Volker Kriegel (* December 24th 1943 in Darmstadt; † June 15th 2003 in San Sebastián) was a jazz guitarist, composer, bandleader and cartoonist, an extensively educated artist that studied sociology in Frankfurt at Adorno and considered one of the pioneers of German jazz-rock. Kriegel was an autodidact and in 1963/1964 he won two Best Guitarist/Soloist awards at the Düsseldorf Amateur Jazz Festival at the age of 20. While studying sociology in Frankfurt he was already playing with established musicians like Klaus Doldinger, the Emil brothers and Albert Mangelsdorff, Ingfried Hoffmann, Freddie Hubbard, and Percy Heath, among others. His breakthrough came in 1968 when he released his first solo record (“ With A Little Help From My Friends”) and also performed at the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt. Between 1968 and 1972 he was a member of the Dave Pike Set with American vibraphonist Dave Pike, bassist Hans Rettenbacher and drummer Peter Baumeister. This formation played at almost all important international festivals and released six albums.
Another Kriegel solo album, “Spectrum”, was released in 1971, followed by “Inside: Missing Link” in 1972, “Lift” in 1973, and “Mild Maniac” in 1974. In “Lift” he played among others with bassist Eberhard Weber and violinist Zbigniew Seifert, two main individualists of European jazz. In the following years Kriegel also wrote music for radio and TV and played with artists like Don Sugarcane Harris and Alexis Korner. One of his most impressive albums is “Topical Harvest” of 1976, which finally introduced the electric Kriegel phase that elegantly steppes away from the rough, jazzier playing of his early recordings over to a more personal sound that mixes jazz, rock, pop and elements of South American and other Non-european music. He later lead his own group the Mild Maniac Orchestra. In 1977 he started playing in the United Jazz und Rock Ensemble, of which he was also a founding member. Kriegel used several Framus AZ-10 models and BL semi-acoustics.