Wednesday 29 April 2020

Paul Zaza, 1977

Hoping to spend some isolating time hiding away from corona by ripping requests I was instead disappointed to find the international postal system slowed down with delays and cancellations with dozens of records that have been stuck for weeks in some warehouse limbo.  Now I have to go back to some old stuff that's been kickin' around for a while.  This is an artist who is well known career wise but whose earlier works are not.  From discogs:

Canadian musician, producer, engineer and film music composer
Began his career as a classically trained pianist.
Played bass with the hit musical "Hair" and toured with the The Fifth Dimension in the 1970s. Founded Toronto studio Zaza Sound Productions in the early 1970s, and his label : Zaza Records (2).
After establishing himself in the world of film and television scoring, Zaza has over 175 feature films, television series and specials to date to his credit, including "Porky's", "Meatballs III", "A Christmas Story", "Prom Night", "Derby", "Baby Geniuses", "Murder By Decree", "The Fourth Angel" and "Grizzly Falls".
He is the recipient of many Film and Television Awards including Canada's prestigious Genie Award as well as fourteen SOCAN awards.

Information here.  You can see he made a lot of different stuff, including library records, soul, disco, and this pop-fusion opus in 1977 which is quite listenable and enjoyable.  Ridin High has such a nice Trower sound to it:

Completely different is his orchestral stuff.  I added a nice Parry Sound library record which featured some compositions by Zaza, called Bright and Breezy.  His Flight to the Sun is classic 70s chord changes and patterns:

Monday 27 April 2020

Frank Sanchez, 1983

A very similar album to the Stosic with a bit more baritone, Las Vegas style to it, also Xian.

I can do anything:

Saturday 25 April 2020

Michael Stosic, 1982

Is he in jail on the back photo?  Unfortunately not, more likely hiding in your bedroom....
Michael Stosic made only one album, in 1982, and check the prices it sells for, though it's ordinary pop/AOR rock.  As always with these highly expensive LPs it's a mystery to me what sets the gouge meter.  I mean it's good, but is it really that good?  Luckily, today we can all ascertain whether or not that price is appropriate.  Mostly ordinary music from beginning to end, with some nice compositions that probably could have made it to AM radio back in the day were it not for the fact that it's lacking in the extreme simplicity and stupidity that is a hallmark of the usual radio hits.
Instead, a decent song called Can't Say No:

Thursday 23 April 2020

Kellie Ward's Refreshing Times, 1983, USA

A series of 4 ssw albums from the late 70s, early 80s, from the US of A.

The blurb on the back says:

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord."

As you listen to the music ministry of Kellie Ward, allow your mind and heart to be refreshed. Each song brings peace, renewing and the Love of our Lord into your life.

Kellie Ward made a couple of albums in the early 80s with a large band.  The first is from 1983.
It's quite professionally done pop with seventies tendencies, no notice of the eighties, but unfortunately relatively generic composition.  It seems compositions were done by a multitude of musicians, or should I say they were legion.  Give Them All, the last track, gives you a good sense of what they're giving them here:

Monday 20 April 2020

By request back to Kolbe / Illenberger with Tronic (1983) [limited time only]

This was requested back when I posted most of their albums, at least the earliest ones, here.
They tried very hard to get some fusion momentum for once, unlike all the other releases, and even a little bit of that synth-programmed digital sound that was just starting to take over hugely in the early 80s.  Looking at the database, the songs all seem to be written by the duo, who, looking at the back photo, maybe got married thereafter-- ? (sorry for that one, if you guys ever read this...)

Actually it's nice to hear some inventive composition with a bit of electric energy.  At times it's as good as the great Osiris, Georg Lawall whom I love so much.  The first and title track:

A great and worthy addition, and thanks to the requester, again.

Saturday 18 April 2020

#2: Ian Lynn in Early Snow, 1985

Blurb on the back:

Early Snow is the second of 3 jazz influenced, thematically related suites.  It flows on from Forgotten Summer, the first of the trilogy to which it contains some references, and is an attempt to capture some of the moods of the other seasons.  The introduction glimpses some of the themes used throughout and is followed by Do you see/Seven bridges which is a more general intro to set up the rest of the piece.  The other titles are more self-explanatory, from Autumn through Christmas at the end of side one and from snowy mountains through melting glaciers, down a great river, over a waterfall, and finally to Earth Song and a promise of Spring.

As before my drummer is Bob Jenkins and Martin Ditcham is the percussionist.  They are joined by fellow M.M.C. artist Mo Foster of R.M.S. on bass and the lovely Basia who sings with me on Earth Song.  "Celebration" will follow soon.

This album was recorded on an MCI 24-track analog tape recorder at 30 IPS without noise reduction, and mixed direct to signal 2 track using the Sony PCM F1 system.  It was then digitally remastered to the Sony 1610 system for subsequent editing and mastering.

I think it's clear the closest point of reference might be Patrick Moraz's Story of I, but this is more laidback and quite lacking in the high energy, high velocity material of my comparison.  It's a little bit more laissez-faire or lackadaisical than its predecessor, Forgotten Summer, making me a little hesitant about the third in the series which I just purchased, hoping it makes it through the corona-mail intact, unlike so many other purchases halted by the post.  Which ruined my plans full of new LPs for the isolation/social distancing a bit.

On the other hand the track called River is absolutely golden, I think you'll agree, it sounds like the best library compositions I've heard, with the scintillating synth sounds, the lovely minor passages, the way it keeps changing like a suite through a brief 6-minute period, again reminds a little of the best Fukamachi works:

Thursday 16 April 2020

Ian Lynn: Forgotten Summer (Thanks to whoever mentioned) Plus Party in the Rain by Pete Brown

A random review:

This is an all instrumental treasure that's worth its weight in gold. Mr Lynn plays all manner of keyboards, including acoustic piano, organ, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Sequential Circuit Prophet 5, Mini-Moog, Hohner clavinet and the ancient Crewmar Brassman, along with the Rose Morris Westwood bass, the sound of which here is superbly delineated. Fine support is provided by Bob Jenkins on drums and Martin Ditcham on percussion. Had Rick Wakeman written and performed this, he would have been justifiably proud ~ it's better even than Six Wives in my book. If he's ever heard it, I'll bet he wish he had.
Following the (quite long) storming opener, Another Good Reason, the album moves into more pastoral territory, but it isn't dull for a single moment. Rather, it really does capture the essence of a nearly forgotten summer, with many wonderfully evocative moments, moving to a brilliant climax with First Finale. Not to be overlooked, though, is the wonderful closer to (what was) Side 1, Grey Sky Blue(s), which rounds off in superb style the first half of a magnificently coherent album ~ a concept album, I suppose.
Written, arranged and produced by Mr Lynn, the album was recorded at Millstream and Scorpio Sound and engineered by Nick Critchley and Dennis Weinrich, who also did the mixing, all in late 1980. Forgotten Summer was highly regarded at the time of its release and apparently gained him much work in the professional music world.
Find Forgotten Summer and buy it. Your life will be enriched. 35 years on, I still love this album and play it regularly.

It's great, and you'll love it.  Here's the best song in my opinion, called Some Day Soon, you could say it's as good as some of the Jun Fukamachi we posted here before (multiple times):

From discogs:
Pete Brown is a
British poet and musician born December 25, 1940, best known for his writing collaboration with Jack Bruce of Cream.

Perhaps best known to us progsters for his Pete Brown and Piblokto works, which to me are disappointing.  He seems to have disappeared somewhat in the seventies years following until he came back with this really lovely, pop-inflected, slightly jazzy and funky vocals album in the early 80s, with involvement by Ian Lynn that is confusing to me (he wrote the music?) that to me recalls the wonderful 2 later Michael de Albuquerques I treasure so much-- I don't know if I posted them here before or just refer back to them on a constant basis.  Too tired from lack of sleep due to covid-worrying to bother to check.  Or you could say it's very similar to the fusionary Jack Bruce progressive songwriting on albums like Out of the Storm.  Anyways, I was really thrilled with this record, and I want to thank the guy who brought my attention to it, a million thank yous, consider the phenomenal song Still Have the Love, I mean, if you told me this was written by Jack Bruce I wouldn't have been surprised:

Tuesday 14 April 2020

By request Scott Goudeau comes in the nick of time in 1987

A basic review on the discogs page for this release:

Solid, guitar-dominated jazz fusion LP by an unsung hero of the New Orleans music scene circa 1980-1990. Goudeau’s guitar sound is refreshingly aggressive; similar in approach to Mike Stern or Steve Morse. Cheesy digital keyboard sounds are kept to a minimum, and the rhythm section is first-rate. Tony Dagradi’s tenor saxophone adds an extra dimension of jazz authority to the proceedings. Though the compositions are pretty straightforward, the music never lapses into smooth-jazz somnolence. “Charity,” a lovely solo acoustic guitar piece, is a particular highlight. A pleasant surprise from the late 80s.

Remember I posted his other album (The Promise) here earlier, more than 5 years ago in fact, long, long before pandemic days.  I wasn't aware of this one, as a result it was requested, and as a result it's now here for everyone to hear today for the first time, including myself.  This one came before the other one (1987 versus 1988).

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Engineer – Scott Goudeau
Bass – Jim Markway
Drums – Jay Hebert
Guitar Synthesizer – Jay Griggs
Keyboards, Piano – Michael Pellera
Saxophone – Tony Dagradi

“Recorded and mixed at Ultra-Sonic Studios, Inc., New Orleans, LA.”
“Special thanks to Kelly, Family, Friends, and the Band for assistance in production.”
“Extra special thanks to: Jay Gallagher, President of Ultra-Sonic Studios.”
Broken Records Inc., P.O. Box 19463, New Orleans, LA 70179

For myself, referring backwards as usual this is much like any number of instrumental electric guitar-sustained late-year fusion opuses out of the great US of A such as Rick Bishop, Mike Santiago, Mike Warren and Survival Kit, Don Mock, Tony Dupuis, Tony Palkovic (the two Mikes and the two Tonys) plus more recent entries like Andrew Stern from last year.  So many of them, so many to remember, none more memorable than the others, but all hugely phenomenal.

A track called Ash gives me almost everything I need from this kind of thoughtful and warm instrumental magic, weaving wonderful textures from apparently unwelcome chord changes into an insistent saxophone melody full of drama, telling some kind of lost story we can't remember from a dream--except we know it was beautiful and we didn't want to wake up:

A wonderful album, a delight to discover, and again thanks for recommending it.

Sunday 12 April 2020

By request, Harvie Swartz - Underneath It All (1982)

This was requested along with some others from him I found and will share too.
The lovely cover photo shows the reflection of an autumnal treestump in a pond with a carp (koi).
The music is that typical intelligent ECM-like jazz usually called "contemporary jazz" augmented by a lovely cello in places, but not really fusion, my favourite style of music.  Information is here.  Most compositions are by Harvie, who btw is a bassist.  His output is quite significant.

Born : December 06, 1948 in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
Harvie worked with : Al Cohn & Zoot Sims, Mose Allison, Jackie Paris, Thad Jones, Gil Evans, Lee Konitz, Barry Miles Silverlight, David Friedman, Steve Kuhn, Paul Motian and others.
From 1980 he recorded also as a leader.

I really enjoyed this album and it is worth listening several times to catch all the ideas he put in it. The track called Firewalk:

Friday 10 April 2020

The Mystic Moods in Clear Light (1973 Library) Plus three more (Stormy Weekend, Stormy Night, and

Magnificent artwork on Clear Light.  Have a look at the back of Stormy Night for a full frontal that's even better.  A very wholesome image, if you know what I mean, and that's definitely a change from the millenials today on instagram.  Not that I know anything at all about that.  Hey what's instagram?


The Mystic Moods Orchestra, created by audiophile Brad Miller, mixed orchestral pop, environmental sounds, and pioneering recording techniques becoming one of the choice audio aphrodisiacs of the 60's and 70's. The first Mystic Moods Orchestra album "One Stormy Night", became Philips' most popular release in 1965. Throughout the rest of the 60's and 70's, they continued releasing similar styled recordings and their recordings continued to be reissued throughout the 80's and 90's.

These guys were highly prolific, like rabbits in fact.  Or perhaps viruses.  I wasn't much aware of them till I came across this wonderful little jewel.  It seems they made a ton of middling to terrible easy listening albums throughout a long period stretching from the nineteen twenties, across the great depression (the first great depression, not the current one) and world wars, on past the eighties to the present tense as we use it today, and onwards into the future.  In the meantime here and there they were capable of making some listenable music for our purposes, which are always at cross purposes to the popular types.

The track called Drifting Prophet, from the 1973 Clear Light album really brings me back to childhood, it sounds a bit like those old James Bond theme songs from the seventies, when the Bonds were good and the theme songs were great.  I mean who could forget Paul's Live and Let Die.
I don't see a clear indication of who the formidable vocalist is from the database entry but I'm pretty sure someone out there knows and can tell me, maybe in one of those comments people drop years later that make me so happy.  (I'll never forget the comment made in response to my question as to who wrote the amazing Trumpian song Haunted by the Fried Chicken Band, you can see it here).

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Back to the ReR with the missing 3.3 (Part 14 in my series)

Beautiful quasi-cubist artwork on the bottom...

It was surprising to me to see over the years how popular these compilations are on this blog, for certain people that is. I mean, I love these compilations personally, but obviously this is not approachable music.  Nor are we talking youtuber numbers in terms of popularity, or even instagram girls or "influencers".  In fact the average fat girl down the street on my block probably has more followers than this progressive music blog does.  So I guess when I say 'popular' what I really mean is 'unpopular'.  Anyways, it's perfect I guess for social distancing, especially if you want to go overboard (but not on a cruiseship) and maintain several kilometres distance around you.  Possibly the same could be accomplished by playing it out loud in the neighbourhood, may be a good thought for those stupidly irresponsible neighbours of ours who let their kids play together on their front yards near our house or congregate evenings at the park with multiple unleashed dogs yapping around, licking each other, and I'm sure everyone can relate to these experiences, wherever they are in the world.  What can you do, people are dogs, right-- oops I meant to say, dogs are dogs, right?

Information is all here, note that this release is from 1991This list purports to be relatively complete, I think, but it likely isn't.  It's possible almost all or all of these have been posted on this blog before.  As is always the case I mention that my favourite is 2.2 which is phenomenal from beginning to end.  Totally bored of it now though, unfortunately.  At this point, I really don't care, still obsessed with finding new music I've never heard before. Let me know if the link is inactive as sometimes happens over time.

Note that most of the music is abstract and basically totally alien to all humanity.  Perhaps not to the canines though, or the aliens soon to come to take over the planet when humanity is killed off by the novel corona created by them to clear us all off.  The most approachable tracks are the alternative Hail's Racer Hero and the inimitable 5 UU's with a non-LP track (I think, correct me if I'm wrong) called Carousel of Progress:

It's worth seeking out all the 5UU's albums you can find, if you can find them.

This collection from the Chris Cutler franchise beautifully closes out with a chamber composition (acoustic piano and cello) very reminiscent of my old favourites the Evergreen College kids.  Sadly, there is nothing else to be found under the name of the artist Erik Hug:

Not much else on this LP however to hang your hat on in here, I'm afraid. With a small hat you're fine.


A1 – Steve Moore - Chiaroscuro
Gong, Cymbal, Tape, Composed By – Steve Moore
Violin – Harriet Wilder

A2 –Jocelyn Robert - Photoproject 1
Performer, Composed By – Jocelyn Robert

A3 –When - Bell
Percussion, Keyboards, Tape, Voice, Composed By – Lars Pedersen

A4 –Tom Djll - Tombo
Synthesizer, Trumpet, Composed By – Tom Djll

A5 –Hail - Racer Hero
Arranged By – Hail
Bass, Drums, Engineer, Mixed By – Bob Drake
Vocals, Guitar, Composed By, Lyrics By – Susanne Lewis

B1 –Illegal Function - Microclimats
Computer, Sampler, Synthesizer, Composed By – Marc Pira, Pierre Chuchana

B2 –5UU'S - Carousel Of Progress
Bass – Jon Beck
Drums, Percussion, Tape, Synthesizer, Composed By, Lyrics By, Producer – Dave Kerman*
Guitar – Greg Conway
Mixed By – 5UU'S
Piano, Harmonium, Mellotron, Synthesizer, Composed By – Sanjay Kumar
Voice, Engineer – Curt Wilson

B3 –Abdo Men - Intense Grace
Performer, Composed By, Engineer – Dave Fox

B4 –Erik Hug - Diary XI-V
Cello – Mathis Keller
Piano, Composed By – Erik Hug
Recorded By – Peter Drefahl
Violin – Isabel Schneider

Monday 6 April 2020

By request, Elmo Whiggett's Autographed Copy (Vancouver, B.C., Canada, 1978)

Check out the girl on the back photo, usual comments from this DOM (dirty old man) about how many of those druggie bandmembers were lucky enough to go up that cute dress, leaving the high heels on:

Information can be found here.
Note that the pretty vocalist, whose name is Barbara Fisher, released a solo jazz album in 1983.
The music is mostly that vocal jazz style that I've mentioned before disappoints me, like that Joi First Impressions one.  Here and there the band manage to get together long enough to lay down some nice smooth fuzacky energy along the lines of my beloved Max Groove material, 2 LPs from 2 years back.

The last track which is called Loran's Dance is amazing for sure and has already become well-known on youtube, you can hear it here.  They didn't, unfortunately, pen the composition, that was the responsibility of the great Grover Washington, Jr.  I am not sure though on which album of his it first appears, on youtube at least it's here, credited to Idris Muhammed.   I know someone reading this knows the answer to that question.  The version by Idris has that cool smooth mid-seventies American sound that brings me right back to my university days digging the great Charlie Mingus.  Note in particular the abrupt and fully unexpected modulation at the 2 minute mark.

For another example of their instrumental chops consider July 26:

Saturday 4 April 2020

Back to White, Green and Red with New Faces (1991)

Remember these Bulgarian guys from long, long ago?   They made the magnificent progressive jazz LP called Don Juan (I think) then I bought their other seventies one that preceded that, not realizing they had one more set up their sleeve from much much later.  But they were uncompromising artists, or maybe as was typical for Eastern Europe, cut off from the rest of the world's zeitgeist, because this album sounds very much like it was made in the early 80s, with odd and bizarre chords and ideas mixing the folk melodies that were such a part of slavic jazz or fusion records of the period.  The only concession to the late year is the last song, the title track, but even that one sounds totally out of place in the setting of the year 1991, when Nirvana and alternative were all set to break out into the mainstream and leave old dinos Guns 'n' Roses in the dust.

Really, a stunner, and once again a lesson, that you have to try to complete these artists'   discographies.

The track called Reminiscence, by the keyboardist Peter Jourkov, made me literally scream and metaphorically fall off my chair, yet again:

Thursday 2 April 2020

By request, the missing Christian Escoude Quintet's Reunion (1976)

We have covered this French jazz/fusion/prog guitarist extensively in the past on this blog (most recently here, which also turned out to be the most popular of the albums I posted!).  I actually really love some of his work which combines the French tendency for delicatesse with inventive and well-thought-out compositions that are far from hackneyed (like the US jazz I grew up on, add wink emoticon).  Someone gave a brief review on the discogs entry for this LP:

Fantastic Guitar Jazz record with many influences. Huge line up with Franck Able (Cane and Able, Afro Lafayette Rock Band and Bobby Boyd Congress) and Jean Querlier (Confluence & Dharma). Recommended!

For those familiar with those stalwarts of the seventies scene like Dharma Quintet, Confluence, etc., this is very similar and applicable.

Note all the nonsense titles, except for the first one.  The last track, called Eric et Raph, is the most similar to the old Confluence stuff although the central section becomes a little bit too generically jazzy:

Don't worry, there are more great tracks in there...