36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022
Mandred Leuchter Vilnius Jazz'2003
Manfred Leuchter Quintet "Arabesque" (Germany):

Manfred Leuchter - accordion
Christoph Titz - trumpet
Heribert Leuchter - saxophone
Antoine Pütz - bass
Afra Mussawisade - drums

Manfred Leuchter plays the accordion – the instrument with that unique sound that touches the soul with a sense of cheerful melancholy. And there are just a handful of musicians like Leuchter around that are capable of taking the audience with them to wonderful musical landscapes that have something of a natural wilderness, but are at the same time soft and sweet.

Since the late 70s, Manfred Leuchter has been working as composer, songwriter and producer for i.e. Taco and Ina Deter, during the while he was also performing for numerous live and studio sessions.

Ever since 1992, he has been arranging and producing all of Reinhard Mey’s albums, with whom he occasionally enters centre stage for live concerts or TV appearances – equipped with his accordion, naturally.

Additionally, Leuchter has made himself a name as composer and producer for a countless number of movie and theatre scores.

The line-up of Leuchter’s band features a set of renowned jazz musicians. The man on the saxophone, Heribert Leuchter, is as a free-lance musician, composer and producer, whose work can regularly be seen and heard on national radio and TV stations. He has written a number of tunes for the immensely popular TV programme ”Die Sendung mit der Maus”.

Christoph Titz, the band’s trumpet player, has been on tour with, e.g., Marla Glen and is a member of the TV-Band, with nightly performances on the Harald Schmidt Show – Germany’s most favourite Late Night programme.

A sophisticated virtuoso on the bass, Antoine Pütz provides the band with a solid sound basis.

The band's drummer, Afra Mussavisade from Iran, is a graduate from the
Rotterdam conservatoire and is specialst for African percussion and now one
of the country's most popular drummers for studio sessions of worldmusic.

Leuchter is clearly a storyteller. Crafty and dynamically, and with an exuberant joy in creating melodies, he is a breathtaking performer with a brilliant technique and steadfast concentration. And his daring melody-lines can really make your head spin. Leuchter is taking his audiences on musical journeys – into the hot steaming mangrove swamps of Louisiana; into the hectic agonies of Manhattan’s concrete canyons; and in the search for our true selves, he allows us a glimpse through the back doors of a Himalayan temple. He has us walking through an Oriental bazaar, like in a trance; finally taking us down the steps to the riff-raff crowd of a dimly lit and boiling jazz venue … Leuchter, who has travelled much in his life, easily blends all of these imaginative intercontinental impressions in elaborate arrangements. The Manfred Leuchter ensemble is musically a perfect match, coming up with a wonderfully refined jazz patchwork. The technical transparency of the band produces musical landscapes of fascinating complexity and variety.

Press Reviews
Sabine Rother, Aachener Zeitung, Germany

”Leuchter has developed a style that is truly his own. In 2000, ‘Sparito’, the debut album of the accordion player – who has already produced and arranged a great number of songs and albums for various other artists – caught the attention of the musical industry. With the whole world seemingly blowing through his cunning cascades of sound, Leuchter daringly confronts us with adventurous collages and burlesques, building up suspense, laying out soft carpets of sound. Being a perfectionist himself, Manfred Leuchter has gathered a group of outstanding musicians around him. Leuchter, the globetrotter who is yet very much on the lookout for a place like home, is fascinated by Marrakesh, he is in love with the Arabian nights and days flickering in the heat. He is in love with the teller of fairytales and the snake charmer. With increasing craftsmanship, Leuchter has learned to weave the magic of that land into the ever changing ornaments of his music; therefore it is only consistent that the title of his new album is ”Arabesque”. The images have become even richer; they are powerful and sensitive, joyous and sad, they are tender, yet they have a strong grip. Leuchter is simply playing his music according to the way he sees the world: in a free spirit, but with a strong sense of consequential discipline; his tone is humorous, but he is very serious about it. His accordion sings, it talks, and it sighs. And as Leuchter is well acquainted with all kinds of music, from Jazz and Bebop all the way down to French Coffee House Music, and because he doesn’t have a problem with adding endlessly meandering Arabic melodies to classical themes, his music is always inspiring, constantly reinventing itself.

© Jûratë Kuèinskaitë


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