LENNY MAC DOWELL
Lenny Mac Dowell’s music career began in 1978 with his album “Flute Power”, when he recorded an instrumental rock version of Jethro Tull’s „Locomotive Breath“. With this track, he reached a successful week-long direct entry in the charts. 1979 Mac Dowell released „Flexible“, two years later, a live record (1981). His breakthrough came with the album „Magic Flute“, produced in 1983 as the first rock-instantaneous disk ever. The music magazines „Audio“ and „Stereo Play“ titled Lenny Mac Dowell as „rock flutist number one in Germany.“ After countless tours with musicians from the Band „Birth Control“ – Manni von Bohr, Horst Stachelhaus or Zeus B. Held and repeated major productions with musicians such as Pete York (Spencer Davis Group) and Wolfgang Schmid (Passport), Mac Dowell decided to start his own label „Blue Flame Records“.
An era of musical experimentation continued – under his own production. After „Flying Torso“ came „Balance of Power“, which went more into the esoteric realms – finest meditation music with new age elements. The album „The Farthest Shore“ also reflected the more meditative and esoteric sounds. In 1987 Lenny Mac Dowell released „Autumn Breath“ in a collaborative project with Christoph Spendel and during the 90’s he re-released past productions again under his own flag.
With the project „Blue Planet“, Lenny Mac Dowell creates a musical ethnic experiment. Flute combined with arabic and percussion elements. Together with the musicians Hakim Ludin and Dhafer Youssef, „Peace for Kabul“ was released – an Oriental trip; with „Masala“, Mac Dowell tripped around India. As a producer, Lenny Mac Dowell made himself a name with the Uzbek superstar Yulduz Usmanova, Nasiba and Mokhira; also with countless compilations.
During Lenny Mac Dowell’s music studies in Freiburg, Germany and before the first production in 1978 was released, he often played with gypsy musicians such as Daniel Patay and Zipflo Rheinhardt and many other formations at home in funk, soul and jazz. With the album “Launch Control” Lenny Mac Dowell goes back to those roots when he began to experiment with flute and jazz. Mac Dowell felt primarily inspired by artists such
as Jeremy Steig or Roland Kirk. Even Herbie Man’s „Memphis Underground“ got a new “sound coat” on „Launch Control“ and also belongs to artists that influence him a lot. Covers, such as „Summertime“ and „Ain’t it Sunshine“, performed with the formation Jazzamor, belong to his extended repertoire. The jazzy interplay with pianist Christoph Spendel is always so in chime, that Mac Dowell works with him over and over. Flute and piano is a focal point in the music of Lenny Mac Dowell.
With the production „Get Ready“ Lenny Mac Dowell once again explores other ways of how to embed flute as a classical instrument into the Pop environment. Soul, funk, jazz and jazz-rock elements are found in such titles as the cover of Donny Hathaway’s song „The Ghetto”. How to connect flute with African-American styles, such as funk and soul, if one does not have any African-American roots, but a sophisticated understanding of music? How does your own culture best blend into such a musical environment and still sound harmonious? To discover this musically, Lenny Mac Dowell never tires of new opportunities.
„Retrospective“ is the latest double album reflecting the times Mac Dowell spends discovering the musical diversity of his classical instrument, the flute in popular music. Orchestral recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and live recordings from the 80′, plus the legendary „direct cut“ recordings, where bands played live in the Studio directly onto the matrix of the vinyl – back then a novelty – all this are essential components of this double album. This recording technology promised an extraordinary dynamism and was also regarded as so-called “speaker killer” in the audiophile scene, because of the high dynamic. The studio recordings of the 70’s to the present time represents the spectrum of Lenny Mac Dowell’s music from past to present. A “Retrospective” is the result.
A connection of electronic possibilities ranging from the classical flute, alto, bass or Bamboo all the way to his owndeveloped Synth Flute equipment, Lenny Mac Dowell has a further infinite creative field for his music. In live and studio recordings, he shows how to conjure extraordinary sounds with the „Magic Flute“.