Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Burnin Red Ivanhoe - 1969 - M 144

Burnin Red Ivanhoe 
M 144

101. Ivanhoe I Brøndbyerne
102. Ridder Rød
103. Saxophone Piece 1
104. Marsfesten
105. Antique Peppermint
106. Indre Landskab
107. Jiizlou
108. Kaj
109. Tingel-Tangelmanden
110. Læg Dig Kun Ned
111. Saxophone Piece 2
112. Medardus
113. Purple Hearts
114. Larsen
115. Oyizl

201. Ivanhoe In The Woods
202. Ida Verlaine
203. Sensitive Plant
204. Inside
205. Ksilioy

206. Opera (Live)
207. Omegnens Poesi
208. Fødelandssoldatersang
209. Why Don't You Trust (Live I Studie)
210. Purple Hearts (Live I Studie)
211. Kaj (1997)

206: Originally released on EP "De Danske Hjertevarmere"
207 to 208: Recorded live in Germany - never released before
209 to 210: Recorded live in the studio - never released before
211: Recorded in Soundtrack Studio April 1997

- Kim Menzer / Mouthharp, trombone, saxophone, flute, piano, vocals
- Karsten Vogel / saxophone, organ, vibraphone
- Ole Fick / guitars, vocals
- Steen Claesson / guitar, vocals, violin, bass
- Bo Thrige Andersen / drums
- Steffen Andersen / bass
- Arne Würgler / bass
- Mads Vinding / bass

Guest musicians:
- Hugh Steinmetz / trumpet
- John Tchicai / saxophone
- Niels Harrit / saxophone

Burnin' Red Ivanhoe was formed back in 1967, and that makes them one of the first scandinavian prog bands. Their style was quite original from the start, blending jazz-rock with R&B, blues, psychedelia etc.. their debut from 1969 (double album) "M 144" sounds somewhat like THE WHO with jazz influences. Most of Burnin' Red Ivanhoe's albums have that certain scandinavian touch to it, similar to early 70's prog groups such as WIGWAM, CULPEPER'S ORCHARD and TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI. In 1971, the band released the album "WWW", which is probably a good place to start (for proggers), as it contains some of their most progressive and interesting work. The self-titled album they released in 1970 (another gem!), also contains the track "Secret Oyster Service", and quite soon after that, a new, even more jazz-orientated group was formed, called SECRET OYSTER. Burnin' Red Ivanhoe was disbanded in 1972 (although they released one more album in 1974), and as a result, most members moved over to SECRET OYSTER. Burnin' Red Ivanhoe is recommended for fans of early scandinavian prog rock.

M144 is the debut album from experimental Danish Jazz/ rock act Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe. Heavily rooted in the Danish jazz scene in the sixties Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe began to incorporate more rock influences into their music and soon had a good following in their native Denmark. M144 was released in 1969 and was one of the few Danish rock albums from that time with an international sound. The band enjoyed quite a success internationally especially in the UK where the album actually charted as one of the first foreign albums ever. Germany and the rest of Scandinavia were also markets for Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe.
M144 is a double album which was also something that was very unusual for Danish artists in 1969. The first LP has Danish sung lyrics while the second has English sung lyrics. About half of the songs are instrumental though. The lyrics are generally pretty fragmented and weird. I´m not sure but Ridder Rød ( Red Knight) does sound like there are some socialist thoughts put into it ( which was a very common thing in Danish lyrics from this time). Kaj is a pretty hilarious song about the lonely guy named Kaj who is only interested in girls on pictures. He lives with his aunt who is very interested in him ( censorship bip bip).

The album is full of great bluesy jazz/ rock tunes, very much in the vein of bands like Colosseum and Audience. Lots of brass and catchy hooks. Songs like Antique Peppermint, Medardus ( with vocals that remind me of Magma) and Saxophonepiece 1 and 2 are all excellent mostly instrumental jazz/ rock songs. Songs like Ivanhoe i Brøndbyerne, Ridder Rød, Marsfesten, Kaj and Purple Hearts also showcase Burnin´ Red Ivanhoe´s high level of compositional and technical skill. Ksilioy ends the album and I must admit that it´s a bit too much for me with the repetitive midsection even though the musicianship is outstanding in this song.

The CD version is a double CD with six added extra songs where Why Don't You Trust is the most exciting one. Kaj is there again in a version recorded in 1997.

The musicianship is excellent and all involved are higly skilled musicians. Especially the brass playing is of an extremely high standard.

The production is excellent. Great organic mix.

What I enjoy so much about the album is that it never gets too jazzy. It´s always more rock music than jazz ditto and that´s how I like it. M144 is without a doubt one of the most groundbreaking releases in Danish music history and it´s a great progressive rock album as well.

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