Monday, February 8, 2016

The Aquarians - 1969 - Jungle Grass

The Aquarians 
Jungle Grass

01. Bayu-Bayu   
02. Adela   
03. The Aquarians    3
04. What Do You Mean, What Do I Mean?   
05. Excuses, Excuses   
06. Batakum   
07. The Head   
08. Saja   
09. Jungle Grass
10. Mucho Soul   

Joe Pass (Guitar)
Dave MacKay (Vocals)
Francisco Aguabella (Conga drums & Percussion)
Stanley Gilbert (Bass)
Carl Lott (Drums)
Joe Roccisano (flute, alto flute & sax (Alto))
Vladimir Vassilieff (Piano)
The Gemini Twins-(vocal)
Vicky Hamilton (voice on 1, 6 & 7)
Lynn Blessing(on 2 & 10)-(vibes)
Stan Gilbert, Al Mckibbon(on 2 & 10)-(bass)

Recorded at Sunwest Recording Studio and Whitney Recording Studio in Hollywood, January 1969.

Finally got my hands on a copy of this great lp masterminded by Vladimir Vassilieff and featuring Bobby Hutcherson. This one really grows on you and comes highly recommended with our seal of approval.
And by the way who thinks Stereolab sound like they've had a good listen to The Gemini Twins vocals on The Aquarians ?
Part of the strange California zodiac pop funk scene, the Aquarians took astrology rock in several interesting and generally unexplored directions. While primarily the brainchild of composer, arranger, and pianist Vladimir Vassilieff, the Aquarians were actually a supergroup of talented jazz musicians. Featuring Stan Gilbert, a much in-demand bassist at the time, and the incomparable Afro-Cuban percussion of Francisco Aguabella, the Aquarians blended a one love hippie philosophy with smooth, Latin-tinged jazz. Their first, and only, album, Jungle Grass sounds close to related astrology rockers Friends of Distinction (which also featured Stan Gilbert) and the 5th Dimension. While evidencing a nominal interest in astrology, the tracks on Jungle Grass are, at the core, jazz with a heavy Afro-Cuban (evident in the percussion), and possibly a Brazilian Tropicalia (evident in the vocals), influence. On an album packed with talent, there are few solos and no showboating -- the performance of each member is subservient to the groove. On the opener, "Bayu-Bayu," Aguabella lays down several beautiful fills over the sing-song vocal. "Batakum" features nice sax work by Joe Roccisano playing under the sign of Pharoh Sanders. A solid but not explosive album, Jungle Grass is definitely an under appreciated effort and is currently sought after by certain DJs for its little sampled piano flourishes and percussion breaks.

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