If you’re looking for powerfully funky jazz music from a big band, Peter Herbolzheimer is the German trademark of quality. But many of his most explosive club-ready joints for Polydor and recordings issued under various aliases from the mid- to late 70s have never been properly reissued – until now.
Universal has shrewdly taken advantage of its MPS and Polydor holdings to assemble the blockbuster four-disc Peter Herbolzheimer set Big Band Man, which presents seven of his classic albums by his pummelling Rhythm Combination and Brass posse as well as the Galactic Light Orchestra and Certain Lions & Tigers, led by the superb trumpet frontline of Art Farmer, Dusko Goykovich and Ack Van Rooyen. Those who mistakenly equate big band music with the champagne sounds of Lawrence Welk will be set straight by the hard-grooving whump of Herbolzheimer’s bad boys.
Mr. Clean (Peter Herbolzheimer)
That Ol' Bus Smell (Peter Herbolzheimer)
Finland’s fab Five
Someday local jazz festival directors may start booking genuinely exciting artists on their way up. But while the focus remains on propping up past-their-prime legends, Toronto’s fans of forward-looking jazz innovation will have to settle for listening to recordings.
The latest vinyl-only release from Finland’s fab Five Corners Quintet – who have a strange allegiance to the 10-inch format – is the Hot Corner EP (Ricky Tick), another smokin’ dance-floor destroyer. The super-tight rhythm section of Antti Lötjönen and Teppo Mäkynen power the band through three club cookers, opening with the rockabilly-inspired Hot Rod, written by “commander in chief” Tuomas Kallio, while trumpeter Jukka Eskola and tenor saxophonist Timo Lassy make up for the absence of Eero Koivistoinen on Shake It and the head-nodder Easy Diggin’. ricky-tick.com.
Saxophonist/flautist Sahib Shihab was among the most important U.S. expats working to build a credible jazz presence in postwar Europe. He recorded extensively throughout his 60s peak – notably with the Clarke-Boland Sextet and Big Band – but check any CD retailer with a jazz section and most won’t even have a place card with his name on it, let alone any of his magnificent recordings.
Italy’s Schema label is doing its bit to redress the shortfall of Shihab reissues by recirculating some of his most sought-after work. The sizzling Seeds set was recorded in Cologne back in 68 with the muscular Clarke-Boland crew (including Fats Sadi on vibes) masquerading as Shihab’s backing band, as they do on Shihab’s similarly stormin’ Companionship, Vol. 2: Jazz Joint featuring Benny Bailey, Milt Jackson and Ake Persson. You can chill out afterwards with the Clarke-Boland Sextet’s gently swinging Music For The Small Hours, a lovely showcase for Shihab’s lyrical skills on flute. Grab them all while you can. ishtar.it/framerearward.htm.
Seeds (The Sahib Shibab Quintet)
Set Up (The Sahib Shibab Quintet)