I distinctly remember how I became acquainted with the presence of Volker Kriegel, the German jazz guitarist. Back in the mid-to-late 70s, I was looking for all the wild music I could find. In German musics, from Grobschnitt to Can to Gomorrha and further, but then, one day, I happened across Achim Reichel's AR3 and was gobsmacked. Trotting down to the local Platterpuss Records, I asked Bill Furman, who was pretty much the most knowledgeable music clerk in South Bay, who else I might look up. He knew I was familiar with most of the leading cats and replied "Well, there aren't too many like Reichel, but have you been checking into Volker Kriegel?" So I started hunting and found him playing with John Marshall, Eberhard Weber, Rainer Bruninghaus, and a buncha very hip prog/jazz/fusionists. Thus I sunk my claws in.
I then followed as he turned back to the straight jazz he'd started out in because, by that time, I was big time into Martino, Montgomery, Ellis, Metheny, and others; that Furman guy was a large influence on my early listening habits and tastes. Well, it turns out that all along, from then to now, there's been a long-lost set of recordings from the very first days Volker set foot inside a studio, but no one knew where they were. Leave it to the Jazzhaus label, then, to have finally tracked 'em down, and in a 2-CD set no less (actually, the CDs capture about half the materials and you can download the rest from the Web, over two hours in total, 139 minutes—as to why things were done this way, I haven't a clue, since two CDs will easily accommodate 160 minutes of music, but that's as may be).
But like the promo sheet says: What a find! Every cut here centers right on Kriegel, and, if some of the material sounds a bit unfinished, that's because it is. Volker was using the studio to experiment around, to discover just what it was he really wanted to do and say. That was accomplished, as you probably already know, right after these sessions and within the Dave Pike Set, which set new standards for jazz fusion. You'll find other names you know (Emil Mangelsdorff, Ralf Hubner, etc.) in the mix, but all the sessioneers are tamped down so that Volker's work stands naked and prominent. And the compositions are either his own or chosen from a wide array, but perhaps the most revelatory of what was to come is the very last cut: Frank Zappa's Mother People.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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