Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Gary Epps' Thru my Eyes, 1980







It certainly seems outrageous that people can still dig up great albums, totally unknown to even the "cratedigger" cognoscenti, after the innumerable from this period that have been resuscitated year after crazy year, in terms of Greek philosophy more than the reckoning of the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth.  Particularly in the US late seventies blended dept. of aor-fusion-prog-ssw, there still seem so many.  Here's one that truly surprised me by the strength of the compositions and the wonderful variety the band is able to showcase.  In the database, thanks to apps for entering the information, perhaps for finding this, it's clear this is a one-off and a private pressing.  Right away I can't help but comment on the photos they used,  I think it's well worth arguing over which, front or back, is more egregious, the tanktop-wearing cowboy in a desert diorama howling at the moon, or the disco dude with shirt collar larger than the now-retired supersonic Concorde's wings?

Track a2, called Too Few Answers, brings the quasi-fusion home to you, baby:





Those were the days "my friend, we hoped they'd never end..."

But it just keeps getting more interesting, I found track A5 (Quake Of Your Smile) to be shockingly well composed:





So many thanks to the multitude of people who bring these lost treasures back to me and all of us.


Monday, 17 July 2017

Olivier Bloch-Lainé - Des Mots 1976




A lost French chansonnier album that recalls the beautiful Xavier Gernet I posted long ago, though lacking a song as decisively unforgettable as Mimmie, or alternatively Gerard Pisani's great Loup des Steppes, chanson combined with folk and a touch of jazz, a bit less folky acoustic than Le Chien des Dunes-- anyways, you get the idea.  The title track is without doubt the big hit here, and the professional skill is quite impressive altogether:





A good bio and review in French appears here.




Friday, 14 July 2017

Csula Jazz Ensemble - Crusade 1980






Recall from earlier.
I presented the first album back there and this is the second one from 1980 with Bob Curnow still leader and prime composer.

A track called Manstae II really surprised me with its nicely unique chord changes:






Fewer horns, more electric guitar(s) and fender rhodes and it would've been sublime in my books.

Tracklist:

A1 Crusade (Bill Holman)
A2 Of Another Time (Bob Curnow)
A3 Manstae II (Jeff Holmes)
B1 Shuffluphagass (Les Hooper)
B2 A Time For Love (Johnny Mandel, arr. by Hank Levy for the Stan Kenton Orch.)
B3 The Tenth Planet (Bob Curnow)






Wednesday, 12 July 2017

More Zipflo Reinhardt with Oceana from 1979





To complement the later release posted earlier this is in a similar style but perhaps not quite as good, with the latter album edging this out in terms of variety of tempos, moods, and creativity in melodies.  Too bad there was nothing to follow that masterpiece, Light of the Future...  (light indeed: more like the bright light at the beginning of a tunnel into a dead end...)

Empty Road:





Note that all compositions are by Zipflo.


Drums, Percussion – Christoph Haberer
Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass – Hans Joachim Schmidt
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Günter Möll
Keyboards – Hans Peter Hepp
Producer – Wilhelm F. Schmid



    Monday, 10 July 2017

    Connivence III from 1984 by request






    Look at the terrible cover photo for III!  what was the idea I wonder??? Renaissance artist meets Miami Vice set inside Tron?  Hello beautiful can I blow a trumpet up your...?  well as we all know we must be nonjudgemental when it comes to that decade.  At least the music is not Duran Duran-influenced.

    Recall Gilles Legault, and his 1981 solo album?  Here's the remainder from his former group.  As I mentioned in his post, I believe he wrote the most beautiful songs out of all here, quite an achievement considering the size of the group initially, being quite magically haunting, expressive, and very poetic in terms of word choices.

    With regards to this album, their third, his best contribution (of only 2) called Ou Vent Frissonne, is perhaps a bit too brief though clearly authentically inspired:





    The remainder of the songs on III features a quite eclectic mix of reggae, folk-gigs, 80s style commercial pop, and a progressive instrumental track called Detour that is perhaps the highlight for the serious music fan:





    Written by Steve Burman, who wrote a few other remarkable tracks for the first 2 albums.

    Which recalls their 1977 installment in which an absolutely sublime progressive instrumental track called Lapin closed it out, written by one Charles Fairfield.  I always wonder about these artists who disappear after composing such majestic one-off things.  They must have done more, never revealed to the rest of us, perhaps abandoned...

    In general the first two albums are the masterpieces, very similar to Broussard which I posted compleat in the comments last time, but perhaps a tiny bit better in terms of progressive inventiveness in the instrumental sector and sheer unforgettable melancholy beauty in the dept. of Legault's magnificent songs.  I sure hope and pray I'm not the only one who will start crying each time I hear his magnificent harmony vocals in the chorus of S' il y a de l' amour:





    "If there is love, if there is love,
    the shadow of my shadow will wait for me
    nothing will allow it anymore to disappear
    except the summer nights-- 

    If there is love, if there is love, then so be it"


    Wednesday, 5 July 2017

    Peter Thorup's 1978 Rejsen Til Kina [temporary only]





    "Poems from China" by Tom Kristensen first published in 1922.  Music by Thorup.

    Looking over the information on this release I was surprised to see it was released to CD some time ago, accordingly, I won't have a link....

    A nice surprise to see Knudsen on keys.  (Of course I posted his masterpiece Anima some time ago in a lossless.)

    The first track really sets the tone here:





    I think we should all be grateful that this doesn't descend-- not even for a moment, or note-- into the pentatonic simplistic silliness so typical of "chinese"- influenced music.



    Monday, 3 July 2017

    Atlantic Bridge - Atlantic Bridge (USA - 1970)


    If you enjoy jazz-rock interpretations of pop songs like "MacArthur Park," "Something" and :Dear Prudence," this is for you.  Nothing ground-breaking, but considering that it was released in 1970, it was a bit ahead of its time.

    Sunday, 2 July 2017

    Norwegian Band Vanessa, in 1975's City Lips and 1976's Black and White








    This band blew me away when I first heard them, very early on in my prog initiation, since they sounded so much like my favourite Orchestra Njervudarov.

    Their first record shockingly sells for several hundred euros now, though it seems like a basic funk-fusion work along the lines of Kjol, Moose Loose, Scope, Kornet, my / our old discovery Alpha Omega from Australia, and so many others....

    Leaves of Love:












    Thursday, 29 June 2017

    Sunhouse - Sunhouse (BEL- 1977)


    Obscure jazz-rock from Belgium that was included on the CD Reissue Wish List.  Here's what the CDRWL had to say about it:

    Sunhouse - s/t (Belgium) 1977 JWS Records. Typical late 1970s sax lead funky jazz fusion, but with some inspired guitar leads. Dealers are trying hard to compare with Placebo, but no way. More like the later albums by Release Music Orchestra, Nova, Aera and countless obscurities like Patchwork, Michael Borner's Sun, CCPP, and, well, seemingly half of this reissue wish list.

    Wednesday, 28 June 2017

    Le Théâtre Du Chêne Noir ‎– Miss Madona (EP) (FRA - 1973)


    You may be familiar with Chêne Noir's other releases, two of which appeared on Mutant Sounds back in the day.  You can still find an in-depth description of the band there.

    This EP, though, is pretty hard to find. Here are some comments from someone selling it (I've left comments in tact, so excuse the errors) ... It features "the dark, meditative bulky black mass of Le Chant du Cirque with piano, sax and haunted voices. Intense and beautiful at the same time, often considered as a prog band, this tune is just brilliant spiritual jazz. The flip side is also superb with Le Numéro De Miss Madonna probably one of the best avant / spirit jazz recorded in France."

    Tuesday, 27 June 2017

    TCB - Open for Business (USA - 1970)


    Before there was LOL and IMHO, there was TCB.  That's right ... Taking Care of Business, which this band does for the most part.  Listeners will find elements of brass rock, psychedelic, blues rock and more ... but proggers will be most interested in the side-long final track, "Magic," which at times sounds like it was influenced by the Allmans' "Whipping Post."

    Sunday, 25 June 2017

    Zipflo Reinhardt In The Light of the Future





    Jazz violinist, born 21. November 1949 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, a descendant of Django Reinhardt.

    This is without a doubt his fusionary masterpiece.  Here, the tenderness of The Domestic Fly surely reminds us of the great "French" violinist David Rose who I featured before, years ago:





    How this relates to the arthropod that spits out its digestive enzymes onto food found on surfaces in order to liquefy and pre-digest it before sucking it up with its proboscis, thereby well deserving its title as a dirty animal, I don't know...

    In his discography you'll see he made a couple of standard-issue jazz albums early on before jumping on that great fusion train later in the seventies.  I'll be bringing more from him at a later date.






    Friday, 23 June 2017

    Florida Singer-Songwriter Paula Moore









    Sometime in the late seventies a beautiful singer out of Florida called Paula Moore released two equally beautiful albums with compositions by herself and guitarist Larry Rubin.  Not sure about you out there, but when I see covers like the above I get plenty excited on the hope we are dealing with DIY, private-pressed earnest and naive songwriting from the true glory days of the US of A.  Which are not right now or in the near future, in my opinion.  And that's exactly what we get here.

    In the discogs database she appears as Paula Moore 2 and Paula Moore 3, and indeed it was confusing to me whether or not it was the same artist, despite my wife's protestations that the face was the same on both covers, I didn't quite believe her, to her eventual anger, but scanning the backs of the records clarified the matter fully as Rubin appears on both.  Hopefully the powers that be on that site will correct that misclassification without too much comlaint or undue delay.  (The lazy idiot who entered the Paula Moore 2 album also didn't bother to include side 2 's songs. Amazing how when I make even the smallest punctuation error on that site for a new entry I get angry comments from the guys-- the 'basement dwellers' as my wife always calls them-- and obviously, there are no females in that group, who are charged with checking the database info.)

    On this first album of two, confusingly, ST-- at least I am assuming it is chronologically prior, based on the fact it is slightly less sophisticated in production, though there's no way to know-- we hear her melancholy and well-thought craftsmanship perfectly turned out, as in a track called Thursday's Mood, composed by herself:






    Gives you a nice idea of why I love this LP so much.  Overall, very close in spirit to Rosemarie Taylor from just recently.  Classic Americana from the 70s like those collectible ceramic animals they used to give away at (full-serve!) gas stations for free.  Anyone out there remember those?  Even for me it's the faintest of early childhood memories.
    Some tracks are by Larry, most by Moore.


    Moving on to the second album, the penultimate song Sad Song Spinster must have seemed like such a clever pun, about a middle aged (?) man listening to his vinyl collection alone in a basement, maybe it was even created de novo from the idea of combining the two ideas into one concept... or is it just plain silly?  Well there's one thing I do know, the song is outrageously beautiful, with the lead guitar playing such delicate arabesques around the melody and rhythm:






    Listening to this again, I'm stunned by the contrast between the sheer beauty of the music and the awkwardness of the lyrics.  But maybe I should throw it out there, how many reading this including myself are similar to the man as described, with a "six-pack by his side," "spinning songs and singing along as if from the bottom of his heart?"

    My one complaint would be the brevity of both albums, and perhaps, more trivially, the descents into bluegrass that sometimes overtake the band in moments of weakness...

    Please, if anyone knows anything about her, let us know in the comments section...


    Wednesday, 21 June 2017

    Membrillar 1984, Argentina







    Another Argentine rarity unearthed by a generous friend... how many more could there be really?  Yet here we are...  Very scant information about this release, the only really useful (should be in quotes) is this, which is simply a document in the database.

    First track:





    Chamber music, similar to Ramo I posted before, or the wonderful East River group of albums.



    Monday, 19 June 2017

    More Gianni Sposito with 1980's Denebola




    I didn't think I would be back so soon with more Sposito, but here we are.   Chronologically the first in the database as marked, unfortunately, this seems to be a bit more simple and less organized than the later Cosmo record, despite being again named after an astronomical theme.  In places it reminds me of those classic Italian horror movie soundtracks from the 70s with the doomy synths.






    At the end of the wiki entry, the following fit sentence:
    In astrology, Denebola was believed to portend misfortune and disgrace.

    Saturday, 17 June 2017

    The cosmic library of Gianni Sposito





    I really love it when someone requests something unknown that turns out to be fantastic, which is the case with this album, called Cosmo Graffiti, from a library artist (Gianni Sposito) I had never heard about.  His works being rare are almost prohibitively expensive, although at least one was released to CD.  The track on youtube called Wood is from a 1989 release called Sirens, now why the heck would that one not be available on CD? Anyways, as with the other Gianni, last name Marchetti, I hope to someday present some more from this artist to you on this blog.

    And what I love even more is when something has a space theme since it brings me way back to childhood and, as I said numerous times before, the dreams of leaving the Earth and exploring the solar system, the galaxy, which we were promised by NASA, SciFi TV, and other US propaganda so long ago...  Straightaway the first track sets the tone with its digital dialing telephone beeping:






    And in some places this reminds me of Alan Hawkshaw's big masterpiece (for me) 1979's Frontiers of Science. which I think I uploaded some time ago in the comments section in response to a request for good library albums, but which I can reupload easily at any time.  As well, the Teddy Lasry resemblance is sometimes striking, particularly when he gets into the repeated note drumming.


    Wednesday, 14 June 2017

    Francis Monkman in 1978: Tempus Fugit, and many others...









    When I was exploring the library music relating to space I was shocked to see there were some Francis Monkman albums I had missed out on, amongst them one entitled Tempus Fugit.  And it turned out to be quite something!

    In fact, in the annus mirabilis of 1978 he made or perhaps contributed to no fewer than 5 records.
    Do we remember who he was?  I actually had to look it up, I thought he was with one of those generic british early proggers, it was actually the prolific band Curved Air he was a member of, which was too commercially watered down for my taste, and I guess after they disbanded he got into the library music scene, how gratifying that must have been for him... at least it is for us now!!   At times he sounds like some watered down Lasry, and I think overall, he doesn't quite approach the variety that Hawkshaw was able to put forth in his library oeuvre... but he does come close here.

    The astonishing composition called Daredevil (e.g. Evil Knevil, for those who remember!)






    From Pictures, Slow Wave is simply stunning as a soft composition:





    From Classical Concussion, check out the Sheer Release, like wow:






    Of course the Island Universe from Predictions is very very Hawkshaw-like:





    Oh how I miss so much that synthesizer sound that made one note alone sound like a whole orchestra, no, more even, a whole galaxy!

    What the heck, I'll throw in all I have from him...


    The Great Monkman on keys and guitar:







    Monday, 12 June 2017

    University Of Miami Concert Jazz Band ‎in the (truly) Halcyon Days of 1979







    Back to the ol' college bands when I run out of material to post, right? one for the gipper, as we used to say...  But how saddening it is to think of it-- What happened to you, red white and blue?  Where did you go so wrong? so long, for a song...  I loved you so much as a child, with all your hope and talent and promise, the wild and beautiful land full of natural riches and artistic brilliance, lucky enough to create not one but two world-changing art forms with jazz and then rock-- full of friendly and gregarious people and brilliant scientists, technological marvels like the first computers, the moon landing... what happened??  You think bringing back coal is going to reverse this Lusitania?  What happened to cherishing the beauty of the land, all the Walden forests? The streams full of trout lakes full of bass and the plains that fed the whole world?  What happened to upholding democracy and freedom throughout the world and setting an example for the inevitable autocrats showing up like whackamoles on the world stage?  What the hell happened to you, US of A?  You are actually going to sell your soul to Russia now?  Not even to a great country, to Russia???   It's just cringing embarrassment from now on in, isn't it...  Well, at least here on this blog we can time travel back to those halcyon days of the seventies and hear all the promise and potential, like the smile of a two-year old child who doesn't know the dismal fate that awaits him in the future as he spends his (short) life working those reopened Appalachian coal mines...

    This is actually the fourth album from them according to our discography and they went on to make many more, quite prolifically.  It's a double LP and so there is a great deal of enjoyable material here, along with some (for me always throwaway) standards, thankfully too few to mention.  Bob Meyer (not producer or arranger, surprisingly) is the star on this outing, and his best piece in my opinion is Renegade, and it sure is a beauty:





    Halcyon Days, indeed...




    Saturday, 10 June 2017

    NDR Jazzworkshop 1977 with Philip Catherine







    The first side of this 1977 release is given over to Buddy Rich and his Big Band, and I won't get into that.  The importance of this edition is of course the presence of the second side's Philip Catherine, the great Belgian guitarist whose works are mandatory for the fusion fan.  His two entries here are India and Les Sept Boules de Cristal, a track which appeared in the stunning, gorgeous opus 1979 Sleep My Love, one of my all-time favourite Euro-fusion records, maintaining a balance of meditative and ethereal beauty from beginning to the closing: an interpretation of an Arnold Schoenberg melody, which completely knocked me out when I first heard it.  Those were the days, right...  The other track from him, India, I haven't located yet where it's from originally though I'm sure it's somewhere, not that I have any desire to hear the original album version as it's one of those drony Eastern songs that remains stuck in one chord (and it's E I think to boot, the easiest of all on the guitar).  The album closes out with the United Jazz etc. (also mandatory listening for fusionauts) and our old hero Wolfgang Dauner playing the unfortunately chosen Bebop Rock (a Dauner composition).  But what a lineup-- with Eberhard Weber on bass, Albert Mangelsdorff, Ian Carr (Nucleus!), Volker Kriegel, and Charlie again on sax, you have a real European all-star band to close it out.

    Here's Philip:




    Who could ever forget the image of Tournesol surrounded by ball lightning?  I enjoyed rereading all the Tintins last summer with my sons, who became so briefly obsessed with his adventures we were forced to get every book in the series including the awful first one from Russia which I never finished and the incomplete last one which can be found online.  From the perspective of adulthood, we can see there is still nothing to compare with these adventures in terms of how thrilling they can be for a boy, with the perfect combination of exotic locales, courage, faithfulness to his friends and dog, and a lot of slapstick humour thrown in.


    Wednesday, 7 June 2017

    David Friesen and John Stowell in Storyteller, 1981





    Getting a little tired of this guy?  Uh, well, this one, from 1981, is very Oregon-like and enjoyable with the adding of oboes and English Horn played by the great Paul McCandless resulting in tracks that are shapely and well formed.  If you love Oregon (count me in that set), you'll like this one.  In addition, Tom Harrell appears on some tracks on flugelhorn.

    The new agey Spirit Lake:





    A nice slice of intellectual chamber jazz.


    Monday, 5 June 2017

    More Friesen and Stowell in 1980's Other Mansions







    Artist involvement is quite sparse as can be seen by the release page here, in fact, the two men play all the instruments.  But it was a worthy purchase as it is without a doubt the best in the series, coming together quite nicely with the mix of acoustic ethnic elements, chamber instruments (Friesen on flute) and the Townerish guitar playing of Stowell. The other LPs of the collaboration were posted here, btw.  Friesen himself was quite prolific, in his solo discography there are numerous other LPs seemingly of interest.

    For example, Brethren Ascending sounds like the best (acoustic pieces) from recently featured artists James Vincent or Don Mock: