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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

Best of JAZZ OPEN 1998

  1. Urszula Dudziak. Healer Joe
  2. Nils Landoren Funk Unit. Inside Straight
  3. Robert Majewski Quintet. Night Time Day Time - Requiem
  4. Albert Mangelsdorff. Wheat Song
  5. John Handy & Maharaja Brothers. Hinglaj
  6. John McLaughlin Group. Social Climate

As none of the artists here were known to me, I looked them up in my reference books and found information on Albert Mangelsdorff, who was apparently at one time a J J Johnson disciple and John McLaughlin who has a pedigree in jazz rock.

Urszula Dudziak, the sleeve note said was at one time influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, but you would not know that from this performance of voice and electronics.

Just for a moment the Nils Landoren Funk Unit plays something that is recognisable to the normal jazz fan, but that is soon put behind us and the fun is brought to an abrupt end when the Polish Robert Majewski Quintet get to work.

Robert Mangelsdorff's 5.46 minutes of unaccompanied Trombone left me bored, it is easy to see the excellence of his tone and technique, but what is the point.

I don't recognise the majority of this as being jazz at all and feel its appeal is going to be to the fans of Contemporary Music, who seem to be able to enjoy anything weird. If this is the Best of JAZZ OPEN, it makes me wonder what the worst must have been like!

In recent years the popularity of jazz has declined in both the UK and the USA, I can't help but feel that it's cause would be helped if Contemporary Music moved away and left jazz in the hands of people who understood it's roots better.


D V Mather
Don Mather is a saxophone player and Bandleader in Coventry

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