Monday, 17 February 2020

Back with the rare & missing Francois Jeanneau Pandemonium (1988) but limited time only






The music here is all written by the great Jeanneau, the label at the bottom will take you, hopefully, to the other albums on this blog from him.  The keyboardist is Francois Couturier, who has also appeared before in connection with the Prao album posted long ago.  He collaborated a lot with bass player Jean-Paul Celea as you can see from their mostly joint discography.  On the other hand or rather on the other legs the violinist is Dominique Pifarely, who also appeared on Prao, and I posted two from his Levallet Marais Pifarely combo a long time ago (Instants Chavires and Eowyn).  And the occasional female vocals are provided by someone who should be familiar too, Timna Brauer.  Does everyone still remember her wonderful, long-extinct and abandoned album that I (and probably only I) posted here?  Anyways, a long enough artist introduction.  The point is we all know and love Jeanneau and his very intellectual progressive jazz compositions by now.

The music is big band for the most part with hints of fusion, very similar to the Orchestre Nationale stuff I posted, less similar to the earlier Pandemonium from the early eighties, not much like his masterpieces Curieuse Planete and Ephemere.

Note that the famous and brilliant 1940 Tango (it has its own wiki page, not surprisingly) by my favourite Stravinsky is given Timna's wordless vocals on top:





I just love how Strav used the tango rhythm with totally f***ed up harmonies as if to permanently mess with those latin heads and dancers: "what the heck kind of tango is this??"  As others have pointed out before, this is the musical analogy to Picasso's cubist deconstructions.

The last track uses a nifty fusion riff to open up the chart but devolves into a standard Ellington-like jazz scale in C (like Sir Duke, by Stevie), but then moves into post bop territory, the kind of birth of the cool stuff that Miles and Gil Evans did back in the late fifties.  Everything old is new again:




Note that the long track called 09-27 is really good too, it's side-long in length.  Look out for that one.
Overall, a surprisingly strong set of compositions for such a late year, 1988.  But we know the French continued to make great progressive music well into the 80s. Mais chouette, quelle baguette!!



Saturday, 15 February 2020

Electric Chamber Orchestra (1988) and Ayers Rock from Australia








I was led to seek out this album, a one-off by this band with the perfect for this blog artist name. on the strength of the composition Angel in Disguise by reed player, composer and arranger Col Loughlan, which appeared on the masterpiece second Ayers Rock album (i.e. 1976's Beyond), hopefully, everyone reading this is totally familiar with them.

As is usual with these records, the heart-breaking back blurb advertises the wonderful new world of melded, progressive music combining the best of European classical, American jazz, and rock-- what a rude surprise the future sometimes turns out to be, especially for those dinosaurs like T. Rex when they were bonked on the head by an asteroid 66 millions years ago:

Nowadays the once-rigid boundaries between the musical styles of classical, jazz, and rock have become as fused as the music itself, the different disciplines now appeal well beyond their traditional territories, leaving the way open for the Electric C. O. to offer something new, appealing and different to music lovers of all tastes. Please enjoy this collection of morning impressions.

Unfortunately, the music is more fused together light fuzak and even lighter Vivaldi.  As unappealing as that sounds, there are some nice moments here and there.  The oddly titled track called Bul-bul actually proved to have some inventive chord changes but wound up too short:





Wednesday, 12 February 2020

White Orange, from Sweden, 1980





This band from Sweden made only one all-instrumental album, with the typical fusion sound of the period, as exemplified by the first track, called Eat Your Heart Out:





You can see from the information that it's essentially an octet, with 4 brass players (sax, trombones, trumpet).  So it's a little bit more in the 'Noctett' direction of jazz versus the more guitar-oriented fusion of fellow Scandinavs Kornet.  Some good charts, some good compositions, and not well known at all: well worth hearing.


Monday, 10 February 2020

Denmark's Drops, 1976




A one-off fusion group from Denmark this time, information here.  Centrality of the flute as for so much Euro-fusion.  First track, with the very Hopperian title (as in Hugh) Minitransport, gives you a taste of these presumably alcoholic drops:





This track written by keyboardist Henrik Langkilde, who was in the famous proto-prog group called Thors Hammer.  On the other hand the flautist, Jesper Nehammer, appeared on the first Heavy Joker LP, a well-known fusion album you all should have already, 'with Max Leth Junior'.  Their follow up Caesars Palace, equally magnificent.  Both of these bear quite a bit of resemblance to the earlier Drops work, which is perhaps a little bit more sedate, approachable, and dare I say muzacky.

Anyways, that's Drops, part of the endless line-up of great Euro-fusion of the seventies.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Fred Israel's Fashions of the Moon, 1977



Information here, seemingly a one-off from this artist.

Three long tracks of just blissfully bizarre progressive rock in the best tradition of dissonances, weird sounds and chords, oddball melodies, and of course Tolkien references.  Perhaps the most similar album is from Holland, the great Koen de Bruyne's Here Comes the Crazy Man, which was recently released on 2 CDs with some amazing bonus piano compositions.  Strong recommendation for that one too.

So we're dealing with crazy indeed, the craziness of young and super-creative musicians filled with ideas and new chords, new sounds, new dramas to fill our ears with, things we've for sure never heard before.  Consider the track called Gandalf's Return:





Three long tracks, all crazy prog.  Masterpiece. Again.