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Volker Kriegel: 1943-2003
Volker Kriegel
Guitar, composer

Born: December 24, 1943 in Darmstadt, Germany
Died: June 15, 2003 in Spain

Jazz-rock guitarist was also illustrator

by Todd S. Jenkins
Copyright © 2003 Todd S. Jenkins


Volker Kriegel was one of Europe's pioneering jazz-rock musicians. He came up in Frankfurt's burgeoning mid-60s jazz scene. On the advice of his friends Albert and Emil Mangelsdorff, the guitarist abandoned his sociology studies for a full-time music career. In 1968 Kriegel began performing with expatriate American vibraphonist Dave Pike and also founded his own early fusion group, the Mild Maniac Orchestra. His album Spectrum (1971, MPS) was a landmark of European jazz-rock.

Kriegel recorded two albums with electric violinist Don "Sugar Cane" Harris in the early 70s. He continued with the Dave Pike Set until 1974 and, two years later, became a founding member of the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble.

The UJ+RE united performers from across Europe's musical spectrum including Albert Mangelsdorff, Boston-born altoist Charlie Mariano, Dutch trumpeter Ack van Rooyen, German pianist Wolfgang Dauner, and British saxophonist Barbara Thompson. Kriegel, whose acidic elctric guitar provided most of the rock elements, continued to play with the UJ+RE through the band's farewell tour in 2002. He issued four albums of his own under Dauner's Mood Records imprint.

Aside from writing film scores and other music outside the jazz realm, Kriegel had become respected as an essayist and author/illustrator of children's books, such as Der Rock 'n' Roll Konig (The Rock 'n' Roll King) and the Olaf dem Elch (Olaf the Moose) series.

Todd S. Jenkins
Todd S. Jenkins is a member of the JJA, author of Free Jazz and Free Improvisation: An Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press, 2004) and I Know What I Know: The Music of Charles Mingus (Praeger, 2006), and a contributor to Down Beat, All About Jazz, American Songwriter and Route 66 Magazine.


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With 3 reader comments, latest July 16, 2005