Thursday, September 14, 2017

Back Door - 1972 - Back Door

Back Door 
Back Door

01. Vienna Breakdown 2:20
02. Plantagenet 1:38
03. Lieutenant Loose 2:37
04. Askin' The Way 2:55
05. Turning Point 2:10
06. Slivadiv 3:45
07. Jive Grind 2:46
08. Human Bed 2:25
09. Catcote 1:55
10. Waltz For A Wollum 2:17
11. Folksong 3:00
12. Back Door 2:46

Bass – Colin Hodgkinson
Drums – Tony Hicks
Saxophone, Flute – Ron Aspery

Recorded London, England, June 3rd and 4th, 1972.
Produced by Back Door

Still in 1969 Colin Hodgkinson and Ron Aspery both played in Eric Delaney's band on summer season at the Winter Gardens in Bournemouth. In the afternoons, when the theatre was empty, they played as duo for themselves (recording this sessions on tape recorder). After summer season, they moved to London, working at a Mecca ballroom at night. Colin joined Alexis Corner's band.

Trying to have more time for own project, they moved to Redcar (where for a first time they started to work as house band in Starlight club),and worked on the Back Door project during the day. After trying a couple of drummers, Tony Hicks joined the band.

In that line up they recorded first demos and sent them to all major record companies. All of them returned back, no company was interested in band without guitarist and keyboard player. Next year they we playing a regular Tuesday night gig at the Lion Inn, on Blakey Ridge, North Yorkshire. Brian Jones, landlord, who loved the band, put money for their first album to release.

They released a few hundred copies pressed by RCA, but sold only few of them locally. Then they found a way to the NME offices in London. The album received a really great review from Charles Shaar Murray, and things start to move faster.

The band was invited to play alongside Return To Forever at Ronnie Scott's club for three weeks. After that they received some offers from record companies and signed with Warner Brothers. WB re-released their debut album, and in 1974 they recorded second album in New York. Album is produced by Cream producer Felix Pappalardi and contains some Hodgkinson vocals. Third album contains new member, keyboardist Dave MacRae.

During four years they released four albums and toured USA and Europe, but received limited commercial success. In 1976 they decided to disband the band. Ron Aspery started successful career as session musician. Tony Hicks played in many different bands, then moved to Australia. Colin Hodgkinson went to New Your to work with Ian Hammer.

In 1986 the band reunited for short tour and recorded some material in small studio in Sussex ( but the album wasn't released).

In 2003 the band reunited once again (in original line-up) and recorded new album (with 6 re-workings of old songs and 13 new songs).The band played the few shows after, but Aspery left because of health problems. On the December 10he died at his home in Sussex.

In 2005 the band played few shows with new sax player Rod Mason. On the 13 August 2006 Tony Hicks died in Sydney, Australia.

The band was important in jazz rock history as one of the very first where bass was used as main soloing instrument. And few more players tried to do it at the same period, Colin Hodgkinson was most radical of them: only him didn't include to his band no one other leading instrument as guitar or keyboards! Hodgkinson has developed left-hander bass technique which can replace both rhythm and lead guitar if necessary.

In 2007 Colin Hodgkinson formed a new trio under the name Colin Hodgkinson Group with Rod Mason (sax) and Paul Robinson (drums). In 2008 they released 'Back Door Too!' album , a mixture of old Back Door songs and new material.

For a trio of just bass, drums and sax Back Door make plenty of noise and play highly energetic jazz rock. The sound is filled out by bassist Colin Hodgkinson's busy style who often and unusually plays chords. He, along with drummer Tony Hicks lay the foundations for Ron Aspery's wild and inventive sax excursions.

The totally instrumental 12 compositions are all fairly short in length and the diversity of the material ranging from the frantic Catcote Rag to its preceding track, the more mellow Human Bed where Aspery switches to flute show a range and scope many would think not possible with such limited use of instrumentation. The standard of playing is excellent. They're all primarily jazz musicians, but play with a rock sensibility giving their music plenty of fire and each is given a turn to shine. Often the main theme of the tune will feature unison bass and sax until Aspery goes off on some wild excursion. Not surprisingly Aspery takes most of the lead on sax throughout but Hicks, who is never less than stunning gets his turn with a fantastic performance on closing track Back Door. Hodgkinson, who incidently played with Whitesnake for a while in the early eighties gets his turn with the solo bass piece of Lieutenant Loose but his lively style of mixing individual notes with chords always puts him upfront anyway.

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