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The United Jazz + Rock Ensemble - Live in Berlin CD (album) cover


The United Jazz + Rock Ensemble

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is live album number two by this band recorded live in Berlin in 1981. Previous live album was "Live Im Schutzenhaus" released in 1977. Only lineup change was to add a tenth member in Kenny Wheeler who plays both trumpet and flugelhorn making him the third person in this band to play these two instruments along with Ian Carr and Ack Van Rooyen. Sax belongs to Barbara Thompson and Charlie Mariano while Albert Mangeldorff adds trombone and thankyou BaldJean for educating me on this man after embarrassingly saying I had no idea who he was. Red faced because all these musicians are World class so I should have looked him up. The liner notes shows who solos on each track and the only musician who solos more than Mangelsdorff is Mariano and that's saying something with this talented crew. Mariano by the way impresses me just as much with his compositions as he does with his playing. Wolfgang Dauner on keyboards, Eberhard Weber on bass, Jon Hiseman drums and Volker Kreigel on guitar.

What an entertaining release this is, some variety here too. Man so many highlights but lets start with my top three tracks. First off Mariano's "Red Room" which is also the longest piece on here. The crowd by the way can be very vocal but they know their music so it's actually a positive. Mariano solos here on his soprano sax and he's on fire at one point. Actually that sax, bass and drums bit sounds incredible. Mangelsdorff solos before 5 1/2 minutes after a bass solo. Hiseman sounds amazing here on the kit by the way. The crowd roars when we get bass only 7 1/2 minutes in. Piano joins in then eventually drums.

"Out Of The Long Dark" by Ian Carr is a top three. A melancholic track not so surprisingly, quite subdued. Kriegel solos on this one and along with the bass and piano leads the way early. Horns arrive sort of slowly pulsing. Love the sound of this one. Final top three is "South India Line". Man hearing Mariano on that ethnic horn live is an experience. I was laughing at one point I was so impressed. Bass solo too on this one.

Not quite as good as the first live album in my opinion but it's close. Both are deserving to be part of every person's Jazz collection for sure.

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Posted Friday, March 19, 2021 | Review Permalink

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