Friday 31 December 2021

Rollsplytt's Flappergranny, 1982 and Happy New Year 2021!


A one-off private pressing from this German band with all instrumental, lighter styled fusion including some funky, slight reggae elements, enjoyable in parts nonetheless, recommended by a commenter.  We've heard so much of this type of music before, based on the older fusion of the seventies but brought down to a more commercial, lighter level, despite the typical trappings of synthesizer and electric guitar.  

The track called Hand auf Herz, Mon Ami changes nicely from a slower emotional opening to uptempo crunchy electric guitar:

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Roger Nichols in the ultrarare Santa Monica Centennial Stairway '75


I'm going post this just in case someone comes along this page and is curious to know what this is all about.  It's definitely super rare and cost me an arm and a leg and more to purchase.  I thought it just might be like some other brilliant overlooked funky fusion mid-70s albums since really there was nothing to go by online but it turns out that the first three sides are orchestral composed music in a variety of styles some of which are silly or downright annoying, while the last side which featured the great Roger Nichols is a rehash of the old songs he made with Roger Williams, great as those songs were, and exemplary of the decade.

It's databased here. The description:

Concert in honor of Santa Monica's One hundredth Birthday. Thursday, March 13 and Friday, March 14, 7:30 p.m. Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

The actual record is marred by the fact the beginnings of both sides a and b are horribly warped and can't be played for the first five minutes, though you might be convinced this isn't so bad as it sounds when you hear the music.

One of the tracks with Roger Nichols from side d:

Anyhow I post this in case someone else out there is curious about this rarity and would like to purchase it not knowing the contents.

Monday 27 December 2021

Fez, 1978 by request


Info here. Avant-garde, free jazz.

Sunday 26 December 2021

Chikara Ueda and The Power Station in several albums 1978 to 1982

Smooth and funky fusion all instrumental along the lines of Yamashita but of course without the vocals he made a slew of albums in the late seventies to the early eighties period some of which might be too smooth for our tastes.

From Cara de Piedra, the track called Silhouette d'Amour :

Included are Flying Easy (1980) Sunlight Whisper (1981), Mr. (1981) [INC], Herdland (1981) and Cara de Piedra (1982):

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Lizard's Bad Companions


Sadly a one-off from this wonderful group that made a kind of hard proto-prog like Tucky Buzzard, the description is quite complete on discogs:

Michael (Mick) Tulk had previously played guitar with British freak-beat band THE UNTAMED during the mid-1960s. Greg Hill, Dave Conners and Rob Souter had previously been members of the Sydney-based WHITE WINE, although none of them actually played on the band’s “Overflow” LP (Festival 1970). Mick Tulk and Dave Conners also appeared on GULLIVER SMITH’s “The Band's Alright But the Singer Is…” LP (Reprise 1973). Dave Conners also performed on the following LPs: JADE WARRIOR “Released” (Vertigo 1971) and GRAHAM PARKER & THE RUMOUR’s “Howlin’ Wind” (1976). Rob Souter was drummer for the DYNAMIC HEPNOTICS (1980-86). LIZARD split up in early 1973 after having laid down several tracks at EMI Studios (Sydney) during December 1972. These tracks eventually appeared on the band’s “Rosalyn” b/w “Cecil” single (released 7 June 1973), and “Bad Companions” LP (released July 1973). Initially, the album was slated to appear as “Starve the Lizards” (imagine that!), but this was replaced by the “Bad Companions” title, possibly in reference to Gulliver Smith’s band name at the time.

The stunning long track called Missing Pages gives you a great idea how enjoyable this can be:

Sunday 19 December 2021

Fantasia Cromatica's one-off


An excellent review that starts like this:

With a name taken from both Bach's chamber tradition and Jaco Pastorius' repertoire, Argentinean ensemble Fantasía Cromática brings a refreshing stance for contemporary jazz-rock. The band shows clear, undeniable evidence of the influences absorbed from Pastorius-era Weather Report, Return to Forever, Yellow Jackets and Brand-X, with some soft hints to symphonic rock in places. The album kicks off with the vigorous 'El Proceso de la Lluvia', which sets a proper mood of joie de vivre in the listener's mind. The track is set on a controlled basis, obvious in the harmonic fashion in which the guitar, sax and synth solos succeed each other; he middle section is much slower, which gives way to vocative ambiences (including a very Gilmour-esque guitar solo). 'Un Gesto Memorioso' begins with on a reflective tone with the sax assuming the starring role - once things shift to a more intrepid mood, the guitar and the bass display a mutually defiant homage to Holdsworth and Berlin in a tasteful use of pyrotechnics. 'Ascesis del Sol' is the longest and most solemn track in the album: this makes sense with the important presence that the keyboard layers bear during the elaboration of the track's main atmospheres: the sax and piano solos are relevant, but again, this band likes to keep things under control, so the potential storm of virtuosity is always obedient to some sort of constraint, always giving major preference to the global sound. The bass ornaments featured in some passages also help to sustain the overall mood...

You can tell from its posting here that we're dealing with a throwback to the seventies greats, so much so that there really is no indication this wasn't recorded back in that glorious heyday of progressive fusion. 
The so-called solemn track with its highly evocative transcendent (and original!) chord changes, Ascesis del Sol:

Oddly I don't find a database entry in discogs to see if there's more from them.

Friday 17 December 2021

WDR Big Band

From discogs:

Big band of large public German radio / TV broadcasting station Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), based in Köln (Cologne).

Since 2016 Bob Mintzer is the chief conductor and Vince Mendoza is composer in residence and conductor.

The band popped up, somewhat anonymously, in the previous post here with Airto Moreira's Brazilian Mass. In this collection, thanks to the contributor who put it together btw, they feature quite a lot of mixed classical and big band composition along the lines of my old favourite track Jacob's Tailor. 

The classical introduction to Die Erde [The World] almost brings me to tears:

There are several outstanding similar compositions in the collection, some with classical styled vocals.

The discography is enormous too and it's impossible for me to discern what might be of value in there.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Ali Neander and Helmutt Hattler


Again quite the remarkable mix of guitar fusion and composed, well-thought-out passages similar to the classic style of the 70s as in albums by Toto Blanke or Akkerman although there are tracks that import the metalish stylings from the 2000's or even electronic repetitionary elements.  The discography is here.

A composition cowritten and coplayed, interestingly, with the great Paul McCandless, called Winterlude:

For a more uptempo fusiony track consider the opener, Seventh Sense:

Later in 2014 the team came up with another CD called "This one goes to eleven" referencing Spinal Tap, also featuring McCandless, despite the title there is no heavy metal in there but more of the guitar-based fusion from 2010, while in the 2012 acoustic guitar outing with Tilmann Hohn, the laidback and more sedative slower side of 2010 is featured as if that album was split into two distinct personalities. I guess there is also some resemblance to the Muck Groh albums with Grotesk, which are strongly recommended to all.

But overall, you could say the most influence perhaps is from the great Toto.

Sunday 12 December 2021

Kadans (Cadence) aka The Moscow Chamber Jazz Ensemble


From discogs:

Cadence was a Soviet chamber jazz ensemble, established in 1978 by German Lukyanov. The band had been performing Lukyanov's original compositions and heavily re-arranged jazz standards. Cadence toured around the USSR extensively and participated in a few foreign festivals, including Nord Sea Jazz (1984) in Hague and Jazz Jamboree Festival in Poland. Most musicians played multiple instruments, so the small group of six people had a timbre and expressive variety of a big-band. Lukyanov used complicated rhythmic patterns, unusual arrangement techniques, chromatics, atonality, dodecaphony. Some critics considered Cadence to be one of the most innovative and advanced Soviet jazz bands of the 1970-80s.

Amazing classical fusion.  From the first album which has the title Ivanushka the Fool, track 3:

From the third album track 2 (translated as What a Snowy Spring) presents an astonishingly emotional fugue composition that builds in wonderful intensity a little like our favourite Russian band Arsenal was so able to do:

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Puzzle in two albums



Chicago-based Brass-Rock/Jazz-Funk band.
Signed with Motown in 1972 and released two albums between 1973-1974.
A third album named "How Do We Get Out Of This Business Alive" was planned for release in late 1974 but was cancelled.
Frontman John LiVigni would later leave the group to pursue a solo career as John Valenti.

And indeed, these guys have a very pleasant Chicago (the band) sound to them, and we all know what that means and implies, but in places they are very similar to Sage posted here this is Italian soul with some nice progressive components.

From the first album track 5, Grosso:

I mean we're not talking Il Sistema here of course, but it's still pleasant to hear for these tired old ears.

From the second album, State of Mind:

Here, the Chicago resemblance is almost eerie, excluding that wonderfully original and progressive intro riff that reappears here and there throughout the composition. Of course I'm assuming most people out there love that band as much as I do.

Sunday 5 December 2021

User (Goetz Steeger) - Kurmuschels Verwandlung (12 Variationen) from 2013


Here's a remarkable so-called RIO or perhaps chamber progressive album that I'm sure no one out there has ever heard or heard about, but with superbly well composed music.  The artist in question is Goetz Steeger who is 'hiding' behind the name User for this one-off cd. Confusingly there is also an album by him whose title is User which is different.  In the database this album is listed here.  I have his 2019 album called Ende der Parade which is distinctly inferior, well I should say it's more popular music than this one.

Consider the classical composition Uberwulf mit cello:

The Tarantella:

Then you get an idea of the great composition.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Gunther Fischer Band's amazing Nightkill OST, 1984

Gunther Fischer has been posted here before of course as a result of his backing of Uschi Bruning, and the remarkable fusion album Kombination there as a quintet.  There are other albums hidden in his discography as bandleader or just as solo artist, for example the often requested album with Solo Sunny which is listed here as ST, from 1979, but I think it's a soundtrack.  In the late year of 1984 he made this other OST which is really remarkable with its mix of funk and fusion, the information is here this time under the GF Band. 

For Example track 5, Phoenix:

Monday 29 November 2021

Italian Composer Maurizio Fabrizio in 4 (Azzurri, Movimenti, Primo, Personaggi)

It's worth looking at the second album cover with its gorgeous surreal painting of the dove being pulled by levers.

From discogs (this is with reference to his masterpiece, the second album Movimenti del Cielo)

Very few people know Maurizio Fabrizio, a character who has almost always acted in the shadows, in the service of the likes of Angelo Branduardi, Renato Zero, Patty Pravo and many more famous Italian music figures. A multifaceted composer and arranger, also an author of musicals and soundtracks, who took his first steps with project Le Particelle and the duo Maurizio & Fabrizio, before devoting himself to the aforementioned musicians during almost the entire '70s decade.

In 1978 he released his second solo album, "Movimenti nel cielo", an entirely instrumental LP where symphonic scores blend with rock music, especially with the longer tracks, which are separated by shorter intervals fulfilled with strings and keyboards. There are also acoustic sections ("Episodio Lunare"), funk-ish moments ("Sputnik Suite") and atmospheres recalling the early Alan Parsons Project in the two pieces of the same name ("Danza delle stelle") located in the opening and closing parts of the album.

This is an LP released out of time compared to the golden years of progressive rock, but it nevertheless manages to retrieve its aura, and is therefore worthy of attention by all fans of the genre.

Listening to the other 3 albums he was intimately involved in it seems he eschewed the progressive spirit for the most part, saving it all for this one magically wonderful progressive album that as mentioned above combines everything we love in one miraculous whole.  Most similar maybe to Claudio Dentes' Panterei album, assuming you know that one.

On the track called Sputnik Suite I think just everything I love turn up including the electric guitar riffing funk and orchestral elements:

Il Sole is equally a perfect composition:

Saturday 27 November 2021

The Neglected Hudson Brothers


If you know these guys at all it would be thanks to their 'megahit' So you are a Star, seemingly self-referencing in a totally non-ironic way, typically enough for the seventies, in fact you could even say it's a little charmingly boastful. Discography here, and that song came out in 1974.  There are those who find that song annoyingly too Beatles-like, which is for sure a strike against them, but then again who wasn't in that period in time. Hopefully this youtube link works for that song.  Reading into their story which you can do on wikipedia in an exhaustive article, it's clear they were 'teenybopper' type artists, but I figured I should at least do the honour of listening to all their songs to see if there were more gems like their big hit in there, and sure enough, in their first album there were quite a few. Thereafter though it really tails off quickly as they seem to go through one phase after another like a pinball machine, from Beatles-influence, well earlier it seems they were influenced by America (the band), then soul and then disco of course. Each style they're able to imitate perfectly which adds to the cloyingness of course. I hate to get negative because you never know when an artist might read a review like this but for example in the second album they imitate John Lennon in solo career (e.g. Plastic Ono Band) and elsewhere Beatles circa 1965 like Drive my Car style and that really is annoying, since this is almost a decade later.

Back to that first album though, regarding which wiki has little to say:

On Decca Records they changed their name to Everyday Hudson in early 1970, releasing "Love Is the Word" (#32634). For the release in spring 1971 of "Love Nobody" on Lionel Records (L-3211), their name was shortened to Hudson. This name was also used in 1972 after switching to the newly re-activated Playboy Records, with the release of "Leavin' It's Over" (originally "Leave and It's Over", the song was mislabeled by Playboy, and it has never been corrected) (P-50001), Billboard Bubbling Under Chart #110. The group's self-titled debut album was released in 1972.[5]


Little Old Man

The other thing I found highly amusing about these guys is the way their album covers are like a photo-summary of the chapters of the seventies from start to finish as you can tell from their hairstyles, a phenomenon we've seen so many times before here on these pages with the long hippie hair giving way to short cuts, even mustaches, passing through that three-piece suit Bonnie and Clyde / Great Gatsby trend:

Check out those hippies...

Is that a kkk guy in there??? wow

They seem to have predicted the Saturday Night Fever craze.

Anybody remember 'The Sting' movie?

Oh, Mr. Kotter! Mr. Kotter!
 Welcome back, Horschach, right?

Wow it seemed like the good times would never end... but they did, right in 1980.
wait, who is the 4th guy?