Friday, May 20, 2016

Atlantic Bridge - 1970 - Atlantic Bridge

Atlantic Bridge 
Atlantic Bridge

01. McArthur Park - 10:42
02. Dreams - 07:00
03. Rosecrans Boulevard - 05:49
04. Something - 06:28
05. Dear Predence - 07:53
06. Chilwood Room (Exit Walt) - 06:43
07. Hillery Dickson - bonus track - 02:32
08. I Can't Lie To You - bonus track - 03:18

Mike McNaught - Piano,Electric Piano.
Jim Philip - Flute,Soprano,Tenor.
Daryl Runswick - Bass,Bass Guitar.
Mike Travis - Drums,Percussion.

An early British fusion band, Atlantic Bridge put out a self-titled instrumental album in 1970. While the skills of the players were impressive, it wasn't anything more than an average album, not nearly as experimental as fusion bands of the time such as Soft Machine, for instance. They didn't compromise their jazz roots, with Jim Philip's saxes and flute showing a decided John Coltrane influence. Chief arranger Mike McNaught's electric keyboard provided the most rock-oriented flavor. Covers of "MacArthur Park" and the Beatles' "Something" and "Dear Prudence" seemed emblematic of a desire to cross over to rock and pop listeners, though it should be noted that it was far less common for a jazz-rock band to interpret such material in 1970 than it would be in the years to come. Atlantic Bridge also put out a rare EP in 1971 that had more of a rock feel, one of its songs including female vocals.

Atlantic Bridge's sole, self-titled LP is respectable but somewhat middling early fusion, though as a 1970 release, it's more cutting-edge than it would have been had it come out a few years later, when their brand of fusion was pretty common. Jim Philip's sax playing is certainly the most striking and fiery aspect of their approach, owing a good deal to the free jazz of John Coltrane and the like. Daryl Runswick also creates some interesting passages with bowed bass. The covers of "MacArthur Park," "Something," and "Dear Prudence" stretch those songs into considerably different shapes, but the record's six pieces do meander sometimes. The 1999 reissue on Get Back adds two songs from their 1971 EP, I Cant Lie to You, one of which ("I Can't Lie to You" itself) is quite a departure from the rest of their work, as it features soul-rock vocals by several female singers.

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