a-ning (T. Monk)     2:46
7     Doxy (S. Rollins)     3:02
8     Oleo (S. Rollins)     2:50
9     Four (M. Davis)     3:32
10     Four (M. Davis)     3:53
11     St. Thomas (S. Rollins)     2:43
12     Let's Call This (T. Monk)     4:08
13     Oleo (S. Rollins)     2:47

Kübler plays only on tracks 7 - 13.

Got this when I've bought the remaining stock of a Munich company which had produced this session.
I've aquired several CDr with the complete session but also with some titles only. The music on the CDr was culled directly from the master tapes.
All in all I would say that this session was a more traditional affair but enjoyable, IMHO.

The line-up is: EORGE MRAZ(b), HARTWIG BARTZ(dr)UBLER(ts tracks 7 - 13)

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