Monday, 2 January 2017

JOČR + others in Dialogy / Studie (1978) and the related Jazz Ze Studia "A" (1976)

What a beautiful album painting!  Many of these Eastern European artists had such an incredible visual sensibility...

Well here we go again with the iron curtain classicalized fusion.  I certainly never get tired of it and frankly it's shocking how much of it was made back in the day.

Note that the orchestra I've abbreviated as JOCR is described thusly:

Big band of the Czechoslovak Radio, originally established in 1960 in Prague as “Taneční orchestr Československého rozhlasu” (Czechoslovak Radio Dance Orchestra, 1967–1968 also known as Orchestr Karla Krautgartnera and led by Karel Krautgartner until 1968. Having identical personnel as the latter two, this orchestra name was used for jazz recordings and releases from 1962 until the early 1990s, usually conducted by Kamil Hála.

What is of note for the prog historian is that they played in a famous collaboration album with Modry Efekt (THE masters of Czech prog without a doubt): Nova Synteza 2.  That was in 1974.  It might be that these artists especially the pianist / composer Kamil Hala will be a rich vein of new material to mine.  We shall see.

From the earlier 1976 album Jazz Ze Studia A, the track called Fire River gives you an idea of the kind of tasty counterpoint fugal fusion we are dealing with:

Compositions by a variety of artists.

Moving on to the 1978 album, here listed.  Exactly as I was expecting we have a unique blend of jazz with modern classical music played by orchestra.  This time, compositions by Pavel Blatny.

The first track called D-E-F-G-H-A (why the H?) is quite unpromising, being in a deplorable C major, though it does have some nice brass fusion in the mid-section, sounding a bit like a salad university days exercise in composition.  On the other hand, track B2's Dialogue is quite atonal in its mastery:

It's hard to escape the influence of Stravinsky, wherever you might be, in space or in time.  I guess my one minor complaint would be that taken as a whole this is lacking in cohesiveness and seems to diverge abruptly between baroque-style classical and atonal elements, especially in the last track.  Also more than half of the total musical time comprises improvised solos, which is a bit above the median for Eastern European fusion.

I should also mention this other album in conjunction with Michael Kocab (remember him?) and Eva Olmerova, as worth seeking out and hearing.  Note that it was released officially to CD and therefore can't appear here by state rules and the Great Putin's direct orders, on penalty of getting all party emails hacked.  And all hail the Tiger-Bear of Siberia, future ruler of Greater Europa!  May your conquests exceed those of Alexander, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, British Empire, and Kardashians all combined!  And go on to planet(s) of Proxima Centauri, nearest non-sun star!  Hahaha!!  Let us drink toast of vodka to this, from oil barrel!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. new uploads
      1976 album
      1978 album

  2. hi there,
    why the H you wrote?
    probably because of this (from wikipedia):
    "In Germany, Russia, Poland and Scandinavia this pitch is designated B, with 'H' used to designate the B-natural (or enharmonically C♭). Since the 1990s, B flat is often denoted Bb or "Bess" instead of B in Swedish music textbooks. Natural B is called B by Swedish jazz and pop musicians, but still denoted H in classical music. See B (musical note) for an explanation."
    great blog by the way...;-)

  3. Thanks for the 1976 album, which I downloaded way back when. Would love to hear the 1978 album if there's any chance of a re-up :)

    1. sure, anything for you Simon, just give me a day or two

  4. Many thanks for the re-up, Julian!