Monday, 29 June 2020

Back with more (unrequested) Gino D'Eliso in Santi ed Eroi (1979)

I'm sure we can all agree it's an incredible cover, very much a part of those times.  As a child then, and now,  I remember how comics had a huge heyday in the seventies, particularly in Europe.

In this 1979 release, he has almost completely ditched the orchestral arrangements and delicacy that made the first Mare album so delightful and the second a little more missing in action.  As a result I don't think I'll dare to get the next in the series, which came in 1983 and was called Cattivi Pensieri.  (Note the obligatory haircut every male was required to get on New Years Day, 1980.  The hair was allowed to grow longer over the course of the decade, but only in the back, not the sides or front.)

A track that does recall the prior two LPs is Tu Che Non Cambi Mai:

At the end, Abbey-Road-like, there is a 'secret track' with sped-up (chipmunk) vocals.
Not even as worth hearing as Paul McCartney's "Her Majesty."

Saturday, 27 June 2020

By request, Remo Rau Project's Voyage to the Stars: A Tone Poem (Switzerland, 1985)

Remo Rau:

Swiss jazz pianist and vibraphonist, born 19 July 1927 in Yokohama, Japan, died 3 February 1987 in Zürich, Switzerland.

Blurb on the back:

The Swiss composer and musician Remo Rau was born in Yokohama, Japan.  He acquired his musical training at a private school there.  A Russian emigrant couple from Leningrad, Lydia and Josef Shapiro, both skilled musicians, were his tutors.  He also sang in the choir of the nearby Anglican Church.  In 1942 after he and his family returned to Switzerland, he continued his musical studies and began to play jazz and has been active in the field since. In 1959 he took part in the National Jazz Festival at Zurich and won first prize performing on vibraphone.  In 1983 he was nominated composer of the year by the cultural committee of the dept. of education of Canton Zurich and was commissioned to write a larger jazz composition.  Besides jazz Remo Rau has written music in the contemporary, classical direction, and among his works are 3 full operas and at present he is working on a 4th.  He describes Voyage to the Stars as follows:  
"This compoisition is a combination of several styles in contemporary music, including the romantic.
I have always dreamt of being able to travel through space and this music expresses this intense  longing... I am immensely grateful to all who made this rcording possible."

There is quite a mix of the contemporary jazz, modern angular classical, and occasionally bits of electronic with the synths and keys usually playing oddly dissonant chords and passages, unlike the drony one-chord-wonder we are accustomed to in the electronic sphere.  So as a whole it's quite interesting, albeit occasionally out there enough to sound almost fully improvised.  On the other hand it flows together quite smoothly making it difficult to discern the different tracks of sections.

Information here, note the presence of Art Lande on keys and Heinz Lieb on percussion.
An oddity too is that some of the tracks were recorded live, indicated they were totally composed--I think.  There were thus three keyboardists on some tracks.

The one called Gliding through space gives an idea of the curious mix of synths, jazz percussion, and classical composing:

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Jazz Sextet Boska Petrovic: With Pain I was Born, 1976

A pretty good title for a misanthrope, here's the title track to give you a taste:

A great little unknown fusion record from former Yugo.  This is the only release from this particular formation.

Regarding the leader:

B: 18. February 1935. Bjelovar, Croatia
D: 10. January 2011. Zagreb, Croatia
Croatian jazz musician (vibraphone player), composer, arranger and producer, leader of several jazz bands including 'Zagrebački Jazz Kvartet', 'Zagrebački Jazz Kvintet', 'B.P. Convention', 'B.P. Convention Big Band', 'B.P. Club All Stars' and 'Boško Petrović Trio'. Boško was one of the most important jazz composers in Croatia. Founder of Jazzette Records.

Note that violinist Csaba Deseo is also on here.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Library composer Daniela Casa (7 albums)

Mentioned earlier in relation to the beginning of the pandemic in Italy with the foresightful library title Societa Malata, which I enjoyed greatly, I decided to seek out more from this artist with the discogs bio:

Daniela Casa (Roma, February 6, 1944 - † Roma, 28 July 1986) was an Italian singer and songwriter, wife of artist Remigio Ducros and mother of singer Valentina Ducros.

While the Italian wiki page is wonderfully translated:

Daughter of a motorboat builder, Daniela Casa graduated from the art school. During the school period he studied singing and guitar with the teacher Claudio De Angelis.

It was discovered in 1963 and put under contract by Fonit , a label that made it participate in the same year in the Grand Prix , a program combined with the New Year's Lottery , in the Lazio team , in which it presents its own version of Senza fine , the famous song by Gino Paoli .

The following year he took part in Un disco per estate 1964 with Beati voi , a song written by Marco Luberti for the text and Luberti with Enrico Simonetti for the music. However, the song does not arrive in the final. In 1965 he arrives at the Piper Club in Rome where he forms the duo Dany & Gepy with Giampiero Scalamogna , specializing in the reproposition of covers of soul and rhythm & blues singers.

In the following years he devoted himself to composition, while continuing to record, and achieved success with Regularly , recorded by Mina , and Tell me what you are still waiting for , which Dominga brings to Un disco for the summer of 1970 .

In 1971 he recorded Uomo , a song that became the theme song for the television program Storie di donne . In the seventies he also recorded some albums of instrumental, experimental, electronic and easy listening music.

I guess it's worth mentioning it's rare to see a female library composer, the only other one that comes to mind is the beautiful French artist called Laurence Vanay (Jacqueline Thibault), who was married of course to progmaster Laurent Thibault.

Societa Malata's Ignoto:

It's interesting too that despite the commercial biography as written above she had a true predilection for more modern classical, composed, sometimes experimental or abstract or atonal music, which adds a lot of interest here.  You can see that in the track called Sovrapposizione Di Immagini from Arte Moderne:

Clearly a remarkable composer.

I included in 2 packages the albums Le Sport (very little from her there), Idee 1 (same),  Societa Malada, Art Moderne, America Giovane No. 2, Vernissage 2, and the compilation which was also called Sovrapposizione Di Immagini.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

By Request, To Be (2 albums, 1977 and 1982) [limited time only]

The first album is of course a well-known masterpiece of German fusion, the follow up from 5 years later much less known.  If for some shocking reason you haven't heard this yet, it's most similar to the (now so inappropriately named) CCC I posted not so long ago.

From discogs:

Profile:  German supergroup of top pop and rock musicians from Hamburg (many of whom had played with the Achim Reichel band), To Be were surprisingly an instrumental jazz-rock outfit.

Members:  Christian Lembrecht, Claus-Robert Kruse, Lonzo Westphal, Manfred Thiers, Peter Franken, Peter Weihe, Rolf Köhler

Consider the stunning riffery of the track called Tell the Truth:

Very reiminiscent of Scope, who we covered here before.

Most of the music was written by one Claus-Robert Kruse.  The remarkable angular and inventive creative energy went missing for the most part by the time of the follow-up, a predictable occurrence.  On that one, the best track is B2 called Gentleness:

More recently the regrouped band went on to make two more albums, digital only, in 2006 and 2019, available online.  These are from Kruse's Oh Yes! Records.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Hidehiko Matsumoto - The Session / Sleepy Meets the Great Jazz Trio (1980) [lossless, limited time only]

Hugely enjoyable Japanese smoother-style fusion.  Matsumoto is a sax player whose discography is enormous and to my eyes mostly just standard jazz.  This album really stands out though.

Enjoy the beautiful lossless sound here.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Japanese Fusion/Jazz pianist 'Mickey' Mikio Masuda, 6 albums

This was recommended by a commenter, I'm not sure if any of these missing.  I wasn't quite as thrilled as I thought I would be with this artist, discography here, who, you would think, is right up my/our alley on this blog.

The track called Moon Stone:

A lot of the composition is lacking in the strident originality that we love here and a lot of the jazz is basic.  These are the first six album up until 1979's Corazon and starting with 1974's Trace.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Library Composer Keith Mansfield, 4 albums (Contempo, New Dimension, Vivid Underscores, Important Project etc.)

A surprisingly generous bio appears on discogs:

British arranger, producer, composer, band leader, and saxophonist.  Born: 1943 in London, England, UK.  In the UK, Mansfield is famous for composing the theme tunes to some of British TV's greatest and well respected shows, including BBC "Grandstand", "Light And Tuneful" (the opening theme for the BBC's coverage of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships), and "World Series" (used for the BBC's athletics coverage).

To US audiences, Mansfield is probably best known as the composer of the tune "Funky Fanfare" used for underscoring in the "Astro Daters" series of snipes produced by the National Screen Service in the late 1960s. That song has also been used during the opening credits of the show "Pit Boss" on Animal Planet. Astro Daters "Our Next Attraction" was featured prominently in two films by Quentin Tarantino, "Kill Bill" and "Grindhouse". A vocal version of "Funky Fanfare" entitled "House Of Jack" was also recorded by James Royal in 1969.  Furthermore, he had some solo success mainly in library music, but also producing for jazz musicians such as Maynard Ferguson.  He is husband to singer Salena Jones.

Unfortunately I wasn't so impressed with his library music quality, I don't want to offend anyone here.  It's pretty clear what I mean.  The standout album was New Dimension, with the remarkable track called Before Summer Ends:

Here the use of the 9th interval on the minor chord adds the usual plaintive sound, created by the mild dissonance of the minor second which desperately wants to resolve to either tonic below or minor third interval just above (e.g. the "I love you, I love you, I love you" part of the Beatles' Michelle song).
Anyways, some interesting compositions whereby to while away the start of the week. Perhaps maybe not lasting through to the weekend though.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Gino D'Eliso in Il Mare (1976) and Ti Ricordi Vienna? (1977)

An incredible cover painting again on the top album.  Really could stare at that image for hours.

From discogs:

Songwriter from writing unusual, rather ahead of its time. He merged the song writing with suggestions made by the Italian new-wave English late 70s. It is also busy producing other artists, like the punk / rock band from Trieste of "Revolver". It has long been disk-jockey for Radio Capodistria. Born in Trieste in 1951, he debuted with the album "Il Mare", produced in 1976 from label "Numero Uno" of Lucio Battisti. The album still immature, proposed a melodic rock, very Mediterranean. Subsequent record achievements are "Ti ricordi, Vienna?", Recorded in 1977 for RCA and "Santi ed eroi" came out in 1979, produced by label "Philips" and distributed by Phonogram. The album is pleasant but modest success. So we must wait several years to see her release a new product. In 1983 proposes evil thoughts, recorded for the CGD, his best-known record, which is however also the last. This is an excellent product, with much original music as well as the lyrics. Although the arrangements are very compact. However, for a while you hear more about him. He recently published a new work, containing unreleased tracks. The album is titled "Europa Hotel" and was published by the EBS. The guidelines of his poetry remain unchanged, the inspiration of his Central European music goes well with the "rudeness" of the Anglo-Saxon sounds.

A bit oversold, perhaps, as is customary for these little blurbs.
In this blog I've posted some really stunningly beautiful Italian albums that generally were too unknown for their own good, including the much-loved Ullu and Sage, and another I never posted, the amazing Dream album by Baldassare with the absolutely astonishing 1977 hit (haha, of course it was never a hit!) called Sing.  I strongly recommend you seek that one out, if you at all can, a true lost gem.

Anyways, as you might expect the 1976 debut from D'Eliso is also incredible.  The genre description is all over the map but for the most part this is singer-songwriter with a gentle touch, orchestral or chamber backing (like Ullu), and a little bit of proggish inventiveness.

A great example of the latter quality is the Cantastorie Equilibrista:

Here the beauty consists firstly in the very emotional and sincere vocal delivery (nicely augmented by a flute solo in the middle), but also the transition from the verse in D, with the descending pattern in bass line (like Dear Prudence), to the chorus with added major-7th interval which appears like the sun behind passing clouds, so suddenly.

On the second album the quality has gone quite a bit more in the commercial direction, but the incredible track about poetry really stands out with its odd chord movements and extreme, exquisite delicacy as befits the subject matter:

Please enjoy these...

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Back to José María Vitier with Concerto Por Una Nueva Aurora, 1983

You might recall this Cuban artist from two previous posts, the best one having come in 1987, hereThis one which came 4 years before, is like a combined oratorio / concerto in 5 movements, some sections orchestral, some more like pop with instrumental backing, but never really annoyingly classical, in the way that Deep Purple's concerto was.  (Note that the idiot who completed the database information on discogs made a mess of the movement titles, putting instead artists' names, presumably he couldn't read despite the state education he received in Cuba starting at the age of one week intrauterine, as you can tell from looking at the back scan.  What a surprise the analists who run discogs didn't boot him out as they so often love to do, being hardcore record collectors.  It's even more surprising they didn't hunt him down and feed his body parts to their pet hamsters.)

After his 1987 masterwork, the next release was an OST from 1994 called Strawberry and Chocolate.  So not very appealing despite the title.  I won't go into the usual Cuban tirade since that seems to have royally pissed off some communists last time, and I generally speaking never stray into the issue of individual countries and their possible demerits, e.g., Italy bad, France not as bad, Russia a complete basket case, USA a worldwide joke, China not even mentionable, Finland fantastic leadership with their just wonderful prime minister-- hard to understand why other countries can't copy their example.

The result is quite uneven overall ranging from mediocre songwriting to average composing.  There are at times some inspired passages but they are sometimes drowned out by the overbearing orchestra like a local communist cadre leadership who only allow you one bar of soap on leap years.  The 1987 work with its more seamless integration of the rockier, fusion elements, was more successful for sure, this one almost immature (although the composition demonstrates quite a classical education) in direct comparison.

The introductory movement: