Friday, May 18, 2012

CD Reissue of the Month - "George Gruntz: Classics / Jazz Goes Baroque Vols. 1 & 2"

CD Reissue of the Month
George Gruntz: "Classics" (EmArcy) 1964-1965/2012

***** (musical performance)
***** (original recording & mix)
***** (digital remastering)

Two historical George Gruntz's albums reunited in a single CD by master producer Matthias Künnecke for Universal's JazzClub series. Includes complete data, the original liner notes written by Siegfried Schmidt-Joss and Gruntz himself, with artwork by Knut Schötteldreier and photos by Siegfried E. Loch, who produced the original LPs engineered by Peter Kramper @ Philips-Tonstudio (Meistersaal) in Berlin.

The first album, "Jazz Goes Baroque," was recorded on April 27 & 28, 1964, featuring ten works -- of such composers as Telemann, Couperin, Händel, Rameau, Pachelbel and Corelli -- adapted & jazzified by German jazz maestro George Gruntz, who exclusively plays (superbly!) harpsichord throughout the session. Besides his brilliant improvisations, flutist Emil Mangelsdorff and reedman Klaus Doldinger (of later Passport fame, here heard on clarinet & soprano sax) also shine, supported by the impeccable rhythm section of Peter Trunk (acoustic bass) and Klaus Weiss (drums).

Its follow-up "Jazz Goes Baroque 2 - The Music of Italy" (cut on March 17 & 18, 1965) focuses on Italian composers Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Albinoni, Frescobaldi, Pergolesi, Zipoli, Pasquini, Francesco Durante, Benedetto Marcello and Scarlatti. Gruntz remains on harpsichord, sharing the spotlight with four flute players: Leo Wright (the man from Jobim's debut Verve album in 1963, "The Composer of Desafinado, Plays"), Sahib Shihab (who would later record on Raul de Souza USA debut, "Colors," produced for CD reissue by Arnaldo DeSouteiro), Raymond Guiot (then the lead flutist of the Paris Opera) and Stefan von Dobrzynski (who appeared by courtesy of the Radio Free Berlin Orchestra). They are backed by drummer Daniel Humair (by then a member of the Swingle Singers vocal ensemble) and, once again, bassist Peter Trunk. The joy of music on its essence.

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