Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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MANGELSDORFF, Albert

(b 5 September 1928, Frankfurt, Germany; d 25 July 2005) Trombonist, composer, leader. From musical family; elder brother Emil was a saxophonist. He attended Hot Club meetings, illegal as the Nazis had banned jazz (Emil was once a guest of the Gestapo for four weeks) although Louis Armstrong records continued to be pressed in Germany throughout the war. He studied violin (classical tuition from an uncle who played in a theatre orchestra) then guitar; took up trombone at age 20 and immediately began playing bop, influenced by Lennie Tristano in the early '50s. He was a founder member of Hessian Radio's jazz ensemble '58, played in an international band at the Newport Jazz Festival that year, appeared several times at Newport '60s. John Lewis praised him highly and made LP Animal Dance with him '62; after a tour of Asia in the mid-'60s his music began to turn free. He often toured playing solo, developing radical new ways of playing the trombone including more than one note at a time, and was long one of the best-known and highly regarded European jazz musicians, the most creative jazz trombonist between J. J. Johnson and George Lewis. He became artistic director of JazzFest Berlin '95.

He played guitar on albums by his brother made in Poland '57 and Berlin '61 (Emil continued to record with small groups on CBS '66, Electrola '67, Europa '69, Telefunken '75-7, etc). First recordings '54 as leader/trombonist included eith David Amram (on unreleased acetates); many LPs on various labels including Emil, bassist Peter Trunk, Klaus Doldinger on tenor (b 12 May 1936, Berlin; formed jazz-rock group Passport '71), Hans Koller (reeds; b 12 February 1921, Vienna; played jazz all through the war, formed first important combo after the war including Albert; made short film Jazz Yesterday And Today for J. E. Berendt; also a well-known writer), others.

Among later albums: quintet set Tension '63 on CBS; And His Friends '67 on MPS has duets with Don Cherry, Lee Konitz, Elvin Jones, Karl Berger on vibes (b 30 March 1935, Heidelberg), pianist Wolfgang Dauner; nine-piece Jazz Ensemble of Hessian Radio made Wild Goose '69 on MPS, Live In Tokyo '71 on Enja; small-group sets incl. Spontaneous '71 on Enja; Birds Of Underground '72 on BASF; A Matter Of Taste '77 with John Surman, A Jazz Tune I Hope '78 with Dauner, Jones and Eddie Gomez and Triple Entente '82, all on MPS. Three trio albums, The Wide Point '75 with Elvin Jones and Palle Danielsson, Trilogue '76 with Jaco Pastorius and Alphonse Mouzon and Albert Live In Montreux '80 with Jean-François Jenny-Clark (the bassist d 6 October 1998 aged 54) and Ronald Shannon Jackson, have been compiled on Three Originals, a two-CD set on Verve.

Solo sets include Trombirds '72, Solo Now and Tromboneliness '76, all on MPS; more recently Purity on Mood. He also played with the Globe Unity Orchestra (ECM LPs Intergalactic Blow and Compositions, with Kenny Wheeler, Evan Parker, Steve Lacy, many others). Two's Company '82 on Mood is a duet LP with Dauner (b 30 December 1935, Stuttgart: an avant-garde composer of electronic music, also theatrical events, workshops and TV for children, etc; LPs include Sunday Walk '68 on CBS with Jean-Luc Ponty). The United Jazz and Rock Ensemble was formed '75; Dauner, Mangelsdorff and others formed the Mood label for UJRE, among the most popular bands in Germany: a six-disc boxed compilation was a best-seller. Mangelsdorff's Art Of The Duo with Lee Konitz was released on Enja '95; Quartet Afterstorm on Black Saint; Resurrection Of A Dormant Soul on Black Saint was a quartet with John Lindberg on bass, Eric Watson on piano and Ed Thigpen on drums; two-CD Atmospheric Conditions Permitting on ECM compiles '67-93 tracks by Jazz Ensemble Des Hessischen Rundfunk.