Christopher Dell – The World We Knew (2007)


Someone has come up with something fine and that someone is Christopher Dell:

Christopher Dell (* 17 September 1965 in Darmstadt) is a German musician, composer and theorist.

Dell studied vibraphone, percussion and composition in Hilversum in 1985/1986 and in Rotterdam from 1986 to 1988, followed by studies at the Berklee School of Music from 1988 to 1990. He worked as a freelance composer and vibraphonist, and from 1992 to 2000 as a lecturer at the Darmstadt Academy of Music. He also plays in the permanent trio D.R.A., which won the JazzArtAward in 2002. He has also recorded with Theo Jörgensmann, Bob Brookmeyer, Seda, Klaus König, Hiram Bullock, Norbert Stein, Vince Mendoza and with ElbtonalPercussion.

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Dell has directed the “Institute for Improvisation Technology” in Berlin since 2000 and was artist in residence at the Goethe-Institut Kolkata from 2007 to 2008. From 2008 to 2010 and from 2015 to 2018, he held a substitute professorship for urban design theory at the chair of “Urban Design” at HafenCity University Hamburg. He also held a visiting professorship in this subject at the TU Munich. Since 2017, Dell has taught urban design and urban renewal at the Berlin University of the Arts. In May 2012, Dell completed his doctorate at the University of Duisburg-Essen with the thesis “The improvising organisation: management after the end of plannability”. Since 2010 he has worked in a trio with Christian Lillinger and Jonas Westergaard (album Grammar, 2013). Dell has toured extensively with Wolfgang Haffner’s quartet. In 2017, Dell was elected to the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences. (wikipedia)

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And here´s real pretty good album:

Everybody knows Strangers in the Night, one of the greatest hits of the 20th century. Yet, hardly anybody knows that the German composer Bert Kaempfert wrote the song. One can find his name credited next to a great number of worldfamous titles. Kaempfert made music history and created a distinctive style with titles like Spanish Eyes, Danke Schoen, A
Swingin’ Safari or the aforementioned Strangers in the Night, that facilitated Frank Sinatra’s furious return to the top of the charts in 1966.

The Hamburg-born composer, arranger and big-band leader Bert Kaempfert (October 16th 1923 – June 21st 1980) discovered the Beatles and produced their first recordings, he arranged for Elvis Presley, and helped Al Martino to his comeback with Spanish Eyes. His incomparable sound – dominant “knack-bass” figures (Ladi doubling the bass line an
octave up on muted guitar), swinging rhythms, horns and a carefully created luminous background of choir and strings – created a stir all over the world in the early 1960’s.

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All the greatest stars of American showbiz were crazy about Kaempfert’s work. Wayne Newton adorned himself with Danke Schoen; the great Nat King Cole celebrated a triumph with L.O.V.E. Jack Jones (Lady), Dean Martin (I Can’t Help Remembering You), Sammy Davis Jr. (Lonely Is The Name), but also Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Caterina Valente, Nancy Wilson – all of them had celebrated success with compositions by Bert Kaempfert. His hits have become evergreens.

In the year 1993, Kaempfert posthumously received the greatest honour that can be bestowed upon a composer: the acceptance into the American Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame.

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Christopher Dell about this album:
Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler: the most noteworthy German songwriters of the 20th century. Here is another one: Bert Kaempfert. His melodies, atmospheres and his – then revolutionary – concept of sound and space have moved millions of listeners worldwide.
There is a unique quality to each of his compositions, that has fascinated me as a musical “problem” to be solved.
Another musically interesting aspect of his work was Kaempfert’s way of interpreting music as a design object.
In approaching the music, it was important for me that we transport the compositions into a contemporary context. To achieve this, we tried to not let the aspect of space (Kaempfert) or structure (jazz) take priority; rather we focused completely on colour. This impressionist approach allows our music to become a statement independent of the original.

The pieces seem to become excavated monuments from far-gone days. They have the morbid charm of a ruined building, the beauty of which becomes apparent if we take a second look. The voices and the atmosphere that once filled these rooms with life sound out to us from its walls. The title The World We Knew takes on a whole new meaning
in this context, and contributes an inner unity to our conception of a “considerate archaeology”.
There is one musician whose sound left its mark on Kaempfert’s music: guitar player Ladi Geisler. I’m very pleased that he contributed so much of his creativity and elegance to this recording.

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A wonderful, measured and yet new bow to one of the great composers of the past century by one of the great vibraphonists of our day. Light and yet of high standard. Simply great. (jazzpodium)


Carsten Daerr (piano)
Christopher Dell (vibraphone)
Ladi Geisler (guitar)
Christof Lauer (saxophone)
Oliver Potratz (bass)
Eric Schaefer (drums)


01.Don’t Talk To Me 5.55
02. Danke schön 3.55
03. A Swingin‘ Safari 7.41
04. Strangers In The Night 5.56
05. Afrikaan Beat (Part II) 2.50
06. Wiedersehn 6.24
07. It Makes No Difference 4.33
08. Spanish Eyes 3.11
09. Afrikaan Beat (Part I) 2.48
10. Geh nicht vorbei (I Can’t Help Remembering You) 5.50
11. The World We Knew (Over & Over) 4.25
12. Love After Midnight (90 Minuten nach Mitternacht) 3.58

Music: Bert Kaempfert



More Bert Kaempfert:

Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra – A Swingin´ Safari (1962)

FrontCover1.JPGBerthold Heinrich Kämpfert, (16 October 1923 – 21 June 1980), better known as Bert Kaempfert, was a German orchestra leader, music producer, arranger, and songwriter. He made easy listening and jazz-oriented records and wrote the music for a number of well-known songs, including “Strangers in the Night” and “Moon Over Naples”.

Kaempfert was born in Hamburg, Germany, where he received his lifelong nickname, Fips, and studied at the local school of music. A multi-instrumentalist, he was hired by Hans Busch to play with his orchestra before serving as a bandsman in the German Navy during World War II. He later formed his own big band, toured with them, then worked as an arranger and producer, making hit records with Freddy Quinn and Ivo Robić.

Kaempfert’s own first hit with his orchestra had been in 1960, “Wonderland by Night”. Recorded in July 1959, the song couldn’t get a hearing in Germany, so Kaempfert took the track to Decca Records in New York, who released it in America in 1959 (or fall 1960). With its haunting solo trumpet, muted brass, and lush strings, the single topped the American pop charts and turned Bert Kaempfert and Orchestra into international stars.


Over the next few years, he revived such pop tunes as “Tenderly”, “Red Roses for a Blue Lady”, “Three O’Clock in the Morning”, and “Bye Bye Blues”, as well as composing pieces of his own, including “Spanish Eyes (Moon Over Naples)”, “Danke Schoen”, and “Wooden Heart”, which were recorded by, respectively, Al Martino, Wayne Newton, and Elvis Presley. For Kaempfert, little may have brought him more personal satisfaction than Nat King Cole recording his “L-O-V-E”.

Kaempfert’s orchestra made extensive use of horns. A couple of numbers that featured brass prominently, “Magic Trumpet” and “The Mexican Shuffle”, were played by both Kaempfert’s orchestra and by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, whose initially Mariachi style, in fact, evolved towards the Kaempfert style as the 1960s progressed.[citation needed] The Brass covered “Magic Trumpet”, and Kaempfert returned the favor by covering Brass compadre Sol Lake’s number “The Mexican Shuffle”. The latter tune evolved into a TV ad, The Teaberry Shuffle.


In 1961, Kaempfert hired The Beatles to back Tony Sheridan for an album called My Bonnie. The album and its singles, released by Polydor Records, were the Beatles’ first commercially released recordings.

In his capacity as record producer, Kaempfert played a part in the rise of The Beatles when he signed a Liverpool-based singer named Tony Sheridan. Sheridan had been performing in Hamburg, and needed to recruit a band to play behind him on the proposed sides. He auditioned and signed the Beatles, and recorded two tracks with them during his sessions for Sheridan: “Ain’t She Sweet” (sung by rhythm guitarist John Lennon) and “Cry for a Shadow” (an instrumental written by Lennon and lead guitarist George Harrison).

On October 28, 1961, a man walked into the music store owned by Brian Epstein to ask for a copy of “My Bonnie”, a song that was recorded by the Beatles, but credited to Tony Sheridan. The store did not have it, but Epstein noted the request. He was so intrigued by the idea of a Liverpool band releasing a record, he investigated. This event led to his discovery of the Beatles and, through his effort, their signing by George Martin to Parlophone Records after Kaempfert helped them elude any contractual claim by Polydor. (by wikipedia)


The album “A SWINGIN’ SAFARI” was one of the first productions undertaken by the Polydor studio in Hamburg-Rahlstedt. As with “WONDERLAND BY NIGHT,” which marked the beginning of Bert Kaempfert’s career in America, this production was also first released there. Both Kaempfert compositions “A SWINGIN’ SAFARI” and “AFRIKAAN BEAT” were soon world hits. Dean Martin made the title “TAKE ME” famous with his own vocal version, and “THAT HAPPY FEELING,” “MARKET DAY,” and “HAPPY TRUMPETER” became long running hits on American radio.

Bert Kaempfert always had a special love for ‘black music.’ When he first heard a South African recording of the so called ‘penny whistlers’ he was so impressed that he wanted to procuce an LP in the same vein. And Bert Kaempfert went on to do just this, but at the same time remaining faithful to his own inimitable style; he was never an imitator of other musicians. Combining strings, choir, and his famous trumpet solos, he still managed to reproduce the penny whistle sound which runs through his arrangements like a clear stream. Ladi Geisler, long standing bass guitarist with the Kaempfert Orchestra, remembers: “Bert Kaempfert tried to swap the penny whistle for a piccolo. Now that was a real piece of innovation. Then, finally, it was all ready and Bert was really pleased, he had managed it, he had captured the sound of the penny whistle using the piccolo.”


The huge success of this album, which in the meantime had made its debut in Europe, was soon to be rewarded with a golden LP. Over and over again “A SWINGIN’ SAFARI” made new friends. In addition to other prizes, Bert Kaempfert was to receive in 1968 a second golden LP for this production and with it equaled the world record of 9 golden LPs, which until then had been held only by The Beatles. But Bert Kaempfert was to be even happier to learn of the popularity of this production in South Africa.

Knowledge of this recording is still immense. Nearly everyone who hears the opening bars of “A SWINGIN’ SAFARI” realizes that they have heard them before. And the intro to “AFRIKAAN BEAT” is today one of the most unmistakable symbols of Bert Kaempfert and his Orchestra, with its typical ‘cracking bass’; again Ladi Geisler recalls: “We musicians were, as always, spread out in front of one microphone. My amp stood about 9 feet away, the same distance as the trombones. Bert Kaempfert advised me to go easy on the lower notes (these were to come from the double-bass) and the high notes were to be accentuated so that it would ‘really crack.’ This was how the term ‘cracking bass’ was born.”



Bert Kaempfert and his Orchestra …

… featuring Lady Geisler on the “cracking bass”


01. A Swingin’ Safari (Kaempfert) 3.07
02. That Happy Feeling (Warren) 2.53
03. Market Day (Kaempfert) 2.29
04. Take Me (Kaempfert/Brüsewitz) 3.03
05. Similau (Clar/Coleman) 2.57
06. Zambesie (de Waal/Hilliard/Carstens) 2.49
07. Afrikaan Beat (Kaempfert) 2.25
08. Happy Trumpeter (Kaempfert) 2.37
09. Tootie Flutie (Kaempfert) 2.09
10. Wimoweh (Campbell/Ilene) 2.41
11. Black Beauty (Kaempfert/Dumont) 2.34
12. Skokiaan (Msarurgwa/Glazer) 2.50



Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra – Living It Up! (1963)

FrontCover1Taken from the original liner-notes:

If there’s a better way of “LIVING IT UP” than through the medium of music, it’s yet to be found! And, one of the most popular sounds in music today is the big band – one of the greatest examples of which is the wonderful Bert Kaempfert Orchestra. In addition to personifying today’s big band sound, Bert Kaempfert is responsible, perhaps more than any other single factor, for the renewed interest in the popular orchestra. Conductor-composer-arranger-instrumentalist (clarinet, saxophone, piano, accordion) Bert Kaempfert is responsible for several of the most sizzling recent song hits… among them, the beautiful Wonderland By Night, Afrikaan Beat, and A Swingin’ Safari. Claiming compositions as his first love, Mr. Kaempfert wrote two of the three previously mentioned hits, Afrikaan Beat and A Swingin’ Safari, and his prolific pen is responsible for no less than ten of the melodies performed in this album!

Here is Bert Kaempfert and his Orchestra… with an orchestral sound and style that is characteristically ideal for either listening or dancing, and the greatest prescription for “LIVING IT UP” ever discovered.

Bert Kaempfert And His Orchestra

01. Gentleman Jim (Kaempfert) 2.39
02. In The Mood (Razaf/Garland) 2.45
03. Dutch Treat (Kaempfert/Rehbein) 2.15
04. Tipsy Gypsy (Kaempfert/Rehbein/Gabler/Ilene) 2.32
05. Don’t Talk To Me (Kaempfert/Rehbein) 2.42
06. Fluter’s Holiday (Kaempfert) 2.42
07. Give And Take (Kaempfert/Templin) 2.27
08. Danke Schön (Candlelight Cafe) (Kaempfert/Schwabach/Gabler) 3.15
09. Two On A Tune (Kaempfert/Ilene) 2.42
10. Living It Up (Kaempfert) 2.15
11. Easy Going (Kaempfert) 2.23
12. Tricky Trombone (Kaempfert/Rehbein) 2.09