Friday, 18 August 2017

More from William S. Fischer in The Black Composer in America (late 60s)




When I saw this of course I had to get it, especially with the honest naivete of the title.  Whether or not you enjoy this depends entirely on your taste in modern classical music complete with belted out soprano and domineering string section much like a loud abrasive and nag-prone wife, because that's what we have here.

William S. Fischer was mentioned earlier in connection with the amazing Akelarre album. In the liner notes we see he was born in 1935 in the Mississippi delta, and by this time, was already the musical director for Atlantic records.  The composition by him is almost atonal, if not wholly so, a 10-minute long prickly beast that will probably manhandle your patience into submission with its monster frightfulness.

Information is here, but reading the liner notes is more fruitful.  The shortest track is a song at the end of side a, by William Dawson:





While the lullaby for a jazz baby is sweet:





Music is played by the Oakland Youth Orchestra.




Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The amazing Igor Bril (or Brill) and his Ensemble, 1978 to 1984














Hot on the heels of the Allegro, here is my favourite Russian composer after Nazaruk,  Igor Bril or Brill, who made three orchestral fusion albums which are absolute masterpieces of the genre.

Each of the albums appears with at least one more cover, some quite beautiful as you can see from the series below for the third album, Twilight from 1985.  The middle one is called An Orchestra Came and is the most well-known but all are worthy, with the first in my opinion being the best.

Here is the group discography, you can see Igor on his own did a few other records, which I don't know anything about, any info is welcome, and the fact it's written in cyrillic is highly annoying since it makes it impossible to search across the database or sometimes on google (e.g. to check ebay availability).

Unlike the case with the Allegro Ensemble, Igor packs a ton of ideas in each LP as if he had too much to say and too little time, there is a minimum of wanky improv, most of which is of high interest since it's usually some spacey synthesizer that rather than sounding extemporized actually sounds preprerared.  You can compare the first Brill album with any college LP and try to pull up your pants because the magnitude of the composition is seemingly out of this world, yes, as if it was written by brilliant aliens from a much more advanced (musically) planet, with its classical influence, as always, Strav and others, and its total mastery of music, every minute with a surprising 'twist' on some chord change or even just a well-thought out piano chord.

On the first album the long track is the title track ("Morning of the Earth," it seems to be called) and it bears very close resemblance to the aforementioned Forest Awakens of Igor Nazaruk which I'll reupload downstairs here.  When you listen you'll see there are turns and switches so that essentially a normal musician's entire 2-LP set has been zip-packed into a fifteen minute composition.  It just makes my jaw drop, particularly when Igor solos an improvisation that is almost otherworldly on the grand piano.

From the first album, And One Day:





Notice how original the unusual synthesizer or keyboard sounds are here, so much more interesting than our old college band LPs, not fair maybe to compare with those.

From the second, Today and Tomorrow:





From 1984's Twilight or Before Sunset. this is Silver Cloud:





Disappointingly perhaps, the long track on this last album (the title track) is somewhat short on ideas.  So soon, some six years following the first in 1978?  However Igor retained the (brilliant) use of unusual keyboard sounds, including in some places the signature Mike Ratledge fuzzboxed hammond.

Note always the heavy classical influence with Strav, Prokofieff, and even the Ravel 'impressionist' piano works popping up.





Monday, 14 August 2017

Saxophonist Sergey Gurbeloshvili in Simple and Complex




Recently my ipod classic crashed-- I still use that antique electronic device due to its huge storage capacity, resulting in flacs being my bane-- from one day to the next the hard drive failed, and apparently after going to several repairmen,  I found out the data is unrecoverable though I was willing to spend a lot on the process. So after replacing the HD I had the task of reconstituting years of music and playlists, many albums whittled down to one favourite song, out of all the terabyte backups I had assembled over several different HDs.  Luckily the blog stuff was kept separate so those albums were easy to access (kept for the tedious task of reupping dead links).  Well it astounded me going back to 2013, 2014, what an immense quantity of great music was posted on these pages, literally hundreds of fantastic albums which often were completely unknown to humanity before (The Exceptions, for ex.).  And I'm not being boastful here because I say it only to give credit to the many people who have contributed (willing or not) to this costly labour of love.  It's true that sometimes when I've run out of material to post I go back to the oldest HDs to see what treasures I discovered elsewhere from others that I've enjoyed immensely, and this album is an example of exactly that.

To give full credit first of all to the helpers there's the uber Tom Hayes (Genre Commercial Success, Ginga Rale Band), and the amazing and mighty osurec (so many, Bob Bath Band, Sailor Band, Natural Life, etc.), but then there are all the over the world-dispersed friends who are willing to collect so many records to find the one pearl out of hundreds of ugly oysters, and I never can believe they are willing to do it-- I have a budget of 2-300 dollars a month at most beyond which I don't let myself go, for the sake of my family and children, and that's sometimes only one or two LPs when it comes to Italian library.  Then there are the requests from commentators which turned out shockingly good (Michel Herr, Simon and Bard), and the discographies that had to be completed to discover beautiful gems (Orexis, Capon and Escoude come to mind), then there are random discoveries that shocked me (Xavier Genet, Gerard Pisani).  In fact, checking back to 2013 to titles I completely forgot about, I knew that if my heart jumped to see a name or album cover, there was music that I treasured like a jewel back then (Bertha and Friends) and then promptly forgot about with the niagara waterfall of new stuff to listen to every day to the present time.

All I can do is to thank those people who helped me, many of whom fell aside on the way for understandable reasons, usually because (real) life got in the way, because the financial penalty was too great, the exhaustion built up too much to ignore, or simply they resented the fact that I've dedicated so much to being publicly accessible, since very few want their records to be shared with anybody anywhere (many of whom then turn around and claim the rip as their own on their own blogs for example, without credit). There is so much time to be taken up with researching records which might be good, buying them, ripping then, scanning the art, compared to a few seconds of downloading a file...  But it's worth the trouble, at least for me.  Recently I got a post on the Gold Night Ride album from the wife of the composer, Bob Wamnes, thanking me for comments about his genius.  That's why I call it a labour of love.  And as George Benson said, as long as there's a song to be sung, my heart will be younger than spring...

Information on this record can be found here.  The magnificent complex composition closing it out called Prelude:





I'm reminded of two of my favourite old American 'Jazz with Strings albums,' Freddie Hubbard's The Love Connection (1979), and Wynton Marsalis's Hot House Flowers (1984).  Of course, I've said before the Americans were never able to organically conjoin the classical tradition with jazz as well as the Europeans did, to my utter shock when the era of internet music sharing began after napster in the 2000s, because until then I grew up with Miles Davis and Sketches of Spain as the template for the best true 'fusion' music.  When my Swedish friend sent me the Finnforest CD  (through the original napster program, way back when) I fell out of my chair when I realized how much superior this was.  God bless Shawn Fanning.)

On the former album, the track called "This Dream" by Claus Ogerman featuring his typical intelligence mixed with delicatesse, is one of my all-time favourites.
His album with Akkerman which comprises reinterpretations of classics is also highly recommended.

More to come from Gurbeloshvili, and the former soviets...

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The compleat Allegro Jazz Ensemble, 1980 to 1986: Contrasts, In This World, Golden Mean, and Sphinx















Very similar to the Boomerang albums from before, this large fusion ensemble produced 4 records featuring long tracks with overlong improvisation and less chamber music than one would expect considering the country of origin.  Of course there is always the classical influence here and there, but not to the same degree as for example Jazz Celula or any other Eastern EU fusion outfit.

Most of the tracks are too big to load up for free listening, but here's a lovely little composition full of interesting fusion textures from the second album, specifically it's In This World's Movement III:





From the first, the Concertino II:





More Russian music to come, for our friends in the white house.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Francis Monkman's missing album Dweller on the Threshold from 1981 [temporary only]



I guess I wasn't as complete as I thought in the Monkman catalogue, suddenly there appeared this release from 1981.  And as you know we here believe in completeness, given that there can be such surprises when you follow like an ant the scent trail of these wonderfully inventive artists who had such progressive potential within them from the very start, think my favourite, Orexis and Georg Lawall...

It's a bit shocking to see the level of star involvement in the musicians' list here, with (on some tracks) Ironton, Darryl Way on violin, Andy Latimer on bass, Bryan Ferry, Michael Giles (originally in KC of course) on drums.

A far-too positive review appears on progressor (first paragraph):

A solo album of the well-known multi-instrumentalist (Curved Air, 801, Sky), one of those underestimated works of the early 80s, the darkest time in the whole history of progressive, a time of the reign of the punk and disco stuff. The contributors also include such famous people as Andy Latimer of Camel and Julia Rathbone - a permanent female singer for Monkman's solo. Also, on Monkman's latest album of 1998 the lead vocals are from the two of them (by the way, their voices haven't changed for all those years: a kind of severe vocal from Maestro himself and a light, dramatic Julia's voice). As it is the case with the most progressive performers at the time, Monkman did add the modern electric sound. However, contrary to the prog musicians that turned to that path, the bright, fashionable synth flashes and accentuated rhythm guitar riffs here don't disappoint, quite conversely, they bring forward openly progressive themes and arrangements.


Best track is b3's The Glamour Of Magnetic Attraction Pulu Pshu with its really oddball melody, though the background 'throbbing' (to use the mandatory word in music reviews) rhythm section is a little too derivative (80s copycat) for my tastes.





I was really puzzled over the overall theme which makes this evidently a concept album, I thought maybe commissioned for a ballet or something, until I noticed some scans of liner notes on ebay and realized there is an insert here, on the record cover, which explains the thought processes.
Odd then that it ends with the christian psalm 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd).





From 'Ponder on This' a compilation from the writings of Alex Bailey and the Tibetan Master Djuchal Khul, reproduced by kind permission of the Lucas Trust.

Humanity is the Disciple-- the Time is Now

The Dalai Lama joins Duran Duran-- interesting.

Monday, 7 August 2017

More lovely Gianni Sposito with two late 80s soundtracks [temporary only]







If it can be believed, there is even better music from him waiting to be discovered, this one was hiding under an anglicized version of his name, as John Sposito-- pretty tricky...  Two libraries have been presented so far, Denebola and Cosmo Graffiti, with lots more priced out of arm's reach at least for the moment.

So, clearly you can see in the credits tracks 1 to 5 were from the former movie (in the above title) and tracks 6 to 13 from the latter, all composed and arranged by Sposito.  Adding together the times for the first handful reveals the obvious fact half of the original OST LP is missing, presumably the orchestral fillers or pop songs?  It would be nice to know if there weren't some treasures left out, though it seems the composer had a hand in this CD Remaster.

Let's hear the theme, the first magnificent track:





Pretty amazing and advanced compositional mastery here I think you'll agree.  And the fifth track (Pamela Loredana), the last drawn from this first movie, is also stunning, recalling all the wonderful and most beautiful library keyboard compositions of the past masters such as Rocchi, Tallino, Fusco, or one I haven't featured whom I dearly love, Persichetti.

Turning our attention now to that great database imdb, we can see the storyline of the first movie:

After a car incident, in which he lost his wife, a musician remains paralytic on a wheelchair. He retires in a lonely villa. Incidentally together with him in the villa there are also a bisexual, a lesbian and a vicious kid. The lascivious atmosphere drives all the protagonists into depraved games. But the pain for the loss couldn't be medicated.  

So many many Euro-movies were made of the same (lazy) plot: Decameron-like isolation in a beautifully set villa in the countryside leads to, for some reason, only nubile women wandering around naked among old men who, after reciting poetry, get their pick of the genitalia on offer...  Incidentally one that really stuck in my mind for my whole life, due to its outrageously sadistic treatment of the same theme, is Pasolino's movie Salo or 120 Days of Sodom wherein the setting instead is fascist Italy (I see from wikipedia it was "the 65th scariest film ever made [according to] the Chicago Film Critics Association in 2006").

Moving on to the next movie, as you can tell from the poster a horror movie, another style like softcore porn at which the Italians really excelled, recalling the Romans and their circuses, I think the exigencies of the genre unfortunately led to a simplification of the music-- definitely this is not at Goblin level (I guess, few are).

A family of 4 makes a long drive to Aunt Martha's house to visit her for the first time in years.  Only she isn't there.  Just the caretaker and his message that she will appear the next day... if they survive the night.  And survive Death Doomed:







(Incidentally on the CD the year 1987 appears, in the imdb it's 1988)


Saturday, 5 August 2017

Nuevos Aires from Buenos Aires







Here is another stunning lost discovery recently unearthed to my total surprise from a friend in Brazil, who has added all the information to be found below.   Stylistically, this greatly resembles the recent Membrillar I posted, or perhaps Virgilio's Jamin from long ago.  A full discography of the band is present on their guitarist Fernando Egozcue's web page, where more recent music is available for purchase.  Oddly enough he has changed the wonderful cover of the first record there, the gorgeous 19th century woodcut style surrealistic original can be seen here.

From my friend:

Nuevos Aires were a fusion of Tango, Rock and Jazz: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tango_music
Spanish language has lots more info: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tango#Melod.C3.ADa

The name of the first album [i.e. music from the city of new airs], that is the only album released in a cd edition [in fact it's even available for purchase on itunes] is from 1983 just before the Malvinas/Falklands war and the end of the dictatorship and the political persecutions.  Hence the "new airs," with a play of course on the Argentinian city of Buenos Aires.

The second album is the one here, and it's a ST.  First here are the tracks along with compositional credits and some notes:

Lado (side) A:

Viejos Aires (Egozcue) (the opposite of the group name old/new air, that's why its in capitals too, an allusion to the city of Buenos Aires)
Tema para Tortuga (MÈndez) (theme to Tortuga [island?])
Agua y Vino (Egozcue) (water and wine)
Primavera de un martes (MÈndez) (Spring [season] of a Tuesday or, perhaps, A Tuesday's Spring)
Los Mudos (Egozcue) (the mutes)

Lado B:

El sussurro de la luna (MÈndez) (the whisper of the moon)
Cupa (Egozcue)  (I don't know if it is the meaning of the name of the song Cupa, but the only Spanish explanation I've found was the top of a funerary monument)
Luna de luz de mercurio (Infancia) (MÈndez) (moon of a mercury light (childhood))
Fresco y dulce (Egozcue) (Fresh and Sweet)
Morder en el alma (MÈndez) (To bite in the Soul)

The Group is:
Claudio Mendez: piano and keyboards.
Andy Aegerter: drums and perc.
Fernando Egozcue: ac. and electric guitars
Pablo Sanchez: ac. and electric basses

Musicos invitados (guest musicians):
Daniel Binelli: bandoneón [The traditional Tango instrument, teamed with violin and piano, or at least an acoustic bass]. In certain groups the accordion (with keys) replaces the bandoneón and the piano.
Marcelo Moguilevsky: tenor sax
Cacho Tejera: congas

Producido por Litto Nebbia y Nuevos Aires
Grabado en estudio del Nuevo Mundo, enero de 1989 (recorded January 89)
Discos Melopea DMGN 002


Track one, the old aires:





Note the involvement of Litto Nebbia, who made a quintessential masterpiece of sung prog, but only one as far as I know, in his "seller of promises."

As I said, the first album is available on itunes for purchase, while the third, 1990 album, from this side of the world, we know nothing about it and I would love to get my hands on a copy to rip...
Please contact me if you want to sell a copy.









Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Wally Shorts' Turquoise, early 80s (?)






Probably one of my favourite keyboards album of all time, although the mysterious Wally Shorts plays flute on this all-instrumental dreamlike escapade from the Netherlands.  In some respects this is typical of a lot of other albums from the same country, some of which I've featured before here or here. Really scarce information, undoubtedly some reader will help, so for now I'll focus on the music.

Particularly celestial are the digital strings in the background of the title track, but using an acoustic bass soloing as well as a guitar improvising on the other channel to complement the flute's sustained notes which hold it all together in the middle, is without a doubt unique.  Then, another quieter flute adds texture on the guitar side later on:





You really feel like you're floating on a cloud on a beautiful day, perfect for the time of year.  It's that kind of textural feel that is totally missing from any music from any other period, setting aside modern classical music which is anyways lacking in the electronic instrument dimension.

In the next track, Carousel of Love, a relatively simple 1-2 chord change provides more substrate for the utter beauty of the flute melody:





And I promise you'll find several other great gemstones and sparkling colours in here.  As a whole it reminds me of another big favourite, Bjorn J-son Lindh's (only, in my opinion) compositional masterpiece called Bike Voyage II.  Everything comes together with strong songwriting, beauty a plenty, and a kind of musical consensus going all in the right direction.  (Which was fated to end so abruptly when the seventies page turned over to the eighties.)