Sunday 31 July 2022

Library composer Romolo Grano

From discogs:

Italian composer, conductor, pianist, cellist, oboe and cor anglais player.
Born in Venezia. Studied at Conservatorio B. Marcello di Venezia.

Some very experimental music and some very generic music, all mixed together.  I guess recently Canopo put together a bunch of themed compilations of his old library music in which many styles are mixed.  The rym discography is a little bit more complete with these later albums.  Nonetheless he was unbelievably prolific.  The more modern stuff is virtually abstract musique concrete really, while the one soundtrack (L'amaro Caso etc.) is so generic as to make me want to weep, and wonder if it was written by a computer program with all the right arrangements for orchestra, themes, etc. Of course with these movie productions that's exactly what they want, lest they lose any money at all at the box office from a wrongly placed note or two.  God forbid you'd offend anyone's ears. Which in fact he was guilty of often enough in the early 70s library stuff (eg most of the tracks on Contempora).

From the Topical CD compilation, the Space Machine:

From the 1969 Religioni Vol.1, Omaggio al '700:

Friday 29 July 2022

Jana Koubková, Jazz Q Martina Kratochvíla - Mini Jazz Klub 38 (CZE 1984 Single)


This single contains some really nice tracks on it with the inimitable Jazz Q. I've added a compilation of her material for those interested, limited time only though.

Zly Sen:

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Horký Dech Jany Koubkové - Mini Jazz Klub 23 ‎(CZE 1979 EP) and 1982 LP (Hot Breath of JK)


My apologies if this was posted already here, it wouldn't surprise me at all if I was starting to repeat myself. On the other hand if it wasn't posted here before I would be a little surprised.
The first track from the EP, which isn't included in the later LP, features her crazy and slightly annoying jazz vocal 'stylings':

Friday 22 July 2022

Erich Bachträgl, Uli Rennert, Jeff Wohlgenannt, Mike Gottwald – Gollum (Austria 1981)


Some lovely jazzy fusion with very nice composed tracks, similar mostly to the recent Australian Brian Brown 70s stuff.  Info here.

Title Track:

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Andre Ceccarelli (with Bernard Arcadio) and Project One, by Request, plus multiple others from him


I guess this man needs no introduction, discography here.  He did make one of my all-time favourite library records which is Rythmes, and I would pray every day to the gods of progressive rock and fusion that he had made a million more like it because it's a home run on every single track.

On top of that he was in many of my favourite fusion outings including Synthesis, Structure, Working Progress and the underappreciated but wonderful Troc

Then, on his own in 1977 he made two self-titled albums which really went far into the commercial direction, which you can't blame any musician for doing, who wants to be poor and unknown but creative instead of rich and famous in that particular sphere of pop culture? Especially when the riches and fame, for a star musician, can be so immense both in money and females.

From the 1977 Ceccarelli, one of the few very creatively original compositions is Space Out:

Thereafter he made two even more commercial albums with the band called Bad News Travels Fast, where there is really nothing of note in my opinion.

In 1981 he started a collaboration with pianist Bernard Arcadio with his ST album which continued through many albums throughout the 80s. Difficult for me to know if something so late can be any good, others will know more than me, you can see Bernard's library discography here.

Project One from 1985, with info here, is a surprisingly well composed set of library instrumental tracks, a couple of all-percussion pieces (Din Dou), with creative chord changes, interesting melodies and highly varied themes too, the only detraction perhaps is the digital keyboards used for all the arrangements.  For ex. the first track Garrance which gives you an idea of what I mean:

Monday 18 July 2022

Derek Newark's Francesca Suite, 1981 by request


I guess this is the only LP by him, as you can see here. This album is often requested and now you finally can get a listen to it and review it for yourselves.  Basically we have instrumental classical / rock compositions similar perhaps to Curved Air or Renaissance without any vocals, with relatively baroque classical harmonies being used in terms of the importations, on top of course of the rock rhythm section, and the titles are even programmatic in nature describing the tempos of the movements.  

So we have basic minor or major chord passages with little to no dissonance, no tritones, very few chromatic notes added, giving the whole a slightly old-fashioned feeling, which makes the release date of 1981 a bit of a surprise, as well, the total absence of fusion is of note.  A minor drawback is that with some additions the mixing is a bit off with occasionally the added electric guitar licks coming in a little too strong.

I found the second track called Swingo odd in that it changes tempos / styles which is obviously against all symphonic rules, not to mention there is nothing relating to swing in there:

Note, however, how interesting overall the track becomes as it pursues various styles throughout.  If you can focus that far (because you're not addicted to screens and thus have acquired ADHD) even the chords that conclude the composition are a bit of a surprise.

 And here and there (throughout the LP / composition) are passages of extreme beauty making it well worth hearing.

Saturday 16 July 2022

Petar Ugrin's wonderful 1979 composition Samo Muzika


Out of the ballpark type stuff again in terms of progressive fusion.

From discogs:

Slovenian violinist, trumpeter and composer, he was born Jan. 12. 1944 in Zagreb, died Sep. 14. 2001 in Ljubljana. He started his music career as violinist at the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, later he became a famous jazz trumpeter. He played in Mladi Levi, September, Greentown Jazz Band.

This is again perfect, intriguing, complex, warm and energetic progressive fusion of the kind we love so much, very similar to other Eastern Europeans along the same lines such as Zipflo Reinhardt, Zbigniew Seifert, etc.  Just listen to the opener, Nekje Na Robu:

It's hard to believe we lost that awe-inspiring fusion energy in music.  And half way through when the song changes into a more angular dissonant, angry direction, it just kills me every time.

If you haven't heard this before, just wait till you hear the melancholic sound of the title track too.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

Pe Ante Pe 1980 and 1982


Information here.

Pretty much perfect instrumental progressive fusion as far as I'm concerned, very very similar to Sacbe posted earlier.
From the first album, on the track called Iguana, I particularly love the varied instrumentation employed here, with the diverse percussions, the flutes, vibes, acoustic guitar, etc:

The second album is perhaps not quite as strong but consider Embrio:

Similar too to the Nuevos Aires albums everyone so loved and enjoyed, myself especially.

Monday 11 July 2022

Eberhard Schoener in 1986's Bon Voyage


Information here.  Almost all instrumental, one vocal track, similar to the previous material by him I posted before, and here and here.  

For example the Trio in D:

There is a recited poem, spoken by Sting of all people, which is really odd and I'm not quite sure successful.  It starts with the line, "It was a day like any other" which I would say is not the most auspicious or original beginning.

Friday 8 July 2022

Sigmund Snopek and Roy Rogers Meets Einstein, 1982, plus the others

From discogs:

American multi-instrumentalist, performer, composer and band leader, active from the late 1960's starting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA) with Bloomsbury People. In 1972 he released his cult album (Who's Afraid Of) Virginia Woolf. Born on October 25th 1950, he is frequently featured on recordings by Violent Femmes, Tom Paxton and others. In 2015, he was inducted into the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Hall of Fame.

I was poking around his discography in an attempt at completing it, at least the works up until the late 80s as usual based on the LDP (law of declining progressiveness) when I came across this one I hadn't heard before, which featured a really stunningly brilliant composition called Backpocket Fugue, and you can hear it here:

For this LP which is subtitled 'a collection of compositions from Snopek', the full information can be found on this listing.  Note that this Fugue is part of the sidelong track on the first called Ride in the Dark.  I'll apologize in advance but I didn't find the rest of the works so impressive, and I'm not crazy about him in general despite his acclaim in prog circles, with the exception of Nobody to Dream (written in the progressively glorious year of 1975) which I can still enjoy today, decades after I first heard it.  It's obvious he had the full classical music education, a bit like Zappa, but of course his (musical) insanity was not as severe as the latter--unfortunately.  Similar to him though he often descended into silly singing, often in an exaggerated operatic manner, which I always found distracting.

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Philip Catherine, Charlie Mariano & Jasper van't Hof - NDR Jazzworkshop Nº. 147 (GER 1979)


Here's one I'm sure will please everyone out there, a lost performance from 1979 that was taped and is now surfacing thanks to the one who taped it-- god bless him or her.  

First track:

Monday 4 July 2022

John Scofield, several LPs


I'm sorry to those who are fans but I didn't find this quite as enticing as so many other guitar-based instrumental fusion works and artists with similar styles (many of which have been posted in these pages in the past).  Of course I was led to this artist who I wasn't familiar with from the other Vitous LP.


The title track of Shinola:

Saturday 2 July 2022

Miroslav Vitous, George Ohtsuka, John Scofield, Kenny Kirkland, Mabumi Yamaguchi in 1979's Guardian Angels


Plenty surprised that I never heard this one before, given that it features the amazing bassist / Weather Reporter Vitous, and a band playing some really nice inventive fusion of the first order.

First track (His Meaning / Rising / Resolution):