Medlemspris 149:- (ord pris 179:-)
To accord Wolfgang Schlüter the status of a ‘living legend’ doesn’t come close to the facts. Along with Albert Mangelsdorff he is the only German Jazz musician to have ever been ranked in the famed Critics Poll in “Downbeat”, the famous US jazz magazine. For over 60 years this world-renowned vibraphonist has been dedicated to Jazz. In a certain sense “Visionen”, the production being presented here, is a kind of ‘coming home’. On the one hand the album builds a wonderful bridge between his current quartet (Boris Netsvetaev on piano, Philip Steen on bass and Kai Bussenius on drums) and the NDR Bigband, which came to be Schlüter’s musical ‘home’ from 1965 to 1995. On the other, the compositions recorded are a superior blend of cover versions from some of his heroes, for instance Charlie Parker (“Donna Lee”) or Ray Noble (“Cherokee”), combined with his own pieces dedicated to esteemed colleagues. On “Albert” it’s clear as day where respect is being paid, and titles like “Der Poet” and “Ballad For Lüngi” are in honor of Peter Rühmkorff, a poet and long-standing companion. 78 years old in the meantime, Wolfgang Schlüter, the ‘ace with the mallets’ who lives on the outskirts of Hamburg in ‘unretirement’, invited two of Germany’s best-known arrangers to give his pieces a ‘Cinerama setting’ on “Visionen”: Jörg Achim Keller, who was recently awarded the Quarterly Prize from the German Record Critics Association for his work on “Porgy Bess / HR Bigband & Tony Lakatos” for SKIP Records, and Wolf Kerschek, a former student of Schlüter’s who organized the strings & horns not too long ago for SKIP on the No. 1 album “Tingvall Trio / Vägen”.
That the outstanding NDR Bigband knows how to give the tracks a special sparkle here in its capacity as ‘the big band for soloists’ is thanks to such talented Jazz musicians as Thorsten Benkenstein, Ingolf Burkhardt and Reiner Winterschladen on trumpet, Lutz Büchner and Sebastian Gille on saxophone, and Dan Gottshall on trombone. Sparks fly when one of the best big bands in the world is headed by Wolfgang Schlüter. As if freshly emerged from his personal fountain of youth, he and his solo work drive his quartet on to top itself time and again. Only fitting for a Jazz musician based in northern Germany, the program premiered at Nils Landgren’s Jazz Baltica festival, where it was highly acclaimed. But then again, all hopes are banking optimistically on many more unforgettable concert evenings in 2013 to spend together with this celebrated ‘main act’.
Wolfgang Schlüter unites generations of Jazz and fascinates through his passion and verve on the vibes in a way that only very few Jazz musicians ever accomplish. A “grand old shining light in German Jazz” at his best