I do not think that this group will appeal to many readers of this magazine. The music that they play is best described as very good quality rock. It has none of the natural elasticity that distinguishes the best contemporary American jazz units. Where the Art Ensemble of Chicago lopes and swings, this group is tight and over-urgent.
The standard of musicianship, however, is very high with Doldinger and Spring outstanding. Spring plays with great variety and, although the recording balance makes his snare sound rather flat, there is never a moment’s boredom. Doldinger is a multi-instrumentalist who really can play them all. His soprano on Fairy Tale is particularly moving and his tenor on Katmandu is aggressive and jazz influenced. Shmid is a typical rock bassist, very good at time keeping but short on melodic inventiveness and rather static rhythmically.
I suppose I am applying the wrong standards because most of the arrangements are imaginative, the tunes are good and I have played the record several times for pleasure before sitting down to do the review. It either proves that I am a jazz snob or that rock really is a poor substitute for the real thing.
Mandragora; Nexus; Fairy Tale; Get Yourself A Second Passport (20¼ min) – Lemuria’s Dance: Madhouse Jam: Horizon Beyond; The Cat From Katmandu (21¾ min)
Klaus Doldinger (ten/sop/moog/el-pno); John Mealing (org/el-pno); Bryan Spring (dm); Wolfgang Schmid (bs).
(Reprise K 44243 £2.17)