Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Dustar Jazz Band's Black River

From discogs:

Real name: 
Дуҫтар» джаз-ансамбле / Джаз-ансамбль «Дустар» / The «Dustar» Jazz Band
Dustar was a Soviet jazz/prog-fusion band, founded in 1978 by saxophonist Marat Yuldybaev in Ufa, Bashkir ASSR. They toured around the Soviet Union, participating in youth festivals in Yaroslavl, Leningrad, Erevan, Moscow, Ufa, Tbilisi and other cities. Initially, Dustar was mostly acting as a backing instrumental ensemble for various Bashkir composers and folk singers. In later years, they also gave concerts in the USA.   In 1982, the band recorded Carousel – a collection of groovy pop-dance tracks. But musicians were always primarily interested in jazz, so in 1988, they released a much more mature second album Black River, featuring Miles Davis' E.S.P. (entitled Energy of Thought) and Yuldybaev's original jazz compositions. 

More fabulous Soviet fusionary compositions, this album is from the surprisingly late year of 1988, but as we know the Eastern sectors of Europe/Asia lagged far behind the West, though today of course as we well know they are far ahead of us in the realm of political authoritarianism.

The title track, with its lovely groove:

The third track, the Dance of the Bees might be familiar to you because it was included in the Soviet Rare Grooves compilation, and it's truly a wonderful composition with the exciting interchange from minor to major in the middle under soprano sax, Muffins-style, wailing above:

It's so common for Russian music to have that folk song influence, we saw that throughout our posts, as in the Anor (which apparently coincidentally was shared twice digitally i.e. in two separate rips although I thought I was the first) and Sunkar.  Of course, Russian composers going back to before Tchaikovsky used folk music for inspiration.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Jazz-Quintet of the Soloists, Barometer 1983

A gorgeous light fusion post-bop Charlie-Mingoidal album out of Russia, 1983, consider the beautifully breathy and sweet-flavoured second track called Three Horizons:

As fabulous as anything made in the great fusionary America of the seventies-- in fact, reminds me of the glory days of Freddie Hubbard, in the early 70s, before fusion became fuzak... (if only we could make fusion great again! get those hats out!)  Too bad it was so much easier for the East to copy musical memes than to copy Western democracy.  Of course today it's the reverse, the West is copying Putin's Russia, in a great example of how 'what comes around goes around.'  Progress is wonderful isn't it.

I've always loved the poetry in the fourth track's title of  "The Nonexistent Rain."  A lovely composition too.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Quadro Group - Night Dreams, 1988

A brief description only on discogs for the artist and this album which sounds deceptively like an early 80s record rather than late 80s-- perhaps a time machine spy.  Of course, the former CCCP did take some time to catch up to the West when it came to popular music as we well know, whereas in the realm of novichoks (nerve agent poisons) and Olympic athletic doping and chemical enhancements they were far, far ahead, so much so that we in the West really, to this day, could never even come close to their effortless advances in supreme technological mastery. And hacking into elections.

It was really a surprise to me when my friend brought out this rip, since I thought I was as familiar by now with Russian fusion albums as anyone in the Trump transition team could ever be.

Track A2, called Песня Без Слов (song without words) shows some nice composition skills with the minor chord progression:

Note that track B1 is a solo piano cover version of a wonderful Arsenal composition called
Preludia, from the Unreleased discs I think, or maybe it appeared as a bonus track on one of the CD Arsenals.  There were so many bonus songs released of course from those guys that they pretty much swamp out the legit released material, much like the situation they created with fake news.

A CD with the same name (as of today, not in the database) was released later in 1998 but included, oddly enough, only the first side of this vinyl and omitted the second.  Weird.  But, coming from a country that managed to cover up many nuclear disasters successfully, not even noteworthy.

I'm going to post a few more Soviet fusion LPs many out there might not yet be familiar with in the next few days and pray the muscovite trolls don't hunt me down for all the things I've said.  Lucky for me the Russians do have a wonderful sense of humour, as I'm reminded of every time I see one of their expatriate women.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Lithuanian composer Mindaugas Urbaitis: Mindaugo Urbaičio Dainos EP (1978) and Dainuojantis Ir Šokantis Mergaitės Vieversėlis (1981)

This composer's career started with a gorgeous EP of 4 short and simple songs with the utmost beauty and perfect delicacy, backed by acoustic guitar and a chamber string section.  Vocals are by Gintare Jautakaite (who also performs on the other album).  An early single of hers can be heard here.  Track B1 of the EP:

The 1981 album with libretto by Sigitas Geda is either a musical or a rock opera.  I bought the record when I heard a certain song on it and was blown away by its great beauty.  The song in question is much aided by the angelic & heavenly sound of Gintare's voice:

It amazes me how the composer travels through so many minor chords, like shifting waves, without the necessity of sticking to a clear key to keep us grounded.
On the other hand, the male vocalist's voice, often overly emotional in a theatrical manner, is really take it or leave it.

The photos below give you an idea of how Gintare was blessed with so much more than just a beautiful voice.

A photo of the composer:

Monday, 12 November 2018

A few from Attila Zoller

From wikipedia:

Zoller was born in Visegrád, Hungary in 1927. As a child, he learned violin from his father, a professional violinist. While in school, he played flugelhorn and bass before choosing guitar. He dropped out of school and played in jazz clubs in Budapest while Russia occupied Hungary. He fled Hungary in 1948 as the Soviet Union was establishing communist military rule. He escaped on foot, carrying his guitar through the mountains into Austria. He settled in Vienna, became an Austrian citizen, and started a jazz group with accordionist Vera Auer.

In the 1950s, Zoller moved to Germany and played with German musicians Jutta Hipp and Hans Koller. When American jazz musicians passed through, such as Oscar Pettiford and Lee Konitz, they persuaded him to move to the United States. He moved to the U.S. after receiving a scholarship to the Lenox School of Jazz. One of his teachers was guitarist Jim Hall and his roommate was Ornette Coleman, who got him interested in free jazz.

From 1962–1965, Zoller performed in a group with flautist Herbie Mann, then Lee Konitz and Albert Mangelsdorff. Over the years, he played and recorded with Benny Goodman, Stan Getz, Red Norvo, Jimmy Raney, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Shirley Scott, Cal Tjader, and Jimi Hendrix.[2]

In 1974, he started the Attila Zoller Jazz Clinics in Vermont, later named the Vermont Jazz Center, where he taught until 1998. He invented a bi-directional pickup, designed strings and a signature guitar series. He performed with Tommy Flanagan and George Mraz in New York City three weeks before his death in 1998 in Townshend, Vermont.

I mentioned him in connection with the last Lajos Dudas (literally) and his Association P.C. like style of angular riffing.  He has a huge output and I selected a few from the late sixties all the way to the early 80s when it becomes highly reasonable to cease and desist the investigation.

From the OST Katz & Maus (1966), Seascape:

From Dreambells (1976), Sudden Romance:

From Common Cause (1979), Meet:

As usual, his early riffs remind me a lot of the Association P.C. albums, whose guitarist of course was Toto the great.  (The also great Sigi Bussch wrote some of their songs too.)
The 1981 album is solo electric guitar and purely improvised and not to my liking..

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Back to the dreaded Mini Jazz Club series with No. 30: Alternativa, 1981

This particular EP, no. 30 in the consecutive series to which we've devoted so much love and attention, is really the brainchild of someone called Pavel Kralicek, who doesn't seem to appear in many places otherwise.  I would love to know I'm wrong about that.  Also appearing is the Czech Radio Ostrava Orchestra, aka Flamingo who was backup for my Maria Rottrova through the seventies.  Small world.

So what about the music?
Well, it's amazing, and it's tragic that this is all we have, from these fusion masters.  Would be wonderful if it turned out there's a full length album from Alternativa missing from the database.  The only possible misstep, surprisingly, is the inclusion of a M. Urbaniak track called Komar, which panders to a more commercial easy sound.  Apparently the ever-irritating Urszula Dudziak is performing the vocals on there too, with those bizarre chirping noises that never fail to make my kids laugh if by misfortune they overhear it on the car stereo.

The first track, apologies for getting tricked into buying a vinyl that wasn't at all near mint as advertised:

Here the sound is most similar to the recent Martin Kratochvil and the great Jazz Q, with the fantastic interplay between acoustic and synthesizer keyboards building up to that beautiful electric fusionary energy.  Just as good, in fact.

A great addition to the collection, altogether, and I'm sure everyone will agree with that.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

VA (incl. Rolf Kuhn and Roland Kovak) in Filmmusik 3

When you look at the contributors on this library it's definitely alluring, but unfortunately it turned out disappointing.  So first up you have Rolf Kuhn, brother of our beloved Joachim, but his tracks are pure old-school conventional jazz with nothing either fusioned out or original.  The great Roland Kovac, who made so much beautiful music including on other libraries of his own, throws in two church organ compositions that seem written in less than a thought.  The collection is rounded out with some simplistic classical tracks, some rhythm tracks, but on the whole not a lot of attempts at something memorable.  Incidentally this should not be confused with the more famous Irmin Schmidt Filmmusik albums, which are admittedly better.

Action Times, which is by Martin Bottcher:

A solo acoustic guitar track, out of the blue (Lazy Wind, by Vic Abrams):

I'll post a lossless because I know that flac lovers and library lovers are like a match made in heaven, like potato chips and computer games.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Full Throttle Jazz Band - Full Throttle! Haruhiko Ohyabu Sound Action - 1970 from Japan [review only]

Here's a stunning libraryish unknown from the vaults, hidden from our modern eyes from almost half a century ago, and if you glance at the database page you might, like me, begin to 'salivate like a Pavlov dog' at the contents hidden therein-- I mean, we've got jazz-rock representations of famous muscle cars of the sixties-- oh man!  First, look at the amazing cover art.  Think of how nice that would feel to hold a steering wheel made of steel with that triangular configuration like those old plastic 1.5" 45 rpm adapters that would stay inside each single...  and don't ever forget the rifle and handgun.  What? weapons?  Like, yeah, why not? You're not gonna pack a pistol in the glove compartment of that Alfa Romeo? 

Let me now show to the world this treasure, left neglected in some old basement (complete with functioning bar and pool table presumably) never heard by humans until today, ready for the light like a lost Matisse at Christie's of the apocalyptic hard rock revolution.  It's a slice of Datsun-Japanese Americana that speed reads all over the great interstates of the US of A with a go-go hyperactivity made musical in wailing sax-led bang-on jazz jam sessions like the hellraising soundtrack to a dusty road trip through whorehouses and Louisiana swamps where men will play the banjo and load a shotgun with the same hand, maybe because they only have one arm (gator got the other)...  Oh look there's Mancini's Pink Panther run over by a Chevy Corvair, there's the Roadrunner at-long-last blown to fuzzbox smithereens by that acme improvised fusion device on the Sonoran Desert road, along with the martyr Roadkill E. Coyote...  and there's the Grand Canyon on the Western rim, let's Evel Knievel our Corvette over and make it to the other side-- oops we missed we have to grab the tiny bush hanging from the ledge...

And it's all permeated by hypnagogic, disheveled, psychedelic gasoline fumes as the bass monkeys up and down those fat metal strings like big mango trees and obviously Mr Hammond is blues-scaling his flat blues notes and hammering his dissonant 7ths like musical notation penned by Will Burroughs of Naked Lunch fame at the Aphrodisiac Inn, pink flamingos in front of course, out back the outdoor pool with plastic chaise lounges to trip your acid on as the avant-free-jazz workout turns into a jungle of sound you can't machete out of without tearing your polyester bell bottom pants off:

Check out the James Bond Girl foreplay moans soundtracking sexy-sax taxi-driver-style making out all the way to third base in the Maserati Quattroporte, martini in hand, movin' it on to the comfy barcalounger at the no vacancy motel:

till she runs off holding her B-cup bra down the driveway, and you mustang-sally pedal to the stratocaster pickup metal and all night long you rev, rpm the rem to the Route 66 of dreams, roaring your 666 hp motor like ye ol' MGM lion of a sushi-grade Detroit, Japa-Jazz yabadaba Rock City and don't forget your heat: spewing out lead from the guitar, lead from the colt 44, lead from the low-octane Texaco outta that rumblin' muffler into the screw you clean air act...

Oh yeah, it's a legitimate representation of sixties-seventies zeitgeist fit for time capsule consumption by those cosmonauts, those paleontologists of the future, post-anthropocene, who will quizzically examine this beastly vinyl tyrannosaur and wonder, what the hell do jazz-rock and sports cars have to do with each other???  At least, until they pop the 8-track into the working "Shelby Cobra" and fall back down into that daredevil canyon where the bottom rocks are 3 billion years old and the rock 'n' roll is eternal...

You'll see on discogs that only one copy is available, and it's never been sold before-- talk about a rarity!  We're lucky to get a taste.   Here's one that I suspect will be worth in the multi-hundreds to a thousand in a year or two.  Due to value, no link... sorry!

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Epidermis Muster Burger (1982) by request

I fully forgot about this request until just now I reread an old comment by chance.

The band is well known for its Gentle Giant-like harmony vocals styled prog on the 'monster' album Genius of Original Force, but it made another later album in the early 80s with a more commercial appeal that is accordingly only of interest for completionary purposes-- similar to the case with Germanic ELP band Trilogy, who made the masterpiece of keyboards prog Here It Is and then followed up some years later with a more commercial 80s albums (which still has its moments, and I'll share it later on).  And while I'm at it, let's not forget the 1980 hard prog masterpiece by Ginga Rale Band which was also followed up by an early 80s commercial album called Information (much more listenable than this one though).

The best entree on this fast food outing, the most progressive one for us, is the last one which sounds a little like this:

On the other hand while exhaustively searching through my backup files including four external hard drives none of which have yet crashed luckily I came across another rarity, the unreleased collection from 1975 which has a major, major 20-minute long masterpiece called A Speck, A Dream and if you haven't heard that one, you need to, it's absolute genius.  It is Pure Gold for the prog-thirsty.  So I've included that album down below as well.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Timna Brauer & Elias Meiri in Orient Live, 1987, by request

Despite the (to me) very unpromising title of this 2-LP album due to the fact I don't have a taste for ethnic pounding with simplistic chanting nor live and poorly-recorded songs (at least it wasn't solo piano), this turned out to have some exceptional compositions on it and surprisingly not just a little.

There is a shockingly large bio, perhaps too large, on discogs:

Timna Brauer born in Vienna, she grew up in Israel, France and Austria with an Israeli mother from Yemen and an Austrian father, the painter ARIK BRAUER. 

Education: Conservatory of Vienna (piano and singing) / Sorbonne-Paris, graduated with a masters degree in musicology, „vocals in jazz“ / Summer Academy Salzburg, Elisabeth Grümmer / master courses in Indian singing, München, Prof. Javheri / CIM-Paris (jazz-singing and composition) /masterclass Simon Baddi-Vienna (opera). 

In 1985 she and her husband, the pianist Elias Meiri, established an ensemble, with which they have been touring all over the world and recording CDs, with the emphasis being on jazz, ethno and chansons. 
In 1986, she represented Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest. 
Since 1993 the Ensemble has also performed various concerts for children. 
In 1995 Timna Brauer taught master classes for jazz improvisation at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. 
From 1998 - 2000 she has performed with the Ensemble Modern, Frankfurt, the „Threepennyopera“, directed by H. K. Gruber (recordings for BMG, concerts: Musiktriennale Köln, Schleswig-Holstein Festival in Germany etc.) 
2001 she played the role of EVITA at the musical summerstage of Klagenfurt, Austria. 
2002-2004 Big Tour through Europe with “Voices for Peace” (Palestinian and Israeli). 
2004 World premiere of “Percussion” on behalf of the “Wiener-Musikverein”, production of the musical fairy tale “ The enthusiastic drums” for the “Kinderklangwolke” in Linz (Austria) on behalf of the “Brucknerhaus”. 
From 2005 intensive work with the edition Ueberreuter: “Children Songs from Europe”, “Little Mozart”. 

Eliasd Meiri began to take piano lessons at the age of five. Mostly due to his absolute pitch, he mastered the art of improvisation at an early age. He attended the Talma-Yalin Conservatory in Tel-Aviv, and completed his studies at the Berkeley College of Music in Boston. In New York he played with jazz stars like Dizzie Gillespie, In addition to numerous performances with Timna Brauer, he plays with his jazz trio, teaches piano and jazz-improvisation, dedicates himself to composition, the production of CDs and sound-technique. 

In 1985, he won the first prize at the international jazz competition in Hoilaart, Belgium and the second prize at the international jazz competitions in Leverkusen, Germany. 
In 1987, he won the first prize at the international jazz competition for pianists in Kalicz, Poland. 
1998 Production of the CD “Piano Forte”. 
2005 European tour with his jazz trio.

Of course, there is a great deal of filler in here, I mean consider the fact that the last track is twenty minutes long.  I'm also not too crazy about her 80s lounge singer cliched style of breathy silly-jazz-scatting.  And thank god that exaggerated, overstylistic & mannered jazz singing is dead now along with the 80s (think Diane Schuur for example). But they really threw a whole lot of ideas into this kitchen sink.  On the track called Bad Trees the (modern) classical composition education shines through quite clearly with a piece that, minus the utterly unnecessary vocals, could've appeared on a French zeuhl album like "Les Cycles de Thanatos:"

Interesting that she also felt the need to show off her perfect French on that track (reciting a poem by Jacques Prevert, I take it).  Yes it's hard to tolerate the alternated tikitiki-scatting, screeching, squealing and sometimes super-soprano squeaking, as on her rendition of the spiritual folk song Motherless Child in which the orphan seems to have been adopted by a click-speaking African tribeswoman with multiple personalities including one that regressed to infancy and another that channels Muddy Waters, but in a scaldingly hot shower.  A bit less showing off would have been so much more appreciated, as on a track called Nova wherein she admirably restrains herself:

As for the final track, it's truly a mess but with occasional flashes of light, marred by a total lack of cohesion from beginning to end in its attempt to cover the whole of human musical history from the classical days to Art Tatum to the scatty 80s in different passages.

So there you have it, a mixed bag for sure, like those 'third world-made' stalls in every marketplace of every tourist destination everywhere in the world from Europe through Asia to the Americas where you can buy exactly the same 'local artisan-made' carved wooden animals, cloth bags, or bongs or whatever to give to your friends back home who are sure to throw it out the minute your back is turned.