Monday 27 February 2023

Calvin Keys' Proceed With Caution! 1974 [with lossless limited time only]

He made a few albums, sporadically, from the early 70s out on to the 80s and even down into the post 2000 years, those wonderful antisocial media dominated times wherein humanity reached such an apogee of perfect attention deficit.

From wiki:

Calvin Keys (born February 6, 1943) is an American jazz guitarist, known for the several albums he released for Black Jazz Records.

Keys has performed and recorded with Ray Charles, Ahmad Jamal, John Handy, Bobby Hutcherson, Eddie Marshall, Sonny Stitt, Pharoah Sanders, Joe Henderson and Leon Williams.

On this 1974 outing, Calvin supplies us with some quite lovely funky fusion in the jazzier side of things.  The track called Tradewinds features some really lovely smooth composition flowing just like a warm boat on a breezy sea:

Saturday 25 February 2023

Aterzamlade Verk


Beautiful all-instrumental RIO type guitar music similar to Samla Mammas (which even the cover resembles) or Lars Hollmer, with the folk / RIO mixture of instrumental craziness, first track:

I guess it doesn't happen every day we find something that has not even appeared on discogs, so far as I know that is. Even a search for the artists doesn't help all that much.

Let's just enjoy the music.

Thursday 23 February 2023

Milan Svoboda Quartet's Dedication 1990 [flac limited time only]

This compositional genius who has been featured multiple times across many posts here on this blog never lets up, in this 1990 outing he still can come up with some interesting sounds, well worth hearing.  Luckily, the contemporaneous catering to the silliness of smooth 80s fusion is kept to a minimum here and the level of original ideas is cranked up to I'd say about a 5 on the dial from terrifyingly dumb and simple 0 to extremist progressiveness 10 (like Orchestra Njervudarov would score a 9.5).

It's all instrumental of course, with a jazz quartet, Milan on piano, the music being much much richer than one would expect from a grouping of 4 thanks to extra keyboard parts added presumably.

On the basis of this one I'll probably purchase some more of his later LPs that are missing in the online discography.   Overall, sound of the music is very similar to the later material from the beloved Dane Palle Mikkelborg which has been posted here so many times in the past.  Still love his composing to death too.



Tuesday 21 February 2023

Japanese Dido (Michiaki Kato and Shizuru Ohtaka) in Pagina (1989) and Ksana (1994) [limited time only]

So I don't know (how could I?) if these guys became successful in their home country of Japan with the simple and expressive beauty of the 1994 album Ksana, but it sure would be a shame if they didn't. It's just full of great songs and composition and almost nothing simplistic, a lot of influences from the alternative music that was prevalent at the time, the kind of breathy female vocalizing of Stina Nordenstam for ex, for those who are familiar with her (and back then almost 30 years ago, I really loved her music, she became big when 'Little Star' was used in the Leonardo di Caprio movie Romeo and Juliet if you recall.

The style is all over the place as you can tell from the descriptor on discogs:

Electronic, Jazz, Rock, PopArt, Rock, Ethereal, Jazz-Rock, Ambient, Dance-pop

But it's really mostly ambient jazzy alternative songs with a lot of emotion.

First album called Pagina is not as good as the later one, from the first, Fu-Mi:

From Ksana, the title track

The album closes out with Are You Ready for Love which absolutely blows me away with its tender and exquisite craftsmanship and beauty done in a waltz tempo with the intro of course reminiscent or perhaps a nod to Satie's Gymnopedies:

It could so easily have been a 'by the numbers' series of generic chord progressions on top of diatonic chords, but notice how the key keeps travelling or modulating from the beginning of I guess F major or thereabouts then moving into flat keys every few measures. Then the bridge which is instrumental presents us again with a totally different key change.  Also highly appreciated by myself is the fact the strings arrangement is not overdone in the least, it's a very light touch.  Not clear who is the arranger, on the first album there are too many credits to really get an idea of what's going on.

Sunday 19 February 2023

New Finnish Fantasia album, limited time only

Of course they made an absolutely brilliant hallmark of progressive rock in 1975.
Surprisingly this past year they made a follow up, some 47 years later (!) which to my utter surprise turned out to be stunningly good, showing a complete and ageless dedication to the progressive spirit.
Of note is that they replicate some of the songs from the original album (eg the very first track), with not much altered, not sure why that happened.

However, the new & original track called Taj Mahal is really a delight:

I mean, essentially a 'master class' (as the new cliche goes) in progressive songwriting with the dissonances of minor second, tritones, the diminished arpeggios, the abrupt chord changes and rhythm changes, the constant changes in feeling and modulations, it's just perfectly progressive overall. Should be an anthem to the this most neglected and maligned style of brilliant music.

Friday 17 February 2023

Agora - Ichinen (ITA - 2014), limited time only


From discogs:

Italian 1970's jazz-rock group who debuted at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival. Agorà means "open space" which typified their floaty open style, partly influenced by Weather Report, but also typically Italian, akin to Perigeo or the jazzier moments of PFM.

What a remarkable and beautiful thing to find that this old band, presumably familiar to everyone who knows prog, put out an album so recently that is as good as their old material, with original music!  
It's mostly instrumental, wonderfully crafted progressive, energetic in places, meditative and thoughtful in others, always reaching creatively for new ideas and sounds.

The wonderfully titled Progressive Suite, is exactly that:

I put the other albums from them here too. The Agora 2 album with its surrealistic black and white drawing is just a magnificent slice of seventies progressive fusion, always stunning.
Note that the live Bombook album, with its very awkward word, is also well worth the close listening to.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Septet Frans Elsen Featuring Piet Noordijk – Norway (1972-73), mp3 limited time only


Instrumental music featuring this group from Norway who made this music as you can tell back in the early 70s, only recently released. Not much else from him under his moniker, bio:

Dutch jazz pianist, vibraphonist and bandleader, born 28 May 1934 in Den Haag (Voorburg), died 23 February 2011 in Den Haag.

Credits for the tracks:

A1 to B2: NCRV Studio, Hilversum, 19 May 1972

B3 to C1: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep, Studio 11, Hilversum, 22 June 1973

C2: Internationaal Jazz Festival Loosdrecht, Botenloods Jachthaven Van Dijk, Oud-Loosdrecht, 8 August 1972

D1: Theater PePijn, The Hague, 30 April 1972

D2: not mentioned (Exclusive Vinyl Bonustrack)

The remarkable Skabu's gorgeous electric piano:

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Black Girl OST 1974, Ed Bogas

Some nice funky music written, for the most part, by Ed Bogas, info here. The other 2 requests in similar style are a bit more disappointing.  Title track:

An instr. called Power:

Look at that great poster for The Mack:

Monday 13 February 2023

Another from Jorge Lopez Ruiz 1994's Coincidencias

Another wonderful, well worth hearing album from him that I just found, the last one that is discogged here.  We can add it to the others posted just prior to almost-complete his works.

Like the other later releases (Contrabajismos and Espacios), he reuses or reinterprets his own songs from the 70s, but using bass, accordion and digital keys rather than the electric instruments of the earlier fusion style.  Thus, Pablo, Galope, and Ruminus appeared earlier.  

On the other hand, I don't think Nuestro Credo did, and it's quite remarkable sounding in the unusual Stravinskyesque rhythms as well as atonal dissonances:

It's amazing that at the ripe old age of 59 (for a musician) he still was so dedicated to the complex spirit of earlier times.

Sunday 12 February 2023

The amazing Argentinian bassist / composer Jorge Lopez Ruiz, by request [limited time]


From discogs:

Argentinan jazz bassist, cellist, pianist and arranger. Born: April 01, 1935 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Died: December 11, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Unfortunately our stalwart source wiki is not much help:

Jorge López Ruiz ( La Plata , April 1, 1935- Buenos Aires , December 11, 2018) 1 was an Argentine musician , composer and double bass performer, interpreter and arranger of various genres of popular music, especially jazz .  In his work, El grito (1967) and Bronca Buenos Aires (1970), prohibited by the military dictatorship, stand out . In popular music he has been an arranger and composer of songs for Sandro , Leonardo Favio and Piero , among others.

He was a regular participant in a series of informal folkloric experimentation and improvisation meetings at the home of Eduardo Lagos , humorously baptized by Hugo Díaz as folkloréishons , which, in the manner of jazz jam sessions , used to bring together Lagos, Astor Piazzolla and Díaz, with other musicians such as López Ruiz himself, Oscar Cardozo Ocampo , Domingo Cura and Oscar López Ruiz , among others.  With his quartet he was awarded by the Konex Foundation as one of the 5 best jazz ensembles of the decade in Argentina.

For our purposes however he surely reached a peak with the albums Viejas Raices (1975) and Un Hombre (1978), when it comes to progressive composition and fusion, with the 1980 live in New York being well worth hearing as well. To me the earlier works are distinctly inferior, esp. El Grito which features quite 'by the book/chart' big band jazz arrangements for orchestra, while the follow up Bronca has relatively well composed modern music sometimes quite abstract, but under the ever-distracting (cf. Jean Vasca) spoken poetry.

From Viejas Raices, the Ellos Dos track begins with a nice obbligato on the guitar, but develops in such a gorgeously unique and creative way, I'm sure you'll all be entranced:

Surprisingly he made some more great music in 1988 with Contrabajismo and 1990's Espacios, which I'll include in a big package down below.  Thus, from the former album, the quasi-atonal composition called De Un Oberheim Porteño is quite shockingly progressive, especially for the late year:

Saturday 11 February 2023

KIM band, or KIM from Macedonia

From discogs:

Jazz-rock-funk band founded and led by the Macedonian trombone player Kire Mitrev, based in Belgrade, active during the first half of the 80’s.

Through several line-ups, members were:

Kire Mitrev - trombone, vocals

Goce Dimitrovski - trumpet

Vladimir Furduj - drums

The overall sound is very similar to the warm synth-filled funky fusion sound of Artemiev's Warmth of the Earth, for those familiar with that work. Vocal numbers feature female vocals which is never an unpleasant thing.  The first track of their first album from 1981, Ljubi Me Brzo, Žurim 

The following two albums are not quite as good unfortunately, but I included them below.

Thursday 9 February 2023

Back to Neth. Contraband with Hittit (1998), Pale Fire (2001)


A kind commenter posted their other albums, all of them in fact, after my last post for them. So he 'beat me to the punch' as the expression goes, for this one.

I posted their Boy Edgar Suite earlier, here.  Back with more from these guys who made very inventive progressive big band (but not fusion) style music, in a few CDs in the later, millenium days.

Two more CDs from the same period.

From Hittit, some quasi-atonal big band music on the track called Magic:

From Pale Fire, Herne:

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Jean Vasca's Midi, 1975

Time and again we've encountered this conundrum, the well-written even gorgeous music, somewhat marred by spoken words or poetry above it, distracting from the quality of the composition.

This French gentleman wrote both music and poetry for a long series of albums, beginning in the early sixties, continuing on into the 2000s, even releasing a CD a few years before passing away in 2016 at the age of 76. For those who are familiar with his older compatriot Leo Ferre (those dozen or so people outside of France that is, lol) the sound is almost the same except Jean uses a bit more contemporary instrumentation in comparison.  Based on his 2-CD collection which I listened to, Midi stands above all the rest of his albums in terms of the quality of the musical composition, not surprising, given it came out in 1975 when there was so much interest in progressive music.

Moi je suis de la nuit:

The title track:

I find it somewhat distracting that instead of purely speaking or purely singing he kind of does both, imitating a melody with words, as it were, without actually singing in tune, even though there does seem to be a composed melody in there somewhere. On the other hand for those who understand French, the poetry is quite beautiful and imaginative, full of jarring metaphor.