Thursday, December 31, 2015

All Things Must Brass

What a year, eh? Even just this last month has been something else. Why, the subject of my last post didn't even last 72 hours after I wrote it. I'll avoid that awful possibility repeating today, as the subject of the year's final tribute has indeed already been gone from us since 2010.
You know me, I'm a funkateer and I drift especially in the direction of Big Band Funk. Nowhere in the long and storied history of our species has anyone ever masterminded Big Band Funk more effectively than today's honoree, who'd have reached the milestone of 80 today.
You might not know the name Peter Herbolzheimer, but in jazz and Big Band circles his is quite a mighty legacy. His Rhythm Combination & Brass groups -- which featured some of the truly heavyweight players like Art Farmer and Ack van Rooyen passing through the ranks -- have so many badass records you'd need to start dating a Lufthansa pilot to collect them all in one place.
As the leader, conductor and arranger of these groups, Peter Herbolzheimer oversaw arguably the swingingest, funkiest Big Bands of the 1970s and 1980s. If his music doesn't ignite your body into some sort of motion, you are likely deceased and ought to report to the nearest coroner's office immediately for processing. Can I have your stuff?
As incredible as records like Galaxis and Hip Walk -- which featured the vocal talents of the German Goddess of Voice, Inga Rumpf, who is gonna get her own day on this page someday soon -- are, the context in which these groups really shone was in concert.
About a month ago, one of the stellar uploaders on one of the torrent trackers I have been a part of for many years posted a complete concert from the 1970s prime of the RC&B, sourced from the original station master reels of the German radio archives.
There was just one problem: there were two sets and he couldn't get the second one to stop sounding a lot louder and more, well, brassy than the first. That's where I came in.
After a day in the esteemed company of the Sound Forge 9 Graphic Dynamics tool, I'd say I have got the two sets sounding like they were at least recorded in the same galaxy by the same engineers. No, I am just kidding... honestly I did a great job if I do say so, and this is now essentially indistinguishable from a legitimate live record.
Heck, I even created one of my primitive cover art adventures for it... it's New Year's Eve and don't let them tell you I don't go whole hog to the party.
Peter Herbolzheimer
Rhythm Combination & Brass
WDR Studio 1
Köln, Germany
EN pre-FM remaster

01 introduction
02 Hoops
03 band introductions by Peter Herbolzheimer
04 Mr. Clean
05 announcement
06 Sunflower Chant
07 announcement
08 Frog Dance
09 My Kind of Sunshine

01 Blues In My Shoes
02 applause & announcement
03 Nica's Dream
04 applause & announcement
05 That Ol' Bus Smell
06 announcement
07 Waitaminute
08 announcement
09 Con Alma
10 The Ballad of the Sad Young Men
11 announcement
12 Hi-Jack

Total time 1:43:03

Peter Herbolzheimer - conductor, trombone
Art Farmer, Ack van Rooyen, Rick Kiefer, Ron Simmons, Palle Mikkelborg - trumpets
Jiggs Whigham, Ake Persson, Rudi Füsers - trombones
Ferdinand Povel - reeds
Philip Catherine - guitar
Dieter Reith - keyboards
Günter Lenz - bass
Sabu Martinez - congas
Horst Mühlbradt - percussion, electric piano
Kenny Clare - drums

sourced from pre-FM master tapes from the WDR archives & remastered by me
This should now be in a position to funk your New Year's Eve festivities in just the right segment of the pocket... even more so than before I twiddled the knobs here in Audio Tweakage Land. Pull it down, have the best possible party times and the best possible 2016, and remember to honor Peter Herbolzheimer, who was born this day in 1935 and is still swiveling hips into motion the world over even though he's been dead five years!--J.
12.31.1935 - 3.27.2010