Friday 31 May 2024

Feliu with Joan A. Amargos in 1977


A pretty adorable cover drawing surely everyone will agree. Really a part of the times, back then in those innocent, naive seventies. It's hard to believe that they were actually a time of intense violence and social turmoil and as I often say to my wife to her inevitable shock and worry, it was also the golden age of serial killers too.

This one came out in the midst of the Musica Urbana and is really in keeping with their material, featuring the guitarist Feliu Altisent (cf. the Trio just posted) with Amargos on keyboards. The last track, Els Barbers Indignats, pulls out the electric guitar and has some nice fusionary ideas:

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Trio Altisent with Joan Albert Amargos


First of a few posts about this remarkably talented composer and keyboardist from Barcelona. He's  discogged here:

Catalan keyboardist and clarinet player, b. Barcelona, 1950. Also classical composer.

Most importantly he crafted some really amazing music with his first group Musica Urbana, which I've loved dearly all my life, unfortunately there were only 3 releases with them from 1976 to 1978. First album being the best with the most intensely innovative work.  Those compositions are such stunning mixes of jazz, classical, and fusion that they always take my breath away. Every month it's worth pulling them out and revisiting them.  Note that Carlos Benavent was bassist in there too, featured previously here on the blog.

As sometimes happens but quite rarely nowadays, there is no entry for this Trio on discogs. Instead it appears as bonus material on a Musica Urbana compilation. It's the kind of thing I absolutely adore with the mix of chamber classical and more elevated compositional elements: this is definitely not Chopin. Note that the guitarist is Feliu Altisent with whom he released the wonderful Feliu and Joan album, which I'll put up next. 

Consider the first track, La Formatgera:

However everything on here is worth hearing, everything. 

Sunday 26 May 2024

Discography of Onza [limited time only]


Onza Discogged here;

Spanish prog and fusion band, formed in Jerez de la Frontera (Cadiz) Spain 1989, led by Jaime Padilla.

From the late 80s this was the project of guitarist Padilla and they continued on up until the present time. Their style is a mostly instrumental symphonic rock style with some minor chord aspects that at times recalls French Pulsar plus other incorporations from the glory days of the genre. For ex. Los Enanitos from Crepuscular (note the lovely synth soloing):

La Caza from their first release in 1991 Reino Rocoso, and its dissonant guitar riff, obviously, recalls any number of the prog classics of yesteryear:

If anyone has the demo and / or cassettes, those would be great to hear too though I assume they don't have new material on them.

Friday 24 May 2024

Jorge Lopez Ruiz is back with Coraje


Posted his stuff before, of course, as you surely remember.

First Movement as a quite representative example:

A lovely symphonic composition from this Argentinian master, discogged here. Very similar to his other early works, nonfusion for the most part.

Note the information:

Elenco de Coraje

Jorge Lopez Ruiz - Composición, arreglos y dirección.

Jose Tcherkaski - Texto Recitante.


Jaime Prats - Saxo Tenor

Hugo Pierre - saxo Alto

Santiago Giacobbe - Piano

Ricardo Lew - Guitarra

Carlos "Pocho" Lapouble - Bateria


Donna Caroll - Romana Ferres - Mabel Miceli

Enrique Varela - Mario Orliac - Mario Grisiglione

Grabacion: Estudios RCA años 1972/1973

Masterizacion: Pablo Lopez Ruiz

Diseño: Marina Solari

Wednesday 22 May 2024

Return to Michal Pavlicek in Stromboli, 1987, and Shutdown,1989


You might recall Michal Pavlicek's wonderful material recorded long ago for the Mini Jazz Klub EPs. I posted it here and commented on how great those compositions were from him (that one was released in 1983).   He went on to make a great deal of electric guitar music sometimes with some progressive elements, and that great piece Tvari v Tvar (translated as Face to Face) was reused subsequently quite a few times on other CDs.

From the first Stromboli, a track called Aladin clearly gives you an idea of his progressive dimensions:

The 2nd album called Shutdown, from 1989, has female vocals (Bara Basikov) and is a little bit more commercial, though a lot of it recalls the alternative music that would soon sweep the world, showing they had a feeling for the zeitgeist, here's the title track:


Some really remarkable Steve Vai-like guitar playing on that one with the atonal bends, oddly mixed with classical or operatic elements here too.

His work on his own even up until recent times is well worth hearing too, a rarity as an artist who never gave up that uncompromising progressive spirit. I confess I haven't heard even a slight portion of it all, and he moved into writing soundtrack stuff too, but what I did hear sounded pretty good.

Monday 20 May 2024

Symphress - Father Time Part 1, requested, limited time only


From the first track you can get an idea of what this recent release, from Romania, sounds like. It's a typical mixture of heavy metal electric guitar with symphonic prog elements (chord progressions and atmospheric sounds):

Discogs has two releases listed, you can see here.

In contrast, an acoustic track:

Friday 17 May 2024

Various, First Jazz Festival in Sofia from 1977


Here' s just a wonderful surprise and the kind of thing that I just live for and you too most likely.


First Jazz Festival In Sofia '77 - 1978

Vinyl rip Balkanton BTA 10288


01. Hello, Dolly (G. Herman) - Orch. “Dixiland”

02. Blues Ib B-Flat (J. Adderley) - Jazz Quintet

03. Golden Gate (V. Nikolov) - Orch. “White, Green, Red”

04. Samba (S. Shterev) - Jazz Quartet

05. The First By Beethoven (O. Coleman) - Orch. “Rousse”

06. A Sunday Afternoon Walk (L. Denev) - Jazz Quartet From Bulgarian State Conservatoire

07. A. Ballad (M. Stanchev) - Jazz Duo

08. Dangerous Curves (A. Bruzitsov) - Orch. “Experiment”

Information is here. You'll notice familiar names like Nikolov and White Green Red, Orch. Rousse or Septet Rousse, and Shterev. Hopefully you remember.  On the other hand there are bands we should know but don't particularly the Orch Experiment with its wonderful title:

 and the Jazz Quartet with the Sunday Afternoon Walk:

Really enjoyable stuff, totally a surprise find. Thanks a million to those who are able to dig these treasures out of the dark, hard ground...

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Incredible recent work from Dave Greenslade, Time to Make Hay (2015) [limited time only]


Here' s a guy so well known, even my wife knows his name and some of his stuff.  And let's just say she's not exactly a prog rock fan (to my eternal chagrin).  Not at all...

I thought we were done with Greenslade back in the glorious 70s but this came up from a friend and just absolutely blew me away. OK it's not as good as the classic stuff, but boy does it come close in terms of totally original, creative compositions. There's very limited information on the discogs page, so much so that it described the music as avant garde, when in reality it's quite squarely classic progressive rock but without too much electricity / fusion / jazz, which is OK.

Title track as a first impression:

The bizarrely titled Koblenz has quite the unusual riff, chords, and even overall sound, following the drum machine introduction:

I love the way he develops the oddness of it with the fake orchestra playing almost symphonic patterns and sax melody as it moves on. 

Suffice it to say that in addition to those 2 remarkable ones, there are other tracks I'm sure you will be surprised and delighted by. Very little that is not worth hearing in fact.

Subsequently I went through all the post-70s material to see if this was a unique finding, and to some extent it is indeed, with not much to hang on to, in the later years.  Greenslade's discography is here. All the other albums: From the Discworld (1994), Going South (1999), Routes / Roots (2009) have only a couple of songs worth hearing, oddly enough, and the last album, G & T (2021), is just purely simple blues. Note however the incredible composition Sideways, from 2009, similar to old Dave Stewart (eg Egg) or Radio Piece:

But boy is this one worth savoring, and keeping forever.

Monday 13 May 2024

Back to Neil Ardley again with Time Flowers


I thought I had thoroughly listened to all his discography some time back with the post here, but I was quite wrong about that. Although this music from 1971 is mostly quite ordinary and even too much in the big band direction there is one standout composition which absolutely blew me away and hopefully others too, called The Time Flowers. As the narrator explains, it's a symphonic poem based on a science fiction or fantasy short story. It covers just about everything interesting and creative in modern music and fusion, perhaps you could compare it to the long suite like the Peabody Wind Ensemble track Fourth Stream, but more refined and delicate in ideas and occasionally even more atonal and dissonant. For me, the perfect mixture of complex classical music and fusion that I absolutely crave at all times. It also seems shockingly strange to me that such a great piece of music is so completely forgotten, even for those, like me, who are very well acquainted with Neil Ardley. Note that it's co-composed with Keith Winter, keyboardist on the Isotope albums.

There's a whole bunch of other luminaries on this collection btw, including Heckstall-Smith, Dave Greenslade (who is going to come up here shortly too), my beloved Mike Gibbs, and our old library favourite from long ago, Frank Ricotti on vibes, amazingly, on the Time Flowers composition.

I suppose I might have encountered this back then when I quickly went through all his works, but somehow I missed this one. Good to look back once in a while.

Saturday 11 May 2024

Guitarist Gary Boyle

Of course he was the guitarist for Isotope, but then he subsequently made three wonderful fusion albums in the late seventies, with the first (obviously?) being the best. I was curious to know if he subsequently produced more great music, like Akkerman did for example, but the only gem turned out to be his Triple Echo album released in 1994 or thirty years ago now. That one has some truly lovely compositional and reflective moments in addition to the nice fusion.

From discogs:

British guitarist and vocalist, born 24 November 1941, Patna, Bihar, India.

He came to England when he was 8. In the 70s Boyle was member of cult jazz-rock band Isotope (three albums for Gull).

Specifically from Triple Echo, the beautiful Peacegreen:

From Games which is more recent, hailing from 2003, the track called LP:

Hopefully everyone is already quite familiar with the first 3 but if you're lucky enough to have never heard them, you're in for a nice treat.

Thursday 9 May 2024

Des Laszlo's Fal Mogott: A lost masterpiece from 1984


From discogs, the possibly gratuitous or perhaps tongue in cheek (Eastern European humour?) descriptor:

Profile: Hungarian composer and saxophone player. Successful jazz musician.

Born January 9, 1954 in Budapest.

He was involved in multiple other projects which are spread out among different entries (eg Dimenzio, posted earlier here). Mention should also be made of 1978's Tomsits Jazz Group with its Escher cover, which is pure genius.

The title track beings relatively inauspiciously with A minor going down to F repeatedly but I love how the guitarist (who is this guy) develops the melody and the song changes throughout. 

Closing track Aura demonstrates quite convincingly his composer's talent or perhaps genius:

Really a wonderful, lovely lost album. Worth hearing a hundred times over.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Lesek Semelka, SLS in 1985's Coloured Dreams


This gentleman was in Bohemia (just posted recently with bonus).  

His 1985 release though is quite different, with a commercial slant and very little creative direction or progressiveness, despite the discogs descriptor.  Which you can't blame him for, given the year of 1985. I supposed SLS is the artist's group named for himself.  From my amphibian proggy point of view the best track is the title track which is the last track:

Nonetheless, here and there some tracks well worth hearing.

Friday 3 May 2024

Bonus tracks from Bohemia, limited time only


Their stuff was posted on this blog long ago back here, and I thought I collected everything from them but I was sadly wrong. Or until this day, happily wrong.

From the text document: Bohemia – Singly A Rozhlasové Nahrávky 1976-1978

Label: Tomáš Padevět – 8594189130174

Format: 2 x CD, Compilation

Country: Czech Republic

Released: 2023

Genre: Rock, Blues

Style: Blues Rock

There's such a nice mix of early protoprog, horn rock, and some fusion in here, all of it well worth the hearing for sure, roughly half vocal and half instrumental I think. Among the vocal tracks, Kam Jdou:

While a track called Mlhave rano with its flute plus electric guitar intro so typical of that prog period moves into the wonderful dissonant arpeggios that bring it into the fusion sound, very much electric guitar based (like the German band Alcatraz in their 3-4 period), which is so nice to hear:

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Unknown Portuguese band Arte e Oficio: Faces, Danza


Here's a wonderful surprise that really blew me away, after everything we've already heard up to now.

Information is sparse here on discogs. They are from Portugal.

Reminds me a lot of my old favourite Julien B's First Snow. Because it's a gorgeous mix of uptempo rockers, funky stuff, and progressively-minded songwriting. It also recalls Italian prog-songsters Libra, who made 3 wonderful albums mixing creative songs with fusion and progressive Italians, or more distantly, the old favourite Memo's Captain Thunder.  The singer in particular recalls the singer from Libra.  Anyways you get the idea.

The wonderfully titled prog song Lobster Society:

Album closes out with just a brilliant vocal composition that never ceases to entrance and amaze me because of the originality of both melody and chord changes, called Finally:

Notice the gorgeous sax pattern when he mentions hearing the sax, and how well the singer utilizes his vibrato at the right high notes.

Note that in the follow up album from 1981 called Danza they moved straightforwardly into the simple rock direction, basically like a toned down Rolling Stones you could say, lacking the creative progressive dimension and with a lot of imitation rockabilly and blues rockers. Can't really blame them for that though. At least--praise be to God--the 80s new wave digital jumpy synths do not make an unwelcome appearance.  Note that there is an alternative version of this album with bonus tracks presumably lifted from their singles, which is of interest, although what I have is low bitrate. As well note that in 2014 they recorded a live album of their old tracks. That one I'd like to purchase if it doesn't show up anywhere, for sure worth a listen on strength of the Faces compositions.

So most of that album is quite ordinary and tossable, but the title track is nice and approaches the prior debut album's level of interest:

Note from the bonus tracks, the one called O Carcajero de Galinha which appeared on this 45:

A basic electric guitar riff transcends into some lovely synth-draped fusion chords that keep modulating unexpectedly-- a wonderful surprise given that the title would lead one to expect totally generic Brazilianly ordinary latin garbage samba which I despise-- though not quite as much as billionaire, soon to be richest person in the world, Taylor Swift.

This music is hugely underrated, like Julien B's First Snow or my old classic rock favourite Ambush, and I find it quite tragic. Perhaps in their native Portugal it's different?