Rhythm Combination & Brass
| An international group very
active in Europe from the 1970s right up to today.
The German composer and bandleader Peter Herbolzheimer has, through this, and many other ventures, revolutionised European big band music with his own outstanding scores and those of other composers.The RC&B was unique in that it had a lineup of eight brass, but originally only one saxophone, with Herb Geller in that chair. Later on his place was taken by Ferdinand Povell, from the Netherlands. The rhythm combination consisted of two keyboards, guitar, bass, drums and percussion. For special events the group was augmented as necessary, but the basic combination remained as such for several years.The RC&B was later replaced by a regular sized big band that is still active today. Herbolzheimer also leads, tutors and educates young musicians under the auspices of the German Government and various sponsors, including Mercedes Benz A.G. The young musicians gather for auditions in a German town each year. The most promising are selected to form two big bands, one of which Peter takes on tour. Recordings made with these musicians, under the name of BuJazzO (Bundes Jugend Orchester) are of a professional standard that far surpasses the output of many regular European big bands, and comes close to that of the best USA bands of today.
In 1974 the Peter Herbolzheimer Rhythm Combination & Brass entered an annual television competition held in the Belgian seaside town of Knocke, winning the coveted Golden Swan Award.
"There were dozens of other European countries represented there, but the band won without any trouble. As far as I was concerned we just stood up there on the stage and gave a live jazz concert. It was great, of course, but I was surprised that something like that would win a prestigious prize like the Golden Swan.
"It was only after I returned to Radio Saarbrücken and Richard Krueger arranged for me to see the final edited video made in Knocke that I realised what had happened.
"The producer had recorded our music and the band all right, but he had interlaced our show with devastating scenes from the Vietnam war. The result was both shocking and brilliant." (Ron Simmonds)
The upper photograph, taken during the performance, shows the band in full flight.
The personnel, from left to right, starting at the top, is:
Art Farmer, Rick Kiefer, Ron Simmonds, Ack van
The centre photo, taken during a Jazz Gala in Wiesbaden, Germany, is of poor quality, but shows something that most certainly had not been seen for many, many years.
From left to right:
James Towsey, Ferdinand Povell, Herb Geller,
Stan Getz, Johnny Griffin.
The lower photo is a shot of Peter Herbolzheimer's Rhythm Combination & Brass taken outside Ronnie Scott's Club in 1973.
The musicians are, from left to right:
Back row: Jiggs Whigham, Kenny Clare, Horst Mühlbradt, Günter Lenz, Rudi Fuesers, Art Farmer, Ron Simmonds.
Front row: Åke Persson, Sabu Martinez, Peter Herbolzheimer, Dieter Reith, Palle Mikkelborg, Ack van Rooyen, Ferdinand Povel.
The photo below was taken on stage inside Ronnie Scott's.
Back row, James Towsey, Ferdinand Povel,
Herb Geller, Wilton Gaynair, Johnny Griffin, saxes;
In later years the Peter Herbolzheimer band played many concert tours, Jazz Gala television shows and jazz festivals. The band made very many best-selling recordings with international stars. A list of some of the artistes and musicians involved in some of these these events is given below. It reads like a Who's Who of jazz greats.
Bottom photos on the left show the trumpets, and brass section when we played a jazz festival in Ljubljana around 1975. Photos courtesy of Eddie Engels. Click the pics to enlarge.
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