With the new production "Get Ready" Lenny Mac Dowell explores, then as now, always a different way how to imbed the flute as a classical instrument in a pop environment. How to connect flute sounds with African-American styles such as funk and soul, if you do not have Afro-American roots and a sophisticated understanding of such music? How does one's own culture find its way into such environment? Lenny Mac Dowell never becomes tired discovering this.
For this new productions, Mac Dowell once again collaborated with friends of past. All first class musicians from whom he believes can interpret the style, the back-to-the-roots ideology and the live-feeling. “Get ready” was recorded in four different studios and moves stylistically in groovy, jazzy, souly, funky styles. Or, as Lenny describes it himself: "It is live-style music that fits into our time. Not necessarily quiet and a bit B.B. King’ish." "Get Ready" is a mix of electro with live instrumentation like bass, keyboard, guitar, flute, percussion and vocals.
A special reunion is the fact that Christoph Spendel played a large part of the keys. Spendel and Mac Dowell recorded their first album “Autumn Breath” in 1987. And so the bow is drawn from the early days to "Get Ready". Most musicians collaborating on this new release either had solo-project releases with Blue Flame or were part of productions also released on the label. The guitar sounds come from virtuoso Peter Schick, head of the band Agua Loca. Nicola Materne from Sphere is the voice of the track "Liar" and Andreas Spiess, bassist of Orientation, provides deep baselines. Lars Fasbender, an old companion Mac Dowell's from early days plays rhythm guitar. Lenny recorded with Lars some of his first productions: "Balance of Power", "Flying Torso" and "The Farthest Shore”. Carola Kretschmer, guitarist from German rock star Udo Lindenberg, completes the illustrious round.
If you ask Mac Dowell for meaning of the album name "Get Ready", one obtains a simple and concise answer: "The title has no philosophical depth. “Get ready” simply means the music is fun. Ready for the groove. Just turn on the player and enjoy over 73 minutes of music. "
The track "To Remember" is Lenny Mac Dowell eminently important. Recorded together with Carola Kretschmer, it reminds of the common musical past of both musicians from their time in the German city Hanover. "To Remember" is a unique combination of electronic sounds and live instrumentation, which was never entirely possible to play with synthesizers. Wonderfully warm, one hears the finger grip when changing guitar strings, and you get the feeling Carola is sitting right next to you. With the cover "The Ghetto", originally by Donny Hathaway, Mac Dowell remains faithful to his concept, to place a remake of a famous track on every release. Rearranged by Christoph Spendel and Lenny Mac Dowell, both fans of Hathaway, produced and remixed the track in Lenny’s inimitable style. "Far Away" as a brief interlude, makes an excursion into the classical period from which the releases "Balance of Power" and "The Farthest Shore" come. In his own interpretation of the song "Bouree" by Johann Sebastian Bach, Mac Dowell uses a wide range of flute sounds, from bass on alto and concert flutes.
From then till now:
Lenny Mac Dowell's music career began in ‘78, when he interpreted an instrumental rock version of Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath". With this track, he achieved a chart entry. 1979 Mac Dowell releases "Flexible", two years later, a live record (1981). With "Magic Flute", 1983 as the first rock-direct cut ever produced, he had his breakthrough. German music magazines (Audio and Steroplay) titled Lenny Mac Dowell as "rock flutist number one in Germany." After countless tours with the band "Birth Control" including Manni von Bohr, Horst Stachelhaus and Zeus B. Held and repeating major productions with musicians such as Pete York (Spencer Davis) and Wolfgang Schmid (Passport), Lenny Mac Dowell decided to start his own label: Blue Flame Records.
An era of musical experimentation continued. After "Flying Torso" came "Balance of Power", both a trip into esoteric realms - finest meditation music with New Age elements. "The Farthest Shore" also drops into the meditative line. 1987 Lenny releases "Autumn Breath" together with Christoph Spendel and during the 90’s he re-released past productions under Blue Flame.
With the project "Blue Planet" Lenny Mac Dowell created a musical experiment with ethno sounds. Flute together with Arab and percussion elements and musicians such as Hakim Ludin & Dhafer Yussef - "Peace for Kabul" being the trip to Oriental tunes, while the 2nd release "Masala" settled in India. As a producer, Lenny Mac Dowell succeeded in making himself a name working with Uzbek singers Yulduz Usmanova, Mokhira and Nasiba on solo projects and compilations.
Before releasing his first production in 1978 and during his study times, Lenny Mac Dowell played together with Gypsy musicians Mecky and Zipflo Rheinhardt and many other formations in Funk, Soul and Jazz. With "Launch Control" Lenny Mac Dowell went back to these roots, when he began to experiment with flute and jazz. This production also made way for "Get Ready" reviving Mac Dowell's roots in jazz, funk and soul.
Musical influences and inspirations for Lenny Mac Dowell come from artists such as Jeremy Steig or Roland Kirk. Even Herbie Man’s "Memphis Underground" got a new ‘paintjob’ on "Launch Control".
Track List: 01 The Ghetto - Remix by Lenny Mac Dowell 5:37, 02 Liar 8:07, 03 Is It Funky 6:46, 04 Get Ready 5:34, 05 Bouree 3:45, 06 To Remember 7:35, 07 Heaven 7:43, 08 La Changa - Spanish Remix 6:49, 09 Far Away (Interlude) 2:18, 10 With A Little Smile 6:54, 11 Scandic 5:47, 12 Diamond Touch 6:13
Also available: “Launch Control” Black Flame 88502