About ENJA Records
Established in 1971 in Munich by long-time jazz fans Matthias Winckelmann and Horst Weber. Beginning in the late fifties M.W. was exposed to many US jazz musicians when growing up in Frankfurt - then the jazz capital of the country. At after hours sessions at famous "Jazzkeller" and a couple of other live jazz spots he met and listened to Oscar Pettiford, Phineas Newborn, Sonny Rollins, Lee Konitz, Attila Zoller, Roy Eldrige, Kenny Clarke, Albert Mangelsdorff, Don Menza, Cedar Walton, Billy Higgins, Chet Baker to name just a few. When M.W. set up ENJA he attended Munich University as a graduate student (economics and sociology).
Horst Weber had a history promoting jazz concerts in his native Aachen. He worked as a freelance clothes designer and contributor to the German Fashion Institute - a job that took him to Japan in the late sixties where he established many contacts with the jazz world. First recorded artist was U.S. expatriate Mal Waldron. European and Japanese musicians followed (A. Mangelsdorff, Terumasa Hino, Masahiko Sato). After this European style avant-garde phase American fare became the focus produced by M.W. during frequent working visits to New York (Tommy Flanagan, Chet Baker, New York Jazz Quartet, Freddie Hubbard, Abdullah Ibrahim - then Dollar Brand -, David Friedman, Hannibal Peterson, Bennie Wallace, Abbey Lincoln, Franco Ambrosetti, Kenny Barron a.o.)
The Munich club "domicile" offered many opportunities to record visiting U.S. artists (Charles Tolliver, Pepper Adams, Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis, John Scofield - his first recording -, Terumasa Hino a.o.), and so did European festivals where ENJA recorded Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Yosuke Yamashita, Walter Norris, Jerry Gonzalez & The Fort Apache Band. Some tapes were acquired and added a historic dimension to the catalog (Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins, Elvin Jones, Hampton Hawes. In early 1986 Matthias Winckelmann and Horst Weber decided to separate and to work individually from now on. Differing views on work intensity, on "where to take the label" were solved this way. M. W. got even more involved with New York's jazz and produced an average of 30 albums annually on ENJA (Kenny Barron, Ray Anderson, Mitch Watkins, Wayne Krantz, Gary Thomas, Leni Stern, McCoy Tyner, Arthur Blythe, Abdullah Ibrahim, Elvin Jones, Abraham Burton, Maria Schneider Orchestra, Ingrid Jensen, Dan Wall, Lee Konitz, Kevin Mahogany et.al.).
To be able to present "border-crossing" music he established also the TIPTOE label, recording Mike Westbrook's tribute to the Beatles, Michael Gregory, Kevin Bruce Harris, Intergalactic Maiden Ballet feat. John Zorn, Blue Box, Paul Jackson-Mike Clark a.o. The dormant blues label BLUES BEACON was revived by several releases of the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir and classic blues artists such as Bukka White, Little Brother Montgomery but also contemporaries Lillian Boutté, Christian Willisohn, Nick Woodland, Al Jones.
In recent years Matthias Winckelmann opened ENJA to musical territories far beyond the jazz mainstream and jazz avant-garde of the early years. The most important artist in this repect has become Lebanese oud player / composer Rabih Abou-Khalil whose work combines classical Arabian technique with a European compositional approach and jazz influenced improvisation. Others are Tunesian vocalist / oud player Dhafer Youssef, Brazilian group Rosanna & Zelia, Lebanese composer / guitarist Mahmoud Turkmani, Israeli instrumentalist and novelist Gilad Atzmon, Moluccan vocalist Monica Akihary and her group Boi Akih, Pasaporte and Clave Y Guaguanco from Cuba, Hungarian acoustic guitar wizard Ferenc Snétberger, Okay Temiz from Turkey - the groove has truly become universal.
Today, ENJA has become a label which is highly respected worldwide and is well distributed in most parts of the globe. We are quite proud that we have achieved this in a truly difficult market place.
In October of 1996 M.W. was awarded the Honors Prize Of The German Phonographic Critics, a body of 100 music critics in classical, jazz and pop music.
To quote the jury: "Again and again Matthias Winckelmann sets the standard for quality with his productions. He succeeds with ambitioned projects in a market swamped by mediocrity. The name ENJA has gained an excellent reputation throughout the world."
Worldwide operation: Between September '04 and April '11, we are proud to have successfully shipped our products to more than forty different countries on five different continents from our web shop:
For further information on ENJA artists, a print catalog, detailed information on how to obtain the recordings please contact
fax: +49 89 18006313 | mail address: P.O.Box 190333 | D-80603 Munich
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© 1997-2013 ENJA Records Matthias Winckelmann GmbH
- Last updated on 07 Mar 2012 - Webmaster
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