Thursday, October 20, 2016

Keep - 1981 - DG-581


01. Owl Flight 7:13
02. Pan Neo 7:53
03. Never Ending Sad 6:57
04. Dance Of Paranoia Opus 3 4:10
05. Sonatine 14:57

Drums – Hideo Yamaki
Electric Bass – Yasuo Tomikura
Electric Guitar – Akira Wada
Keyboards – Jun Fukamachi

Early-80's Japanese band, fronted by two important figures of the Fusion scene of the country, keyboard wizard Jun Fukamachi and skillful guitarist Akira Wada, founding member of the Jazz/Fusion act Prism.Bass duties were delivered by Yasuo Tomikura, while behind the drum kit was  Hideo Yamaki.They recorded their debut album ''DG 581'' for the Jazz-oriented label Trio, a work released in 1981.

Entering the 80's you should expect from any Jazz Rock-oriented band a bit of a slick sound compared to the 70's and Keep are no exception.Obviously influenced by acts such as WEATHER REPORT, RETURN TO FOREVER with a bit of BILL BRUFORD thrown in, they offered an energetic Jazz/Fusion with excellent chaging climates, impressive alternations between dense solos and structured, more progressive themes, while the technical level of the band remains constantly high, even if the production's quality is rather thin.The album contains five, mostly long tracks with fiery guitar work, dominant piano lines and interesting keyboards, only one of them, ''Never Ending Sad'' contains vocals delivered by female singer Miki Sekikawa, propably the most commercial cut of the album with a very mediocre chorus, but even so this one contains evident symphonic and Neo-Classical inspirations in some of the piano and guitar instrumental passages.The rest of the album is solid Prog/Jazz/Fusion with series of bombastic breaks, highlighted by the very good, 15-min. instrumental journey of ''Sonatine'', where the jazzy side of FOCUS meet the grandiose textures of Classical-influenced piano lines and the rich, convincing face of Classic Japanese Fusion, as melody meets virtuosity.Lots of nice variations, both fast and more down-to-earth tempos and clever changes between piano and synth explorations result a very solid and at moments masterful piece.

Not very consistent, but definitely among the goodies of early-80's regarding Japanese music.Well-crafted and dynamic Prog/Fusion, a decent acquirement for all fans of the style.Recommended.

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