Sunday 29 October 2023

International Jazz Consensus - Beak to Beak, 1981

Information with credits for composition can be found on discog's page
This band only made the one album, which is for sure in the contemporary jazz genre.

Note the presence of Austrian composer Roidinger who we have encountered I think numerous times before here on this blog (for ex. here and his incredible, brilliantly wonderful computer project here-- if you missed it be sure to have a listen to this composition).

Delphi, a composition by their guitarist John Thomas Williams:

I'll get to his own stuff next.

Friday 27 October 2023

Danied Bechet's Songs to my Father, 1979

Daniel Bechet, percussionist:

French percussionist born on April 3, 1954 in Paris, France. He has worked with the french artist Laurent Garnier. He is the son of the famous jazzman Sidney Bechet. Also, he is a conductor of Daniel Sidney Bechet Jazz Band and Daniel Bechet Quartet.

I guess this album is the only one he put out under his own name, too bad, because it's really fine and smooth fusion, not progressive really,  more in the easy fusion realm of things. I really love the meditative aspects of Night Clouds:

Oui de Song for another example of his style:

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Jose Roberto Bertrami from Azymuth, Blue Wave (1983), Dreams are Real (1986)


He was the main composer in the Brazilian band Azymuth featured before. On his own, quite a few additional releases which are highly similar in style, ie smooth instrumental fusion with latin tinges.

The nice composition called Parati:

Monday 23 October 2023

Brazilian fusion band Azymuth in 3 LPs

Information here.  Very smooth fusion here.


Brazilian group started out in the early 1970s as Grupo Seleção, a cover band. In 1973 they changed the band's name to Azymuth, inspired by a Marcos & Paulo Sérgio Valle song. (They also backed Marcos Valle on his Previsão Do Tempo album released in 1973.) In 1975 they released their first album, initially titled Azimüth. It featured the hit Linha Do Horizonte. In 1976 they scored another minor hit with Melô Da Cuíca ; Jazz Carnival, taken from the 1979 album Light As A Feather, was another hit, and 1980's Dear Limmertz also became a popular staple. The trio moved to the United States in the early 1980s, producing a number of albums that never came out in Brazil, and placing their bets on a mix of samba, funk and jazz that they defined as MPB-jazz (referring to Música Popular Brasileira). The main composer, keyboardist J. R. Bertrami, left the group in 1988, and was replaced by Jota Moraes [see previous post] and Marinho Boffa, but returned in the middle of the following decade, when the group signed with the label Far Out. After Bertrami died in 2012 keyboardist Kiko Continentino joined drummer Ivan "Mamão" Conti and bassist Alex Malheiros to continue the band.

From 1977, Tarde:

I think Light as a Feather is the best work, from that one, Ave. das Manguieiras:

Thursday 19 October 2023

German band Inquire - The Neck Pillow from 2020


A 'recent' band that is already 23 years old now, it's squarely in the German symphonic rock tradition like the old classics Neuschwanstein, Eloy, etc., there's so much in that vein. In my opinion their attempts are worthy but they are not quite as intensely creative and original as the previous posting.

Info here. For me the best track and perhaps most exemplary is the oddly titled Swidwim:

Wednesday 18 October 2023

The first from Gosta Berlings Saga: Tid ar Ljud from 2006, limited time only

Information from discogs:

Gösta Berlings Saga - obviously drawing their name from the Nobel Prize laureate Selma Lagerlöf's 1891 novel (and/or the 1924 classic silent movie by the same name) - are a Swedish, experimental / progressive, instrumental rock band originating from Stockholm suburb Vällingby, where the the duo Pelikaan, consisting of Alexander Ship on drums and David Lundberg on organ, started playing around 2000, reputedly inspired by the late 1960's, Swedish jazz rock duo Hansson & Karlsson. As such, they recorded a demo (that also gave name to their own Studio Pelikaan). In 2004, the band expanded to a four- or five-piece outfit, drawing from a far wider range of influences, referencing Samla Mammas Manna, King Crimson and RIO / Zeuhl genres.

Their first album is by far their best. It's just stunningly inventive and interesting and after all this time and music, shockingly original though there are definite hints of old Samla, Het Pandorra, and other guitar-based classics like Fripp's material incl. later KC.


Monday 16 October 2023

German band Jin Jim in 3, as recommended, limited time only


Information here.  They made 3 CDs of instrumental electric guitar-based jazz-rock, I couldn't really qualify it as fusion because it's more written in the contemporary jazz style of meandering melodies and extemporizations. Similar to recently posted German Cobham group's Cargo, or the Hungarian Gabor's work from much earlier, for sure the style straddles the 70s-80s border, with, thankfully, no incursions to worry about unlike elsewhere in the world, so help us God...

City Lights, from the first album:

The second one is a little bit more electric and intense. Compositions are not quite so adventuresome as Gadi Caplan, Mathematicians, etc. from recently. With that proviso in mind note the final and closing composition called Surface which is so reminiscent of our 70s glory days of prog-fusion:

Friday 13 October 2023

Aurora Clara from Spain, recommended / requested-- limited time only

 Absolutely classic stuff, I'll post here in case anyone missed the request / comment.

This band from Madrid, Spain, made 3 CDs in recent years that are quite comparable to the classic instrumental prog fusion of the heyday of the last 70s with electric guitar fusion, laidback progressive chamber stuff, etc., similar perhaps to the Uzva but more intense and energetic. 

The discogs page is here.

Thus from the first album, Agosto, sounding a bit like our old favourites Gotic:

From the 2nd, The Race has Begun, very much in Mahavishnu vein:

Deep n Blue from the third, like French classics Transit Express:

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Brazilian Raiz de Pedra, as recommended

 Discography located here.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart and ears for the recommendation, never heard this band before. Which is quite shocking in fact. And they are indeed quite impressive with their progressive styled fusion in the classic electric manner, complete with instrumental energy, dissonances, abrupt time and chord changes, etc., you get the idea.

From the first release (1985), anachronistic in the extreme when you just think of the abominable Duran Duran, the title track:

From the next one Ao vivo's (1988), the out of the ballpark AntiMateria which for me exceeds in compositional style and energy any single track done by King Crimson:

And from the Pictures album (1989) which inevitably is a bit less original and punchy, smoother, Xaraxaxa, note the dissonances right off the bat:

And in 1996 they came out with another cd which surprisingly was still quite progressive. How exemplary!

Monday 9 October 2023

Jota Moraes in 2 wonderful albums

From Cama de Gato to this (Brazilian of course) pianist, composer of some of the nicest tracks on the band featured last time. His first album came out in 1980 when he was only 32 years old, and it's quite a nice surprise for an unknown one, with lovely chamber-influenced compositions and some fusion, all obviously with the latin sound, occas. some very interesting Jobim like chromatic elaborate and circuitous melodies as on Mujer:

The second album here which came out so late in 2005, when he would have been 60 years old (?), features compositions presumably from contemporary composers in the classical vein, with guitar, chamber instruments, and vibes (by Moraes), eg Ponteio:

Back to Meirelles with the CD Paula, limited time upload


This later album from percussionist Pascoal Meirelles is of course more smooth in its all instrumental fusion, not at all like the more progressive works from ten years back especially Tamba. It's definitely worth completing these discographies however, because on this CD there is a standout composition by J. Moraes called Fantasia Popular which sounds a lot like a compositional exercise for example from university days because it combines all kinds of intriguing and original creative sounds and themes like a tone poem, like one of the orchestralized compositions of the great Egberto Gismonti, for example.  Obviously he plays all the keyboard digital 'instruments':

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Brazilian fusion band Cama de Gato (with Meirelles)

Thank you so much for recommending these guys, who I never heard before.
It's very similar to the more recently posted Sacbe, or perhaps Mexican composer Batiz with his fusion masterpiece, Arlequin (though admittedly, not quite as high in quality).

Discogged here. They made a slew of smooth, latin-influenced (though not excessively so) fusionary albums in the 1980s moving through to the close to the present day / year. Oddly enough, in a strange reversal of the usual order of universal things, the last release called Agua de Chuva holds the most interesting music. Compositions by Moraes are quite interesting.

The lusciously gorgeous and sexy Homem:

I just can't believe what the composer achieves on this song. First of all the slow build, the introduction of that incredible alto sax playing, then the layers of strings that add so much in between phrases, the constantly modulating chords and keys-- an effect that makes you feel like you're floatingon air from cloud to cloud perhaps, because a phrase instead of completing into the tonic key just moves to a totally different and unrelated key, leading to that really off balance feeling-- this composition is just outstanding. 
What makes it even more shocking to me is that it came out after the turn of the millenium-- you might recall that in the zeitgeist culture, one decade of alternative and heavy metal were still going strong, on the other hand there was folky Lilith Fair, so called electronica which of course morphed into the ubiquitous dance music that is constantly played on the radio these days, and hip hop the style that hasn't budged an inch since the late 1980s including their ridiculous low rise pants, which in the past, would have been considered uncool, but I guess swearing constantly, calling women bitches and ho's and using the 'n' word never goes out of style.  The longevity of rap just never ceases to astound me...

Anyways, with regards to Cama de Gato, it's hard to believe a band of artists could be so uncompromising as to make such out of date music in the year of 2002.  But thanks from the bottom of my heart to them! You can see from the database that the composer is (not Pascoal Meirelles but) keyboardist Jota Moraes, who we will explore further shortly.

Monday 2 October 2023

Pascoal Meirelles: Considerações, Tamba, Anna, and Ostinato

 Genius level composition here, in some places, but particularly in the astonishing 1983 Tamba album with its nonstop inventive, creative, progressive latin-tinged, chamber-augmented fusion.

From discogs:

Brazilian drummer (b. 1944). After playing with "Tempo trio" and other muscians he went to Berklee to complete his studies. He played with Antonio Carlos Jobim on "Terra Brasilis".
When he returned to Brazil in the first 80s, he played with Gonzaguinha's band and founded instrumental band "Cama de Gato".
In 1981 he released his first solo album, "Considerações a respeito", followed by "Tambá" (1983) and "Anna" (1987), dedicated to his first daughter.