In 1992, Ian Anderson, Jack Bruce, and Al Di Meola became founding members of Leslie Mandoki’s band project ManDoki Soulmates, and for over 25 years since, Leslie Mandoki has continued to unite a who’s who of the icons of Anglo-American and European rock and jazz- rock in the Mandoki Soulmates band.
The remarkable lineups in the band’s recordings and performances over the years has included singers and players including Ian Anderson, Jack Bruce, David Clayton-Thomas, Chaka Khan, Chris Thompson, Bobby Kimball and Steve Lukather, Nick van Eede, Eric Burdon, Nik Kershaw, Greg Lake, Al Di Meola, Randy and Michael Brecker, Cory Henry, Bill Evans, John Helliwell, Till Brönner, Klaus Doldinger, Mike Stern, Richard Bona, Anthony Jackson, Victor Bailey, Pino Palladino, Tony Carey, Mark Hart, Paul Carrack, Peter Frampton, and Jon Lord.
The Soulmates have recorded 10 albums with original music in English, working in Leslie Mandoki’s studios at Lake Starnberg, Bavaria, neighboring Munich. Most songs are written by Mandoki, with additional material from other members such as Nik Kershaw or Ian Anderson, and published by Mandoki’s Red-Rock Music. These albums all broke into the Top 40 of the European album charts, with the latest release reaching into the Top 10. Additionally, Mandoki and some of the Soulmates recorded fresh arrangements of some of their well-known hits for the “Legends of Rock” and live albums.
Along with their studio albums, the Soulmates have played scores of concerts with stellar lineups the world over, many with historic significance. Their first big gig was in front of 40,000 people at the inauguration of Budapest’s Sziget festival, which today is one of Europe’s biggest music festivals. More recently, their legendary Friendship Concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification played to over 35,000 in Budapest.
2017/18 the Soulmates played a nationally and internationally awarded “Wings Of Freedom” concert series in legendary concert halls and venues like l’Olympia in Paris, Hammersmith Apollo in London, Konzerthaus in Berlin, Palais des Festivals in Cannes, the Sziget Festival in Budapest and finally at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.
What an incredible LineUp of great musicians on this tour: Leslie Mandoki with Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band), Bobby Kimball (Toto), Nick van Eede (Cutting Crew), David Clayton- Thomas (Bloodsweat & Tears), John Helliwell (Supertramp), Randy Brecker, Bill Evans, Al di Meola, Mike Stern, Mark Hart, Till Brönner, Klaus Doldinger and Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy).
The Soulmates concerts are marked by the musical synergy of all these musical icons united in one supergroup of Grammy award winning legends, where everyone’s egos come second. Original Soulmates compositions and collective improvisations on highest levels are just as much part of the concerts as world-renowned hits of the individual Soulmates members. “One stage – one band!”
The Soulmates exceeded the expectations with spectacular 3 to 4 hours shows at the highest musical level and the audience celebrated the band with standing ovations in all seven cities.
With his Soulmates Leslie Mandoki raises Jazz-Rock back to socio-political relevance, to quote him in his own words: “Even in times of Twitter, social media and short news on the smartphone, when mental laziness often blocks the perception, music for us is still like a love letter to our audience - handwritten with ink on paper.”
Mandoki also expressed in his announcements: Wings of Freedom. “For freedom in a peaceful Europe with shared values such as freedom of opinion, press, religion. No tolerance against intolerance.” And Leslie continues: ”We have to look for ways to leave a better world to our future generations.“ And he knows what he is talking about when he says, “Freedom is not to be taken for granted.”
Almost a decade after their last studio album, the Man Doki Soulmates released their new double-concept-album „Living In The Gap“ / „Hungarian Pictures“ in October 2019. With their socio-political relevant songs the Soulmates take a stand against the concerning developments and challenges of our times. The new ProgRock Suite „Hungarian Pictures“ based on compositions of Béla Bartók is a kind of re-invention of progressive JazzRock with the sound of today allowing for extensive, virtuous improvisations.
It is the realization of a mutual vision of Leslie Mandoki and Greg Lake which they started working on years ago.
As Leslie stated: „We have always been extremely ambitious and this concept album will not only be our most ambitious but, as we think, also become our best one yet.“
This band is pure sophisticated JazzRock, or as Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) put it
“One of the best bands you will ever hear”