Saturday 30 June 2018

Mini Jazz Klub 16: Jazz Half Sextet from 1978

Now here's a real gem that just completely took my by surprise.  The band, who made nothing else in this incarnation, is clearly led by one Viktor Kotrubenko.  I have to wonder if that entry is incomplete given the strength of the 4 compositions with which he is credited here.

The astonishing library lightness and ingenious composition of track b2, Balada O Rosničce, Aneb Když Jsem Šel Zalévat Zahrádku:

And apologies for the skip. Jane Koubkova handling the graceful vocals there.
The remainder is just as good as that sample above, trust me, with the exception of the last throwaway, a dumb standard by Th. Monk, the dumbest he wrote actually (Straight No Chaser).  Because he did write some great songs.  Amazing how the dumbest standards are always the most popular ones, in jazz.  Which, I guess, explains why this blog will never be popular.

Friday 29 June 2018

Some leftover Mini Jazz Klubs: another Jazz Q (#25), and Bohemia (#19)

I guess the lesson here is that Martin Kratochvil had the Midas touch, with everything he released just golden. When I searched through all the MJKs to see what was remaining in the fusion dept that might be worth hearing I came across this hidden number 25.  We had to extract the files from youtube, where some wonderful fan uploaded them, to make them available for consumption for you, but boy was it worth the effort.  (Recall they made the fantastic 5 one too, with the starry constellation composition.)  Side one features an outstanding fusion composition with all the hallmarks of Martin's style, the unison electric guitar and synthesizer playing the melody, the classical-inspired patterns, the drama of buildups and intensity increases to an ostinato on electric piano, the brilliantly imaginative chords that bridge the intro to the main body (at the 43 sec mark), I could go on forever:

Like, wow....

Turning our attention to Bohemia, their (only) MJK also featured two wonderful instrumental fusion tracks, which luckily were included, along with some singles, on the CD release of the well-known Zrnko album that I'm sure everyone out there already has heard.

In terms of well-known groups in MJK still outstanding as well is the Jazz Celula installment... you'll be hearing that one soon too.  I posted some of their albums here and here way back in November 2016.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Mini Jazz Klub 13 (77) and Emil Viklický in Folk-Inspired Jazz Piano (79), Window (80) and Door (85)

Emil was in both SHQ and Energit and for that reason his solo material only begins with the folk-inspired jazz piano work (included below).  I was shocked to see that his Mini Jazz Klub, the unlucky 13th, was never ripped, given the strength of the popular "Window" (Okno) album.  (It will be obvious when you hear it the reason why.)  Note that the great team Frisell / Driscoll / Johnson as backup (on both Window and Door) appeared with Michel Herr in the amazing Good Buddies record that I've raved about so much.

With regards to the 1977 EP we have side a with a presumably nonce group called Trio 74 playing a Chick Corea composition I've never heard of before, for good reason, and side b with Emil on piano solo, the first track (Zelený Satén) is familiar as an unplugged of the fusion version from the Energit MJK release, the second track is his homage to Chick Corea:

Which indeed recalls Chick's 'songs for children' pieces.

When all is said and done, Emil's greatest work was clearly with Energit, with Okno coming in as pale second or third place finisher.

From the sleeve notes: Track A recorded live at ČAJF (Czechoslovak Amateur Jazz Festival) Přerov 1974. Side B recorded at the Czechoslovak Radio Brno, May 1976.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Mini Jazz Klub 36: Michal Pavlíček, Jiří Hrubeš, 1983-- strongly recommended

Great choice of photos there guys, like two schoolboys apprehended in the girl's toilet?

Despite the guilty looks, this tiny little release hides 12 minutes worth of some generously magnificent progressive music complete with odd vocals and a dark riff persisting in its worldwide tritonal domination until it passes following a fade out to a most bizarre guitar composition that I admit outsmarts Heldon and Richard Pinhas by a mile on side A's composition called Tváří V Tvář:

Note that Michal is the composer here, and the producer is our well known multi-talented Michael Kocab (Elefteriadu, Olmerova, JOCR).  The other credited artist is Jiri Hrubes, whose discography you can see is less plentiful.

Prog fans might recognize Pavlicek from the famous Black Light album he made also with Kocab in 1990, which resembles this earlier release not a little, or from the prog rock band called Stromboli which is like a harder, 2-LP version of the track above.

Side b will surprise you even more, being pure electric guitar-based fusion along the lines of German Dzyan or Alcatraz on its magnificent 4 album.

So looks like this Panton Mini Jazz Klub series is turning out to have hidden a wealth of great treasures, isn't it?  Times like this I feel like it's so important to return this wonderful lost music to the attention of the world out there, little as that orb seems to care for it...

Sunday 24 June 2018

Mini Jazz Klub 33, Barok Jazz Kvintet

From 1981, this release presents a dichotomy between the baroque jazz composition (and it's exactly that) by Claude Bolling on side A and a much more modern, therefore interesting, composition on the flip side:

Which was written by the bass player, one Frantisek Uhlir.
The quintet seems to have produced only one other platter, an LP of probably modern music in 1984.

Friday 22 June 2018

More from Jazz Fragment: Dama se Psen / In Pivo Veritas from 1983

Disappointingly to me the A side of this little release Dáma Se Psem is a circle of fifths affair from the tonic minor up to its 4th (think A minor to D7, in this case up a semitone) altho since the name signifies Lady with Dog I suppose the tiresome persistence of the chord sequence is justifiable, at least for a canine, but not necessarily for a progressive fan.

Turning our attention now to the other side of the moon, thanks to The Great Google we learn that side B's Pivo = Czech for beer, and here we have a little less to hold onto compared to before, although I like the buildup in intensity and modulated chord changes leading to the end-- perhaps testament to the pressure of my bored impatience:

And of course every time I drive to work and get cut off by some idiot turning right in front who can't wait 2 seconds for me to drive past them even though I'm speeding myself I'm reminded of how impatient the whole world has become thanks to our wonderful 'smart' phones, google, so-called social media, everything in our 'modern' life that trends towards a frantic apocalypse of falling off the cliff: and this time it will be everyone not just the Romans & their 'empire' but hey, at least the collapse will 'go viral', right? ...

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.