The United Jazz + Rock Ensemble (abbr. “United” or “UJRE”) developed from a group of jazz musicians that was formed for a 1974 to 1975 television show of Süddeutscher Rundfunk (South German Broadcasting). Almost all future members of “United” were present from the beginning.
The group played mostly original compositions ranging from jazz to rock. Charlie Mariano’s experience with Indian music occasionally brought in ethnic elements. Because all band members extensively played in their own bands before and after UJRE was formed, the ensemble was often called the ‘Band of Band Leaders’. Some of the members hold teaching positions with various musical colleges.
During the 27 years of its existence, the band produced fourteen albums, all of them on Mood Records.
In 2002, the group went on their “Farewell Tour 2002”. Among the reasons was Barbara Thompson’s suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
The final cast of 2002 was Wolfgang Dauner (piano), Barbara Thompson (saxophone), Jon Hiseman (drums), Dave King (bass), Ian Carr (trumpet), Volker Kriegel (guitar), Rüdiger Baldauf (trumpet), Ack van Rooyen (trumpet, fluegelhorn), Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone), Christof Lauer (saxophone)
Former members include Eberhard Weber, bass, Kenny Wheeler, trumpet, Johannes Faber, trumpet, Charlie Mariano, saxophone and ethnic instruments, Thorsten Benkenstein, trumpet, Peter O’Mara, guitar. (wikipedia)
Featuring some of the finest avant-garde jazz players from Germany and beyond, the United Jazz + Rock Ensemble began life as a loose studio aggregation assembled for a youth-oriented German television show in 1975. Hoping for a contemporary balance between rock and jazz, producer Werner Schretzmeier called upon pianist Wolfgang Dauner, the former leader of Et Cetera, an avant-garde jazz group Schretzmeier had managed until their breakup in 1972. Initially recruiting musicians from his home base of Stuttgart (then a hotbed of avant-garde jazz), Dauner put together a rotating cast of musicians that were at first dubbed the Eleven and a Half Ensemble (after the program’s airtime); this group featured guitarist Volker Kriegel (who shared writing and arranging duties with Dauner), drummer Jon Hiseman, trumpeter Ack Van Rooyen, and trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff.
As demand for recordings and public performances grew, Dauner solidified the lineup with saxophonist Charlie Mariano, saxophonist/flutist Barbara Thompson, trumpeter Ian Carr, and bassist Eberhard Weber. This nine-piece aggregation recorded the first album under the United Jazz + Rock Ensemble name, Live im Schutzenhaus, in 1977; released on the group’s own Mood Records label, the album was a hit, eventually becoming the best-selling German jazz record of all time.
The Ensemble recorded and toured fairly regularly after the success of Live im Schutzenhaus; 1978’s Teamwork and 1979’s The Break Even Point placed the group in a studio setting, with the latter featuring trumpeter Kenny Wheeler. 1981’s double-LP Live in Berlin was another success, and was followed by United Live Opus Sechs in 1984, with Wheeler back in tow. On 1987’s studio album Round Seven, trumpeter Johannes Faber filled in for Wheeler; Wheeler returned once again for the 1992 studio set Na Endlich!, which also featured new bassist Dave King. Mariano was subsequently replaced by tenor saxophonist Christof Lauer, who made his recorded debut on the 1996 concert album Die Neunte von United. In 2002, after well over two decades together, the group announced that it was embarking on a farewell tour, after which its members would move on to other projects (possibly collaborative). (by Steve Huey)
And here is an excellent live recording, which once again shows the high level at which this ensemble played.
Jazz-Rock at its best!
Enjoy this soundboard recording !
Ian Carr (trumpet)
Wolfgang Dauner (keyboards)
Jon Hiseman (drums)
Volker Kriegel (guitar)
Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone)
Charlie Mariano (saxophone)
Ack van Rooyen (trumpet)
Barbara Thompson (saxophone, flute)
Eberhard Weber (bass)
Kenny Wheeler (trumpet)
01. Intro 1.31
02. Ausgeschlafen (Dauner) 8.03
03. Announcement 0.47
04. Die Wiederkehr (Thompson) 7.57
05. Announcement 0.22
06. Randy (Mariano) 7.08
07. Garberville (Kriegel/Bettermann) 6.37
08. Announcement 0.31
09. Ripp Off (Mangelsdorff) 8.39
10. Lady Bountiful (Carr) 12.34
11. Sometime In Silence (Weber) 6.28
12. Ganz schön heiß, Man (Mangelsdorff/Hiseman) 9.40
13. Circus Gambet (Kriegel) 6.57
14. Live At The Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris (uncut edition) 1.21.24
The official website:
(21 April 1933 – 25 February 2009)
(30 December 1935 – 10 January 2020)
(21 June 1944 – 12 June 2018)
(24 December 1943 – 15 June 2003)
(September 5, 1928 – July 25, 2005)
(November 12, 1923 – June 16, 2009)
Ack van Rooyen
(1 January 1930 – 18 November 2021)
(27 July 1944 – 9 July 2022)
(14 January 1930 – 18 September 2014)