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Man Doki Soulmates picture
Man Doki Soulmates biography
Man Doki bio.

Born in Budapest, the drummer and bandleader of German descent László (Leslie) Mandoki belonged to the 1970s' student opposition in communist Hungary. Far beyond the system-conform mainstream, his Jazz-Rock formation "JAM" symbolized the longing for a free world. In 1975, he was forced to leave the country because of governmental repression. Accompanied by his two closest friends, László Bencker and Gábor Csupó, their flight was followed by a long odyssey. On his quest for freedom, he found more than that: a new home - in Germany.

In the "Golden West", after having been taught the hard way by the free market music industry, Leslie became established as a musician. After working as a singing drummer in various theatres, cafés with dancing and jazz festivals, he soon made a name for himself as a studio musician. As front man and lead singer of the band "Dschingis Khan", he then, almost unintentionally, won public recognition with no.1 hits in many countries and innumerable awards, gold - and platinum records. While being far away from his own artistic and musical visions, his years with Dschingis Khan have served Leslie as a kind of apprenticeship. His studio work and his first successes as a songwriter as well as dealings with various useful divisions of the commercial music industry finally enabled him to gain artistic freedom. In this time he made the acquaintance of many influential "men of action" of the music scene, who became friends over the years, such as Monty Lüftner, the founder of the BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group).

With his old school friend and so-called "muse twin", top arranger László Bencker, he founded the Park Studios in Munich, where he began to put his musical visions into practice with a small team under the name "Red-Rock Production". It was their perfectionism and hard work which brought Leslie and Laszlo their first gold and platinum records as well as various other awards as producers; at the time they worked on productions of such different artists as Engelbert, Placido Domingo, M.S.S.O. or Leslie's companion at the time, Ami Stewart, an American disco-singer with two international no.1 hits.

At the opening festivities of the Olympic Games in Seoul, Leslie sang alongside a number of world stars; the Mandoki/ Bencker- song became a no.1 hit in Asia.

Many years of common experience have turned Leslie Mandoki and Laszlo Bencker into a well-attuned team; as graduate musicians they are...
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MAN DOKI SOULMATES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
People (as Leslie Mandoki with Friends)
5.00 | 1 ratings
Out of Key with the Time (as Mandoki)
3.75 | 4 ratings
People in Room No.8 (as Man Doki)
4.14 | 7 ratings
4.00 | 4 ratings
3.22 | 8 ratings
Living in the Gap
4.12 | 8 ratings
Hungarian Pictures

MAN DOKI SOULMATES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 2 ratings
Legends of Rock

MAN DOKI SOULMATES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MAN DOKI SOULMATES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
The Jazz Cuts - Room No.8 (as Man Doki)
4.00 | 1 ratings
So Far...Collected Songs (as Man Doki)
5.00 | 1 ratings
Classic (Soulmates + Sturcz Quartet)
4.00 | 1 ratings
Jazz Cuts

MAN DOKI SOULMATES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Living in the Gap by MAN DOKI SOULMATES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.22 | 8 ratings

Living in the Gap
Man Doki Soulmates Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars I believe this album was originally released in Germany last year, but it has now been made available through Cleopatra Records' imprint Purple Pyramid. The release details I can find all show this as a double CD, but it is possible that it was originally released just as 'Living In The Gap' with the second album being added to the original. Leslie Mandoki escaped communist Hungary many years ago to live in Germany, and over the years has had a varied musical career. The drummer/singer formed Soulmates back in the Nineties, bringing together a who's who of musicians and singers, and since then people such as Ian Anderson have been a constant. There are 8 singers on this album, which as well as Mandoki and Anderson includes the likes of Chris Thompson (MMEB) and Bobby Kimball (Toto). Interestingly, Jack Bruce is listed as providing both bass and vocals, and although he was involved with Soulmates over many years one has to wonder how old some of these recordings actually are, given he died in 2014. The second album is a concept piece which apparently is based on a musical concept originally developed by Deep Purple's Jon Lord & ELP's Greg Lake, and when viewed as a complete piece of work the 19 songs are just under 2 hours in length.

The issues I have with this album is that due to so many well-known and instantly recognisable singers it is very easy to start playing "spot the star" as opposed to listening to the album as a whole, as well as then bemoaning that singers I have loved for years are really showing their age on the vocal front (which is not at all surprising given that Anderson is 73 and Thompson is 72, for example). Using different singers and a host of musicians means it is hard for the album to stay on track, as there is little in the way of continuity within it, no set pace. This is really frustrating as when treated on an individual level the songs and performances within it are really quite delightful. The music is broad, with liberal use of horns and lots of different types of percussion, which means that often it feels almost as if we are veering into world music as opposed to rock. This feels as if it belongs in the Seventies as opposed to the current day as the music is lush and refuses to pander to any current fashion. The harmonies are delightful, and none of this feels forced, which makes one wonder just how long it took to sort out the arrangements.

There is jazz rock, fusion, progressive, classic rock, world music and so much more all placed into this one album. In some ways I found it hard to listen to all the way through just because there is so much going on but going in and out of it is a real delight. I do think I would have enjoyed it more with just a single singer, but this format has been a staple of the releases since inception so I am sure he is not going to make any changes now. It is certainly worthy of investigation for those who enjoy ensemble-style albums which touches many musical bases.

 Hungarian Pictures by MAN DOKI SOULMATES album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.12 | 8 ratings

Hungarian Pictures
Man Doki Soulmates Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by RelayerFr

4 stars While he was a young Jazz Rock musician in residence in Budapest LESLIE MANDOKI who is of Hungarian origin fled his country and the dictatorship in 1975 by borrowing a border tunnel to settle permanently in Germany. After ten years of interruption without studio recording, this drummer who is not at his first attempt offers us a double album Jazz Rock / Fusion doubly conceptual on tribalism. This work is in itself an encyclopedia for the eclectic side of the compositions and genres presented, and a sort of directory which grows with each proof containing the names of famous and renowned artists. Leslie has succeeded in both the tour de force and the bet to bring together on the same album his musical heroes including a rich and impressive line up, see this non-exhaustive and spectacular list: the singer BOBBY KIMBALL and the drummer SIMON PHILLIPS all both from the band TOTO, singer DAVID CLAYTON-THOMAS and guitarist MIKE STERN straight from BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS, multi-instrumentalist JESSE SIEBENBERG and saxophonist JOHN HELLIWELL arriving together from SUPERTRAMP, guitarist AL DI MEOLA , singer and flautist IAN ANDERSON of the group JETHRO TULL, singer guitarist CHRIS THOMPSON of MANFRED MANN EARTH BAND, singer-songwriter JACK BRUCE of the group CREAM, trumpetist RANDY BRECKER who has played for BILLY COBHAM, BRUCE SPRINGTEEN and many more ... RAIMBOW keyboardist TONY CAREY, STEVE BAILEY one of the best bassists of his generation, saxophonist BILL EVANS who has been a member of the MILES DAVIS band for years 80, the other musicians are not left out and show us all their talent over the listening. It's up to you to redo the puzzle of who sings or plays in which song, I suggest a little evening with friends, it could be a very fun game! The production is exemplary, and the sound quality is remarkable, because the tracks received in mp3 compression really give me the feeling of listening to my player in DAC position! Here is a summary of my hearing sensations:

The eponymous track "Living in the Gap" starts happily with a funky rhythm accompanied by groove vocals and saxes playing in unison. The rest will be taken up by interesting demonstrations of vocal Jazz solos, Jazz acoustic guitar and Hammond organ, here we go straight to the heart of the matter! "Young Rebels" is reminiscent of the street, more exactly of the young people of the streets of Harlem with a beautiful melody and songs for several in the style of the 70s, saxes and a classy piano transpose us in this retro atmosphere, very nice! "Turn the Wind" is sung and played country style to show us where the wind comes from, and the chorus to indicate its direction to us by a little song sung together which will make us think of a nicely successful hymn. "Where We Belong" begins slowly as an intimate song with KANSAS-style intonations assisted by a piano and a warm clarinet, then it gets excited to groove harmonically with high-tension brass, it's nice and well done! "Let the Music Show You the Way" reminds me of a charity song that might sound like "USA for Africa", with many different voices that each take turns singing in unison by passages, the voices there are easily recognizable. It's nice and cheerful, but here we go a little too much into simplicity. "Too Much Pride" once again makes us navigate in jazz rock / fusion, the whole range of instruments is used, solos of wind instruments, acoustic and electric guitars ŕ la JEFF BECK are poured out with great reinforcement around in a hoarse voice, helped by ubiquitous trumpet strings and funky rhythms. "Old Rebels" is indeed a song for old-timers who have had the bottle and lived their revolution, the entry of a harmonica will put us in this vintage atmosphere with plaintive and mature voices retracing the errors of the past. A beautiful six strings ŕ la U2 will overhang this blues / groove / pop atmosphere. With "Welcome to Real Life" a relaxed atmosphere will immediately make you think of the holidays, a languid voice will join a regular tempo provided with instruments with lush and intrusive composition. At 3:12 do not miss a breakthrough of two minutes slightly hard and enjoyable. Miraculously harmonic voices assisted by a sharp Hammond organ will enhance this extraordinary and magical passage filled with good ideas .. what a piece! We come back down to earth a little with "Hottest Queen of Cool" which begins a bit like "Summertine" by GERSHWING, followed by a little reggae rhythm and songs with a groove and repetitive content, you can listen to it all the same! A dazzling trumpet serves as the start of "Wake Up", the beautiful voice of JULIA MANDOKI takes over again with Jazz / funky tunes where various wind instruments are grafted, supported by frenzied rhythms, an incisive trumpet solo will complement this partition. "Mother Europe" is almost a repeat of the fifth song with the same arguments already mentioned. With "I'm Not Your Enemy" the musical instruments wake up one by one as if coming out of a long sleep, the Hammond organ first opens its keys, then follows the electric guitar, bass, drums, l The whole is discordant but coordinate with the arrival of the sweet voice of JULIA MANDOKI which fits perfectly into an instrumental atmosphere temporizing a light and airy jazz / funky, it is subtle and it is savored like a good ice cream. pistachio. All the tracks of the second opus follow one another without interruption. "Sessions in the Village" begins this second album with a pianistic entry of modern classical music with a Hungarian accent ŕ la BELA BARTOK, the piano stops to make room for a little country and joyful air (flute, woodwind, accordion , keyboard) and echoed by Julia's clear vocals, supported by the striking contrast of a burning Hammond organ ELP style. All the instruments then take their share of the cake one by one to play in all directions as if they were panicked, the final will appear as a conglomerate of instruments which will evoke a little KARFAGEN tune. Continuous "Utopia for Realists" with a man's voice quietly singing a pleasant melody, which will be resumed in chorus with dynamism, the general enthusiasm will be a pleasure to hear. Here we are at the highlight of this album with "Transylvanian Dances", both in terms of duration and the services offered. The 19:02 are divided into four distinct parts, the first which lasts about four minutes is a compendium of very different genres, but mainly focused on modern classical music. This is a particularly successful hybridization, which will remind us of STRAVINSKY or "Supper's Ready" by GENESIS for the rhythm, KARFAGEN and GERSHWIN for the music, with a clarinet and a trumpet in free electrons. The second challenge is positioned in emotion with its long frescoes of acoustic guitar and cello tinged with Spanish and Hungarian folklore, supported by slightly medieval music. The third fraction is a kind of clearly Transylvanian dance, with its typically Slavic and fast cadenced movement, this bubbling tempo will reach its climax until the entry of a heavy guitar, which will highlight this "mazurka". The finale will be sung and atmospheric. "You'll Find Me in Your Mirror" is a song with vocals, accordion, guitars and violins, it's simple but very nice. "Return to Budapest" engages from the start in music sung in a medieval and folkloric way with the instruments that go with it. Julia's voice resurfaces again to vocalize in the same register, a jazzy flute will take over until the end. "Barbaro" carries its name well with its intensity and its heavily supported Prog Jazz cadence, an omnipresent trumpet will remind us that we are talking about fusion here. A GERSHWIN piano (again) will be chaperoned by a melting pot of instruments pulling in all directions, a good complex and delirious piece. "The Torch" is the final anthem of this double opus, a pretty song accompanied by a piano and a saxophone. The man's vocal cords will carry us to its most beautiful entrenchments thanks to his magnificent grain of voice. The first word that comes to mind is: exciting !. Indeed I was enthusiastic by the work provided by the whole team, by the quality of the compositions and its arrangements, by the professionalism of each musician, by the quantity of musical instruments used and of singers present on the plateau, but above all by their unfailing omnipotence. Two or three songs seem a little light to me compared to the overall quality, but that will be my only negative point. Do not hesitate to let yourself be permeated by this eclectic music interpreted by world-famous virtuosos!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Snobb & Easy Money for the last updates

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