Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Mini Jazz Klub 29 with Jazz Fragment (1980)

This band made an LP called Anaconda in 1987-- anyone know if it's good?
Much earlier they made this phenomenal EP of all-out high intensity crossfit maximum heartrate fusion:

Isn't that delightful?

Monday, 18 June 2018

Mini Jazz Klub 28, 1980 (Quintetto di Giorgio Gaslini)

Italian composer Giorgio Gaslini has a huge output as you can see, and moreover he is blessed with a wikipedia page.  I'd be curious to know if there is something worth hearing somewhere in that stuff.  On the other hand his quintet didn't make too much, this Mini Jazz Klub its first production being a bit stuck in the trad. jazz territory versus fusion I found a slight bit disappointing.  The last track, Praga Song:

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Jumping to 1980: Formace JQ in Mini Jazz Klub 27

An amazing little gem by a band who seemingly never made anything else, unfortunately.  This came relatively late in the series but is squarely in the synth-library and fusion territory of the mid-70s.

The songs are all named after famous astronomers and the opener on the topic of Galileo is just so hugely enjoyable:

It reminds me a bit of the library work of Oscar Rocchi, whose work we featured before in his involvement as the Modern Sound Quartet.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Impuls in Mini Jazz Klub 7, 1977

As was the case with Energit last time, the Impuls Mini Jazz Klub material was recycled for the CD release of the 1977 Impuls album along with all the Jazzrockova material.  So those who had that CD copy will find nothing new here at all in this post, a common occurrence presumably for some.

The EP tracks however are outstanding, well worth hearing, and probably better than the tracks on the LP release, consider:

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Energit in Mini Jazz Klub 6, 1977

This EP was added in along with the Energit track "Superstimulator" from Jazzrockova II to the CD reissue of Energit and Piknik.  (The latter includes some rock-like live performances that proved quite disappointing.)

Their Mini Jazz Klub proved fantastic, though:

Of course, just after the ST album they were at the height of their game.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Famous Czech fusioneers Jazz Q, Impuls and Energit in the Jazzrockova Dilnas from 1975 and 1977

In relation to the Mini Jazz Klub series (more to come on that subject later) I noticed these other Panton LPs with the famous bands Jazz Q, Energit and Impuls (plus another band called CHASA with a very disappointing ethnic entry, who apparently never had an LP release).  I think you have already all the albums of those 3 biggies.  (In relation to the middle band, the Lubos Andrst album Capricornus is one of my all-time favourite fusion albums too featuring as it does that supernatural European fusion mix of chamber music and intelligent composition.)  And Martin Kratochvil with that amazing April Orchestra posted years ago here played in Jazz Q, just to remind you.

As far as I know none of these tracks appeared on the released LPs from the seventies which the bands put out.  Some, perhaps all, did show up later on the recent CD reissues.

From the first album it's Impuls' Sly mastery of hard fusion that just knocks me flat-out:

Now turning our attention to the possibly superior second album the most noteworthy entry is the Jazz Q track oddly entitled Na Shledanou, Joan: 

Martin really had a gift for combining (early "mashup"?) blues or jazz-based patterns with his classical education in music, as in this piece.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Kenneth Knudsen and Anima, 5 albums: Pictures (76), Anima (79), Kilgore (80), Songs (82), and Shanghai Circus (86) [LIMITED TIME ONLY]

Recall I posted once his Anima work in lossless, and a beautiful work that was and is, eternally.  The number of visits to and downloads on that post (numbering in the kilos) testify to its (killer) popularity.  But in my opinion his masterpiece was its predecessor called Pictures, from 1976.  And of course to be complete one would have to include the more experimental material he did in Coronarias Dans (two albums, both recommended).

Moving on to the 80s from Anima the album, the band with the same name and led by him is interesting at least in part for the progressive quality of Kilgore, with its fusion elements, and occasional (late) Genesis sound, plus the prog-pop of Songs.  I think someone once asked for a rip of that one too and it was posted in comments somewhere, but here it is again.   And then after that, of course, by the year 1986, we take a nosedive into silly 80s rock, with portentous talk and reggae, inevitably.

The track called Signal from his first record just blows me away, esp. with its hearkening back to the electric piano work of Coronarias:

What's especially remarkable to me though is how far he advanced since the Coronarias album that just preceded, in terms of inventiveness and variety, it's as if we are on a different planet here.

Just to give you an idea, from 1980's Kilgore, the following interesting track called Circles is clearly beholden to Peter Gabriel:

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

(Kyriakos Sfetsas in) Greek Fusion Orchestra's Without Boundaries from 1980

Some might already be quite familiar with this, but I never heard of it until very recently.

The masterpiece of Kyrias Sftesas, who composed quite a bit of music, I would bet this was the only progressive album he made, and it's quite the impressive work.  It features four long tracks, all equally wonderful in some way or another, perhaps similar a bit to Vanessa's Black and White masterpiece though with less of the intense electric fusion, more classical and acoustic piano passages.

My favourite in terms of sheer unbridled creativity is the Ballad for John:

The university composition education really shines through here.

Does anyone know if he did anything else worth hearing?

Monday, 4 June 2018

Honma Express in You See I from 1980 Japan

A fantastic cover again.  Clean, inventive and modern.  Love it.

This album is mostly light fusion, electronic elements, pop songs, some library aspects to it, and some simplicity that is a bit gratuitous, however, there are also strong and well-written songs here and there.  The tracklist gives you an idea of the craziness on tap from this one-off band, named after Kenji Honma (is it a one-man band work too?)

Unit Cohesion Index
What The Magic Is To Try
Fata Morgana
Crazy Dream
Child Of Fortune
Idle Curiosity (with the voice synthesizer or vocoder was it called)

Notice the National Health-like introduction to Crazy Dream which unfortunately quickly reverts to straightforward library synth-fusion:

A really nice record, enjoyable for a few listens, and I'm very grateful for this discovery to my friend...

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

More Jun and possibly the last to post here: Paris Story, with Takashi Sato in 1985

Old as I am, I miss so much the kind of true art featured on this cover that was such a wonderful added feature of records from back in the day.  Many times I've mentioned how due to the constraints of the small size of CD covers and the plastic jewel cases, so much less amenable to creativity today's album covers are-- they have to be. (Then again, you could also make the case that the sixties and seventies were a golden age of creativity like the renaissance.)  I love the kind of scratchy impressionism the artist used to depict the cafe scene, like a Matisse interpreted by a somewhat depressed graffiti artist (e.g. Basquiat).  (So I went searching through the paperwork and found the artist's name: Yuzo Saeki, an early 20th century fauvist artist.  Beautiful stuff.)

This album features an instrumental (duh-?) program of compositions by Takashi Sato, a singer songwriter, played with orchestral accompaniment by Jun.  To be honest, some wordless vocals by both human males and females here.  The second track is exemplary:

Btw note the presence of Roland Romanelli, shockingly I might add, as arranger in the credits. He is responsible for some really great French library material, mostly in the electronic keyboards dept., you might recall him on these pages from some April Orchestras, numbers 38 (brilliant, with Jannick Top), and 43 (a more generic and forgettable one, if I recall).  I believe he has added a French soundtrack-like dimension to this record, reflecting the title of the album, which really pushes it over the edge for me.  You'll notice that for example on a track called Mr Blues which sounds like it came from one of those French movies in which, you know, all the actresses take all their clothes off at least once before the end credits.  Sometimes several times, each time going further, until not even a beret is left on.

Enjoy it!  And let's give thanks for the genius of Jun, whose albums have been just a never-ending series of riches and delights.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Heads up for a(nother) masterpiece; In Flight : Imagine a Music, USA 1987

Another surprise out of left field (how many curve balls could still be out there in the hinterlands waiting to be caught?)  Though you might from the title be expecting some fusion, this is a gorgeous mix of earliest Shadowfax-style acoustic guitar and keyboards chamber-jazz intellectual inventiveness, mostly instrumental, and it's as rare as it comes, with no mention in discogs or rateyourmusic (so far as I can tell).  I hear influences of Chick Corea in his acoustic moments, or perhaps the law-abiding classical thought patterns of someone like Matthias Frey.

Reading off the back, we learn it's a West Coast band and we have Robi Johns on guitars, and the brothers Lee Kohler and Rob Kohler on pianos and drums.  No mention of anything else from these artists on discogs, again, so far as I can tell.  All three perform for the vocal number which I included below.

Does it sound influenced by Yes, particularly in the lyrics dept.?  Definitely, if Yes decided to do unplugged.

Be sure to take a closer look at the photos of the members on the back too, showing how far into the 80s, anachronistically for the style of music, we are here.

Really can't believe that after all this time and effort in finding the hidden music from the past, all over the world I might add, that we can still mine these gems out of the ground of the past and add to the treasure trove, wherever you might be digitally keeping it safe....

Friday, 25 May 2018

Back to the Beauty of Bojoura in 1970 with Thijs Van Leer, lossless now

I hope some remember this album posted in inadequate rip in prognotfrog days.
She was assisted here by ex-Focus Thijs van Leer (whom we featured in the masterpiece Pedal Point project earlier on these pages) and in my opinion said able assistance led to this being pushed over Mount Olympus to masterpiece level LP creation, despite the presence of some ho-hum cover songs along the lines of the stupid "Wintertime Love" (surely one of the worst Doors songs to select out of their great songbook).

From discogs;

Real Name: Rajna Gerardina Bojoura Cleuver - van Melzen
Profile: Bojoura was born at The Hague, Holland, on April 15, 1947. She is the daughter of Dany Zonewa, a well-known opera-singer and music-teacher of Bulgarian origin. Bojoura (the Bulgarian name for peony) was discovered by George Kooymans of Golden Earring in 1967. One of his songs (‘Everybody’s Day’) landed her on the local hit parade and made her an instant success: she has won the popularity polls ever since. During the 1967-68 season she became the hostess of the AVRO-TV programme “Vjoew” in which she interviewed The Supremes as well as Truman Capote. In the summer of 1968 an invitation followed to represent the Netherlands at the “Festival Orphée d’Or” in Burgas, Bulgaria. In 1969, her version of “Frank Mills” from the musical Hair hit the top of the local bestsellers lists. As a result of this success she has been making personal appearances with the Thijs van Leer trio and scored a hit with ‘The Letter’. 
After her musical career, Bojoura married with Hans Cleuver, drummer of Focus who later became their manager. They got two daughters Laurie and Emilie and a son Jurriaan. Daughter Emilie is active at the drumming-school (like her father) at Scheveningen (The Hague). Bojoura studied several languages at master-level and ‘till today she is a teacher in foreign languages like English and Russian.

A great story I would say for an almost unbelievably beautiful woman.  Surprising she only put out 2 LPs, one fewer than the number of kids, but a bunch of singles after the last LP (this one).  Her earlier work called Night Flight was clearly inferior (mp3 included down below) with some really really ordinary pop renditions.  I also tried to collect some of the singles in one really annoying batch for your curious perusal.

Here's the track list for this album:

A1 Black Sheep Child (Tim Hardin)
A2 Last Thing On My Mind (T. Paxton)
A3 The Wizard And The Girl (B. Cleuver, T. van Leer)
A4 Flora (Mezzetti, Travers, Stookey)
A5 The Swallow And The Calf (Trad., B. Cleuver, T. van Leer)

B1 Comes A Time (B. Cleuver, T. van Leer)
B2 Time It Goes By (B. Cleuver, E. Nober, T. van Leer)
B3 The Days Of Love (B. Cleuver, T. van Leer)
B4 Wintertime Love (The Doors)
B5 Back Street Girl (M. Jagger - K. Richards)
B6 Why Do They Go Back Home (B. Cleuver, J. Akkerman, T. van Leer)

It's important to note that the credit to Cleuver is Bojoura of course, who contributed the lyrics to 6 songs, with van Leer composing. (I'd go so far as to say the cover tunes are rather forgettable, esp. that atrocious Doors song.)  Thijs wrote the liner notes on the back and mentions that he set poems of hers to music.  Well, a sample line is "Time it moves fast, like a river to the sea," so that gives you an idea of her writing-- not quite also Made in Bulgaria's Radka Toneff and Sylvia Plath's Ariel poem or Giovanni.  Btw her name is the Bulgarian word for Peony, you will learn.  Interesting stuff.

For me the most heart-breaking arrangement (complete with bassoon and oboe) and composition, apparently from a traditional song, is the Swallow and the Calf:

For those who don't know this record, but, surprisingly are quite familiar with the stuff I posted on this blog, the closest similar album is the first from Carita Holmstrom.  Her voice though sounds a lot like Mary Hopkin, the well-known discovery of Apple records who was, perhaps, ruined by the huge success of her song "Those were the days, my friend..."  And she made a wonderfully unknown folk masterpiece called Earth Song subsequently.
--those were indeed the days, ladies!

What a shame their association ended after this record, though Thijs would go on to produce his masterpiece only few years later, Oh My Love, one of my all-time favourite records.