Thursday 27 June 2024

Chris Hinze Combination plus Metropole Symphony Orchestra with Parcival, 1976, by request


2 alternate covers, as you can see.  I was pretty thrilled when I first saw this as LP because let's be honest, Hinze is a genius and performed with so many brilliant artists in the glory days of fusion of the 70s, particularly in the stuff he put out with Charlie Mariano.  You can see his discography here, and the combination one here. I especially love the 'solos duos trios' releases. I guess subsequently he went in the easy listening and ethnic folky new age directions.

Information here. Hinze of course is the composer of the whole work. Surprisingly it has not been released to CD, ever. Normally I love this kind of stuff where fusion and jazz are combined with a classical orchestra in an original way hopefully with a bit of creative, advanced composing, not baroque or simplistic classical borrowings, like Chuck Mangione did so perfectly well as I mentioned in posts before.  Well I guess what's 'wrong' with this work is that it doesn't get amalgamated seamlessly, with a mixture of classical parts, simple pop-like songs, gospel, and fusion outbursts here and there throughout. Sometimes you get all three types in one track, but not conjoined, just one style followed by another style with abrupt transitions. I thought Deep Purple's famous Concerto for Group and Orchestra suffered from the same affliction, more so actually since it had no fusion aspect, though lots of people love that one. For some incomprehensible reason.

It's also surprising because in the year 1976 one would have expected something stunning since it was such a fertile year for this kind of thing.

Anyways, it ends like this:

Wednesday 26 June 2024

Praise Poems, Vol. 2


Again some really standout tracks on this second installment, with a bit of lovely fusion.  Information here.  Standouts are for sure Joe B's The Dude (no LP from him that I can see), Third Stream's In a Galaxy Far Away, and Seeds of Fulfillment with The Provider.

The Dude:

In a Galaxy Far Away:

It's amazing that this was never released on an LP considering how stunningly great it is with the spacey synths and the beautiful groove...

Monday 24 June 2024

Praise Poems, Vol. 1


Obviously, I encountered this series whilst in hot pursuit for stuff by Geoff Tyus who will be appearing shortly on his own, but one of his compositions appears on this series. I thought I'd listen to it to get an idea of his work, in general, and I was pleased by what I heard. I'm going now to explore the whole series, which is wonderfully done, chiefly because they took a lot of really unknown stuff unbelievably found in the deepest parts of old vinyl crates, sometimes or maybe usually only on EPs or singles, and I guarantee you've never heard of any of these artists just like me, and it offers us avenues to explore in the case where there are LPs left unripped, still to be brought to light. 

Each installment in this 'franchise' (as they say in Hollywood as if it was a junk food place) contains some gems, sometimes not more than a couple which is understandable in any compilation case, but sometimes there's some really standout stuff. Despite the description there is a mixture of traditional jazz songs with vocals (no standards or cover versions, thank god), almost no funk, but quite a bit of soul and folk music too. In general the majority could be described as soul songs with an early but rarely later 70s style.

There is no rock, there is no electric music, just a bit of light fusion here and there. In terms of the latter, the best track from the first installment is Innerflight's Tribute to Ruffian which unfortunately was derived from an EP, there is no LP for this wonderful group to explore further:

Gotta love all the thought that was put into that piece.

The track called Praise Poems from which the series presumably derives its name is truly lovely despite the Bob Dorough like vocalist:

Thursday 20 June 2024

Japanese Fusion guitarist Masayoshi Takanaka in Seychelles (1976), An Insatiable High (1977), and ST (1977)


From discogs:

Chinese-Japanese guitarist, born in Tokyo as Masayoshi Liu; by 4th grade name changed to Masayoshi Takanaka when he became a naturalised Japanese citizen.

First in the band Escape in the late 1960s, playing US military bases in the greater Tokyo area. Professional debut as a stand-in guitarist for Apryl Fool, wearing his school uniform.

The music here, as might be expected, is very smooth fusion, with the usual tropical and Brazilian elements typical of the late 70s years. This is not quite at the level of the recently found  Akiyama, who blew me away. More like the very laidback Teruo Nakamura.

From Seychelles; Tropic Birds:

ST from the next LP, An Insatiable High:

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Xhol Caravan Hamburg 1969, by request, limited time only


Info here:

NDR radio broadcast recorded live at the Jazzhouse at Brandstwiete, Hamburg, Germany on July 7, 1969.

℗ 1969 NDR / Xhol Caravan. © 2022 Garden of Delights.

Made in Germany.

Packaged in a standard jewel case with black tray and 32-page booklet.

Probably everyone here knows this band, brief description again from discogs:

XHOL was one of the first bands who participated at the end of the '60s to the launch of the Krautrock movement in Germany. Nevertheless their music cannot be categorised. Their roots came from rhythm’n blues with soul tendencies. With their second album “electrip” they rapidly found their own style which can be considered as an original fusion of free jazz, psychedelic rock and electronic experimentations. Very dynamic their jazz rock can sometimes be compared with the spirit of the psychedelic soul developed by Soft Machine. However the unusual use of electric instruments and electronic manipulations made Xhol absolutely unique. After "Electric", the band carries on their musical adventure with two great and totally free jazz rock albums. Dominated by endless, electric and cool improvisations "Hau Ruk" is a must for fusion and jazz lovers. Their last studio album “Motherf**kers GmbH" recorded in 1972 is a monument. All the compositions have their own feelings, sometimes delivering captivating and powerful blues, kraut, and jazz elements. However this album put the stress on a second fascinating side of Xhol’s musical universe: experimental organ works and psych-folk interludes. This last album is nearer to Krautrock mesmerizing musical themes, more twisted, spacey and devoted to avant-garde. Xhol’s influence on a bench of german prog bands and on the adepts of free rock music in general is undeniable.

Monday 17 June 2024

Release Music Orchestra, Vlotho Live 1977


From discogs:

German fusion band originating from Tomorrow's Gift via a complex transition that included the bands Release Group (also featuring Uli Trepte), Kickbit Information and Dennis (6).

Release Music Orchestra (known as RMO for short) played a lively fusion with lots of Krautrock elements, with stylisms that people compare to the "Canterbury scene".

They made 5 albums in total in the 70s period all of which are worth hearing, originally with some drony psych stuff as well as boring ethnic importations, which all got washed out as the decade progressed and what we're left with by the time of News in 1979 is a nice progressively smooth fusion, tightly played by these wonderful virtuoso musicians. Subsequently some live material from the era was released with Bremen from 1978 and now Vlotho from 1977.

These is quite a bit of improvising resulting in meandering qualities to the songs, most of which I think appeared on studio recordings already.  Originally from Garuda is Torso im Summerwind:

Friday 14 June 2024

Message - It'll be a While [1981] samples


Unfortunately I can't post the whole thing but at least you can get an idea of it from a few samples. It's classic late 70s (very late, since it came out in 1981) hard rock with slight progressive touches, not quite as proggy as guys like Rush and definitely no inventive keyboards-work and synths like Styx managed so successfully, a little bit monotone in its straight up rock.

This oft-requested album, discogged here, opens with Treasures of Snow:

It was featured in the old Tom Hayes list, reviewed thusly:

* Message - It'll Be Awhile (USA) 1981 Black Gold. New Mexico based Message were an excellent example of the progressive hard rock style that had a small niche audience in the late 70s and early 80s. It's mainly hard rock at the core, but is slightly complex and has a few more ideas than the usual run of the mill bonehead albums of the era. The tracks are compact, so no elaborate themes or delusion of grandeur here. Think Side 2 of Rush's "2112". The Texas band False Prophet is another good reference (an archival CD that Shroom put out a few years ago). It kind of wheezes out on Side 2 for a couple of tracks, but otherwise a solid album. A perfect choice for Rockadrome.

Note the wonderful review on discogs too, a little bit more on the mark:

This was recorded while the three members were still in High School, and released their senior year. It is a pay to play record. The band did not attempt the easier pop music route, but preferred the more complex progressive elements, and this is a decent effort on their parts. Troy Richards is probably the best musician on the record, playing bass, some synths, some acoustic guitar, and vocals. The Bass is prominent, melodic, and trebby (a la Chris Squire, Geddy Lee). Next is Roger Burke, whom got his first drum set just four years prior and clearly had ambitions of the more technical aspects of drumming and taps on it well in portions of this record (think Neil Peart, Bill Bruford influence). One does not usually hear (or did not, at the time) this type of drumming from someone at this age. I am not too keen on the electric guitarist, Chris Dunn, and feel that he misses the mark in several areas of this record as well as some "out there" atonal (purposefully or not) segments. Most of the songs themselves are pretty good, and even catchy. Influences of Rush and Yes are clear. Overall, pretty decent Prog record, with just a few cringe worthy moments (usually the electric guitar).

For myself the best track is Prodigy, to give you another idea, the instrumental electric guitar opening (similar to Led Zep's Song Remains the Same track) also indicates what the above reviewer was thinking about with regards to the guitarist, Chris Dunn:

And Grey:

So I'm not entirely sure it's worth the price of admission, currently a copy is selling for 120 USD on discogs... you can go ahead and purchase it if you have a lot of extra cash on hand, unfortunately, there's just so many good vinyl records out there with the same promise and high price.

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Legend's Before the Fjords, Demo from 1978


I was so happy to see this demo release from before the legendary LP From the Fjords which came out in 1979.  Information discogged here:

Legend is a hard rock/progressive rock/heavy metal band from New Haven, Connecticut, USA, that was formed under their original name Judge (8) in 1978. The band split up in 1979. Not to be confused with Legend (65) from Ohio.

Confrontation is so much tighter than the LP version, with a wonderful driving riff that is quite original and faster and harder than the LP one:

Court Jester almost approaches a prog rock track, it has the deficiency of being slightly muddled. It's unfortunate that this one and Aramis were left off the LP release:

So there are two unreleased compositions to add to their oeuvre and three versions that are better than their LP counterparts because more raw and energetic. Really nice stuff.

Monday 10 June 2024

Som Nosso de Cada Dia from Brazil in 2 albums 1974 and 1978


Sure the mushroom cover up above is brilliant, especially with the darkness, is it derivative of Gryphon's Magic Mushrumps? I guess not, on closer examination.

Information on this band here. First album is pretty classic prog, I meant we're not talking like the great Italian masters PFM etc., but songs with slight progressive edges and overtones, nothing too daring here. The most proggy track is likely Direccion de Aquarius from the first album:

A sample track called Montanhas from the 2nd which unfortunately veered into the pop MFB direction, with actually minimal prog, but some nice fusion and funky stuff:

Friday 7 June 2024

Back to Michal Pavlicek with Miroslav Vitous in Minotaurus, 1991


This one from him came out in 1991, information here, I was pleasantly surprised by the compositions, all in the progressive fusion, electric, vein, coming out as an OST in that year definitely unusual.

A bit of description there as follows:

Part of an original soundtrack to "Minotaurus" based on synopsis by Friedrich Dürrenmatt as presented by the Laterna Magika theatre.

Hudba z představení Laterny Magiky "Minotaurus" podle literární předlohy Friedricha Dürrenmatta.

Recorded and mixed at the Smetana Theatre Studio, and Fisyo Studio from January to April 1989 and August 1989.

First track which is the Prologue gives you a complete idea of the contents:

Probably it would be worth hearing the totality of his oeuvre, given this and the strength of his other material.

Wednesday 5 June 2024

Amargos in the classical symphony for clarinette from 2009


This time he really did revert to classical composition, to my chagrin, but I had to see what it was like. It's not at all the progressive mixture like Trio Altisent.

First track:

Monday 3 June 2024

Some more from Joan Albert Amargos

Information for Colors here. Note the presence of the wonderful Lockwood--boy do I love his stuff. This one came out in 1991 and is accordingly much smoother, nonetheless I feel worth hearing. The composition Night Bells by Amargos:

The other album, info here, is vocal classical stuff.