Wednesday 28 November 2018

Ack Van Rooyen in 1982: Homeward and Some kind of Changes (with Mariano)

The wonderfully named Ack van Rooyen is a Dutch trumpet player and studio musician born 1930.
Today we focus on his twin 1982 albums, very little known, which in all honesty I found brilliant.  Notice on Homeward he is complemented by a wonderful group of virtuosos including guitarist Eef Albers who was featured before here to satisfactory completion, I think.  Some of his albums were magnificent.

The tracks are all written by different members (Eef contributed a couple of wonderful songs) with my favourite being the odd impression of Pisces, which is by Jerry Van Rooyen (the brother):

And what a progressive fish that is indeed.

Turning our attention to the other release called Some Kind of Changes your jaw will drop when you note that this album, so far undigitized by us and our minions, includes Charlie Mariano, Sigi Schwab, and Eberhard Weber, plus on drums, Branislav Kovacek.

Charlie Mariano, in particular, has been so consistently brilliant throughout the period, with Helen 12 Trees to Sleep my Love, I love him to death.  In this album, with compositions mostly by Mladen (Bobby) Gutesha (not appearing on the LP however) we have more of a conventional style of 'contemporary' acoustic jazz, in fact, the blurb on the back makes things quite unclear here:

Modern jazz without electronics-- that was the basic and most important idea in planning this production.  Five excellent musicians came together just to make music.
It is up to the listener to classify the category or style of this music.

Category, my ass-- it's easy enough to classify it as contemporary jazz on discogs.  But the nice dynamic dissonance of flattened fourths comes together well in this track, appropriately named after its intervals:

Otherwise, the music ranges all over the place from simplistic 'balearic' trash on the last song, to latin rhythms and accordingly super-predictable chord changes, to ECM style smoothness.

Surely the highlight of this post is the Homeward masterwork.

Monday 26 November 2018

Jazz Choral from 1988

I'm going to finish this bout of slavic indulgence with a surprisingly good vocal jazz album for which it's difficult for me to find more information due to the usual trouble with the alphabet.  Why the Russians can't partake of the normal alphabet the rest of us use I can't understand.  But then of course so many things about that place are strange, like the hats.  On the other hand, as commenters have pointed out, this particular group hails from the city of Tbilisi, Georgia, famous, of course, for The Beatles and Back in the USSR.  (Though the name of the country itself derives from billionaire George Soros.)

As you can tell from my sample track, the choral is shockingly large, and presumably comprised the majority of the population of a former colony of the former Soviet Union, now liberated from the predatory communist regime and free to be run by a native-born predatory autocrat:

They did a good job copying American jazz, you must admit, at which they were maybe more successful than launching dogs and monkeys into space and sending secret cruise-missile-equipped nuclear subs to patrol the ocean floors in the hopes of initiating armageddon.

Saturday 24 November 2018

Back to Dustar with their 1983 fusionary outpouring Carousel [with a lossless]

On the strength of the previous posting in these pages, Black River, I bought this one with not a little trepidation since the experience of purchasing from anywhere in the former (and future) Soviet Union can be somewhat chilling, comrades-- actually I swore I would never buy a record from the country of Russia itself, but I had to relent, finding that Russian records are one of the very few things you can only find in Russia...  And let me add that I also will never buy a record from Mexico after getting badly ripped off with those Batiz LPs I posted earlier, to the point of having to use a paypal complaint that dragged on for months to get my money refunded.  I mean I have nothing against Mexicans, but I will never buy a record from one.  And I won't buy anything from Italy either, partly because everything is quadruple the 'normal price'-- their library records are treated like lost Renaissance paintings from Botticelli-- I guess people are getting sick of the quattrocento and they've moved on to the 1970s. Just like they charge twenty euros to walk into tiny churches which elsewhere in the world are perfectly free to walk into.  I guess the fact they elected a stand-up comic to head a political party says it all about how seriously they treat comedy.  (Of course that's nothing compared to the United States.)  And while I'm at it, I swore I would never return to France after experiencing the rudeness that every visitor is well aware of (as I've described in many previous posts) particularly the time we went to a toy store near the palais elysee and my young kids got screamed at for looking at some toys.  They're famous for their food?  Today, only if you happen to be a dog, whose bathroom privileges extend to every street-- the worst croissants and macarons I've ever had were in Paris.  There the cappucinos were so awful and expensive we were reduced to going to Starbucks for decent coffee, shamefully (which at least never happened in Italy).  In Spain, world-famous for its paella, I had not only the worst paella I've ever tasted, but I never had a good one.  National dish, you say?  Why don't you offer it (along with that over-rated manchego cheese and terrible dessicated iberian ham) to the space station astronauts in lieu of freeze-dried foods as a great scientific experiment, & see what they prefer.  Maybe they'll go for the Parisian croissants and coffee then, and then jump out the airlock for a spacewalk. Thank god for the US of A, where I had the best paella of my life, in Las Vegas (!), and where you are always guaranteed service with a smile and a handgun...

Anyways, after the rant the music, as George Santayana once said.  A pastiche of quotes from the stupid orchestral Star Wars theme song by Williams to the Layla riff plus others I can recognize but can't call up names for along with the customary slavic folk songs opens this set somewhat inauspiciously and the title of the first track presumably might translate as 'messed up'.  But don't worry, it gets better (otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to purchase this), very quickly, and by track A3 the introduction is just so lovely it's impossible for me to focus on anything else in my vicinity once I hear the synths pick up that nice fat melody atop very delicately layered electric guitar chords and a nice syncopated rhythm:

And I'll let you discover the other Soviet riches in here so far completely unknown to mankind-- sorry, humankind, but really mostly the male gender, on this LP... to paraphrase the great Putin's "Russia has the best prostitutes in the world:" they certainly have some of the best music in the world...

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!