Big Beat Steve

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Big Beat Steve

  • Rank
    Dr. Funkenstein

Contact Methods

  • Website URL http://
  • ICQ 0

Profile Information

  • Location Southern Germany

Recent Profile Visitors

7,973 profile views
  1. Jazz went through various alternating periods of liberalism and clamping down in the GDR through the 50s and 60s so this is a very complicated history. As for the 70s and Euro-Free Jazz (that was particularly intense in Eastern Europe, including the GDR), there were exchanges, though I do not know a lot about it as Euro-Free is not my center of interest in jazz. But i do know that the Gumpert/Sommer Duo + Manfred Hering had releases on FMP in the 70s, as did the Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky Quartet. So the West German "scene" labels were not above leasing masters from the GDR. Western records (not just jazz - everything) in the GDR of course were always rare and pricey (literally black-market items), though there at least was a steady trickle of Western jazz recordings leased by Amiga.
  2. @ medjuck: Maybe because the year it was founded (1974) was outside the time frame that Rabshakeh asked about ...
  3. @Rabshakeh: "Government published" is hard to define in a Communist setting. It was published by the "VEB Lied der Zeit" üuslbishign house in East Berlin that also operated the Amiga (and Eterna etc.) record labels of the GDR. It is largely a picture book but also has (German) texts on the East German jazz scene - including coverage of (not extremely numerous) visits by U.S. and British stars as well as the happenings of Eastern Europeran jazz scene of the early 70s and its artists (many Polish and Czech as they were very present in the GDR), and while it also covers amateurs and the Trad scene it is HEAVY on modern jazz (which in that case leans towards the Euro-"Free" side, given what was happening in the early 70s). Considering its origins, it was VERY well done. Also because the author of the text was the #1 jazz scribe of the GDR and managed not to be too much engulfed by Communist obligations but steered a course that was at least halfway objective and broad-minded. Tomorrow I'll try to scan the page with the record list (which is not comprehensive for that roughly 1960 to 1973 period but a starter).
  4. Apart from the music, it's apparently an interesting record production that reflects its times. Rolf Kühn had left Eastern Germany in the early 50s and in 1956 went straight to the USA where he continued his career, and returned to WEST Germany in 1962. The above session from late 1964 was indeed released under Rolf Kühn's name (despite the fact that he had defected from the GDR) and the liner notes are surprisingly even-handed and balanced, mention his U.S. stay in due form and do not fall into the anti-Western "capitalist/commercial curruption" propaganda that was seen elsewhere. In 1966 Kühn managed to get his much younger brother Joachim (part of the line-up) out of the GDR via a musical tour in Vienna, and this may have caused the LP not to be repressed (as claimed by the Discogs entry). But the Discogs claim that "the musicians" fled the GDR after the session is not correct. And repressings of 60s GDR jazz records were VERY rare in the GDR anyway. At any rate, the regime (or the heads of the State music departments) cannot have been irked by the defection of Joachim Kühn for very long because the "Fascination Jazz" book published in the GDR in 1973 DOES list this particular record among the "important GDR jazz productions", although the record was credited to a "Workshop group" ("jazz workshops" were common aggregations in Eastern Europe in those years) and the line-up indicated did not single out Rolf Kühn as the nominal leader.
  5. So, What Are You Listening To NOW?

    Like I said in that "other" thread yesterday. Having done Eurojazz listening all day (as a background to that other thread), I think I will pull out my copy of that one next.
  6. Thank you - you make me blush. But also acutely aware of what I DON'T know and have never been able to hear (and likely never will).
  7. No, I don't. I've heard and read about it, but that's all. I guess you are right about the copious use of the word "problem" in those days but IMO Hodeir had a knack of turning almost everything into an ivory-towerish "problem" of deep-deeper probing dimensions (or at least presenting it as such). It may sound sacrilegious but there were times when I had worked my way through one of his all too theoreticizing pieces in "Jazz Hot" and was left somewhat bewildered (by all the dissecting he did that clouded out much of the core of jazz - and I hasten to add that it was NOT a problem of any lack of knowledge of the French language) that I really had to do some "contrasting" reading in copies of Hugues Panassié's "Bulletin du Hot Club de France" from roughly the same period to get GROUNDED again ...
  8. Thanks for that overview on those early Belgian LPs. I had never thought of checking out discogs. That places my Herman Sandy LP in context. Re- Dutch recordings available now: I suppose there is a fair bit of Rita Reys around, and have you checked out what the Nederlands Jazz Archief has reissued on MODERN jazz? E.g. the "Combo's in Nederland" CDs? I have only ever got my hands on Vol. 1 ("Liefde in Rhythme - 1947-51" which essentially is Swing and touches just about on the very first hints of modern jazz in the Netherlands). Was there ever a Vol. 2, I wonder? Judging from your comments about Dutch modern jazz, I suppose I also did well with these chance purchases (one on Ebay, one at a local record shop where they clearly were put off by the worn sleeve and priced it accordingly )?
  9. 50s/60s Danish jazz had a LOT of "Trad", but some (modernist) names to check out from before the NHØP heyday, apart from drummer William Schiøpffe who was on countless sessions outside Denmark (often in Sweden): Jørgen Ryg Max Brüel (who had the misfortune of seeing several of his 1955 Metronome EPs issued in the US on an EmArcy LP that was blasted roundly in a one-(!!)star review in DB, blaming every imaginable facet of poorness and copycatting on Brüel and his crew. Not that the record was a standout in the annals of recorded jazz, and Brüel had clearly listened to Gerry Mulligan, but it don't sound that bad ...Maybe it grated on the reviewer that they decided to treat "Indiana" as a restrained, low-key ballad, for example?) Bent Axen (incidentally, NHØP made his very first recordings with him in 1961) Jazz Quintet 60 (feat. Bent Jaedig, Allan Botschinsky et al. - I think their original EPs are among those that make/made the Japanese go crraaaazy in thier auction bidding ) Erik Moseholm and then, going beyond 100% Danish lineups, Rolf Billberg's Danish recordings form 1956/57 (reissued on Storyville), the Oscar Pettiford recordings with Danish groups, or the 1965 LP by Sahib Shihab with the Danish Radio Jazz Group (on Oktav OKLP 111 - an excellently replicated facsimile reissue LP appeared a couple of years ago). And THEN - there were these retrospective compilations: "Danish Jazz in the 50s" - vols. 1 and 2: (Sorry, Vol. 2 - on Olufsen 6001 - does not seem to be on Discogs)
  10. I suppose in the same vein you can only take classical music performed by AMERICAN symphony orchestras seriously to the point they stopped trying to play like typical (forcibly and obviously Europan-sounding) orchestras performing classical works or, more consequently still, not borrow from the works of European masters but Charles Ives etc. (standing "YOUR" - American - ground). Right? Of course this is a rhetorical question or retort. One that has no definite answer and is pointless to elaborate on. Just like in jazz it is very much open to debate where Europeans tried to play like "Americans" (beyond the basics of the style(s) of jazz as such which made their music "jazz"). Many of the Europeans - even in the 50s - had their own nuances and touches which set them apart, even without the crutches of devices from classical music. It's all in the ear of the behearer, and after all, to most of the European jazzmen it was just a case of making the music they had discoverd for themselves and loved to get into and do themselves. Nothing wrong with that (except that supremely swinging rhythm sections at times were somewhat thin on the ground ). No absolute truth there in attempting to decree that there was excessive copying - which anyway often sounded like Americans afraid of losing their hegemony on "their" music - a music still too often ignored and slighted in THEIR country in those years ... Because overall, "copying" and lack or originality - by THAT yardstick - happened with US jazzmen too. Re- John Lewis, I definitely won't claim I am an expert on his recorded works, but have been exposed to a share of it from that period and I certainly would NOT think his Swingle Singers/MJQ LP is that atypical of his works from that period (I have the LP but cannot bring myself to listening to it now, sorry ). At least not as far as his work in Europe went. He epitomized the symbiosis of jazz and classical music that was hoped for in many circles in Europe in the late 50s and early 60s. And in that respect he explored almost every direction, it seems. Remember e.g. the scores he did with classical orchestras. He not only recorded (wit the MJQ and on his own) with large symphony orchestras - incuding here in Germany - but also composed and scored and performed with these symphony orchestras for German radio and likely elsewhere in Europe in those years. Mentions of "John Lewis projects" in that respect were all over the place in late-50s/early 60s European jazz publications. The Swingle Singers IMO do fit into that particular (peculiar?) picture, like Lambert, Hendricks & Ross fit into the picture of straight-ahead jazz that otherwise was purely instrumental.
  11. Giving it the benefit of doubt, I pulled them out again - and stand corrected to a point. "Musique de films" is quite OK and listenable for what it is - film music, but somehow I'd need to see the movies and THEN listen again. Somehow there are other film jazz scores (starting with "Ascenseur pour l'Echafaud" and "Des femmes disparaissent" - or "Les liaisons dangereuses") that I can get into better even way outside the film. But that's only me ... "Essais" ("Tryouts") sounds more coherent on relistening now than I remembered it after all but still - some tracks are really a bit too "sketchy" ("esquisses") for me. There are moments when I wondered "you started out fine, now when do you get off the ground, or where ARE you going?". Something you need to be in the mood for. Of course, like with certain more explorational U.S. jazz from that period too. And like I said, YMMV. I also relistened to the "Keny Clarke's Sextet Plays André Hodeir" (Phillips). Interesting how he trimmed down the tunes by Miles, Monk, Duke, Mulligan and Benny Carter - maybe to what he saw as the bare "essence" (pun intended again). The scores ARE interesting to listen to and compare them with other versions of those tunes but they stil leave me puzzled as to WHAT made him tick to come up with that exactly. In the liner notes he says a.o. "We felt it was important above all to rethink the problem posed by the soloist as such and in his connection with the other musicians and also to concretize by suitable works the expanded forms that could result from that." (My translation but still ...) Huh? Was the soloist ever that much of a problem? Was Hodeir maybe answering a question nobody (or hardly anybody) in jazz had asked except Hodeir himself? Obviously blowing sessions were anathema to Hodeir, but anyway ... He seeemd to be concerned with "form" to an extent that I feel was bordering in stifling. The record DOES merit listening but the "Grand Prix de Disque" of 1958 that was bestowed on it IMO needs to be seen in the context of the times when no doubt there was a pervading feeling of welcome for whatever was done by means of classical music (or European music forms) to "harness in" all too freewheeling jazz to make it more palatable to European listening habits. Would you be surprised if I told you the original French title of his "Jazz - Its Evolution and Essence" book (which I did read, though a long time ago) was "Hommes et problèmes de jazz" ("Men and problems of jazz")? What (overriding) problems? To that extent and depth? What he wrote in "Jazz Hot" at that time (of which I have read a lot) went in the same vein - often a case of "not seeing the forest for the trees" IMHO when it came to the "essence" of the VITALITY and spontaneity in jazz. Again, YMMW, to each his own, just my 2c, and there is no overriding and eternal truth in discussions like this anyway ...
  12. Some interesting hints on Belgian reissues, Niko. Thanks! I had no idea the 10" Herman Sandy LP I found at a totally unlikely record fair locally more than 30 years ago was important enough in the Belgian jazz discography to be included (in part) in these compilations.
  13. Some personal listening suggestions for SWEDEN: IMHO Sweden had the most active and fertile jazz scene in Continental Europe in the period the thread starter is interested in (at least until c.1960). Stating it in a simplified way, early post-war modern Swedish jazz began as a mix of distinctly modernized Benny Goodman Sextet and George Shearing styles but basically Sweden was Cool Jazz territory (with a special brand of "Swedish Cool" - as played by Lars Gullin). A lot of recordings from the heyday of Swedish jazz have never been reissued, but the best introduction, overview and documentation of the wide variety of Swedish jazz IMO is provided by the "Svensk Jazzhistoria" CD set series on the Caprice label: They are way more than "introductions", however, because they go into depth and include a lof interesting jazz off the beaten tracks of the known that is not found elsewhere. Vol. 6 to 10 of these CD box sets cover the period that Rabshakeh asked about. Reissues focusing on individual artists are well covered on the Dragon label. Lars Gullin has about 10 CD reissues on Dragon (covering the period up to about 1960). Some overlap with CD reissues on Metronome, some feature him as a sideman in other groups - which is interesting as it shows who "else" there was. More names and records to check out (many have reissues on Dragon): Bengt Hallberg (several of the recordings preceding his 1962 Gyllene Cirkeln album have been reissued on Dragon) Arne Domnérus ("Favorite Groups 1949/50"; Orchestra of 1950/51 feat. Rolf Ericson, as well as his modern big band of the late 50s) Harry Arnold (big band - the one widely touted in the U.S. as the Jazztone Mystery Band before it became known to the baffled US reviewers that this was NO U.S. big band - his cooperation with Quincy Jones was great) Gunnar Johnson Quintet - "1957-59" on Dragon. (Swedish Cool feat. early Jan Johansson) Rolf Ericson - "Miles Away" (1950-52) on Dragon Nils Lindberg/Swedish Modern Jazz Group - "Sax Appeal" (1959) feat. Lars Gullin Lars Werner-Bernt Rosengren Swedish Jazz Quartet - "Bombastica" (1959-60) on Dragon Staffan Abeléen & Lars Färnlöf - "Quintets 1962-66" on Dragon Gugge Hedrenius - "Choose now" (1964) on Columbia ("Swedish hard/soul") Bengt Arne-Wallin - "Old Foklore in Swedish Modern" (1962) - combining Swedish folklore influences with modern jazz Jan Johansson - "Jazz pa Svenska" (1962-64) - in the 60s Johansson made several recordings that made use of Swedish folk and traditional songs - an interesting experiment (as in the case of the Wallin record) that may be a bit hard to approach for non-Swedes unfamiliar with the folk tunes but somehow it does make sense Swedish post-war jazz is a really wide field and others may recommend other recordings from that period ... BTW, thanks, Rabshakeh, for bringing up this thread which has prompted me to revisit several of these records I had not listened to in a long time.
  14. Ah, my fault ... overlooked ... sorry. But better twice than never, isn't it?
  15. Addenda ... Lest I forget (before carrying on ): FRANCE: Re- the Swingle Singers mentioned earlier: If you check out the Swingle Singers, do not overlook Ward Swingle's earlier group either: Les Double Six of the early 60s, starting with the 1960 Columbia LP "Les Double Six Meet Quincy Jones". Far less third-streamish than the Swingle Singers but showing they could hold their own against Lambert, Hendricks & Ross ... GERMANY: Just a note to remind those wondering that there indeed was a "pre-Passport" Klaus Doldinger. - Rolf Kühn feat. Klaus Doldinger (Brunswick, 1962) - Jazz Made in Germany / Dig Doldinger (Philips, 1963) - Doldinger Live at Blue Note Berlin (Philips, 1963) - Doldinger Goes On (Philips, 1967)