Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ekseption - 1989 - Ekseption Plays Bach

Ekseption Plays Bach

01. Italian Concerto (4:59)
02. Toccata (5:15)
03. Vivace (2:50)
04. The Lamplighter (3:02)
05. Siciliano (3:17)
06. Ave maria (2:35)
07. Bouree (3:17)
08. Have Mercy On Me (5:44)
09. Partita No. 2 in C-minor (5:46)
10. Peace Planet (3:34)
11. Air (2:15)

Line-up / Musicians
- Rob Kruisman / saxophones, flute, guitar, vocals
- Rick van der Linden / piano, organ, dulcimer
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Peter de Leeuwe / drums, vocals
- Huib van Kampen / guitar, tenor saxophone
- Dennis Whitbread / drums
- Dick Remelink / saxes, flute
- Pieter Voogt / drums, percussion
- Jan Vennik / soprano and tenor saxophones, flute

Well, well, well ... a music that combines themes from classical composers with rock music? You might find The Nice or ELP. But if it then being combined with contemporary rock and jazz in a blend of dominating, virtuoso keys and trumpet plus sax(es), only Ekseption - the Dutch band - you might be referring to. And for this, Ekseption is probably the only band that has built the music in this arena and no one - as long as I know - has followed their path. Too odd? Not really, actually. But that's the fact. I can hardly find any band that continues the kind of music Ekseption has played.
As the title implies, this album is a compilation of what the band has interpreted and arranged the music of classical composer Bach into the kind of unique music by Ekseption. No one would argue that Johan Sebastian Bach is a genius classic composer and it's not my intention to write this review. The focus is only one: how good Ekseption interprets and arranges the music composed by Bach on songs featured here. Am not actually familiar with all songs by Bach but since I knew classical music through prog music in early seventies, finally I'm familiar with some composers.

As far as interpreting and arranging the music of Bach, I have to give two thumbs up for Ekseption who has successfully delivered a classical composition in such a dynamic way blending many styles. The use of multi instruments like organ, trumpet and saxophone has enriched the arrangement which makes the music is not just rewarding but it's also inquiring the mind. The opening track "Italian Concerto" (4:59) starts beautifully with sounds of Hammond organ that gradually moves up with the other instruments: sax and trumpets. The grand piano solo shows the jazzy style combined with pulsating organ work by Rick Van Der Linden (RIP). Trumpet by Rein van den Broek and saxophone by Dick Remelink give excellent accentuation for this arrangement.

"Toccata" (5:15) is a very famous song which starts with well-known Church organ sound typically many people have heard already. What follow is a great combination of trumpet, sax, clavinet / keyboard. Remember how fast the notes played at "Vivace"? This time Ekseption uses trumpets to do the job. The result is an awesome sound! The melancholic "The Lamplighter" (3:02) has a killing melody through the use of organ and clavinet / harpsichords with excellent trumpet solo in jazzy style. "Siciliano" (3:17) brings the symphonic nuance combined with jazzy style especially during trumpet solo.

"Bouree" (3:17) was a song that I knew the first time through Jethro Tull who arranged it beautifully with Ian Anderson's flute. This time Ekseption arranges differently with much rocking style using dynamic music at opening followed with guitar and bass work intertwiningly. It's an excellent arrangement and gives me another look of the composition. The guitar solo punctuated with brass section and organ solo are truly stunning. "Have Mercy On Me" (5:44) is very melodic stuff with great clavinet sound. "Air" (2:15) concludes the album peacefully.

Well, I have to admit that this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection, especially if you appreciate classical composer. But it's not only that- this album proves to be successful in blending classical, rock and jazz into excellent music. For those of you who are not familiar with classical music can learn from this album. Keep on proggin' ..!

1 comment: