August 4, 2010 – 3:59 am

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Bremen 1986 [no label, 2CD]

Live in Bremen, February 20, 1986. Very good FM broadcast.

When it comes to jazz covers, those who are familiar with Bill Evans would have no problem acknowledging the creativity the pianist brought to familiar tunes such as Autumn Leaves and the theme from MASH, Suicide Is Painless.

But for many jazz listeners, the same cannot be said of trumpeter Lester Bowie. In his later years, many felt that Bowie threw away his talents when he went the “pop” route. That is a very harsh judgement to make considering that Bowie never totally went the drive-time route. While generally easy on the ears (with the Brass Fantasy coming across more like a Broadway band), Bowie was not soft or easy on the music.

I Only Have Eyes For You remains a modern-day Bowie classic. Listening to it, the song does not offer any cathartic release. Instead, it just builds and builds. And who would think of giving The Four Seasons’ Oh, What A Night such a fanciful spin that even Frankie Valli might be stumped for a moment? And when Bowie covered Thriller, was it a tip of the hat to Miles?

In 1984, the co-founder of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago formed Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy and the following year released I Only Have Eyes For You on the off-mainstream ECM label. And for the audience at this Bremen 1986 show, it must have been a treat as Bowie previewed four tracks from the Avant Pop album, which would be released in March - Blueberry Hill, Crazy, Macho and Oh, What A Night.

And Bowie probably had a fine sense of humour, or a sense of irony, when he closed the set coming across like a New Orleans swing band - probably as trad as he could get - on Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen. Bowie died of liver cancer in 1999.

Thanks to Blixa1234 for sharing the tracks on the Dime site.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1 (Set 1)
Track 01. When The Spirit Returns (8.0MB)
Track 02. presenter (1.0MB)
Track 03. The Great Pretender (20.6MB)
Track 04. Crazy (9.3MB)
Track 05. Think (8.0MB)
Track 06. Macho (8.1MB)
Track 07. I Only Have Eyes For You (14.2MB)

Disc 2 (Set 2)
Track 08. Oh, What A Night (13.4MB)
Track 09. We Bop (9.0MB)
Track 10. Zero (Blueberry Hill) (11.8MB)
Track 11. Thriller (7.1MB)
Track 12. Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen (7.0MB)
TT: 84:49


Click on the link to order Lester Bowie’s I Only Have Eyes For You and Avant Pop albums.

  1. 3 Responses to “LESTER BOWIE - BREMEN 1986”

  2. Thank you for bringing back such wonderful memories!

    By elmore on Aug 4, 2010

  3. hey bigo, thanks! this is pretty good. i played it earlier walking. i like thriller. i sent vincent chancey a link on facebook. he might want it. remember he’s on the charlie haden germany show too? he’s not on the perugia, italy show, though.


    By Ed Saad on Aug 4, 2010

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  2. Oct 4, 2015: roio » Blog Archive » JAZZ ON SUNDAY: LESTER BOWIE - FRANKFURT 1999

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