Friday 31 August 2018

More Eef Albers, unbeknownst to me: Birds of the Night (Limited time only)

As you all know I hate to post CDs, just oop records on these pages, but this one really shocked me when it was added to the pile of earlier Eef Albers albums I uploaded.  The quality of the musicianship is as high as anything we've heard from the likes of say German Karl Ratzer or American James Vincent,  Consider the opener which was unpromisingly called Bulgaria, but turned out to be lacking fortunately in ethnic folk styles:

Note from the credits that he composed all these tracks...

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Urszula Sipinska Again in a 1980 LP: Są Takie Dni W Tygodniu - Kolorowy Film

A later release from this Polish singer-songwriter who I featured a bit earlier, unfortunately not quite as good as the Figiel collaboration from 1974, this is typical late 70s pop along the lines of Olivia Newton-John.  Note that she composed some tracks while others were written by husband Jerzy Konrad.  Track a5:

Side a focuses on ballads and b on uptempo pieces.  I won't call it disco since that would be occasion for argument.

Apologies for the condition of the vinyl-- as usual from Eastern Europe we have a record advertised as NM turning out to be scratchy, apparently good quality media is as rare over there as democratic reforms and/or honest gypsies.

Monday 27 August 2018

Sounds ov [sic] Earth - Solstice (USA, 1986)

Explanation for the odd misspelling of the artist?

A typical late US fusionary album with some very pleasant moments indeed, scant information here.  We've heard so so many records like this one, on this blog and before it....  Seems I never get tired of the sound (ov this earth) though.
Track A6:

Saturday 25 August 2018

Canadian Canterburied band Moonstruck from 1976

A stunningly avantgarde progressive rock opus with canterbury elements from 1976, the kind of one-off that makes me weep to think the creativity that went into this was so ignored and maligned.

Consider the track Oceans Notions:

Like, wow??

But bear in mind the album is all over the place, as you'd expect from something relatively experi-mental (with emphasis on the mental there!).

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Eef Albers in Pyramids, 1987

I wasn't hoping for all that much after Skyrider but surprisingly Albers' best fusionary work turned out to be this album from 1987, a very inauspicious year.  As we all know, crossing the 1980 border usually results in a serious musical decline, getting all the good creative music confiscated away from us by those nasty customs officers-- they're the same in every country, aren't they...  but this case is the exception for it seems Albers saved some of his best ideas for much later.

The track called Marathon I shows a finesse to its progressive keyboard chords that seems so out of place for the late year, recalling the best of the Manfred Schoof oeuvre I've posted here and there before:

And surprisingly the whole album continues in the same vein, with no compromising positions or fuzak throwaways to feed to those commercial wolves, or perhaps rather-- headless chickens...

Like, what happened, Eef?  You forgot what year it was?

Monday 20 August 2018

Eef Albers Kwartet Skyrider plus more

Unfortunately the only album from this mucho talented crew headed by the guitarist who so generously gave his name to the kwartet, this represents Euro-fusion at its best with a minimum of self-inflated improvised dawdling and a maximum of composed passages and riffs, with the typical emotional resonance of their version of this US artform:

The last track, called me Take me There. Note that Gerry Brown is the drummer.

With regards to the prior elements of Eef's discography, 1977's Blue Capricorn is a very agreeable guitar-by-numbers easy listening instrumental album (though take note of the gorgeous arrangement on the Albers-composed title track) reminiscent of late Jan Akkerman instrumental albums, and 1980's Brothers with the dynamic duo John Lee/Gerry Brown is electric but a bit on the too bluesy side.

Friday 17 August 2018

Back to the Baroque Jazz Quintet in a 1985 LP

Recall in 1981 the Barok Jazz Kwintet made the 33 Mini Jazz Klub (though on this LP the word jazz is quite supplementary).  This one is a modern chamber orchestra record such as I dearly love and others, I'm sure, dearly hate.  In case you need a point of comparison, it's similar to the Peabody College album, but the first one I posted.  The last track begins with an inauspicious panting percussion syncope mess that sounds like an ancient jazz fan (as they always are now) who lost his walker and fell to the floor and is now desperately trying to activate the clapper with his arthritic fingers to call his middle-aged grandkids to help him get up again, that then luckily transforms into an interesting modern classical 'take' on swing similar to Stravinsky's Ragtime but more organically competent, especially when the piano solo at the end is included for that comparison:

Enjoy it (hopefully)...

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Karel Ruzicka - Ozveny (1979 Czech)

The year after Karel Ruzicka's appearance on the Keyboards Conclave, he made this record which mixes acoustic piano solos and 'normal jazz' quite suitably.
The track called Triste:

Monday 13 August 2018

Rascal Reporters Bonus Tracks

Here's something my friend sent way back earlier this year that I've enjoyed enormously in the intervening time with its intense mixture of truly, truly progressive music.  We have everything we could ask for: oddball ballads, chamber or modern classical compositions, electronic weirdness, abrupt and angular RIO, the entire wide and bizarre gamut of kaleidoscopic sounds we expect from truly, brilliantly creative musicians, guys who don't give a hanging sh** about being popular, the only thing they seem to care about is finding new ways to assemble complicated de-Fouriered sound waves in heretofore never heard ways or impressing their fellow musicians whose jaws drop at the sound of a bizarre melody with the thought, "how does that even work???"

As an example of a tune that seems designed to be commercial but, obviously, will never be played for you at work on your favourite stupid station endlessly playing "Everybody Dance Now!" & "Candle in the Wind," a tune fittingly called Fallen Mind:

For their skills at instrumental composition (and arrangement) consider the following mini-masterpiece I've listened to 100s of times, called Sonata in Blue:

The Reporters shouldn't need an intro, but I'll quote the discogs summary, which sounds like it was written by the artists:

Based in suburban Detroit, formed in the mid-1970s by high school chums Steve Gore and Steve Kretzmer, the Rascal Reporters made music together for over 30 years, until Gore's death in March, 2009.  Call it Progressive Rock, Avant-Garde Pop, Sound Collage, Experimental, Rock in Opposition, Sentimental Tear Jerkers, Quirky Folk Tunes for Casio, Elevator Music from Hell, or whatever category you like, this duo of Steve Kretzmer (keyboards, percussion, vocals, guitars) and Steve Gore (keyboards, percussion, vocals, guitars) delighted in confusing audiences and smudging the lines between genres over the course of one 7" single and 7 studio albums.

There's an enormous amount of music to slog through here, but take your time, it's worth it. And don't be put off by the RIO label since so much of the music isn't.

PS: The other release I've been enjoying enormously this year is the lost Missus Beastly album, In the Diving Bell: strongly recommended to everyone, truly another lost masterpiece.  What a shock to see that one turn up.
I wouldn't want to post it since it's an official GoD release.

Friday 10 August 2018

Jeff Blanks' The Electric Minstrel, from 1985 USA

Here's an ultrarare unearthed from the bowels of ebay by my amazing friend, sniffer out of masterpieces like truffles from the earth.

From the Encyclopaedia of Electronic Music:

Jeff Blanks is an Atlanta-based musician who recorded this instrumental disc inspired by Olias of Sunhillow by Jon Anderson. The music features a similar mix of prog, Celtic music and EM, with a stronger emphasis on the latter.

Track A4, A Midsummer's Daydream:

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Gabriel Jonas in Mini Jazz Klub 10

I posted his piano conclave 2 weeks ago, here's his 1977 MJK entry.  Unlike the previous this is all-out high interest Rhodes electric piano fusion along the lines of the second Coronarias Dans album, thus highly recommended.  Consider the 1st track:

With the second side presenting to us more of a Keith Jarrett vibe.  Sadly there is no more to seek out in this series, so far as I know, though others may disagree.  With what we already have we can certainly thank Panton for such a wealth of treasures.


Slovak pianist, bass guitarist, composer. Born November 23, 1948 in Kukučínovo (Želiezovice district, former Czechoslovakia, presently Slovakia).

Monday 6 August 2018

Urszula Sipinska and Piotr Figiel in Bright Days Will Come, 1974

Piotr Figiel was posted earlier by our indefatigable PR correspondent and proved popular, I was sniffing around for more in his discography and came across this item released shortly thereafter with pop-funk-soul singer Urszula who made a number of albums back in the day, mostly apparently unavailable (digitally) now.  So don't expect any instrumental hammond etudes here at all.

The first and title track will give you an idea of how well they melded classic motown funkin it up with pop styles a la Bacharach:

And in fact a couple of tracks throw in those muted trumpet or flugelhorn fills that are so so typical of the 60s Burt B. hits.

The final track, on the other hand, represents the best of imitation-US soul-pop balladry with that typical European touch of emotional intensity:

Ah that glorious sound of seventies pop: just listen to how the acoustic guitar chords complement the sustained hammond organ.

Saturday 4 August 2018

Entourage guitarist Wall Matthews with Dance in Your Eye from 1981

Member of The Entourage Music & Theatre Ensemble, that lasted from 1970 to 1983, when Joe Clark died. 
Known to play guitars, keyboards, and percussion.

And that he does, plus vocalizing, on this his first solo release from 1981 which follows very organically from his Entourage work, cf., the meditative and highly Ralph-Townerish title track:

Apologies for the scratches, not described as such on purchase.  Reminds me a lot of William Ackerman and his Windham Hill records output and their stable of artists from the early 80s.
And bonus, it's not all acoustic, on occasion he develops a very pleasant electric fusionary tension, as on Bone Lake:

Note that the piece called "Shores of God" the piano sonata with viola solo appeared in the Entourage CD unreleased collection and thus is quite familiar to us.

I get the impression he followed this with new age material which is probably of somewhat less interest.

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Jazz Celula in Mini Jazz Klub 21

You might recall I posted the 76 and 78 albums of this very Jazz-Q-like fusion group already.  Also in a somewhat futile attempt at being complete, I bought and ripped a later one, viz. from the dangerous year 1982, here and then concluded that the 1985 5th album was hardly worth hearing.  Note the info in the database:

Czechoslovak jazz combo. Formed 1968 in Prague, led by Laco Deczi. In the 1970s essentially identical to the Czechoslovak Radio Jazz Orchestra rhythm section and soloists. After a line-up change in the mid-1980s, featuring Deczi’s son Vaico Deczi on drums, and after Deczi’s immigration to New York, the group evolved to Cellula New York which is still actively performing as of 2012.

Big surprise to me then that they also made this 1979 EP with more material along the same lines.  I should've looked more carefully or rather, not assumed that the EP would be stuff already released on the LPs.  How generous the makers of this Mini Jazz Klub series were to never recycle a track from anything already put out!  In any case the compositions here proved to be disappointing (btw note the curious absence of Laco Deczi here), teaching me again to not attempt to complete the discography of Jazz Cel(l)ula:

Maybe next year I'll complete it.
Incidentally, I'll add in the Czech fusionary collection Third Eye which features a number of tracks that I've already uploaded for your entertainment (Jazz Fragment, Klavier Conclave, SHQ), plus the great Jiri Stivin...