Altona was a German jazz-rock/funk band from Hamburg that released two albums on RCA Victor in 1975. Guitarist Werner von Gosen hailed from the classical/jazz-rock band Thrice Mice.

Members: Fritz Kahl (bass, guitar), Karl-Heinz Blumenberg (vocals, bass saxophone, soprano saxophone, bass), Klaus Gerlach (guitar), Wolfgang Wulff (tenor saxophone, percussion), Hans-Heinz Gossler (drums, percussion), Werner von Gosen (guitar), Michael von Rönn (tenor saxophone), Bernd Michael Rosenbergen (keyboards)

Altona formed in 1972 upon the dissolution of Thrice Mice, which issued an eponymous album the year beforehand on Philips. Vocalist Karl-Heinz Blumenberg, a late-period member of Thrice Mice, would ultimately play saxophone in Altona. The band gigged the German club circuit for two years before landing their deal.

In 1974, Altona recorded their self-titled debut album, released in early 1975 on RCA Victor. It features seven originals, including the whirlwind splash/crash “Uberlandiahrt,” the jerky stop/start “7/4,” the leaping bassline “Boulevard,” and the billowing belter “Frustration.” Though indebted to earlier German sax-rockers (Emergency, Creative Rock, Puppenhaus), Altona favored cleaner tones and more fluid rhythmic patterns than their forebears.

Altona: ChickenfarmLater in 1975, Altona issued Chickenfarm, the second of their two RCA albums. It too features seven originals, including the clickety sax strut “Elephant Walk,” the woodwind lockstep “Feigenblatt,” the tense string-bender “Ramadam,” the spiraling syncopation of “Back Again,” and the brisk slide of “Tango Lady.” More prominent on this release are Blumenberg’s gravelly vocals, which lend a soul-rock flavor to most of these numbers, especially on the emotive note-sustaining ballad “Lover’s Tale.”

Both albums were produced by Klaus Bohlmann, who later supervised recordings by Satin Whale, Message, Bastard, Novalis, and Nichts.

Blumenberg later cut a comedy-rock album as Harry Horror and fronted rock ‘n’ roll revivalists Dirty Dogs.


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