Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Ananta from 1978 to 1982

From discogs:

Venezuelan band ANANTA was formed in London, UK by Ilan Chester and the brothers Jorge and Charly Spiteri in the late 70's. They were joined by Mark Francis, Patrick Bernard and Dave Early .

Probably most already know their first 2 albums, which have some really tasty passages of symphonic style progressive with hints of the South American style but mostly based on standard US/Genesis-inspired prog, like North Star.  But I was surprised to see they also released a cassette in 1982 which was different, upbeat and funky-disco in parts, amazingly well-written in terms of songs. The opener, Watch it go:

As a whole I found this hugely enjoyable actually.

Now consider Behind the Mask from the first album from 1978:

That classic prog sound is so delicious.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Georges Rabol in Jazz Training pour la Danse 1980 and Aenaon, 1981

From discogs:

French musician, equally at ease with piano, harpsichord & organ.
Career in classical music and jazz.
Was the pianist in the French radio show on France Inter, Le Tribunal des Flagrants Délires (1980/1983)..
Born in Paris in 1937,
Died on the 21st of July, 2006.

Here are two piano-based albums, the first very libraryish with different themes, exactly as you'd expect from the description here.  For ex., the Disco Cross with no disco:

The second is a little better with some wonderful compositional ideas and creative sounds that would've been just wonderful, I think, with a fusion band playing different parts.  Each track is dedicated to another musician for ex., El Rat, for Martial Solal:

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Berklee's Jazz in the Classroom with Volumes X, XII, XIII

Regarding Jazz in the Classroom which I'm surprised didn't come up some years back when I was digging up those college LPs:

Jazz band comprised of the students of Berklee School Of Music and released on the school's own imprint Berklee Records.

There's been a neverending series of great musicians that went through the doors of Berklee in Boston.  In fact on the back of the XII record some pretty famous names are mentioned such as Masahiko Satoh and Miroslav Vitous. On the discogs main page other luminaries such as Gary Burton, Michael Mantler, Mike Gibbs, Charlie Mariano...

Apologies for the stupid cover art certain rippers / vinyl collectors perversely put with their rips as if to say 'ha, I own the record and you don't'-- a habit I personally detest, being as you all know very much into sleeve art.

We have three installments here, I want to mention first that our old favourite Jason Stock reappears with his immortal Jacob's Tailor composition on Volume XIII:

Maybe you don't remember, the Humber College Band on the way to Montreux played that incredible arrangement here.

Both Vol. XIII and the Volume XII (database has been left incomplete stupidly) which I bought and ripped have a series of inventive and imaginative charts full of great and creative, youthful ideas, which is fitting since they are spread out among different composers. There are a couple of traditional or folk song tracks which were arranged by some of the students, including one by our fave Satoh (multiple posts).

The Vol. X subtitled "A Tribute to Charlie Mariano" which appeared earlier is a bit more disappointing being further back in time.  It has been neglected from the database.  The arrangement of Star Gaze sounds a lot like the old Gil Evans arrangements for Miles Davis in his Birth of the Cool period:

We'll see if we can complete at least the later albums from the series (those from the 70s, as usual).

Monday, 11 January 2021

Ramon Farran - El Corto Vuelo Del Gallo from 1980 Spain

Here's a totally unknown one.  Discogs bio:

Spanish jazz drummer, composer and conductor, born in Barcelona in 1939. Son of R. F. Tutusaus, he started very young playing drums in his father's big band, "Orquesta Plantación". His career was oriented to jazz-fussion, and he played with Sonny Rollins, Don Byas, Chet Baker or Joe Henderson. He was producer in the 60's (Juan y Júnior) and composed for Julio Iglesias. He composed also the soundtrack for TV series "Los marginados". He wrote the soundtrack for "Ilegally yours", by Peter Bogdanovich. Founder in 1999 of Orquesta Nacional De Jazz De España (ONJAZZ), officially known as "Fundación Orquesta Nacional de Jazz de España" (FONJAZZ).

The first track introduces the theme with its characteristic circle of fifths Italian seventies soundtrack like sound, which is repeated so many times through the entire record albeit in different variations that I daresay by the end you will probably be tired of it:

It appears this is a soundtrack too, all instrumental, with some folk and some acoustic elements, a wide variety of different approaches and sounds, but in the end not quite as prog as I would have liked, despite the description which as always shows an aptness to be misleading, unlike on this blog where we are brutally honest.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Dzyan's Mandala, recorded 1972 [limited time only]

'Recorded "live" to analog 2-track at SWF-Studio U1, Baden-Baden (Germany), October 27, 1972'
'Produced by SWF, nowadays SWR, 1972'

For once those CD reissue people found a decent cover painting to keep the continuity with the original album covers (in this case, Long Hair).  This is just a stunning artifact of the early 70s German fusion scene, and as one reviewer mentioned on the discogs site, it's even better than their ST debut album from 1972, already extremely good itself.  The opening track called Resurrection just takes me straight up to heaven, in fact it would just about make me Lazarus himself with its raw and uncompromising dissonant chords, so similar to the zeuhl spirit of for example Xalph or the extreme prog dissonance / modern music sound of for example Swiss Island's Pictures:

Even more shocking is when it transforms into a with vocals track with an absolutely uncompromising melody.  Hard to believe it was left off that first album!

The main composer and founder Reinhardt Karwatky here was just so on top of his game, it's astounding.