Saturday, December 9, 2017

Trey Gunn - 2001 "Live Encounter"

Trey Gunn played in enough rock bands in his formative '80s years to learn how to become a star in popular music -- and then did a 180 into the jazz/fusion thicket. Gunn graduated from keyboards to guitar, then bass to Chapman stick before discovering the customized Warr guitar (which he calls a "touch guitar" because of its tapping response). With progressive rock juggernaut King Crimson since 1994, Gunn's Live Encounter CD goes even further outside of standard rock than Crimson's excursions -- blending Eastern and other world music styles with jazz/fusion rhythms and an against-the-grain attitude. With Gunn playing the ten-string and Joe Mendelson the eight-string Warr guitar, plus Tony Geballe adding electric guitar unorthodoxy on the opening "Dziban," it's deliciously difficult to discern who's playing what over drummer Bob Muller's 7/4-timed groove. Most of the early material is from Gunn's outstanding 1996 studio CD, The Third Star, with a couple exceptions. "The Glove," from 2000's even-better The Joy of Molybdenum, literally showcases Muller's leftism -- the drummer plays mounted tabla drums to the side of his drum kit in the intro before providing a bottom-heavy beat for solos by Geballe and Gunn. Warr guitars are capable of everything from bass-like bottom and distorted power chords to the clean, Crimson-like intertwining lines on "Sirrah." Another piece from The Third Star, "Arrakis," features psychedelia by Geballe and Mendelson over Gunn's monolithian lower-register notes and Muller's clever, percussive arsenal. The tribal, snake-charming closer, "Rune Song: The Origin of Water," beats the odds for any genre by featuring no solos over eight minutes. Clearly, these are virtuoso players who could play traditional jazz but choose to play more outside and emphasize the whole over the singular parts. High artistic marks and Gunn's side job with Crimson allow the Trey Gunn band enough currency -- against all popular music odds -- for the occasional studio recording session and these live encounters.

King Crimson 'Warr Touch' guitarist Trey Gunn's live show is the ultimate balance of power & symmetry - he gracefully intersperses rock, funk, ambient & world beat elements with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker. Joined by multi-percussionist Bob Muller, guitarist Tony Geballe & second 'Warr Touch' guitarist Joe Mendelson, Gunn has finally captured the band in its true essence, raw & bursting with energy. This is an enhanced CD that includes live Quicktime footage, assembled & mixed during Gunn's early 2000's tour with King Crimson on a double-bill with Tool.

Trey Gunn is still best known as a member of the most recent incarnation of King Crimson, playing his Warr Touch guitar, a variation on the Chapman Stick. Gunn's work with Crimson carries over into his own ensemble, except instead of holding down the bass player's role, he stretches out into some scintillating lead work that owes a debt to his mentor, Robert Fripp, especially the long, undulating sustained melodies. Teaming up with another Warr guitarist, Joe Mendelson, guitarist Tony Geballe, and drummer Bob Muller, Gunn shows that 2000's The Joy of Molybdenum was no studio fluke, as he brings the same hell-bent fury and sky-scraping architecture to the live performances captured here. Jettisoning the vocals that often make King Crimson sound like two different bands--one a quirky pop group with Adrian Belew singing, another storming the gates of instrumental heaven--Gunn's band sets their sites on the instrumental heaven, with roles shifting in the band as guitars become percussion instruments and drums become melodic. But topping it all are elaborate guitar and Warr guitar leads veering from African style cross-picking to feedback frenzies.

These live recordings were taken from tours in September 2000 and February 2001.

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/search?q=trey+gunn

Track listing:

1. Dziban 6:06
2. The Glove 5:35
3. Kuma 5:26
4. Hierarchtitiptitoploftical 3:38
5. Sirrah 5:15
6. Arrakis 7:44
7. Tehlikeli Madde 5:14
8. Brief Encounter 4:36
9. Rune Song: The Origin Of Water 7:56

Personnel:

Trey Gunn 10-string Warr Guitar
Joe Mendelson 8-string Warr Guitar, Ashbory Rubber Bass
Tony Geballe Electric Guitar, 12-string Acoustic Guitar
Bob Muller Drums, Hand drums, Percussion

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Vangelis - 1982 [1994] "Blade Runner"

Blade Runner is a soundtrack composed by Vangelis for Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner. It is mostly a dark, melodic combination of classical composition and synthesizers which mirrors the futuristic film noir envisioned by Scott. The original soundtrack release was delayed for over a decade, until 1994, despite the music being well-received by fans and critically acclaimed—it was nominated in 1983 for a BAFTA and Golden Globe as best original score. The soundtrack is regarded as a historically important piece in the genre of electronic music.

Since the premiere of the film, two official albums have been released containing music omitted from the film and also new compositions featuring a similar style. An orchestral rendition of part of the soundtrack was released in 1982 by the New American Orchestra. However, the original soundtrack album (1994) features vocal contributions from Demis Roussos and the sax solo by Dick Morrissey on "Love Theme" (In the credits on page 3 of the 1994 Atlantic CD, Dick's last name is misspelled as "Morrisey"). The track "Memories of Green" from Vangelis' 1980 album See You Later was also included. A new release made in 2007 includes a disc of new music inspired by the film.

In 1994, an official recording of Vangelis' score was released by East West (Warner Music) in the UK and by Atlantic Records in the US. The album reached the #20 position in the UK album charts. In 2013 it reached #14 on the Billboard Vinyl Albums chart. It has been variously described as "influential and mythical", "incredible and pristine", "evocative", and "the pinnacle of synthesiser soundtracks".

This release contained a twelve-page booklet consisting mainly of stills from the film. On page 3 there is a list of credits and the following by Vangelis:

Most of the music contained in this album originates from recordings I made in London in 1982, whilst working on the score for the film Blade Runner. Finding myself unable to release these recordings at the time; it is with great pleasure that I am able to do so now. Some of the pieces contained will be known to you from the Original Soundtrack of the film, whilst others are appearing here for the first time. Looking back at Ridley Scott's powerful and evocative pictures left me as stimulated as before, and made the recompiling of this music, today, an enjoyable experience. (Vangelis, Athens, April 1994)

While most of the tracks on the album are from the film, a number were composed by Vangelis but were ultimately not used in the film itself. Other compositions that appear in the film were not included on this release.

Three of the tracks ("Main Titles", "Blush Response", and "Tears in Rain") feature samples of dialogue from the film. Tracks 1 through 4 are mixed together as a seamless piece; tracks 5 through 7 have silence between them, and the final tracks, 8 through 12 are mixed into another seamless piece.

Vangelis recorded, mixed and produced the score for "Blade Runner" in his own recording space, Nemo Studios, in 1982. He utilised many contemporary electronic instruments in order to create the atmospheric soundscapes, which he crafted on an ad-hoc basis. This was done by viewing videotapes of scenes from the film in the studio, and then improvising pieces in synchronisation with the images on the screen. He also applied the use of some foley techniques, using the synthesisers to produce diegetic and non-diegetic sounds. The most prominent synthesiser used in the score was the Yamaha CS-80, which can be heard in the opening scenes, and subsequently throughout the rest of the film. Other synthesisers employed by Vangelis included four Roland instruments: the ProMars, the Jupiter-4, the CR-5000 drum machine, and the VP-330 Vocoder Plus; a Sequential Circuits Prophet-10; a Yamaha GS1 FM synthesizer; and an E-mu Emulator sampler. A Steinway grand piano, a Yamaha CP-80 electric grand and a modified Fender Rhodes were also used. He also utilised a variety of traditional instruments, including, gamelan, glockenspiel, gong, snare drum, timpani and tubular bells.

Given the impact and enduring appeal of the original, it’s not surprising that the soundtrack to Blade Runner 2049 would be one of the new film’s major challenges. Sidestepping the controversy, Nick Soulsby pays homage to the musical genius and cult mythology of Vangelis’ original 1982 soundtrack, which arguably remains the greatest score in sci-fi history.

Glass shatters. Full-length panes burst in a glittering sea-surf spray as a bloodied figure — the hunted replicant (simulated machine humanoid) Zhora — hurls herself forward through shop windows, in one of the most haunting dystopian visuals from the 1982 film Blade Runner. While it’s an arresting image, the overall impact – the ability to forget we’re watching collapsing sugar or synthetic resin – is boosted by wedding the image with sound effects and music. Cinema, a product of the human capacity for story-telling and for reading meaning into content, isn’t a purely visual medium; it relies on the interweaving of audio and visual elements. At its finest, cinema audiences don’t even need to look at the screen to imagine what’s occurring, sound’s ability to manipulate emotional responses and to create mental associations is all that’s needed.

Vangelis’ soundtrack for Blade Runner remains one of the relatively few soundtracks to establish an enduring reputation as fine music in its own right. Vangelis, by mid-1981 when he was first invited to view a rough cut of footage from Blade Runner, was at the peak of his fame as a solo artist, following a half-decade long run of successful albums. On 29th March 1982, a month prior to submitting his compositions for Blade Runner, he would crown his career as a creator of movie soundtracks (which began as far back as 1963) by winning an Oscar for his work on Chariots Of Fire. His work on Blade Runner took place in the midst of a truly auspicious moment for the Greek composer, and he fully lived up to the expectations placed upon him.

Soundtracks are a substantial additional outlay for a film. Many, as a consequence of cost, float along on of-their-moment pop songs that barely relate to the events occurring on screen. It’s cheaper, and easier, to simply buy licenses than to compose specifically for a film. Otherwise, a lot of music consists of made-to-measure cues churned out over a matter of days, at most a few weeks, with only one or two themes of substance.

Vangelis was a truly different proposition: his work extended from sometime in mid-1981 through to April of the following year. In that time he composed, arranged, performed and produced each aspect of the music, creating a work of art that reflected a singular, unified vision of his own. This, of course, influenced the work present in the movie, but was also responsible for the final form of the soundtrack.

Vangelis didn’t want to release a record robotically, logging the sonic aspects of someone else’s film. Instead, he conceived of the soundtrack as a full Vangelis album, a coherent suite. This is a major factor in the soundtrack’s favour: it works as a standalone release and not just as an accompaniment to visuals.

Quality, however, is not the sole factor in the allure of any album. It’s never just about the music. Blade Runner retains a mysteriousness, which began when, for reasons never clarified, Vangelis’ soundtrack was not ‘officially’ unreleased for a full 12 years.

This absence created a vacuum. Curious fans of the movie, of Vangelis’ work, of the cutting-edge of electronic music composition, filled that vacuum with their dreams of how the compositions may have developed away from the film’s sequences. Various enterprising individuals spliced together lo-fi reproductions of what could be heard within the film itself. A 1982 bootleg leak emerged, wreathed in aura-building rumours that the film’s sound engineers were complicit in its release. In an example of the power of bootleg recordings, for over a decade fans were able to be a part of a secret history, acquiring illicit recordings steeped in the power that comes from knowing someone apparently didn’t want anyone to hear them. It was a talismanic object acquired only by the lucky, the devoted or the enlightened.

Having permitted unsated expectations to endure for so long, Vangelis finally released an album in 1994. I say ‘an’ album because the 12 tracks (one hour of audio) that Vangelis carefully selected to create his album clashed headlong into fans’ hunger for more. It was clear from the day of its release that this was only a small portion of the music created. There were already bootlegs available with additional tracks not seen here, while anyone watching the film was able to log a list of compositions still hidden from view. Again, resisting closure, a final reckoning, was an accidental masterstroke in that it ensured an open-ended thirst for more.

This instability of definition wedded the soundtrack irrevocably to the film itself. Ridley Scott, the director, had similar trouble allowing the film to assume a settled state. Pre-release screenings of Blade Runner featured extra scenes, the theatrical release existed in two versions, the nineties saw a new director’s cut emerge – this was then followed by a (supposed) ‘Final Cut’ in 2007. The last event led to Vangelis being invited to release his own revised and expanded cut of the soundtrack: a three disc indulgence consisting of the 1994 ‘original’, a further 45 minutes of music, plus an entirely new suite ‘inspired by’ the film. Inevitably however, the release still failed to encompass all the music from the film. It simply reconfirmed Vangelis’ conception of the soundtrack, meaning the specific album he designed.

Original music composed and performed by Vangelis

Track listing:

01 Main Titles 3:42
02 Blush Response 5:47
03 Wait For Me 5:27
04 Rachel's Song 4:46
05 Love Theme 4:56
06 One More Kiss, Dear 3:58
07 Blade Runner Blues 8:53
08 Memories Of Green 5:05
09 Tales Of The Future 4:46
10 Damask Rose 2:32
11 Blade Runner (End Titles) 4:40
12 Tears In Rain 3:00

Personnel:

Vangelis: keyboards, synthesizers.
Demis Roussos: vocals;
Dick Morrissey: saxophone;
Mary Hopkins: vocal.

Various Artists - 2011 "The New Universe Music Festival 2010" Live

For those who like their jazz hard, loud, filled with killer chops and intricate writing, the 2010 New Universe Music Festival was like manna from heaven. Amidst seven groups including two fusion deities, guitarist John McLaughlin and drummer Lenny White, it was an exhilarating experience for the few hundred people in attendance—some coming from hundreds of miles away, a few even crossing oceans to get to this first-time event curated by Souvik Dutta and his wife, Shweta.

More than a celebration of some of fusion's current undisputed cream—featuring, in addition to White's group and McLaughlin's current Fourth Dimension lineup, sets by guitarists Jimmy Herring, Alex Machacek and Wayne Krantz, Indian drummer Ranjit Barot, and the first live appearance by fusion supergroup-in-the-making Human Element—it was also a chance to see just how far Dutta's Abstract Logix has come, since it morphed from web-based fusion storefront to record label. Starting modestly with just one release, Project Z's Lincoln Memorial (2005), AL has grown to become the premiere imprint for today's fusion, the "Little Label That Could," against the many challenges facing Indies today. The New Universe Music Festival 2010: Abstract Logix Live! isn't quite like being there but, at just over two hours, it's a compelling condensation of the many highlights (there were many more) that took place over two days in November, 2010—an expansive picture window into what made the festival a great experience and tremendous success.

With tracks culled from each of the seven groups' performances, spread across two discs, it captures the essence and variety of each set, from Machacek's knotty writing, almost unfathomable voicings and cerebral yet searing work with the same lineup as The Official Triangle Session (Abstract Logix, 2009)—powerhouse drummer Jeff Sipe and the lesser-known, but equally deserving bassist, Neal Fountain—to Herring's more groove-driven but no less contextually challenging quartet, also with Fountain and Sipe, along with another surprise of the festival, keyboardist Matt Slocum.

Herring's set was one of the best of a thoroughly high bar festival, so it's appropriate that he receives nearly as much time as McLaughlin—who gets the most focus at over 26 minutes—demonstrating his good ol' boy combination of Jeff Beck-worthy tone, southern lyricism and undeniably monster chops on Sipe's high-velocity "Rainbow," and his own dark ballad, "Gray Day," from Lifeboat (Abstract Logix, 2008). Herring's thundering version of George Harrison's "Within You, Without You" dovetails perfectly with the Indo-centricities of Barot's set, where a remarkable duo with violinist Bala Bhaskar ("Vignesh Kirtanam") sets up "Origin," the fiery closer to the drummer's AL debut, Bada Boom (2010), here performed by members of Human Element, along with guest guitarist Krantz, who delivers a characteristically quirky, visceral and gritty solo.

Human Element's release had been delayed until April, 2011, so keyboardist Scott Kinsey, über-bassist Matthew Garrison and percussionist/vocalist/puckish mischief-maker Arto Tuncboyaciyan—with Barot subbing, with complete confidence and commitment, for regular drummer Gary Novak—gave a preview of what was to come, as Kinsey's "Essaouira" and the more incendiary "Sometimes I..." demonstrate the quartet's sonic blend of Joe Zawinul-informed landscapes, world music concerns and Tribal Tech-like displays of unbridled improvisational power.

Krantz, in addition to longtime drummer Cliff Almond, brought another bass legend to the festival. Anthony Jackson's 2010 AL debut, Interspirit, may not have been represented at the event, but his contribution to Krantz's trio more than made up for it. Krantz offers a different kind of cerebralism than Machacek, one driven more aggressively by groove, and a knottier disposition towards unexpected time changes, as "Why" clearly demonstrates, shifting gears halfway into a high velocity free-for-all that builds to a fever pitch.

White's AL debut, Anomaly (2010), was a cast of thousands (well, 23) affair, but his touring band brings the album's material into sharper focus. With Herring—a sometimes member of the band—guesting with the current quartet lineup, White has a tremendous frontline that also includes New York guitarist Tom Guarna, stepping away from his own more mainstream recordings, and bassist Richie Goods, who's new to the AL family but from whom more will hopefully be heard, kicking the swinging blues at the core of "Door #3" into high gear, with Herring and Guarna turning the heat up with a series of nuclear-burn trade-offs that lead to White's closing solo, which starts quietly, and ends even more so ("How about that," White quipped, at the show, "a quiet drum solo."). Keyboardist Vince Evans, a regular White alum, is another new face to AL, but his combination of Jan Hammer-like synth lines and, in particular, his Rhodes solo on the up-tempo "Gazelle"—ambiguous voicings combining with a seemingly endless flow of thematic ideas, as he weaves through the song's knotty changes—makes him another player worth following.

"Recovery," from To The One (Abstract Logix, 2010), demonstrates how much McLaughlin's Fourth Dimension group has evolved since its 2007 North American tour, documented on Official Pirate (Abstract Logix, 2007). With bassist Etienne Mbappe replacing young firebrand Hadrien Feraud, keyboardist/drummer Gary Husband and drummer Mark Mondesir are able to breathe a little more. The music is no less incendiary when it needs to be, but there's a greater sense of fluidity at the bottom end, and a more unshakable anchor, making a short but sweet version of "Recovery" the perfect, succinct representation where the group is now.

But it's the closer to McLaughlin's set that's the greatest peak amongst so many others. "Mother Tongues," a longtime McLaughlin closer, is stretched to over 21 minutes and features a lengthy, mid-song duo between McLaughlin and surprise guest, tablaist Zakir Hussain, that proves the undying strength of musical friendships forged as strongly as that of these two masters. They haven't played together for many years—since the last time Remember Shakti toured—but the bond they share clearly hasn't weakened one iota, as McLaughlin and Hussain push, pull and work off each other, the guitarist's rhythmic roots in Indian classicism on full display, as Hussain moves into a three-way trade-off with Husband and Mondesir that has everyone on their toes, creating the kind of fireworks that drove the audience into a frenzy.

Rumors are there's going to be another New Universe Music Festival in 2012, and with a growing roster that now includes guitarist Chris Taylor, and a second installment of Husband's Dirty & Beautiful Volume One (Abstract Logix, 2010) hopefully coming up—leading to hopes that the keyboardist/drummer will get the chance to front his own band—there's every chance that the next festival will repeat and expand upon the successes of the first installment. For a first-time event, spearheaded by the Duttas and their seemingly tireless Director of Operations, John Angello, the 2010 New Universe Music Festival went off with very few hitches—putting many festivals that have been around a lot longer to shame.

n November 20 and 21, 2010, maverick record label Abstract Logix hosted a series of spectacular performances, featuring an array of artists who handily defy genre categorization in favor of unbridled expression. The first New Universe Festival was a die-hard music lover’s dream, defined by artists who seamlessly mingle compositional ingenuity and improvisational grace and fervor. This coming September, Abstract Logix will release a 2 DVD set, featuring a generous selection of festival performances and bonus material (additional performances, interviews, and more), filmed in high-definition throughout the event.
Among the featured musicians were pioneering guitarist John McLaughlin and his current band the 4th Dimension with special guest, world music legend tabla maestro Zakir Hussain; Widespread Panic guitar hero Jimmy Herring with his electric band; Return to Forever Drummer Lenny White; the all-star quartet Human Element (keyboardist Scott Kinsey, bassist Matt Garrison, percussionist Arto Tunçboyaciyan; fearless guitarist and improviser Wayne Krantz appearing with the amazing Anthony Jackson on bass; visionary Indian composer and drummer Ranjit Barot; and emerging guitar visionary Alex Machacek.
“I feel honored to participate,” says festival headliner John McLaughlin, while on tour promoting his Grammy-nominated album To the One. “My life has been dedicated to my instrument and music, and I continue to devote myself to music in order to be worthy of such a privilege. You will hear the kind of complicity that exists between us all – this is a very special element, and frankly essential for making good music.”
Jimmy Herring very succinctly put it, “This is real music played by real people, happening in real time. We’re up there listening and reacting to one another, and people genuinely respond to the risks we take. This is human music in a mechanized age.”

On the face of it, this live double-album is an expert genuflection to jazz-rock fusion, with five guitarists and a crop of punchy drummers (including Return to Forever's Lenny White and percussion virtuoso Zakir Hussain) to confirm it. But the playing of the seven bands is anything but predictable. The members sit in with each other here, and their embrace of risk and the pleasure they take in spontaneous performance are palpable. John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension have Hussain sit in for usual drummer Ranjit Barot in two fiercely vivacious pieces, including an infectious, choppy, 20-minute Hussein showcase, Mother Tongues. Barot leads a violin-dominated Indian-inflected sextet featuring the New York guitar maverick Wayne Krantz as a guest; Krantz also appears with an edgy avant-fusion trio. The chord-crunching, metal-inspired guitarist Alex Machacek opens proceedings with a fast-moving group extensively featuring electric bassist Neal Fountain.

It was a veritable smorgasbord of fusion, with many of the top-notch artists in the genre coming together for a series of performances. Jazz-rock fans attending the inaugural event heard legends like John McLaughlin and Lenny White, established names such as Wayne Krantz, Human Element and Jimmy Herring, as well as up-and-comers like Alex Machacek and Ranjit Barot. From start to finish, the music was electric, even when it was being played acoustically. There was also a palpable sense of community as artists generously participated in listening sessions and sat in with each other throughout the event. I highly recommend this festival and look forward to seeing and hearing its second incarnation in 2012.
– Lee Mergner, Editor in Chief, JazzTimes

The New Universe Music Festival brought together an astonishing roster of legendary and upcoming jazz-fusion musicians—especially guitarists—in an intimate setting charged with excitement. As might be expected, the music was superb, culminating in a heartfelt tribute to fusion and world music pioneer John McLaughlin. I look forward to attending the next NUMF, though the first one will be very tough to top.
– Barry Cleveland, Guitar Player

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/search?q=Various+Artists

Track listing:

CD1:
1. Strafe;
2. Very Sad;
3. Vignesh;
4. Origin;
5. Essaouira;
6. Sometimes I...;
7. Rainbow;
8. Gray Day;
9. Within You, Without You.

CD2:
1. Why;
2. Door#3;
3. Gazelle;
4. Recovery;
5. Mother Tongues.

Personnel:

Alex Machacek: guitar (CD1#1-2);
Neal Fountain: bass (CD1#1-2, CD1#7-9);
Jeff Sipe: drums (CD1#1-2, CD1#7-9);
Ranjit Barot: drums (CD1#3-7), voice (CD1#3-4);
Bala Bhaskar: violin (CD1#3-4);
Scott Kinsey: keyboards (CD1#3-7);
Matthew Garrison: bass (CD1#3-7);
Arto Tunçboyacian: percussion and voice (CD1#3-7);
Wayne Krantz: guitar (CD1#3-4, CD2#1);
Jimmy Herring: guitar (CD1#7-9, CD2#-2-3);
Matt Slocum: keyboards (CD1#7-9);
Anthony Jackson: bass (CD2#1);
Cliff Almond: drums (CD2#1);
Lenny White: drums (CD2#2-3);
Tom Guarna: guitar (CD2#2-3);
Richie Goods: bass (CD2#2-3);
Vince Evans: keyboards (CD2#2-3);
John McLaughlin: guitar (CD2#4-5);
Etienne M'Bappe: bass (CD2#4-5);
Gary Husband: keyboards and drums (CD2#4-5);
Mark Mondesir: drums (CD2#4-5);
Zakir Hussain: table ((CD2#5).

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Tomasz Stanko Quintet - 1973 [2006] "Purple Sun"

Tomasz Stańko (born July 11, 1942) is a Polish trumpeter, composer and improviser. Often recording for ECM Records, Stańko is strongly associated with free jazz and the avant-garde.
Coming to prominence in the early 1960s alongside pianist Adam Makowicz in the Jazz Darings, Stańko later collaborated with pianist Krzysztof Komeda, notably on Komeda's pivotal 1966 album Astigmatic. In 1968, Stańko formed an acclaimed quintet that included Zbigniew Seifert on violin and alto saxophone, and in 1975 he formed the Tomasz Stańko-Adam Makowicz Unit.
Stańko has since established a reputation as a leading figure not only in Polish jazz, but on the world stage as well, working with many notable musicians, including Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Reggie Workman, Rufus Reid, Lester Bowie, David Murray, Manu Katche and Chico Freeman. In 1984 he was a member of Cecil Taylor's big band.
Stańko lost his natural teeth in the 1990s, although over time he developed a new embouchure with the help of a skilled dentist and monotonous practice. He would spend long hours playing what he deemed to be "boring" long tones which helped to strengthen his lip, in spite of playing with the disadvantage of false teeth.

In 1968, alto saxophonist Zbigniew Seifert joined the newly formed Stanko Quintet, soon switched from ax to electric violin, and the next chapter of European Jazz history began. Beside Stanko and Seifert, the line-up of the Quintet included Janusz Muniak on the saxophones and flute, Jan Gonciarczyk / Bronislaw Suchanek on the bass and Janusz Stefanski on the drums. The Quintet made three records: "Music for K" (1970), "Jazz Message from Poland" (1972) and "Purple Sun" (1973) but the albums could not compare to the magic of Quintet's life performances. The music of Quintet escaped easy definitions. Sophisticated, collective improvisations and breath taking instrumental solos were bands' trademarks; hypnotic cosmic-like interactions between members of the band, and between the band and the life public, complemented the whole experience. Stanko Quintet disbanded in 1973 on the pick of its creative potential and after achieving cult-like following in Europe.

Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko is most probably country's best known jazz musician for some decades and prestigious ECM label in-house artist. Better known (especially outside of his homeland) from his ECM-sound recordings, in his early ears Stanko played quite different music. Started his career still at late 60s, Tomasz played with in Polish legend Komeda band, starting his career as leader in early 70s.

"Purple Sun" is Stanko quintet third album recorded live in empty hall of Music School in Munich,Germany. All-Polish quartet is completed with German bassist Hans Hartmann here. Album contains four originals (twolong and two shorter pieces). Confusingly enough, "Purple Sun" is often classified in music media (partially Polish) as early example of Polish avant-garde jazz which it isn't.

In reality bass-drums-trumpet-sax quartet with violinist Zbigniew Seifert on board plays high energy fusion strongly influenced by Davis' "Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew". Representing contrast difference from popular Stanko ECM albums of contemporary (chamber) jazz, "Purple Sun" with its raw energy and quite free structure possibly sounds as avant-garde piece for traditional Stanko listeners but everyone familiar with early Miles fusion will confirm their musical similarity.

Stanko's fusion is more European comparing with Miles - there are less American jazz roots (no groove) but lot of German krautrock influence in a form of straight power flow and rock-psychedelia. And yeh - the level of musicians virtuosity is far not as in Davis fusion bands.

Still music sounds really fresh and inspired and common "rockish" aesthetics could be attractive for fans of jazz-rock. In all cases, this album (reissued in Poland on CD at least twice so quite accessible) is not for numerous fans of ECM-period Stanko. Lovers of early Miles fusion will probably find here a nice example of similar music recorded by one of the best Polish jazz musician ever.

 Purple Sun was in fact recorded in Munich in March 1973, but retained a heavyweight Polish lineup (save for a top-notch Swiss bassist), of particular note being the legendary violinist Zbigniew Seifert who gives proceedings a slight Mahavishnu flavour in places.  Overall, though, this album is just a fantastic slice of post-Bitches Brew groove with the unique slant of being rooted in Eastern European free jazz.

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/2015/11/tomasz-stanko-quintet-1973-1999-purple.html#comment-form

Track listing:

1 Boratka & Flute's Ballad 14:04
2 My Night, My Day 5:26
3 Flair 13:21
4 Purple Sun 6:09

Personnel:

Trumpet – Tomasz Stańko
Bass – Hans Hartmann
Drums, Percussion – Janusz Stefański
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Percussion – Janusz Muniak
Violin, Alto Saxophone – Zbigniew Seifert

Friday, November 24, 2017

Pink Floyd - 1969 [1987] "More" (Soundtrack)

More is the first full-length soundtrack album, and third studio album, by the English rock band Pink Floyd, released on 13 June 1969 in the United Kingdom by EMI Columbia and on 9 August 1969 by Tower Records a subsidiary label of Capitol Records in the United States as Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from the film More. It is the first album by the band to be released by Capitol internationally. The film More was primarily filmed on location on Ibiza where most of the story takes place. It was the directorial debut for Barbet Schroeder.

More is a psychedelic rock soundtrack album that contains some acoustic folk ballads, a genre that appeared sparsely on Pink Floyd's later works. It also contains some of the band's "heaviest" recordings, such as "The Nile Song" and "Ibiza Bar", as well as several instrumental tracks, featuring their experimental and avant-garde approach.

This is Pink Floyd's first full album without founding member Syd Barrett, who was ousted from the group in early 1968 during the recording of A Saucerful of Secrets. It is one of the three Pink Floyd albums to feature David Gilmour as the sole lead vocalist, the others being 1987's A Momentary Lapse of Reason and 2014's The Endless River, and it is also the first album to be produced by Pink Floyd without assistance from Norman Smith. More was recorded at Pye Studios, Marble Arch, London and engineered by Brian Humphries. It is the only album in the band's discography not to have a lead vocal from Roger Waters during his tenure in the band.

Two songs can be heard in the film that were not included on the album: "Seabirds" and "Hollywood".

More reached number 9 in the UK and, upon re-release in 1973, number 153 in the US. In 1987, the album was issued on CD. A digitally remastered CD was released in 1995 in the UK and 1996 in the US.

Since 1995, the new edition changed the title to just Music from the Film More (US title: Music from the Motion Picture More). This was the last of three Pink Floyd albums to be released in the United States by the Tower Records division of Capitol Records. The 1973 US reissue was released on Harvest Records. Although the CD restores the original United Kingdom title in all countries, it is represented differently on the spine (Music from the Film More) and label More. For the Pink Floyd Records 2016 re-issue, the name reverted to Soundtrack from the film More which was released 3 June 2016.

More received mostly negative reviews from critics. The Daily Telegraph was favorable towards the album, while AllMusic provided a mixed response. MusicHound and Rolling Stone, however, were less positive, with the former giving the album a rating of one out of five.

For their third album, Pink Floyd were commissioned to provide the score to More, a film by Barbet Schroeder that dealt heavily with drugs. Ultimately, his movie became nothing more than a footnote, but the mesmerizing soundtrack – released on Aug. 9, 1969 – stands on its own as a true Pink Floyd album.
At this point, the group was still trying to find a new path following the departure of Syd Barrett. Pink Floyd's second album, A Saucerful of Secrets, had featured a hybrid five-man lineup that still included their erratic founding frontman. With Barrett officially gone, certain tracks on More made their path more clear.
Opening with "Cirrus Minor," the soon-to-be-signature Floyd sound swims through, following some introductory nature sounds which create a dream-like feel. That hazy state is soon harshly disrupted by what is probably Floyd's loudest and most aggressive track, "The Nile Song." As brutal and powerful as anyone else of the era, they bludgeon our ears with some fine neanderthal, proto-metal rock. This could easily be held up as one of this group's great lost songs.

"The Crying Song" settles things back to mellow mode. Written by Roger Waters, who had a hand in all the songs here, this beautiful number perfectly captures the mood of his lyric. "We cry and cry, sadness passes in a while," David Gilmour sings over a bed of acoustic guitars, vibes and minimal drums, creating an atmosphere that is more haunting than psychedelic. He'd handle all of the vocals on More.
"Green Is the Colour" is a pretty little ditty dressed up with piano, acoustic guitars and recorder, while "Cymbaline" is another forgotten gem. The song could have easily fit on any given Pink Floyd album up to, and including, Wish You Were Here. Gilmour's vocal gives it a timeless quality, and was covered by Hawkwind for inclusion on their 1970 debut, though it remained unreleased until the '90s. "Ibiza Bar" is cut from the same cloth as "The Nile Song," with Nick Mason thundering away on drums.
The rest of the album, including tracks like "Up the Khyber," "Party Sequence," "Quicksilver" and "Main Theme," supplies a variety of moods and styles to fit in with the film – and, though written for that purpose, stand on their own as interesting slices of Pink Floyd from this period. That helped More sail into the U.K. Top 10, though it failed to make a dent stateside, where the album finished at just No. 153 by year's end.
For some, the soundtrack work – including More, Zabriskie Point, and Obscured by Clouds – is held apart from their regular catalog. They're considered sidesteps, and are not judged as "standard" Pink Floyd albums. More, however, makes its own argument for a place in the larger scheme of things. Listen in, and you will hear a whole world of great sounds from this always-exceptional band.

Commissioned as a soundtrack to the seldom-seen French hippie movie of the same name, More was a Pink Floyd album in its own right, reaching the Top Ten in Britain. The group's atmospheric music was a natural for movies, but when assembled for record, these pieces were unavoidably a bit patchwork, ranging from folky ballads to fierce electronic instrumentals to incidental mood music. Several of the tracks are pleasantly inconsequential, but this record does include some strong compositions, especially "Cymbaline," "Green Is the Colour," and "The Nile Song." All of these developed into stronger pieces in live performances, and better, high-quality versions are available on numerous bootlegs.

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/search?q=pink+floyd

Track listing:

01. "Cirrus Minor" Waters 5:18
02. "The Nile Song" Waters 3:26
03. "Crying Song" Waters 3:33
04. "Up the Khyber" (instrumental) Mason, Wright 2:12
05. "Green Is the Colour" Waters 2:58
06. "Cymbaline" Waters 4:50
07. "Party Sequence" (instrumental) Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason 1:07
08. "Main Theme" (instrumental) Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason 5:27
09. "Ibiza Bar" Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason 3:19
10. "More Blues" (instrumental) Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason 2:12
11. "Quicksilver" (instrumental) Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason 7:13
12. "A Spanish Piece" Gilmour 1:05
13. "Dramatic Theme" (instrumental) Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason 2:15

Total length: 44:56

Personnel:

Roger Waters – bass guitar, tape effects, percussion
Nick Mason – drums, percussion
Richard Wright – Farfisa Combo Compact Duo organ, Hammond M-102 spinet organ, piano, vibraphone, backing vocals
David Gilmour – acoustic, electric, slide, and flamenco guitars, percussion, lead vocals

Additional personnel:

Lindy Mason – tin whistle on "Green Is the Colour" and "Party Sequence"

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Brecker Brothers - 1978 [2007] "Heavy Metal Be-Bop"

Heavy Metal Be-Bop is a live album by the American jazz fusion group, the Brecker Brothers that was released by Arista Records in 1978. The album also includes the studio track "East River", which reached number 34# in the UK singles chart in November 1978.

Recorded live in New York, this explosive set of jazz, funk, and rock material was without question ahead of its time. Michael and Randy's use of electronically altered saxophone and trumpet sounds is amazing.

This is just an absolute JEWEL. Zappa fans will recognize Terry Bozzio in addition to the Brecker brothers themselves, and MAN, what a combo! Michael Brecker just shreds on every solo, and Randy finds nuances with the "electric trumpet" that have never been heard before or since. Some will want this for the novelty of the electric tenor sax and trumpet, but there are FINE examples of modern BeBop solos here, over a high-powered rhythm section that kicks and jumps all over everything the soloists lay down. This is the kind of rhythm section that can make ANYBODY sound good, but the Brecker brothers talent is unmatched; a combination that presents an order of magnitude. Bass players NEED to hear Neil Jason, and guitar players NEED to hear Barry Finnerty on this. Blistering tight unison lines will prove once again why Zappa saved his most intricate horn passages for these guys, and why you won't hear them at tempo with anybody else. I sincerely hope for more of this largely unexplored flavor of jazz. I haven't found anything else that quite measures up to this.

"Heavy Metal Be-Bop" is a land mark fusion recording. The first tune is from the studio and the rest are recorded from a smoking live set. "East River" is the studio tune and is vocal. The song has a funky bassline and is fun but compared to the rest of the disc it is out of place. The rest of the disc is unreal. The band consists of Neal Jason on bass, Barry Finnerty on guitar, Terry Bozzio on drums, Michael Brecker on Sax, and Randy Brecker on trumpet. "Inside Out" is a Randy Brecker tune and Randy, Michael and Barry all have some fun with it. The tune is basic (For the Brecker Brothers) and they all play over the groove set by Bozzio/Jason. "Some Skunk Funk" is another Randy Brecker composition and a classic. This is one of the funkiest tunes that I have ever heard and the brothers play some of the greatest horn lines that you will ever hear. There are also some unison lines and the power of the band is on par with metal. "Sponge" is another funky piece and it features the explosive drumming of Bozzio. The band trades fours throughout Bozzio's rhythmic wizardry. "Funky sea, Funky Dew' is a Michael Brecker extravaganza. He takes the studio version and improves on it. Not only is his playing during the song great but there is a solo at the end that is amazing and then he is joined by just the bass of Jason which elevates him to a level that is beyond words. "Squids" is the closer to this set and has the brothers ,once again, playing over some serious funk. This disc is one of the greatest I've ever heard and is the greatest Horn orientated fusion disc ever. I only wish that there were more than five live songs but those five are worth any price. As highly recommended as anything can be.

This is the most incredible music ever, no BB album has surpassed this. A live album with Terry Bozzio having just joined the band after leaving Frank Zappa. The version of Some Skunk Funk is worth the whole price. Phenomenal! Will leave you out of breath and panting for more. One studio track kind of ok, an attempt at top 40, but the rest is - wow! Line up is guitar, bass, drums and Breckers. Randy plays some organ and uses a harmonizer to add 5ths and 4ths to his trumpet, so it sounds like more than just 2 horn players. Just hard to imagine what this would have been like to see live. Too bad it wasn't a double album when it was released in the late 70's. I want more of this!

While artists more often than not look for an album title that in some way reflects the music contained within, few have come up with a name that, in three simple words, says it all as much as today's Rediscovery: The Brecker Brothers' Heavy Metal Bebop. A positively incendiary live recording (barring bassist Neil Jason's funkified, studio-recorded, set-opening vocal anthem, "East River"), it sports a completely revamped lineup from the group's Don't Stop the Music (Arista), released the previous year. While this album was reviewed as part of Legacy Recordings' 2012 box set, The Complete Arista Albums Collection, its sheer power and raw energy demanded inclusion as a Rediscovery.

And, as expected, it sounds absolutely tremendous through my Tetra Speaker rig. This is an album that—featuring a core quintet where saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter Randy Brecker are joined, in addition to Jason, by guitarist Barry Finnerty and drummer Terry Bozzio, with additional percussion and overdubs added in post-production—rips through some of the best material from the group's earlier albums, including a light speed version of "Some Skunk Funk" and slightly faster, even more nuclear-infused take on "Sponge," both from the group's 1975 Arista debut, The Brecker Bros.

A slight breather comes with Don't Stop the Music's generally mellower "Funky Sea, Funky Dew," Michael's only compositional contribution to the set. Still, an extended a cappella and heavily processed saxophone outro is both an album highlight and demonstration of why Michael was already one of the most influential saxophonists of his generation...and would go on to become even more so in the decades leading to his untimely passing in 2007 at the too-young age of 57. A closing "Squids," from the same record, also feels less wholly unfettered than the album's first three live tracks, but still possessed more attitude and energy per square inch at a time when fusion was, in general, slowly morphing its way into the easier-on- the-ears predecessor to what would ultimately become smooth jazz. The album's only previously unheard live track is also its first live one: Randy's potently altered blues, "Inside Out," played with a greasy shuffle from Jason and Bozzio that, quite simply, means it.

Throughout this 42-minute set—all but three of them recorded live at My Father's Place in Roslyn, NY—the entire band plays as if its life depended on it. Michael Brecker soars, while older brother Randy (similarly processing his horn with a harmonizer, envelope filter and more) matches his younger sibling's energy note for searing note, the pair seemingly unable to play anything but the right note at the right time—except, occasionally, when they played the wrong note at precisely the right time...because with music this unshackled, there are no wrong notes, just ones that drive the player(s) in unexpected directions. While rarely featured, Jason and Bozzio keep the pulse at a fever pitch throughout, thundering where necessary—especially on the high octane "Sponge" where, with a new solo section, a three-way trade-off between the two Breckers and Finnerty represents the album at its most reckless, raw and relentless—but laying back as required with equal aplomb.

The surprise of the set is, however, Finnerty. Having first heard the guitarist on a live radio broadcast of the Crusaders, playing a solo to the title track of keyboardist Joe Sample's Rainbow Seeker (ABC, 1978) that remains memorable to this day, it was clear that he may have had big shoes to fill in replacing Larry Carlton in that group but—clearly imbued with similar chops and linguistic command—the guitarist brought an edgier New York vibe and completely different kind of lyricism to the successful Texan-centric West Coast group.

So, when finally hearing Heavy Metal Bebop for the first time—a little late to the game, a couple years after it was first released—I already knew he had all he needed to not just match the two Breckers, but to actually up the ante. While the Breckers take the lion's share of the solo space, every time Finnerty is featured it's a revelation...and all the more a crime that, despite remaining active in the ensuing years, the guitarist has never managed to garner the broader acclaim he deserves—if nothing else based on his contribution to Heavy Metal Bebop but, with Miles Davis, Billy Cobham, Hubert Laws and Eliane Elias also in his résumé, clearly possessing even more.

Tracks Listing

1.East River (3:38)
2.Inside Out (9:32)
3.Some Skunk Funk (7:01 )
4.Sponge (6:24)
5.Funky Sea,Funky Dew (8:03)
6.Squids (7:57 )

Total Time 41:55

Personnel:

- Randy Brecker / electric trumpet, keyboards
- Michael Brecker / electric tenor sax
- Barry Finnerty / guitars, GuitarGanizer, background vocals
- Terry Bozzio / drums, background vocals
- Neil Jason / bass, lead vocals

Additional Musicians

- Sammy Figueroa / percussion
- Rafael Cruz / percussion
- Kask Monet / handclaps, percussion, background vocals
- Jeff Schoen / background vocals
- Roy Herring / background vocals
- Paul Schaeffer / fender rhodes
- Victoria / tambourine
- Alan Schwartzberg / drums
- Bob Clearmountain & friends / handclaps

Various Artists - 1997 "Jazz Fusion Volume 2"

The second of two Rhino CDs mostly covers the 1975-1984 period (with Miles Davis' "Mr. Pastorius" dating from 1989). One of the most interesting aspects to this reissue is that it not only has examples of jazz musicians playing rock, but rock musicians coming closer to performing jazz. The second volume has one selection apiece from the Brecker Brothers ("Some Skunk Funk"), Brand X, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bruford, Ronnie Montrose, Dixie Dregs, Larry Carlton, John McLaughlin ("Belo Horizonte"), Steve Khan, Miles Davis, Allan Holdsworth, and Steve Morse. Most of the performances are quite fiery and the instrumental music is consistently exciting. Although the two Rhino volumes are not quite definitive (some groups are missing and the selections are not strictly in chronological order), they do offer listeners an excellent overview of the much-maligned music.

Here's a refreshingly varied collection of some of the best jazz-rock fusion music from Rhino, who are really masters at digging up little-known gems to put beside the more famous ones in their compilations. This collection is much better than Jazz Fusion Volume 1 at displaying the true hormonal magic and utterly unique musical plane that can result when, rare enough though it is, all the elements come together in a virtuoso jazz-fusion group. Where else can you find hard-to-find stuff like Steve Khan's Casa Loco, to go along with Miles Davis's brilliant late-period "Mr. Pastorious," Jean-Luc Ponty's classic Enigmatic Ocean, parts I to IV, Bill Bruford's Hell's Bells, Ronnie Montrose, The Brecker Bros. and the Dixie Dregs' "Take it Off the Top" on the same CD? And if all that still doesn't kick your mule sore, turbo-charge you hormones and make you macho, here's something even more gaucho: just play "Nuclear Burn" by Phil Collins' monster '70s fusion group Brand X with the volume knob at 11, and call me if your brain isn't an omelette after you're done. Rounding out the diverse appearnces are the legendary "Point It Up" guitar solo from Larry Carlton, and, as a sort of breather from all the fire-breathing, John Mclaughlin's gorgeous and ultra-sophisticated flamenco-jazz-Brazilian-fusion acoustic piece "Belo Horizonte." So, if you can put your envy aside and just accept the fact that you'll probably never be able to play your instrument half as good as any of these guys (the skin-flute excluded), there is some extremely good music to be discovered in the much despised and ignored "Jazz Fusion" genre. This disc is a great place to start.

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/2015/09/various-artists-1997-jazz-fusion-volume.html

Track Listing:

  01. Some Skunk Funk - The Brecker Bros.
  02. Nuclear Burn - Brand X
  03. Enigmatic Ocean, Parts I-IV - Jean-Luc Ponty
  04. Hell's Bells - Bruford
  05. Town Without Pity - Ronnie Montrose
  06. Take It Off The Top - Dixie Dregs
  07. Point It Up - Larry Carlton
  08. Belo Horizonte - John Mc Laughlin
  09. Casa Loco - Steve Khan
  10. Mr. Pastorius - Miles Davis
  11. Three Sheets To The Wind - Allan Holdsworth
  12. The Introduction - Steve Morse Band

Personnel:

Guitar - Bob Mann, John Goodsall, Ronnie Montrose, Steve Morse, Larry Carlton, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Khan, John McLaughlin, Daryl Stuermer
Drums - Harvey Mason, Sr., Jeff Porcaro, Rick Shlosser, Steve Jordan, Chad Wackerman, Tommy Campbell, Al Foster, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, Steve Smith
Bass - Marcus Miller, Jerry Peek, Andy West, Jeff Berlin, Ralphe Armstrong, Jean Paul Celea, Alan Fitzgerald, Anthony Jackson, Percy Jones, Abraham Laboriel, Will Lee
Keyboards - Mark Parrish, Allan Zavod, Dave Stewart, Francois Couturier, Robin Lumley, Don Grolnick, Greg Mathieson
Percussion - Steve Sheman, Ralph MacDonald, Manolo Badrena, Jean-Pierre Drouet
Violin - Allen Sloan, Jean-Luc Ponty
Synthesizer - Katia Labeque
Flugelhorn, Trumpet - Randy Brecker
Piano - Edgar Winter
Sax (Tenor) - Michael Brecker
Trumpet - Miles Davis
Sax (Alto) - David Sanborn

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies - 1969 [2015] "The American Metaphysical Circus"

The American Metaphysical Circus is a 1969 psychedelic album by Joseph "Joe" Byrd. It was recorded after his departure from the band The United States of America, and featured some of the earliest recorded work in rock music utilizing extensive use of synthesizers and vocoder, along with an extended group of West Coast studio musicians Byrd named "The Field Hippies".

As a "conductor" and organ/electronic synthesizer player, Byrd is very much the leader of this circus. With a couple drummers, a half-dozen horn players (including a young Tom Scott), three female vocalists, and a half-dozen or so other musicians popping up over the course of the album, there are a lot more people involved in this project than there were in the (relatively) stable lineup of the United States of America. Despite the ambition of this LP, it ultimately serves to illustrate just how Byrd benefited from the unique synergy provided by the other members of the U.S.A. There are all kinds of adventurous electronics and eclectic ideas bouncing back and forth, but the songwriting is simply not as strong as that of Byrd's previous group. The best songs are the ones which most strongly recall the U.S.A. in their spacy melodicism ("Moonsong: Pelog") and driving psychedelic pulse ("You Can't Ever Come Down"). Unfortunately, the female singers on these tracks are no match for The U.S.A.'s Dorothy Moscowitz, although they seem to be aspiring to the same dreamy, icy quality. Byrd himself is quite a mediocre singer, as his attempts at taking the lead on straightforward rock material prove. Otherwise, there are some bad takeoffs on gospel and old-time music, haphazard primitive early synthesizer, and dated social commentary/satire. As ambitious in its scope as Byrd's first rock project, this album is not nearly as successful.

After his first album with a band called "United States of America," Joe Byrd released this, his masterpiece, in 1969. Even without the aid of mind-expanding drugs it is obvious that metaphysics is central to the overall theme of this great concept album.
The first section, "The Sub-Sylvian Litanies," is an attempt to turn reality inside-out. Literally meaning "beneath the forest," its three odes get right to the core of our very existence. It employs themes built upon the fourth degree of the octal scale, a Greek mode called phrygian.
The middle section, "Four Songs for a Departing President," are a slap in the face to former president Lyndon Johnson. It is a condemnation of both his "Great Society" movement and his perpetuation of the Vietnam War. "Gospel Music" is a tribute to Byrd's brother, Ruddell, who was imprisoned at Leavinworth for evading the draft.
Finally, the third section deals with aging under the sub-heading "The Southwestern Geriatrics Arts & Crafts Festival." Often morose and overly nostalgic, it nevertheless presents a clear view of the way our elders are shuffled off to nursing homes to await death.
The song writing and arrangements are superb, the use of synthesizers is tasteful and the theme is awesome. You have to get out of the box to receive the full experience this album has to offer.

This album did a great deal to change my brain when I was in high school in the early '70s. Concurrent with ingesting a multitude of substances that shall remain unmentioned, this album saw many, many spins on my and my friends' turntables. It was always a significant experience. There is literally EVERYTHING on this record. Vaudeville, jazz, electronic, psychedelic powerhouses, acid rock, spoken word, and much more. Joe Byrd was an unrecognized genius who put out two incredible, ahead-of-their-time records (The United States of America being the other). Sometimes our minds were expanded. Other times our minds were blown. But our minds always received an EXPERIENCE listening to this fine, unique, well-produced and well-composed music. There is nothing else like it. Nothing!

I originally owned this album as a vinyl record when I was in high school. I bought it for the wrong reason - purportedly the first part of the recording is like an LSD trip. This album kindled my lifelong interest in "new" music. I literally wore the pressing out, I liked it so well.

The pioneering use of a quality synthesizer arraignment superimposed on lyrical vocals. The composer, Mr. Byrd, obviously wrote and orchestrated each piece as though it were a symphonic work. This album is not for people who hate experimental music. John Coltrane's Africa Brass, or Ornette Coleman Shape of Jazz to Come are similar artistic endevors in the jazz vein.

When Joseph Byrd was fired from his previous creation, the United States of America, he could well have called it a day, secure in the knowledge that he had produced one of the most important, but underappreciated albums of the sixties. But Byrd didn't feel like he'd fully accomplished what he'd set out to do, so he gathered this astonishing collective together, and produced an album that has always been overshadowed by its more lauded predecessor, but arguably is a far more successful synthesis of his experimental spirit and pop sensibilities.

"The American Metaphysical Circus" is not an easy album. It's also not an album that is easy to assimilate in part. For the full effect, it really needs to be listened through from the first second to the last, and this is perhaps part of the reason for its lesser reputation. Although it does have many highlights which could potentially have been lifted for singles/compilation appearances/radio play etc. they gain so much from being heard in their proper context.

Split into four separate suites, there's a lot going on here. Too much for some people, but Byrd's compositional skills ensure that the disparate instrumentation, and musical styles flow smoothly together.

Opening suite "The Sub-Sylvian Litanies" is the trippy highlight for me, with Victoria Bond's electronically treated voice leading into an explosive revisit of "You Can't Ever Come Down", with searing lead guitar. "Moonsong: Pelog" winds it down nicely, with Susan de Lange's vocals venturing into Grace Slick territory without her sounding out of her depth. This mini suite has enough ideas to sustain a whole album, but there are three others to follow, which veer all over the map, from acid-rock ("Nightmare Train") to cocktail jazz and prominent early use of synthesizer, via the pointed social commentary of "Leisure World" - an extremely interesting, orchestrated piece of what we'd now call Hauntology. Its presence near the end of the album likely left listeners a little baffled at the time, but we live in more open minded, enlightened times now right?

Esoteric's new reissue sounds absolutely fabulous, with fascinating accompanying sleeve notes. One of the reissues of the year so far.

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/2015/10/joe-byrd-and-field-hippies-1969-1996.html

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/2015/11/joe-byrd-and-field-hippies-1967-2004.html

Track listing:

The Sub-Sylvian Litanies

01.  "Kalyani" – 3:52
02.  "You Can't Ever Come Down" – 3:02
03.  "Moonsong: Pelog" – 3:47

American Bedmusic - Four Dreams For A Departing President

04.  "Patriot's Lullabye" – 2:49
05.  "Nightmare Train" – 3:20
06.  "Invisible Man" – 3:33
07.  "Mister 4th of July" – 1:48

Gospel Music For Abraham Ruddell Byrd III

08.  "Gospel Music" – 4:29

The Southwestern Geriatrics Arts and Crafts Festival

09.  "The Sing-Along Song" – 4:05
10.  "The Elephant at the Door" – 5:13
11.  "Leisure World" – 2:36
12.  "The Sing-Along Song (Reprise)" – 0:48

Personnel:

    Pot - Piano, Conductor, Harpsichord
    Ed Sheftel - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
    Christie Thompson - Vocals
    Ernest "Ernie" Anderson - Voices
    Fred Selden - Clarinet, Saxophones, Flute
    Ted Greene - Guitar
    Joseph Hunter Byrd - Organ, Producer, Vocals, Keyboards, Conductor, Synthesizer
    Larry Kass - Tabla
    Michael Whitney - Guitar (Classical)
    Chuck Bennett - Bass Trombone
    Victoria Bond - Vocals
    Bob Breault - Engineer
    Ray Cappocchi - Tuba, Tenor Trombone
    Dana Chalberg - Flute, Piccolo
    John Clauder - Percussion, Drums
    Susan de Lange - Vocals, Electronic Voices
    Meyer Hirsch - Flute, Saxophones
    Don Kerian - Trumpet, Cornet
    Gregg Kovner - Drums, Percussion
    Tom Scott - Clarinet, Saxophones, Flute
    Harvey Newmark - Bass (uncredited on album)
    Harihar Rao - Percussion (uncredited on album)

Jeff Beck - 1976 [1990] "Wired"

Wired is the third solo album by British guitarist Jeff Beck, released on Epic Records in 1976. An instrumental album, it peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified platinum by the RIAA.

After the success of his previous album, 1975's Blow by Blow, Beck retained two of its key contributors for the follow-up, keyboardist Max Middleton and producer George Martin. Beck had also begun a musical relationship with former Mahavishnu Orchestra keyboardist Jan Hammer and drummer Narada Michael Walden; Beck would tour with the Jan Hammer Group after these sessions. The result of the interplay between Beck and Hammer was a more "synthesized" sound than that of Blow by Blow, hence the new album's title, Wired.

Although the band from the previous album appears on some tracks, four are originals by Walden and one by Hammer. Middleton contributed the homage to Led Zeppelin, "Led Boots," and Beck chose to interpret the Charles Mingus ode to saxophonist Lester Young, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," from the classic jazz album Mingus Ah Um. These last two tracks have been long-time staples of Beck's performance repertoire.

Jazz-rock fusion music has had no greater exponent than Jeff Beck, whose latest album, Wired, demonstrates how vital this genre can be. Even more important, Wired presents Beck in a context that finally satisfies both his uncompromising musical standards and commercial necessity.

Beck's first group, the Yardbirds, was the most inventive of the early Sixties British blues bands and is now credited with producing three of the most important electric guitarists of the past ten years — Eric Clapton, Beck and Jimmy Page. Both Clapton (with Cream) and Page (with Led Zeppelin) became famous after leaving the Yardbirds.

But Beck remained a relatively obscure figure. This despite the fact that the hits following "I'm a Man" — "For Your Love," "Shapes of Things," "Over Under Sideways Down," "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" — were all powered by his brilliantly manic lead guitar. In comparison, Clapton was an extremely conservative stylist and Page, merely a technician. But Beck's guitar work was visionary: "Shapes of Things" shows his mastery over raga-style guitar solos and multitracking, ideas which were in their infancy at the time. Beck experimented with blues progressions, using feedback and other distortion techniques to push the electric guitar's expressive capabilities into new areas, as well as developing rock and R&B styles along the same lines.

After leaving the Yardbirds, Beck made a classic solo album, Truth, with a band which included Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. Page, meanwhile, formed his own band, Led Zeppelin, whose music was a variation on Beck's concept (compare the versions of "You Shook Me" on Truth and the first Zeppelin album). He returned two years later with a jazz-accented R&B outfit based around keyboardist Max Middleton and singer Bob Tench.

Their two albums featured a lighter, more progressive guitar style. But Beck was still not satisfied and tried a brief, disastrous fling into heavy metal with the ex-Vanilla Fudge/Cactus rhythm section of bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice.

Last year, producer George Martin reunited Beck and Middleton for their greatest collaboration, Blow by Blow, which became Beck's best-selling solo album and established him firmly in the jazz-rock hierarchy. But Beck was only developing ideas he'd been playing with for years.

On Wired, Beck invites a direct and favorable comparison with John McLaughlin (with whom he toured last year) by collaborating with ex-Mahavishnu keyboardist Jan Hammer and his band. Martin didn't score any of the horn arrangements because Hammer's synthesizer fills all those spaces, but the album is better recorded and has a much fuller sound than Blow by Blow. Middleton's contribution is still essential — his one song, "Led Boots," opens the album at its hottest pace and it's definitely enhanced by the interplay with Hammer's keyboards and Beck's guitar. Hammer's synthesizers work from Middleton's clavinet base, and Beck stitches runs in between.

Beck wrote no songs for this record in order to concentrate on his playing, but he dominates the album conceptually. You can tell "Head for Backstage Pass" is bassist Wilbur Bascomb's song from the bass solo that kicks it off, but from there it's all that Beck/Middleton Metal Motown Machine. Drummer Narada Michael Walden contributed four songs, three of which sound like they could have easily come from the Blow by Blow sessions. "Sophie" shows the distance between McLaughlin's cerebral meandering and Beck's incisive, witty compositional ability as the song moves from an introspective theme to an incredibly hard-edged exposition. Hammer swings here in a sweating, unself-conscious ride of pure joy that needs no guru for inspiration. Hammer's "duet" with Beck, "Blue Wind," builds phased rhythm guitars against the tension of those slogging, perfectly imprecise drums into an anthem pitch with furious guitar-synthesizer solo duels overhead. Beck's cover of the Charles Mingus ode to Lester Young, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," is an unlikely if not unappreciated inclusion that seems too understated to clock in as more than a tentative exploration of an already well-covered tune, but Beck's soloing, as usual, carries it off with some bizarre phrasing and adventurous distortion.

Many of Beck's older fans claim he's toned down to play this music, but listening closely, you can hear all the fire and imagination that has characterized every phase of his career. Wired is the realization of a style Beck has been working toward for years, and should finally attract the recognition he deserves.

Recording any kind of full-length album is a challenge. Following up an LP that revolutionized rock guitar? That's another matter entirely — and the struggled faced by Jeff Beck as he entered the studio to work on his third solo release.
Beck's second solo album, 1975's Blow by Blow, which found him working alongside keyboardist Max Middleton and producer George Martin on a set of songs that placed him firmly at the rock/jazz fusion vanguard while catapulting him to fresh commercial heights. A Top 10 hit, it gave Beck his first platinum record — and expanded expectations accordingly.
Unsurprisingly, Beck opted not to reinvent his sound for the follow-up. Retaining Middleton and Martin, he added another pair of key contributors for the sessions: former Mahavishnu Orchestra keyboardist Jan Hammer and drummer Narada Michael Walden, both of whom brought original material to the table while broadening the sonic palette he'd employed for Blow by Blow.
Hammer in particular had an audible impact on the new songs, adding synth-derived textures to the arrangements and freeing up Middleton to focus on clavinet and Fender Rhodes. Walden, meanwhile, not only anchored the rhythm section, he wrote half the album, contributing four of the eight tracks recorded by Beck and the new band. The result, in a nod to the album's more electronic sound, was titled Wired.
Released in May 1976, Wired wasn't the groundbreaking effort its predecessor had been; instead, it found Beck building on the fusion template he'd used the previous year. Though the subgenre would soon devolve into an easy listening playground for lowest-common-denominator smooth jazz records, in the early-to-mid-'70s, fusion could be genuinely exciting, as proven by influential hits like Blow by Blow and Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters LP. With Wired, Beck used the arrangements as launchpads into challenging instrumental excursions that took advantage of jazz's freedom without sacrificing rock energy.
That rock/jazz blend was arguably best reflected in a pair of Wired cuts: the Middleton original "Led Boots," which led off the album with a nod to Led Zeppelin, and a cover of Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," which used the jazz legend's classic as a framework for some of Beck's finest guitar work. Throughout the record, the group showcased their rich interplay, summed up with a concluding trio of Walden tracks that left equal room for melody and instrumental virtuosity.
Their efforts were rewarded with another impressive showing on the charts. Although Wired didn't quite reach the heights achieved by Blow by Blow, peaking at No. 16, it added another platinum record to Beck's list of hits, and seemed to cement his status as a rare rock artist who didn't need vocals to enjoy consistent mainstream success. Dating back to 1972's Jeff Beck Group, he'd landed four consecutive releases in the Top 20, each of which had sold at least half a million copies.
Ultimately, Beck would find it difficult to sustain that momentum — his next studio release, There & Back, didn't arrive until 1980 — but the work he'd done throughout the '60s and '70s, capped with the commercial success he achieved with Blow by Blow and Wired, made him a household name while paving the way for decades of creative freedom.

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/search?q=jeff+beck

Tracks Listing:

1. Led Boots (4:03)
2. Come Dancing (5:55)
3. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (5:31)
4. Head for Backstage Pass (2:43)
5. Blue Wind (5:54)
6. Sophie (6:31)
7. Play with Me (4:10)
8. Love Is Green (2:30)

Total Time: 37:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Jeff Beck / electric & acoustic (8) guitars
- Max Middleton / clavinet (1,2,4,6,7), Fender Rhodes (3,6)
- Jan Hammer / synthesizer (1,2,5,7), drums (5)
- Narada Michael Walden / piano (8), drums (1,2,6)
- Wilbur Bascomb / bass
- Ed Greene / drums (2)
- Richard Bailey / drums (3,4)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Larry Coryell - 1971 [2017] "Fairyland"

Fairyland is a live album from jazz guitarist Larry Coryell. All songs were recorded 18 June 1971 at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Larry Coryell is accompanied by Chuck Rainey on bass and Pretty Purdie on drums.

Recorded live in June 1971 in Montreux, Switzerland. Long considered a fan favorite of Larry's fusion period. This recording will melt the paint off your walls. This album is incontrovertible proof that Larry Coryell is more than worthy of a seat in the same tier as guitar gods like Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, and Santana. Featuring: Larry Coryell - guitar, Chuck Rainey - bass and Bernard Purdie - drums.

Fairyland has long been a favorite among fans of Larry Coryell's jazz-rock days. The stripped-down trio format allows Coryell plenty of solo space. He actually sings quite effectively on the first two tracks, but more effective are the torrents of 18th notes, mutated blues licks, and avant-garde sound textures that emanate from his guitar. "Further Explorations for Albert Stinson" is a later incarnation of "The Jam With Albert," which is a staple of Coryell jazz-rock compilations. A rewarding listen. All Music.

If you like your rock ala hendrix or early Guru Guru then you'll probably like this a lot. There's a nice mix of true rock (mid 60s / mid 70s) and jazz guitar chops and licks to satisfy the most demanding rock n roll / guitar worshiper.
Also, Purdie & Rainey do a nice job behind Coryell all the way through. Nice! By Speedy.

This is recorded live from 1976 in Switzerland. It is a very short album at 32 minutes. When you remove the cheering, you only end up with 30 minutes of actual music.

This is power trio doing jazz fusion. It is what Cream would sound like if it played fusion. There are the solos and musical runs similar to Live Cream (but in a jazz fashion). There is also some very nice distorted guitar.

This is different from other Larry Coryell albums. His others are a "more traditional" fusion, similar to Mahavishnu Orchestra or Return to Forever. He also has more traditional, acoustic jazz albums.

I have seen him a couple of times in concert. He puts on a great show and has lots of stage presence and personality. But, when I saw him, he didn't play anything as frenetic as this. By kireviewer VINE VOICE.

This is among my favorite recordings of all time. Just crackling with unbounded energy. And the cover art is suggestive of where these guys' heads may have been. If your are a lover of fusion, jazz, or psychedelic rock, you owe it to yourself to give this a listen. I have long hoped for a CD release, but, alas, it may never come to pass. Do not pass up an opportunity to add this to your collection. It is rare. By Laurence Diamond.

If you like Larry loud this record rocks the house like no other! Larry is freakin out of control here. I feel his playing seems like he maybe drunk and all hell is breakin loose! It's destructive. If you like Coryell tight and smooth, this is definitley not a album for you. I only have it on record. By Ward Hilgers.

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/search?q=larry+coryell

Track listing:

All songs except "Stones" were composed by Larry Coryell.

1. "Souls Dirge" – 9:39
2. "Eskdalemuir" – 8:38
3. "Stones" (Doug Davis) – 7:08
4. "Further Explorations for Albert Stinson" – 6:47

Personnel:

Larry Coryell – guitar, vocals
Chuck Rainey – bass
Pretty Purdie – drums

CAB - 2000 "CAB"

CAB is a jazz fusion supergroup founded by Bunny Brunel, Dennis Chambers, and Tony MacAlpine. Since their formation in 2000, they have released four studio albums and two live albums. Their second album, CAB 2, received a nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album at the 2002 Grammy Awards. Other members who have been a part of CAB include Patrice Rushen, Virgil Donati, David Hirschfelder, and Brian Auger.

When asked about the band's name, Brunel said:

...Center Tone Records wanted me to record an album with Dennis Chambers and Tony MacAlpine. [I thought I’d create an acronym of our last names] Chambers, Alpine, and Brunel. I didn’t know that MacAlpine was an ‘M’ and not separate from the ‘A.’ But we thought it was a good way to carry the music... CAB, so we left it like that.
— Bunny Brunel

Remember that old Star Trek episode where an alien race is able to move around the Enterprise at an infinitely quicker pace than Kirk and company? Listening to Cab, you might wonder whether Tony MacAlpine, Bunny Brunel and Dennis Chambers aren’t members of that same alien race. This trio spawns a turbo-charged blend of jazz and rock guaranteed to rattle windows and wake the sleeping.

Fusion fans know Dennis Chambers as one of the most powerful and precise drummers in contemporary music. French bassist Bunny Brunel is best known for his work with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. The name Tony MacAlpine might be less familiar to jazz fans. A classically trained musician who first learned piano and violin, MacAlpine has toiled for 15 years as a progressive metal guitarist often compared to Yngwie Malmsteen. MacAlpine plays both guitar and keys on this album.
Cab is a high-octane fusion release chock full of lightning-fast exchanges and unthinkable improvisations. Brunel and Chambers are dynamic together, and MacAlpine is a wildman guitarist. Though I could do without some of MacAlpine’s synthesized keyboard solos, the tunes provide an interesting framework for the players fiery improvisations.

Five tracks were penned by Brunel, two by Brunel in partnership with Japanese guitarist Kazumi Watanabe, and three by MacAlpine. (Watanabe does not play on the album.) All 10 tracks are good, but three of Brunel’s compositions stand out for me. "Night Splash" is complex, fast-moving piece with a Latin feel that includes brief solos by all three players, including an amazing machine-gun run by Chambers. "One for Stern" is a bluesy fusion number with Brunel on both fretless and piccolo basses and Brian Auger sitting in on organ. "Bernard" is a stirring number co-written by Brunel and Watanabe that showcases Brunel on five-string piccolo synth bass.

Listening to Cab is a bit like being chased by bulls through the streets of Pamplona for 50-plus minutes. You might wish for a slow interlude just to catch your breath, but you’ll feel exhilarated.

Guitarist/keyboardist Tony MacAlpine, known for chest-swelling rock-classical hybrids, has occasionally tinkered with jazz-rock elements on earlier releases. Here, he fully invests himself in a fusion trio that includes bassist Bunny Brunel (who owns credits with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock) and David Chambers (Parliament-Funkadelic). Along with being the album's featured instrumentalist, Brunel wrote seven of the disc's 10 tracks, with MacAlpine penning the final three. The results are attractive, if not always arresting. MacAlpine takes flight as a soloist only sporadically, most memorably when responding to his own meaty rock chops in the title track and during an elaborate run on the concluding selection, "Bernard." MacAlpine's output on keyboards surfaces almost as often as his riffing, lending a Return to Forever vibe to a package that shines more brightly when MacAlpine and Brunel give themselves room to cook (as on the Satriani-like "Boogie Me") rather than simmer.

Track listing:

1. "Night Splash" Bunny Brunel 5:20
2. "CAB" Brunel 7:16
3. "So There Is Love" Tony MacAlpine 3:41
4. "Just Perfect" Brunel 5:05
5. "One for Stern" Brunel 6:59
6. "The Watcher" MacAlpine 3:47
7. "Atamanashi" Brunel, Kazumi Watanabe 5:23
8. "Boogie Me" Brunel 4:39
9. "Elastic Man" MacAlpine 5:15
10. "Bernard" Brunel 4:37

Total length: 52:02

Personnel:

Tony MacAlpine – guitar, keyboard
Bunny Brunel – keyboard, bass, engineering, mixing, production
Dennis Chambers – drums
Brian Auger – organ

Monday, November 13, 2017

Robert Fripp & The League Of Gentlemen - 1986 [1996] "Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx"

The League of Gentlemen was a band active during March–December 1980 that featured guitarist Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame. Other members included bass guitarist Sara Lee (who later joined Gang of Four, The B-52's, and Indigo Girls), keyboardist Barry Andrews (formerly of XTC; later of Shriekback) and percussionist Johnny Toobad, replaced late in the band's tenure by Kevin Wilkinson (later of China Crisis and Squeeze).

Fripp referred to the 1980 band as "a second-division touring new wave instrumental dance band".

The Trouser Press Record Guide described the League of Gentlemen's music as typically taking "a simple medium-to-fast backbeat over which Fripp and Andrews locked horns, with melodic development emerging slowly, surely, subtly." Trouser Press also suggests that the League's foray into dance oriented rock was a precursor to Fripp's reformed King Crimson in the early 1980s.

The band toured extensively in Europe and North America throughout 1980.

There are 77 specific tour dates detailed in the sleevenotes on the album The League of Gentlemen. Missing from this list are four (possibly warm-up) gigs at the 14th Century Hunting Lodge (now Lodge Farm House), outside the grounds of Kingston Lacy near Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England. These gigs are dated 24 to 27 February and pre-dated the first 'official' gig on 10 April at Moles, Bath.

The early 80s were a musical dance phenomena as well as a signpost for radical changes in the echelons of music taste and fashion. The times dictated 'in with 4/4 rhythms, out with the extended pieces of music' (based on elaborate time changes and structure). This project was the immediate precursor to the 1981 reformation of the Crimson King, and shows our man Fripp shredding leads left and right across a very disco-ish dance floor. At least a little head bobbing is in order! Throughout the live show, the Englishman is on a solo vengeance tear, going backwards, upwards, sideways, down. The heat of the small clubs can almost be felt by the end of the each song: people were really moving out there! What is also great about this release is that it really is a good sounding bootleg (from five separate shows) with no sound doctoring from remix engineer David Singleton. It's listed in the liner notes: a raw live band recording, warts and all. What you hear is what you got: the band as it really sounded from two mikes at the back of the club going directly into a cassette recorder.

Band personnel included the hot talents of Barry Andrews (XTC's first keyboardist who went on to more successful work with Shriekback) and Sarah Lee (ex of Gang of Four later with the B-52's). The oddest track stylistically speaking is "Farewell Johnny Brill," which uses a familiar R&B groove as a soloing vehicle. Superb liner notes with details about life on the road with complete tour dates, excerpts from the guitar meister's journal (always fun to read). The last fifty seconds summarizes the set perfectly; it's taken from recorded comments by Fripp at these shows: "I have something to say to you from the heart, I... I really want to have a party. And I say this to everyone else in the band as well, team... I really have to party." Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx is a fun disc to annoy your friends, and what more could you ask for really?

"Lovingly and laboriously pieced together by co-producer David Singleton from a number of performances, this is marketed as an "official bootleg". What this term acknowledges is that the recordings were made on rudimentary cassette equipment with plenty of interference from crowd noise and other venue-related gremlins. However, Singleton has assembled, with judicious cutting and pasting, a strong CD which justifies his (and Fripp's) evident belief that this was worth the work spent on it.

"The League of Gentlemen's lone studio album was an awkward affair. Fripp puts this down to Johnny Toobad's departure and the fact that a recently inducted drummer played on most of the tracks. I think the real reason is that when captured clinically and pristinely, the sound of the League of Gentlemen comes across as... well... clinical. An intellectual exercise in setting Frippertronic patterns to a basic dance beat, as if merely to demonstrate the versatility of Fripp's invention. The silly titles -- 'Heptaparaparshinokh', etc -- and the snippets of quirky dialogue added to the impression of this being some sort of arch joke.

"Heard live, in the palpably sweaty confines of this official bootleg's North American venues, the music stands revealed as tight, aggressive dancefloor entertainment that almost sneakily manages to sound like no other dance music ever brought before the public. It does what it does with confidence and flair, and is genuinely groovy.

"It is unfortunate that the full version of the original League of Gentelmen LP is not available. While seeming to be uncertain if they were making an "Exposure" style art piece or a rock album, the band still managed to create an interesting work. But this "official bootleg" of the 1980 tour shows what the Leaugue really were: a new wave instrumental dance band. There are no vocals on this disc (with the exception of the audience), and much of the material was not drawn from the studio album.

"The music is about as far from King Crimson as Mr. Fripp has ever gone: every track has a simple dance beat, and the band members stick very close to the song riffs throughout. The trio of Andrews, Lee, and Toobad provide a strong, solid backing. Like the Crafties, they put down a "song" which Fripp plays over. Fripp's fret work is VERY fast, but not especially complicated: he often plays note patterns that move up and down the neck exploring various keys. Only occasionally does he break into a real "solo".

"We cannot call this music timeless: it is very 1980. (The riff to the title track, of which, by the way, there are three versions, sounds much like PIL's Keith Levine.) But that it captures a certain time and place is, along with some great playing, the recording's strength. It is also a good example of Mr. Fripp's highly respected "rock" playing during this purely non-Crimson period ("Scary Monsters" is another). New wave musicians and fans were very interested in Fripp, despite his connection to what was then thought of as "Dinosaur Rock". This disc shows us why that was so."

http://jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.blogspot.com/search?q=robert+fripp

Track listing:

Recorded live at El Mocambo, Toronto, 17-18 June 1980, and Harpo's, Detroit, 10 July 1980.

01 Inductive Resonance
02 Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx I
03 Trap
04 Boy At Piano
05 Heptaparaparshinokh
06 Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx II
07 Christian Children Marching, Singing
08 Ooh! Mr. Fripp
09 Dislocated
10 Minor Man
11 Thrang Thrang Gozinbulx III
12 Farewell Johnny Brill
13 Inductive Resonance II

Personnel:

Robert Fripp - (guitar)
Sara Lee - (bass)
Barry Andrews - (organ)
Johnny Toobad - (drums)