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Russ Spiegel: Twilight

CD: DMCHR 71026


Musicians: Russ Spiegel g, Barbara Dennerlein Hammond Organ, Derrick James as, Christian Meyer tp, Jürgen Seefelder ts, Alberto Menendez ts, Allen Jacobson tb, Torsten Dewinkel g, Joerg Reiter p, Thomas Stabenow b, Sebastian Merk dr, Omar Plasencia perc

Recording date: 16. & 17. Oktober 2000
Recording place: Weltz Wonderland, Mannheim


Straight-ahead jazz from a reliable American hand - in the true sense of the word. The American guitarist Russ Spiegel presents straight jazz of the modern kind on his new album „Twilight“. Five originals and four standards are interpreted by Russ Spiegel in his own, intimate and personal style. He was able to put together a line-up for his magnificent undertaking that can hardly be surpassed. With Thomas Stabenow on bass, Joerg Reiter on the piano, Jürgen Seefelder on the tenor saxophone and Sebastian Merk on drums, he has gotten the crème of German jazz on board. Torsten Dewinkel on the acoustic guitar together with Omar Plasencia on percussion instruments adds a Latin flair. Christian Meyers on the trumpet, Alberto Menendez (known from his work with Eddie Palmieri, Carlos „Patato“ Valdez, Benny Bailey and Karl Berger) on the tenor sax and Allen Jacobson on the trombone form the wind instruments section. But the high point is created by the two star guests: Derrik James on the alto saxophone contributes his ingenious musical talents, and Barbara Dennerlein lets her unmistakable style on the Hammond organ sparkle in two pieces

Russ Spiegel was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Santa Monica, California. He was the child of a family of musicians, and consequently his “fate” as a professional musician was certainly predestined. His grandfather was a professional musician as a violinist in the renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. After initial “defensive manoeuvres” against a professional career in music, including successful philosophy studies at a university, he had to give in to his predestined talent: He began to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, studies which he finished quickly and with distinction. Russ Spiegel has lived most of time in Europe for quite a while now, mainly in the circle of the Mannheimer/Weinheimer jazz scene. He has appeared in numerous jazz and blues festivals throughout Europe. Especially his involvement in Barbara Dennerlein’s band has made him well known to many, above all in Germany. Russ Spiegel has initiated numerous projects of his own in Europe in the meantime, including his 18-person big band, a soul/funk combo called the Royal Club Band and numerous jazz ensembles of various styles.

The opener “Jeannine” is distinguished by its compact wind instrument section in big band look, with a subtle Latin feeling, punctuated by pianist Joerg Reiter. The following title song “Twilight” provides the first of two ballads with sensitive wind instrument arrangements and inconspicuous soloists, who slip into the forefront at times. “Number One” then presents the unmistakable sound of Barbara Dennerlein for the first time on the album - a rhythmically swinging composition by Russ Spiegel with great interludes by Christian Meyers (tp), Derrick James (as) and Jürgen Seefelder (ts). Barbara Dennerlein’s second appearance follows with the bluesy Ellington classic “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me”, played in a trio formation of drums, organ and guitar. John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” is played in a very rhythmical version with a similar “big” sound like the opener, although with less Latin leanings and more bop influence. “Twilight” shines above all in the variations and strengths of the individual musicians. “Brother Grimm” is an up-beat number played by a quartet without wind instruments, and “Peaceful” is a duo of the leader with Joerg Reiter. The dynamic “Fourth Floor” provides a quintet line-up, and the concluding “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” once again provides a powerful quartet with Alberto Menendez on the tenor sax.

“Twilight” provides straight-ahead jazz of the finest quality with an all-star line-up, which many musicians can only dream of. Various tonal qualities provide top-rate jazz enchantment from a peaceful duo all the way to a 10-member big band!


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