One of the other things we had in common was the listening to birds and I guess he did the same like playing and talking with them, like I do on my flute. The communication you can establish with birds is incredible and when Albert and me did these great duo pieces on these tours, we really went places I had usually only reached with the likes of Jeanne Lee or Anthony Braxton or Marion Brown.
At Albert's funeral 2 days ago, I stood at the open grave and was shuffling earth and my tears onto his coffin, burying a body of one of our greatest musicians of all time. In a flash, the 50 years I had known him passed by and I am fortunate to have shared many of my great moments in jazz and life with him. Marion Brown once told me that for him, as an African American, it was amazing to see how many Germans understand and are capable of feeling the great black music and are able to play Parker, Coltrane, Monk and Mingus and Ellington etc.. The emphasis is on FEELING and Albert was the personification of being capable of playing jazz as it occured to him. His striving for perfection rewarded him with a life-long string of great recordings and performances as only a few musicians have achieved in jazz.
Marion Brown had said in that conversation about solo performers that at the time (it was around 1980), only a few musicians got the solo thing together: Steve Lacy, me and Marion and Albert. I added Anthony and Roscoe from Chicago and I am sure there are many others. But Albert was our man and when we had the chance to play all together in my All Star 1983 tour in Germany and at the Berlin Jazzdays we had the fun of our lives to play together - in solos, duos, trios and in collective music.
August 1st, 2005 at the grave I said to him: "Albert, have a great journey. He probably plays his trombone with the angels now. Because he most definitely was one on Earth, enriching everybody's life he came in contact with. His music will live on, forever, as long as birds are singing.
Albert was a great musician and a great person. He was my duo partner for 20 years and my friend for over 40 years. Together we made the LP Hot Hat with the "dream team of Eddie Gomez and Elvin Jones, as well as such CDs as Mangelsdorff-Dauner Duo and the Mangelsdorff-Dauner Quintet. Albert developed an entirely new musical language for the trombone. We played together for 27 years in the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, which I put together. With Albert's death, I have lost my most important musical partner, but his music will always live on.
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