Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hans Dulfer And Ritmo Natural - 1970 - Candy Clouds

Hans Dulfer And Ritmo Natural 
Candy Clouds

01. King Size Davy 7:45
02. Satin-A 6:51
03. Candy Clouds (Part 1) 4:00
04. Candy Clouds (Part 2) 13:00
05. Froggy 2:32
06. Red, Red Libanon 2:48

Bass – Jan Jacobs
Congas [Congadrums], Timbales – Steve Boston
Design – Jan Fijnheer
Drums – Martin van Duynhoven
Guitar – Dave Duba
Piano – Kees Hazevoet
Tenor Saxophone [Tenor-sax] – Hans Dulfer
Tenor Saxophone [Tenor-sax], Flute – Rob van Wageningen
Timbales, Guiro – John Grunberg (Groentjie)
Timbales, Vibraslap [Fibre Slap] – Appie de Hond

Recorded 17th. and 18th. of August 1970

In the 70's, especially in Europe, there was no shortage of groups striving to merge the worlds of jazz and rock. Often the fruit of these labors seem proggishly vulgar, pedantically over-intellectualized (looking right at you, Soft Machine), or were simply train wrecks-- the result of clueless musicians who understood neither jazz nor rock with any insight or subtlety, smashing them together like joyless stoners. So If I were to tell you that Dutchman Hans Dulfer's Candy Clouds is a Jazz-Rock masterpiece and beyond, I'd understand if you required some further persuasion.

Let's get something straight: Dulfer doesn't even belong in the Prog-jazz ghetto with acts like Alcatraz, Xhol Caravan, and all the others. Candy Clouds' mind-blowing brand of fusion has much more in common with the free/spiritual jazz scene in Europe, and can be easily to compared to the experimental fusion efforts of Archie Shepp or Gato Barbieri in the 70's. It isn't even entirely accurate to call this jazz-rock, as though the two modes of music share the spotlight equally; the music here is as Latin as it is heavy, and so this becomes a fascinating record of Spiritual Free Jazz Latin Psych. Stupendous.

The title track, split into two sections on the record and totaling nearly twenty minutes, is the heart of this fine album. Part 1 opens with a giant smash of heavy guitar that sounds like early Sabbath (forgive the obviousness of this comparison-- it just sounds like fucking Sabbath), trading lines with conniptions of free sax. They go back and forth a few times, until the whole things drops and it's a heavy psychedelic Latin jam with red hot sax burning through everything. In case I am failing to make the case, let me be blunt: it is awesome, as in awe-inspiring.

Part 2 takes its time getting started, beginning above the clouds with a long dreamy section, the sax heating up to flaming as the combo descends to earth... after six or seven minutes, your flight has landed, and that huge groove from Part 1 makes a return. Bigger, deeper, groovier even than before, Dulfer's improvisations reach a thrilling space between, say, Gato Barbieri's warm exotica shredding and Archie Shepp's emotional Fire Music-- all while electric guitars blaze in a cloud of reverb, a piano wanders off and gets lost, and a glorious cowbell abides with wisdom.

Just as good as "Candy Clouds 1&2" are the two tracks preceding it, a guitar-based groove with jungle shadows that's honestly just too cool to be believed, and a huge Latin jam with excellent flute acrobatics (the flautist is doing that Black Harold-y thing where he's sort of howling into the flute as he's playing it, whatever that's called). The Fire Music is in full force throughout.
A lost masterpiece of many fusions, an album so crazy and cool and fun that I honestly can't believe it exists. This is the type of thing I hear in my dreams, then wake up depressed because it wasn't real and I can't even remember it anymore. So, so good.