Somnambule - Writing About Music

Albert Mangelsdorff Percussion Orchestra ~ Lanaya

The now 76 year old trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff has played with everybody from Lee Konitz to Peter Brotzmann, Jimmy Smith to Jaco Pastorius. His style since the 1970s has been distinguished by a multiphonics technique which involves playing a note and simultaneously singing above it – the resulting overtones created by the intervals of the two notes impart a uniquely recognisable sound. Mangelsdorff’s long career has been typified by an openness to possibility and on this 1993 date he shares the stage with a percussion trio to interesting effect. A little disappointingly the trombonist’s characteristic humility and dedication to music over ego leads here to the initial part of the concert being given over to the percussionists. When Mangelsdorff does eventually make his entrance it initially appears that an exotic bird has found its way into the auditorium as throaty calls and sighs populate the air around the thrumming, shaking and beating of the other players. These calls quickly descend into a series of gruff conversational growls from which a melodic thread is gradually teased out. This thread weaves itself around and through the driving rhythms of his colleagues until it becomes an indispensable part of the forward motion of the music. Later, on ‘Sun Sum’ and the gorgeous ‘Cool April’, he’s the very picture of affable, funky blues, his tone warm and rounded, trembling and suddenly strident. Lanaya is a welcome addition to an all too limited number of extant discs featuring this unique and fascinating player.
Colin Buttimer
April 2004
Published by Jazzwise magazine