Monday 29 April 2024

Hawk on Flight (first few LPs) limited time only flacs for 1st 2


I didn't realize they made so many albums, I must've given up on them in the mid80s. I don't even have the courage now to go through the post 1985 ones to see if there's anything in there worth hearing, maybe someone else could take up the sacrifice for our people, for humanity. Then I wish them best of luck! Assuming I ever see them again.

Note the Jag Tanker composition reappears here, recall this showed up in Soffgruppen.
The Hawk on Flight track from 1979 is just gorgeous, of course:

From the eponymous 1980, I've always been entranced by Graf's Voicings beginning on the full organ then moving to a fugue like section and accelerating to the fusion of the end:

Btw, the guitarist on these albums is Ulf Wakenius.

Predictably, after these 2 and the departure of Hakon Graf, very quickly the band now led by bassist Matz Nilsson gets smoother and smoother, the tracks get lighter and lighter, the sound becomes commercialer and commercialer, and inevitably the crappy tinny drum machine takes over from the real percussion, the David Sanborn-style squeaky squealing scratchy sax starts howling at the moon, the Brazilian bossa nova importations come in, the chords are minimized to 4 per composition, etc., etc.

Friday 26 April 2024

Hakon Graf 1982 Hideaway, 1987 Grafitti


Well what could I say that's not obvious? After Moose Loose and Hawk on Flight,  Hakon Graf's1982's Hideaway is more of the same but much smoother, while Grafitti of course is basically complete commercialese / easy listening.

Nonetheless, consider the lovely, tender keys of Tender Stranger:

Btw Hakon released a couple of CDs in recent years (Sunrain, Licence to Chill) with some marvelous fusion on them, which are well worth checking out too.

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Kiyoshi Hasegawa in Barbara (1983)

Info here. A very prolific SSW you can see albeit seemingly totally unknown past the shores of his island home to the point where it's hard to even find his music anywhere at all.  Only a couple of albums so far as I know are available digitized, the remainder presumably existing only as analog or digital discs.

The elaborate string arrangement intro of this third track (kage ni naku) betrays the generic ordinariness of what follows:

Monday 22 April 2024

Back to Frode Thingnaes with Queen Python, 1981

Information on this one discogged here. Most tracks were written by guitarist / engineer, Jan Erik Kongshaug.

Same light fusion as the preceding installments marred slightly (for myself, apologies to others) by the fact it's a live recording and therefore not perfect in terms of sound, and intensity. At any rate, I had to purchase and rip it as it was missing from his online digital discography (so far as I know, as usual, which is not too far).

It's also a very long album at about 50 minutes but that's nothing to celebrate since it entails constant repetitive solos by every musician.

Afterglow by Bob James really can take you back to those days in 1981, he was the guy who although quite prolific (and mid, as the kids would say) in the light funk / fusion sphere throughout the 70s, struck it HUGE with the TV theme for Taxi, starring lovely Merilu Henner-- does anybody else here remember that classic show?  And this track also resembles that theme, with its nicely detailed and long melody:


Bass – Jan Erik Kongshaug

Design [Cover] – Bruno Oldani

Drums – Thor Andreassen

Engineer [Mixing] – Jan Erik Kongshaug

Engineer [Recording] – Arne Akselberg

Guitar – Pete Knutsen

Keyboards – Henryk Lysiak

Lacquer Cut By – F*

Trombone, Euphonium – Frode Thingnæs

Recorded live at «Døla-jazz», Lillehammer and «Gjøvik-festivalen», Gjøvik in May 1981.

Friday 19 April 2024

Four for Jazz in 3 LPs 1970 - 1972 (Land of Dolls, Power of Nature, Sunday Child)

Basic, what they call contemporary jazz, with some fusion traces and elements that make it worth hearing--although perhaps only for the one run through.  They do improve (get more fusionary) over the course of these three short years, information here.

Title track from Power of Nature:

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Danish Ariel with Solens Barn, 1980


Info discogged here

In distinction to the other ST this one is laden with female vocals and is much much smoother and commercial in keeping with the year of release, 1980.  Shockingly the vocal duties are performed by a Hawaiian girl, called Lei (Aloha Moe).

Cf. the title track:

Monday 15 April 2024

Danish Ariel from 1980


As usual, beautiful covers, there are two alternate ones.
Info on these guys here. Not to be confused with the super brilliant US one-off band that made Perspectives in 1978!
This is their first, the ST one. They play a fusion that is instrumental but leaning towards the jazzy side rather than electric. Nonetheless, quite original compositions and minimal wankery.

747 to Rio (sad indeed that jet airliner we grew up with was retired in favour of the silly and quite problematic 737, so sad):

Friday 12 April 2024

Gabriel Jonas in 1978's Impresie


Discogged as:

Slovak pianist, bass guitarist, composer. Born November 23, 1948 in Kukučínovo (Želiezovice district, former Czechoslovakia, presently Slovakia).

Light jazz here, but quite interesting compositionally (all by him), thankfully no standards, original music only. A lot reminds me of the old Teo Macero I mentioned often here before too as one of my intrinsic points of reference.

First off note he played in the Keyboard Conclave, no. 10 specifically, which I once posted here. We are constantly orbiting in large circles here on this blog.  He also was in one of the Mini Jazz Klubs, back here, playing electric piano though that time.

Zivy Sen, or Living Dream:

I enjoy the gentle sound of Akela with its really odd dropping chord progression, and the really beautiful touch on the sax is by the hands and lungs of this guy (Peter Kral):

Wednesday 10 April 2024

One more Jon Eberson: Between Two Worlds, 2021, FLAC limited time only


So that's a pretty crazy cover, and I think it's so awkward in comparison to Blow Out for, example, in particular the font on the side doesn't quite seem right to me. Love to hear other opinions though.

Moving on to the music, though, it's quite impressive for a later album. Clearly he is channeling the old progressive fusion zeitgeist here for the fans who will appreciate it, of which I can count myself and probably you too.  A nice surprise and always somewhat unusual to see such clearly derivative yet nonetheless creative and original work in a later release.

I suggest you pay attention to his Dream Worlds:

Monday 8 April 2024

Back to Jon Eberson in Jive Talking 1981, Polarities 1982

Obviously everyone remembers he was the guitarist in superbrilliant Moose Loose and the equally brilliant one-off LP Blow Out.  Information on the group he thereafter formed, here. They were active from 1981 to 1987 and in that short period put out at least one album per year, with only the first two, or even first one, worth hearing in my opinion. Great example of how progressive fusion became commercialized by smooth sounds and simplicity right after the 1980 turn of the decade discontinuity.

Nonetheless, a lovely track called It Was (singer's voice is Sidsel Endreson):

From the second album, Untitled:

I couldn't bear to listen to the ones that came after, I'm sorry to any fans..

Saturday 6 April 2024

Prisma from 1980 Netherlands [flac limited time only]


One of my all time favourites from the country with its exuberant and warm vocals-driven songs, perhaps most similar to the later Fruupp period when they played so tightly and beautifully (as on Gormenghast) this band made only the one album then disappeared sadly. I guess you could also compare to Water eg Damburst, Kayak, etc. there were so many Dutch masters back in the period.

I love the track written for Nastassja Kinski, who I absolutely adored as a child, with her dark and mysterious and pouty look (cf. 1982's Cat People or Tess):

Morricone also wrote a really beautiful song for Nastassja. You can hear it here if you're curious. Of course, being Morricone, that one is really gorgeous. The OST cover for that sample gives you a glimpse of how incredibly beautiful she was back in the day.

Final track Masquerade oddly enough has the line 'the men who hold high places' which has to remind you of Rush (Closer to the Heart):

No Time for Tears is the composition that really reminded me of later Fruupp:

I guess the beauty of this album is that every track is wonderful to hear. What a homerun!

It surprised me to read some years back, though it shouldn't have, that Nastassja complained she was forced to appear fully nude in her early movies as a teenager -- as young as aged 14! There were also accusations she had a 'relationship' with well known serial escapee from the law or ex-con Polanski around the same age.  Things that were considered ok back then.  She repeatedly emphasized how abusive her father, the actor Klaus Kinski was.

Once again it brings to light how much times have changed since those days only 50 years ago. Except if you happen to be in the entourage of Sean Diddy Combs or puff daddy as he used to be known. Or the late Jeffrey Epstein.

Thursday 4 April 2024

Requested albums: Free Orbit [FLAC], Certain Lions and Tigers

As requested, both of these are relatively primitive jazz-rock in the easy listening manner of the times. The Certain Lions album is just cover versions of well known songs, eg. the hugely overplayed and boring Scarborough Fair.

Free Orbit is a little more interesting, World of Illusion is the best track without doubt:

Note that Herbolzheimer played on both these LPs.

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Sundance (Sweden 1976) lossless limited time only


Swedish (one-off) jazz group.

From discogs:

Sundance was formed in the mid-1970s in Gothenburg after the American musician Stephen Franckevich moved to Sweden. He played trumpet, grand piano, French horn and percussion), while other members were Anita Nyman (vocals), Salomon Helperin (trumpet and grand piano), Carl-Axel Hall (piano, mog, mellotron and claviet), Harald Stenström (electric bass, tuba) , Nils Nordin (drums, percussion). The group released the album Sundance in 1976, on which Gilbert Holmström (flute and saxophone), Ahmadu Jarr (congas and percussion) and Ulf Wakenius (electric guitar) were also guest soloists. In addition, studio musicians Ingemar Brantelid (cello), Åke Edefors (trombone) and Per-Olof Eriksson and Thord Svedlund (both on violin) participated. Producer for the recording was Gunnar Lindqvist and the group, while Bo Starander was the sound engineer.

Pretty much exemplary fusion here in the typical Northern European style, eg, Egba, the old post Sunhouse, old stalwarts Crypto, (personal favourite) Napalis, Solis Lacus, Solar Plexus, etc.

All the tracks are well worth savouring here, but the one called Aspects really grew on me with its interesting patterns and creative ideas:

Pay attention, at the 3:20 mark where the string mellotron makes a wonderful albeit brief appearance for an introductory set of chords to the bridge.
Note the presence of Wadenius (you must remember his solo album) on guitars, and Frankevich playing the marvelous flugelhorn (?) solo on that number.