Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jack Lancaster & Rick Van Der Linden - 1979 - Wild Connections

Jack Lancaster & Rick Van Der Linden
Wild Connections

01. Early Morning Jones 5:48
02. Your Home 4:56
03. African Violet 5:07
04. Fortuna 4:20
05. Wild Connections 4:48
06. Claudia 3:51
07. Aural Exciter 2:29
08. Nyala 5:13

Choir – English Chorale, The
Drums – Barry Morgan
Lyricon – Jack Lancaster
Synthesizer [Yamaha Gx1] – Rick van der Linden

From the back cover: "With the exception of drums and choir, this album is completely synthesised on Lyricon and Yamaha GX1. The lyricon is an electronic wind instrument capable of the fullest range of expression. The sounds available on the Lyricon are practically infinite. GX1 is a tri-manual synthesiser with bass pedals; "Yamaha's Monster!" Stevie Wonder called it "The Dream Machine"."

I was unfamiliar with this album until recently, but am glad that I got a chance to check it out. It's all instrumental, with Van der Linden playing nothing but the Yahama GX1, and Lambert playing nothing but the lyricon. A rather good live drummer is added. The music will strongly appeal to fans of Ekseption and Trace. Even though the basic concept is the same, it's a bit more laid-back than either of the above-mentioned bands.

Rick Van Der Linden & Rein Van Der Broek - 1980 - Cum Laude

Rick Van Der Linden & Rein Van Der Broek 
Cum Laude

01. Jesu Meine Freude 3:48
02. Ave Maria 2:37
03. Lord's Prayer (Onze Vader) 3:43
04. Song of Joy 2:49
05. I Don't Know How to Love Him 3:44
06. Oh Haupt Voll Blut Und Wunden 3:11
07. Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring 3:18
08. Ave Verum 2:32
09. Finale 6:28
   a) Dank U
   b) Improvisation
   c) Synfonia

Lead Vocals – Wilma Van Diepen
Organ, Grand Piano – Rick v.d. Linden
Trumpet, Bugle – Rein v.d.. Broek
Vocals – Balloon (7), Getty Kaspers

Church organ recorded at College Hageveld by Ruud van Lieshout
Recorded and mixed at Fendal-Sound Studios
Published by Hirschland Music

Rick van der Linden - 1977 - GX 1

Rick van der Linden 
GX 1

01. GX 1 4:25
02. Mystic Eyes 3:38
03. Double Flute X2 4:14
04. Clouds 3:25
05. Wizzard Dance 2:41
06. Super Dream GT-2000 4:15
07. Bermuda 3:15
08. Bachatel 7:52
09. Game 3:12

Well, for synth nerds, this recording features one of the rarest synthesizer of history : the Yamaha GX-1 built in 1973. It's probably one of the heaviest too; From wikipedia : "The GX-1 console weighs 300 kg. The pedalboard and stand add 87 kg, and each of its tube-powered speakers, four of which can be connected to the GX-1, weighs 141 kg."
Rather cheesy but (briefly) entertaining, Rick van der Linden's GX1 features the venerable monstersynth by Yamaha on every track and consists of nothing but the tones and rhythms generated by GX1. However, the musical results are somewhat lacking, it's all too kitch and pop for my taste, with no real depth to speak of and Rick's Progressive roots kept in shade. A couple of nice slow, melodic tunes save it from a total failure. I;ll give it 2 and a half stars for the effort. Only for the die-hard Electronic Music collectors.

Spin - 1977 - Whirlwind


01. Tarantula
02. Baby's delight
03. Dance of the sea-gull
04. Telegraphcanyon-roadrunner
05. Super B
06. Yellow kites
07. You're a clown
08. T-Ford two

Rein van den Broek: Trumpet, flugelhorn
Jan Vennik: Flute, hobo, clarinet
Hans Jansen: Keyboards
Hans Hollestelle: Guitar, synthesizer
Jan Hollestelle: Bass guitar, cello
Cees Kranenburg: Drums, percussion
Martha Pendleton and Sue Chaloner: vocals (on [7])
Jean Toots Thielemans: harmonica (on [2, 7])
Bart van Lier: Trombone (on [2, 5, 7])

Second album by Spin and aswell their swansong, released in 1977 on Ariola named Whirlwind has the same atmosphere as previous release. Same funky jazz, well played, well balanced, some female voices of Martha Pendleton and Sue Chaloner appears on You're a clown, nice arrangements and smooth played. Again all pieces stands as good, but aswell nothing groundbreaking. I don't think worth 2 stars, 3 stars at least, some parts are realy good, make me give 3.5. The cover art is excellent like on first album. Enthusiasts of jazz/rock fusion might find this album a little bit on the soft side though, but the songs are well balanced and feature some catchy horn arrangements. Neither of them become very successful, so they disbanded in late 1977, but they leave behind some good example of how must sound this kind of jazz funk, also they had a minor hit in USA with the piece Grasshopper from their first album.

Spin - 1976 - Spin


01. Grasshopper
02. Spinning
03. Excenter
04. Sea and Seasons
05. Little bitch
06. Sunday afternoon's dream
07. Flat tyre
08. Beautiful Queenie

Rein van den Broek: Trumpet, flugelhorn
Jan Vennik: Flute, hobo, clarinet
Hans Jansen: Keyboards
Hans Hollestelle: Guitar, synthesizer
Jan Hollestelle: Bass guitar, cello
Cees Kranenburg: Drums, percussion

Spin was a jazz rock band formed in 1974 in Holland. Differences of opinion regarding the musical style of Ekseption made Rein van den Broek and Dik Vennik to form a new band - Spin. In the line up was also included another member of Eskeption - Hans Jansen and Hans Hollestelle, was as well a session musician in Ekseption. The line up was completed by the brother of Hollestelle Jan and Cees Kranenburg. The music of Spin is much more straight forward than Ekseption's music, they dropped the classical influences and the arrangements were much more focused on electric guitars and horns and even some funk elements here and there. Enthusiasts of jazz/rock fusion might find this album a little bit on the soft side though, but the songs are well balanced and feature some catchy horn arrangements. They released two albums, one in 1976 self-titled and one in 1977 Whirlwind. Neither of them become very successful, so they disbanded in late 1977, but they leave behind some good example of how must sound this kind of jazz, also they had a minor hit in USA with the piece Grasshopper. Both discs are only available on vinyl released on Ariola, the albums never got the chance to be re-released on CD so far.

Trace - 1976 - The White Ladies

The White Ladies

01. Legend Part 1
02. Interlude 1
03. Confrontation
04. Interlude II
05. Dance of the White Ladies
06. Doubts
07. Trace I
08. Witche's Dance
09. Surrender
10. Interlude III
11. Parthétique
12. Legend Part 2
13. Interlude IV
14. The Rescue
15. Trace II
16. Back Home
17. Meditation
18. Flash Back
19. Conclusion

Line-up / Musicians
- Rick Van Der Linden / keyboards
- Cor Dekker / bass
- Peter de Leeuwe / drums
- Dick Remelink / saxes, flute
- Hans Jacobse / additional keyboards
- Hetty Smit / vocals
- Harry Schafer / narrator'

Nineteen short tracks tell the story of the "White Ladies" with a rich grandiosity that classic European symphonic was famous for, and yet it embraces good melody and appropriate storytelling rather than going for bombast of ELP. The closest comparison might be something like Triumvirat's "Sparticus" album. The emphasis is on the music, the story, and a certain amount of folksy charm comes through because of the approach. Oh there's still plenty of complexity and hot playing but rarely at the expense of the album's mission. Trace had lost key members after the previous album and Rick van Der Linden was eager for a change, to bring in more musicians and shift the direction to a more nuanced blend of rock, jazz, and classical. He ended up picking up past members of Ekseption and even a second keyboardist so that he could experiment with "multiple musical exchanges, sounds, and themes." With a great new line-up in place he was walking alone on a foggy night when he thought of an old folk tale about the White Ladies from the Dutch province of Gelderland in the middle ages. The story is about a farmer's wife who is tricked by spirit figures from the hills to leave her family and live the carefree gypsy-like lifestyle and his attempt to get her back.

This music is intentionally slower and more serene than previous Trace albums, which was not well received by all of their fans, many of whom preferred the flashy keyboard whiz Rick instead. This album almost seems to aim more for fans of painstakingly crafted smoothness like "The Snow Goose" where romantic themes recur and take their time. There are some vocals and narration and yet the album is still largely instrumental. Rick uses moog, piano, other synths and the clavinet with total control. Dekker and Leeuwe present an equally disciplined rhythm section but the bass especially is often quite up front and enjoyable. "Back Home" even throws in some outstanding saxophone work courtesy of Dick Remelink. There is very little guitar which is a bit disappointing to me as I think it could have added even more to the mix. So should you check out the White Ladies? Well think of it like this. If you need a harder edge to your prog you can pass on this one. However, if you love something like The Snow Goose, and can envision it with less lead guitar and more prominent flowery keyboards, they you definitely need to check this one out. It just might deliver that slightly mystical and whimsical classical prog experience from the heart of the '70s. Personally, I very much enjoy and appreciate this charming, well-made album but not quite enough to award the big 4th star. The Musea reissue features good sound quality and an excellent bio of the time period.

Trace - 1975 - Birds


101. Bourrée 2:27
102. Snuff 2:25
103. Janny – In A Mist 1:13
104. Opus 1065 7:45
105. Penny 2:42
106. Trixie-Dixie 0:26
107. Birds – suite 21:59
  Bonus Track
108. Birds 3:39 – single version

201. Birds 5:16 – live
202. Tabu 11:47 – live
203. Gaillarde 11:06 – live
204. King-Bird 2:15 – live
205. Gaillarde 6:26 – live
206. Snuff 2:32 – live
207. Gaillarde – reprise 3:29 – live
208. Birds 3:15 – live
209. Peace Planet 4:02 – live

- Rick Van Der Linden / keyboards
- Jaap Van Eik / bass, guitar, vocals
- Ian Mosley / drums, timpani, gong, tambourine

- Darry Way / acoustic & electric violin on 4
- Coen Hoedeman / assorted monkeys on 1

Excellent prog album of the 70´s that I had the pleasure of having it at the time. It´s my favorite Trace work, even if drummer Pierre Van Der Linden was gone by this time, replaced by english studio ace Ian Mosley (who would join Marillion in the 80´s). I have always loved their arrangement for Bach´s Bourree; I remember playing this track again and again when I was 16. But Birds have other good tracks like Opus 1065 (with great violin playing from Curved Air´s Darryl Way) and, specially, the great, 22 minute suite, King Bird.
That epic is worth the price of the CD alone and have fantastic passages, with lush keyboards, fine drumming and excellent bass parts done by Jaap Van Eik. Van Eik also plays some excellent electric guitar on this song (very much in the Jan Akkermann style). He also sings a little bit here (nice, but with heavy accent). There are some fillers on side A of the vinyl (mostly Van Der Linden´s tendency for pop jazz) but I can live with that. Their style is often compared to ELP, of course, but they actually remind me more of the great german group Triumvirat then the english trio. It is only a pity that those guys could not come up with a better follow up to this fine record and broke up soon after that.

Birds remains Trace´s finest moment and a worthy record to have if you like the mix of rock, classical music and jazz. Not perfect, but an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Trace - 1974 - Trace


101. Gaillarde – part one 6:23
102. Gare Le Corbeau 2:05
103. Gaillarde – part two 4:36
104. The Death Of Ace 5:16
105. The Escape Of The Piper 3:11
106. Once 4:13
107. Progression 12:04
108. A Memory – part one 3:48
109. The Lost Past 3:27
110. A Memory – part two 1:43
111. Final Trace 3:50
112. Progress 4:04 – single version
113. Tabu 4:14
114. Bach-Atel 3:30 – single version
115. Another World 5:14 – demo
116. Gnome Dance 5:07 – demo
117. Final Trace 3:52 – demo

201. Fairy Tale – overture 4:48
202. A Swedish Largo 19:46
203. Gnome Dance 4:29
204. Nocturne 6:01
205. Bach-Atel 4:11
206. Another World 5:10
207. Escape Of The Piper 5:21 – extended version
208. Once 6:00 – jam
209. A Memory 8:47 – demo
210. A Swedish Largo 5:49 – demo
211. Once 4:50 – demo

- Rick Van Der Linden / keyboards
- Jaap Van Eik / bass, guitar
- Pierre Van Der Linden / drums

After Ekseption released their sixth studio album ''Trinity'' in 1973, keyboardist Rick van der Linden was forced to leave the band.Not a wise decision,as Ekseption had a downfall in their career,while Van Der Linden decided to form a new band the same year,initially called ''Ace''.He auditioned drummer Peter De Leeuwe (ex-Ekseption), but he found him lacking in technique,so he recruited ex-Focus Pierre van der Linden for the drum kit.Bassist of the band was self-taught musician Jaap Van Eik,who had also played with Dutch jazz/rock masters Solution.In May 74' the band recorded their self-titled debut at Soundpush Studios in Blaricum,which was finally released in September by Phillips.

From the very first moments you can easily understand why Van Der Linded was searching for musicians with high technical background,as the arrangements here are sometimes very complex .Gone are the straight jazzy horn sections of EKSEPTION and now the compositions of Van Der Linden remind of E.L.P. more than ever.''Trace'' is filled with the keyboards of their founder,with lots of mellotrons and organ attacks throughout,mostly in a classical orientation.There are also lots of moog synth acrobatics and effects,while the music ranges from organ-driven DEEP PURPLE-like classical adaptions to improvisational,highly complicated interplays between keys,bass and drums.Van Der Linden doesn't stop here.His beloved piano pops up here and there,while a few harpsichord and Horner clavinet echoes make the sound even richer and proggier.What I mostly like in ''Trace'' is some superb,dreamy and melodic organ passages,showing why Van Der Linden is considered one of the best keyboardists in the prog league.The two other musicians join the club in their own way.The jazzy background of Van Eik helps him accompanying Rick's keyboards quite easy, while Pierre Van Der Linden was very familiar with the jazzy/symph style from his previous service on FOCUS.

''Trace'' is an acclaimed work for anyone into keyboard-driven/classical prog music,which is balanced between melody and complex themes.Really essential,while not that original!

Ekseption - 1994 - Live In Germany

Live In Germany

01. Toccata (5:23)
02. Your home (4:51)
03. Peace planet (3:43)
04. Concerto (4:02)
05. Haydn (3:08)
06. Air (3:57)
07. Rhapsody in blue (4:45)
08. Thoughts (3:57)
09. Summertime (2:50)
10. For example (9:43)
11. The fifth (3:12)
12. Italian concerto (4:03)
13. Sabre dance (3:35)
14. My pianoman (2:45)

Line-up / Musicians
- Rick Van Der Linden / Farfisa 1-3 +5 and Grand piano
- Rein Van Der Broek / trumpet, flugelhorn
- Max Werner / drums
- Frans Muys Van Der Moer / bass
- Dick Remelink / soprano & tenor saxophone

This album was recorded live during two concerts in Germany in November 1993, and I don`t know if these concerts were part of a long or of a short tour, or only were two isolated reunion concerts. For these concerts, anyway, old members from the Ekseption of the seventies Rick van der Linden, Rein van der Broek and Dick Remelink were joined by other two very good musicians (Max Werner on drums and Frans Muys Van Der Moer on bass). The combination of these musicians while playing old musical pieces from Ekseption brought some differences in the musical playing, particularly in the case of drummer Werner, and some of the arrangements are a bit different. But also the use of more modern musical instruments, particularly in the use of then new keyboards, made the musical pieces sound a bit different. I have to say that I really expected a better live album, as other reviewers have said in this and in other websites. The recording and mixing is very good, but the playing of some of the musical pieces (particularly very clear in "Sabre Dance") has some mistakes. I don`t know if this happened because it was a long tour and they were tired, or maybe they didn`t have enough rehearsals, or maybe the concerts they recorded they were not in their best playing. But it was good to me to listen to these very good musicians playing these very good musical pieces in front of an audience, even with all the imperfections. And one can think that this album really wasn`t overdubbed in a studio. So, at least, it is an honest record in that respect. Not as bad as other reviewers consider it to be, but not as good as I expected it to be before listening to it and reading those reviews. Maybe one day their old record label (Philips) could release a live album recorded in the seventies with their best line-up (in my opinion): van der Linden, van der Broek, Remelink, plus Cor Dekker on bass and Peter de Leeuwe on drums. Unfortunately, now a reunion of this line-up is not possible anymore with the deaths of Dekker (in November 2005), van der Linden (in January 2006) and de Leeuwe (on February 4, 2014, as Ekseption / Rick van der Linden`s official website recently announced). So, this live album recorded in 1993, remains until now as the only live album that the band released. So, it is good for my taste anyway.

Ekseption - 1989 - Ekseption Plays Bach

Ekseption Plays Bach

01. Italian Concerto (4:59)
02. Toccata (5:15)
03. Vivace (2:50)
04. The Lamplighter (3:02)
05. Siciliano (3:17)
06. Ave maria (2:35)
07. Bouree (3:17)
08. Have Mercy On Me (5:44)
09. Partita No. 2 in C-minor (5:46)
10. Peace Planet (3:34)
11. Air (2:15)

Line-up / Musicians
- Rob Kruisman / saxophones, flute, guitar, vocals
- Rick van der Linden / piano, organ, dulcimer
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Peter de Leeuwe / drums, vocals
- Huib van Kampen / guitar, tenor saxophone
- Dennis Whitbread / drums
- Dick Remelink / saxes, flute
- Pieter Voogt / drums, percussion
- Jan Vennik / soprano and tenor saxophones, flute

Well, well, well ... a music that combines themes from classical composers with rock music? You might find The Nice or ELP. But if it then being combined with contemporary rock and jazz in a blend of dominating, virtuoso keys and trumpet plus sax(es), only Ekseption - the Dutch band - you might be referring to. And for this, Ekseption is probably the only band that has built the music in this arena and no one - as long as I know - has followed their path. Too odd? Not really, actually. But that's the fact. I can hardly find any band that continues the kind of music Ekseption has played.
As the title implies, this album is a compilation of what the band has interpreted and arranged the music of classical composer Bach into the kind of unique music by Ekseption. No one would argue that Johan Sebastian Bach is a genius classic composer and it's not my intention to write this review. The focus is only one: how good Ekseption interprets and arranges the music composed by Bach on songs featured here. Am not actually familiar with all songs by Bach but since I knew classical music through prog music in early seventies, finally I'm familiar with some composers.

As far as interpreting and arranging the music of Bach, I have to give two thumbs up for Ekseption who has successfully delivered a classical composition in such a dynamic way blending many styles. The use of multi instruments like organ, trumpet and saxophone has enriched the arrangement which makes the music is not just rewarding but it's also inquiring the mind. The opening track "Italian Concerto" (4:59) starts beautifully with sounds of Hammond organ that gradually moves up with the other instruments: sax and trumpets. The grand piano solo shows the jazzy style combined with pulsating organ work by Rick Van Der Linden (RIP). Trumpet by Rein van den Broek and saxophone by Dick Remelink give excellent accentuation for this arrangement.

"Toccata" (5:15) is a very famous song which starts with well-known Church organ sound typically many people have heard already. What follow is a great combination of trumpet, sax, clavinet / keyboard. Remember how fast the notes played at "Vivace"? This time Ekseption uses trumpets to do the job. The result is an awesome sound! The melancholic "The Lamplighter" (3:02) has a killing melody through the use of organ and clavinet / harpsichords with excellent trumpet solo in jazzy style. "Siciliano" (3:17) brings the symphonic nuance combined with jazzy style especially during trumpet solo.

"Bouree" (3:17) was a song that I knew the first time through Jethro Tull who arranged it beautifully with Ian Anderson's flute. This time Ekseption arranges differently with much rocking style using dynamic music at opening followed with guitar and bass work intertwiningly. It's an excellent arrangement and gives me another look of the composition. The guitar solo punctuated with brass section and organ solo are truly stunning. "Have Mercy On Me" (5:44) is very melodic stuff with great clavinet sound. "Air" (2:15) concludes the album peacefully.

Well, I have to admit that this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection, especially if you appreciate classical composer. But it's not only that- this album proves to be successful in blending classical, rock and jazz into excellent music. For those of you who are not familiar with classical music can learn from this album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Ekseption - 1989 - Ekseption '89

Ekseption '89

01. Spooky
02. Ekseptional
03. Pure
04. Air
05. Flying fingers
06. Happiness
07. The artists
08. Haydn
09. Just for you
10. Drawbars
11. Jola
12. The Fifth
13. Marlene
14. Peace planet
15. Harmony
16. A believe
17. My pianoman

Line-up / Musicians
- Eddy Conard / percussion
- Rick van der Linden / keyboards
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet
- Dick Remelink / saxophone
- Peter de Leeuwe / drums
- Frans Muys van de Moer / bass guitar
- Johan Zwart / guitar

 In 1989 Ekseption tried to make a comeback after an absence from the musical scene from 8 years. Their first reunion in 1978 was not a success due to the changed musical climate where symphonic rock was considered outdated. Bringing out a successor to this LP ('Ekseption'78') which was called 'Dance Macabre', where the old material that brought then success was recorded again with exception of 2 newly added tracks, did not do anything to change the tide in their favor. So, after the break up in 1981 Ekseption attempted to revive some of their old glory and make a new start with the album 'Ekseption'89', an album almost entirely consisting of music previously released on albums of either Ekseption, Trace, or Rick van der Linden solo. However, the arrangements differ from their original versions not only in their names, but also in their sound, and a percussionist was added. Only the last track (a solo piano piece with variations on a theme from J.S. Bach) is something I had not heard previously. This release does not have any original compositions, the music is based entirely on the formula that made Ekseption famous: the way they integrated classical music with rock and jazz. The different sound of the drums does not always benefit the music, the snare being over-processed and therefore sounding like it weighs a ton. In the composition 'Harmony' it becomes especially obnoxious, since this arrangement must have one of the most boring drum parts I have ever heard: first beat bass drum, second beat snare, third beat bass drum, fourth beat snare, and this throughout the entire track. But, other tracks sound quite good and fresh, and the added percussionist certainly mixes well. So, on this album you will find Bach, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert compositions in the unique Ekseption formula. Despite the fact that this new reunion received a lot of attention on TV the album did not become the great success that was hoped for.

Ekseption - 1981 - Dance Macabre

Dance Macabre

01. The Fifth Symphony (3:02)
02. Italian Concerto (2:50)
03. Air (4:07)
04. Rhapsody In Blue (4:06)
05. Peace Planet (3:26)
06. Sabre Dance (4:06)
07. Concerto (4:06)
08. Danse De Feu (2:46)
09. Adagio (3:40)
10. Dance Macabre (2:20)
11. Haydn (2:51)
12. Conchorus (4:45)

Line-up / Musicians
- Rick Van Der Linden / keyboards
- Rein Van De Broek / trumpets, flugelhorn
- Dick Remmelink / saxes
- Max Werner / drums, percussion, marimba
- Johan Slager / bass guitar, guitars

 I remember vividly that I purchased this album in cassette version in October 1981 and I thought it was an entertaining purchase because punk and new wave swept the total music industry at that time. And I thought that this was a new album from the band. But when I spun the cassette, it was basically almost all were major hits from their previous albums, rerecorded because Rick van der Linden rejoined the band in 1978. As this is mostly rerecorded material, I am not surprised at all with the music because it's been in my system for so long. In fact, some songs had been familiar with most people in my country as some tracks were used as background for a local television program.
Most of rerecorded material are not better off than the original version because this time with this album, the sound is like coming from a band while in its original versions - the sound like an ensemble or string section or, in fact, an orchestra. There are two new tracks at the end of the album : Haydn and Conchorus.

Overall, this is an enjoyable album. I think it will serve well for people who have never heard the music of Ekseption. So I can recommend this for newbie. Keep on proggin' ..!

Ekseption - 1978 - Ekseption 78

Ekseption 78

01. Again (2:22)
02. Your home (4:47)
03. Wild flower (3:17)
04. Signal (4:10)
05. Pearl (2:22)
06. Thoughts (3:53)
07. Summertime (2:20)
08. Nocturne (3:35)
09. Impromptu (2:48)
10. The cat (3:19)
11. Jesu Joy (3:02)
12. Faith (3:21)

Note: CD Diamond 01651061 ("The Very Best Of Ekseption") (1991) / CD CNR 2002058 ("Ekseption") (1994) /CD CNR ("Hollands Glorie") (2001)

- Rick van der Linden / piano, spinet, (pipe) organ, mellotron, ARP synthetizer
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet, flugelhorn
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Dick Remelink / saxes
- Peter de Leeuwe / drums

After Ekseption split up in the mid seventies, Rick and Rein came together and decided to reunite Ekseption, with the same band members of their fourth and fifth album. The opening track of this album ('Again') is probably the best opening track from Rick ever. It's an arrangement of Bach's 'Kommt ihr Tochter helft mir klagen' from his Mattthaus Passion, and Rick's arrangement is breathtaking in its beauty. The rest of the album consists of 5 originals written by Rick van der Linden and/or Rein van den Broek and 5 arrangements from music written by classical, plus one composition ('The Cat') from Lalo Schifrin in an excellent arrangement from Rick. The 5 original compositions vary in quality, at times they sound a bit polished and dull, other times they have spunk, and the same is true for the arrangements of the classical compositions, Handel's Andante is very polished, however, Gershwin's Summertime has an excellent driving rock rhythm. Bach's 'Jesus, bleibet meine Freude' is a new recording of the B-side of a single released in 1973, and the track 'Faith', written by Rick, was previously released on the album 'The white ladies' from Trace in 1976. In short, the album is mixed, it knows some excellent moments (the opening track with music from Bach, 'Summertime', 'The Cat', to name a few) as well as times when the music sounds a bit tame.

Ekseption - 1976 - Back To The Classics

Back To The Classics

01. Sonata In F (5:20)
02. Ave Maria (4:53)
03. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade nr. 13 in G K.525) (4:13)
04. Clarinet Concerto In A (4:25)
05. Violin Concerto In E Minor, Op.64 (5:00)
06. Have Mercy On Me (Erbarme Dich) (6:57)
07. Flute Sonata nr.5 In F (4:53)
08. Theme From Abdelazer (3:58)
09. The Moldau (Ma Vlast) (6:51)

Line-up / Musicians
The names of the musicians are not listed on the original LP. The sleeve only mentions that "...The pieces were recorded by musicians who were with EKSEPTION between 1969 and 1975, joined by Holland's best session musicians to replace those members who had to be excluded because of contractual obligations".

This album by Ekseption contains ligh music taking fom the classic masters and it starts nicely with great Hammond organ through "Sonata in F Major" which also has excellent flute-work. In this cassette there is no line-up info that I can refer to. I thought that this was the fault of Yess for not providing this info but in fact this is not listed also in the original LP issue. The next "Ave Maria" is very famous song that most of you already know very well. One thing that touches me is really when the album hits track number 4 "Clarinet Concerto in A" where it has great work on clavinet and piano. I think the most interesting part is the piano work - especially the solo one. Of course there is a follow-up on clarinet as the title implies. Oh Boy ...the clarinet work is also excellent especially when it's combined with Hammond solo work.

Overall, this is a very good album showing great musicianship of the players, playing slected songs from Classic Masters. I think most of you would enjoy this album very much. The most important thing is that I enjoy this album because the source of the music is coming from cassette - so it's "nuansamatik" (a term that I use to describe the nuances of the music where it was originally released sometie in the past - the seventies mostly). Keep on proggin'

Ekseption - 1975 - Mind Mirror

Mind Mirror

01. Pick up the pieces (6:05)
02. Bourree (3:14)
03. Tramontane (4:17)
04. Electric swamp (4:04)
05. Ramses (1:00)
06. Mindmirror (17:28)

Line-up / Musicians
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet
- Jan Vennik / saxophones, flute
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Pieter Voogt / drums, percussion
- Hans Jansen / keyboards

- Ramses Shaffy / voice on "Ramses"

This is the second album of Ekseption without Rick van der Linden, and it is better than their previous one which sounded a bit 'dull'. The opening track is a track from the Average White Band, 'Pick up the pieces', followed by an inspired arrangement of Bach's Bourree by Hans Hollestelle, the guitarist of the band, Jan Vennik and Hans Jansen. I can't help wondering what the track 'Ramses' is doing on the album; it's a short track with some spoken text from Ramses Shaffy. The longest piece of the album (a little over 17 minutes) is the title track, 'Mindmirror'. It's a piece of music that is very pleasant to listen to, and all in all this album (although it failed to achieve the same commercial success as previous Ekseption albums), although not excelling, is not a bad one either. After this record one more album was released by Ekseption without Rick van der Linden, 'Back to the classics'. The members wanted to get away from the typical Ekseption formula, so they simply broke up Ekseption, re-baptised themselves 'Spin', and recorded two (good) albums under that name.

Ekseption - 1974 - Bingo


01. From Ekseption (9:05)
02. Nightwalk (3:45)
03. Smokey sunset (5:11)
04. De fietser (1:51)
05. Sabre dance (2:56)
06. Brother rabbit (3:26)
07. Sunny revival (3:50)
08. The death of Ase (2:20)
09. Bingo-bingo (6:40)

Line-up / Musicians
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet
- Jan Vennik / saxophones, flute, clarinet
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Pieter Voogt / drums, percussion
- Hans Jansen / keyboards

- Hans Hollestelle / guitar on "Sunny revival" & violin on "Bingo-bingo"

This record has outstanding, clean and expressive rhythmic trumpet arrangements, a bit in the genre of early Frank Zappa (Grand Wazoo, Waka/Jawaka), but more dynamic, funky and rhythmic: it gives an ambience of winners! there are trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and flute, so that these wind instruments take a huge place in the music. There are also omnipresent & complex electric guitar, keyboards (Fender Rhodes among others) and very elaborated bass & drums. It is jazzy with all the catchy & rhythmic rock elements, plus some progressive tendencies. It is a very joyful music: you play it after a victory, a success or just simply for the joy of feeling happy. It will induce positive and pleasant moods. There are really fast parts, and the music is rather loaded; the omnipresent rhythm is very changing: it is never dull! Hard to believe they are a Dutch band. The sound can be very American funky jazz rock. There are not enough bands like that!

Ekseption - 1973 - Trinity


01. Toccata (5:16)
02. The Peruvian Flute (traditional) (8:04)
03. Dreams (1:32)
04. Smile (2:53)
05. Lonely Chase (3:10)
06. Romance (3:30)
07. Improvisation (9:01)
08. Meddle (1:07)
09. Flight Of The Bumble Bee (3:22)
10. Finale III (2:50)

Line-up / Musicians
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet, flugelhorn
- Jan Vennik / Soprano & Tenor saxophones, flute
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Pieter Voogt / drums, percussion
- Rick van der Linden / piano, (pipe) organ, spinet, ARP2600, synthesizer, mellotron

- Members of the Dutch Chamber Choir (on "Finale III")

A long forgotten gem!
I am very pleased that someone has paid attention to this album - again. By my standards, "Trinity" is my fave album of this band. Partly because of lesser focus on interpretation of classical pieces, thus allowing for more expression of individual talent.

Some of you in my age group probably recall the numerous reader's polls in the '70's endlessly - and also pointlessly - debating as which keyboard player was the best. The contest usually centered around Emerson, Wakeman, Van der Linden and to a lesser extent, Vangelis. Classical interpretations were very fashionable then and Van der Linden's band Ekseption have received perhaps excessive recognition - for their excessive approach to that.,

Notwithstanding that they were fine musicians, the band got themselves seriously boxed in as more of interpreters as opposed to innovators. "Trinity" is that rare album that manages to redress that situation. Typically of the band, this is not an overly complex piece either, but allows for a bit more stretching out. There is even an excellent bass solo followed by a drum solo.

Altogether it achieves a fine balance and remains my most preferred release from this band. Highly recommended.

Ekseption - 1972 - Ekseption 5

Ekseption 5

01. Introduction (0:35)
02. Siciliano in G (3:20)
03. Vivace (5:16)
04. For example / for sure (9:03)
05. Virginal (4:30)
06. A la turka (2:26)
07. Midbar session (10:03)
08. Pie (1:30)
09. My son (5:12)
10. Finale (3:40)

- Rick van der Linden / piano, (pipe) organ, spinet, syntheziser
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Dick Remelink / saxes, flute
- Peter de Leeuwe / drums, percussion, 12 string guitar

- Rick Van der Linden junior (2 years) on "My son"

Ekseption's finest release is Ekseption 5, which was also its only LP released in the U.S. This Dutch quintet, led by keyboardist Rick van der Linden, blends elements of classical, jazz, and rock within its music. The band sounds much larger than a quintet. The leader begins with the an excerpt of the famous theme of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5," played on a pipe organ. "Vivace," taken from J.S. Bach's "Concerto for Violin and Strings in A Minor," is turned into a lively fusion vehicle as van der Linden plays piano, Hammond organ, and harpsichord, and Rein van den Broek adds some tasty flügelhorn. But one of his most intriguing arrangements is the medley of "For Example/For Sure"; the former is a piece written by Keith Emerson while he was with "The Nice," while the latter piece is credited to van der Linden but seems very similar to Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Living Sin," which was released the same year. "For Example" is sandwiched around "For Sure," and has some of the album's best solos, including van den Broek, Dick Remelinck's tenor sax, and a playful synthesizer feature by van den Linden that never turns bombastic. There are several originals by the leader, including the somewhat plodding "Midbar Session," the brief feature for solo piano "Pie," and the cheerful easygoing ballad "My Son," which features the howling "vocal" of his infant son Rick van der Linden, Jr. Sadly, van den Linden left the group not long after this release to form the trio Trace, and Ekseption steered more toward run of the mill rock during the remainder of its existence.

Ekseption - 1971 - 00:04


01. Ave Maria (2:34)
02. Body party (3:32)
03. Monlope (4:58)
04. Monkey dance (2:41)
05. Choral (4:02)
06. Partita No. 2 in C minor (5:45)
07. Piccadilly sweet (13:27)

- Rick van der Linden / piano, spinet, (pipe) organ, mellotron, ARP synthetizer
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet, flugelhorn
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Dick Remelink / saxes
- Peter de Leeuwe / drums

- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
- Members of the Dutch Chamber Choir
- Erik van Lier / trombone
- Tony Vos / Alto & Soprano saxophone

By 1971 singer Steve Allet had left Ekseption and from this point on the band would more or less switch to a fully instrumental sound.Leader Rick van der Linden would travel to London, UK and record ''Piccadilly sweet'' with the support of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Command Studios.Additional parts played by the rest of the band were recorded as long as the tapes were back to The Netherlands.The fourth album of Ekseption was titled ''00:04'', released in October 1971 on Phillips.
This was yet another convincing mix of Classical Rock with Jazz for Ekseption, side A features some of the sweetest melodies ever produced by the band, always highlighted by a deep Classical background and flavored with spicy, jazzy instrumentals, based on saxes, trumpet and horns.Van der Linden makes another memorable performance, especially lovely are his harsichord parts, but there is some incredible work on Hammond organ and piano to be found as well.The music alternates between a FOCUS-like symphonic grandieur and easy-listening Jazz/Horn Rock with some psychedelic and even Avant-Garde atmospheres thrown in for good measure.The second side is more of the same, ''Choral'' is absolutely great Symphonic/Jazz Rock, the only piece to feature some dramatic choirs, sitting next to the Classical melodies and the loose middle-part with the piano and the trumpet in forefront, ''Partita No. 2 in C Minor'' actually sounds like old LE ORME, with strong use of synths next to a psychedelic rhythm section, showered again by good sax and trumpet plays, but the real deal comes with the 13-min. ''Piccadilly sweet'', this piece is what for this album is known for in the first place.You can't expect something else than Classical-drenched music, often having a cinematic feeling, where Van der Linden is often lost in the storm of the backing orchestral instrumrnts.Closer to contemporary Classical Music than Prog Rock to say the truth, but this is another example of Van der Linden's top Classical education and composing ability.

There is maybe too much Lounge Jazz in here to place this among the peaks of Ekseption's discography.A bit uneven on the way with straight Classical and Jazz parts, but also containing some monumental symphonic movements.Recommended overall.

Ekseption - 1970 - Ekseption 3

Ekseption 3

01. Peace planet (3:32)
02. B 612 (4:08)
03. Morning rose (3:04)
04. Piece for symphonic and rock group in A minor (5:53)
     a) Part one: Passacaglia
     b) Part two: Painting
05. The lamplighter (3:01)
06. Bottle mind (2:45)
07. On sunday they will kill the world (3:26)
08. Another history (4:37)
09. Rondo (5:25)

- Steve Allet / vocals
- Michel van Dijk / vocals (on 8)
- Rick van der Linden / piano, spinet, organ, mellotron
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet, flugelhorn
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Dick Remelink / saxes
- Peter de Leeuwe / drums

This third album by Dutch jazz-rock and classical influenced band had confirmed their stand as solid band with inventive music compositions. The CD of this album is quite rare and I can only review this through my cassette collection that I purchased in the 70s. The album kicks off nicely with "Peace planet" (3:32), an instrumental piece with catchy organ like Procol Harum music style followed by fast tempo music where the organ solo is supported by tight bass lines and inventive clavinet. It's an energetic song that creates an uplifting mood. Drums are also excellent. But I salute the bass playing style of Cor Dekker, it's so powerful throughout the album.
The second track "B 612" (4:08) is a song with vocal (Steve Allet, who replaced previous lead singer in "Beggar Julia's Time Trip" album. This song has a great brass section combined beautifully with clavinet in jazz rock style. There is a nice trumpet solo at the end. The overall style reminds me to the music of Blood, Sweat, and Tears. "Morning rose" (3:04) starts with nice clavinet in slow tempo followed beautifully with vocal line. Clavinet provides great work at background. Right after first verse the organ enters brilliantly in Procol Harum style.

"Piece for symphonic and rock group in A minor" (5:53) comprises two movements: a) Part one: Passacaglia and b) Part two: Painting. Part One starts with an orchestra in ambient mood demonstrating clarinet solo. It's really a catchy opening in slow tempo. String section then takes lead in solo while the background music combines orchestra and timpani sound. On Part Two, the music then turns into fast tempo with dazzling drum, inventive bass lines, staccato trumpets and great organ. All instruments play in intertwining roles.

"The lamplighter" (3:01) is another instrumental piece with great organ at opening followed with trumpet solo while bass playing is obvious and tight, followed with great organ solo and then great church organ work. "Bottle mind" (2:45) is an instrumental music with fast tempo, staccato brass rock section which reminds me to Blood, Sweat & Tears music. The music interlude is wonderful with pulsating organ sound. "On sunday they will kill the world" (3:26), the opening part reminds me to Chicago 7's "Old Days". Vocal enters nicely. Music interlude is nice with great organ / piano work. Bass guitar is also great. "Another history" (4:37) has a great brass section backed by piano & dynamic bass lines followed wit trumpet solo backed with dazzling bass guitar work . Vocal line enters beautifully in low to medium register notes. After the first verse, organ gives a Procol Harum sound. It s really COOL!!

Overall, this is a VERY GOOD album by Ekseption and I think it deserves a four stars rating: an excellent addition to any prog music collection. For those who love jazz-rock, this is a MUST HAVE album that you should not miss. Keep on proggin' ..!

Ekseption - 1970 - Beggar Julias Time Trip

Beggar Julia's Time Trip

01. Ouverture (3:22)
02. Prologue (2:21)
03. Julia (2:21)
04. Flying power (0:31)
05. Adagio (3:45)
06. Space I (0:44)
07. Italian concerto (4:59)
08. Concerto (3:52)
09. Space II (0:26)
10. Pop giant (3:54)
11. Space III (0:22)
12. Feelings (3:09)
13. Epilogue (0:57)
14. Finale (3:55)
    (a) Music for mind
    (b) Theme Julia

- Michel van Dijk / vocals, percussion
- Dennis Whitbread / drums, kettledrums
- Rick van der Linden / piano, spinet, xylophone, (pipe) organ, mellotron
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Dick Remelink / saxes, flute

- Tony Vos / saxes, tonytone, electronic effects
- Linda van Dijck / voice on "Prologue" & "Epilogue"
- Eric van Lier / trombone, tuba

The success of debut album had made Rick van der Linden became the band's official leader. On the band's second album "Beggar Julia's Time Trip" he was the main writer, composer and arranger of the band. While on first album was pure instrumental piece, starting from this second album (followed later with the third) the band had included singer Michel van Dijk. It's actually obvious that Ekseption is by definition is an instrumental band because the characteristic of their music sounds better with no vocal.
It was quite interesting to me that this album was basically a concept album about a beggar named Julia who traveled through the passage of time from hundred years ago until recent days. It's quite interesting also with the narration throughout the album by Linda van Dijk. "Overture" opens the album with flute-work followed nicely by van der Linden's organ sounds. Through "Adagio" and "Italian concerto" Rick van der Linded demonstrates excellent organ work. "Concerto" is also another excellent track with excellent guitar work.

Overall, this is not something masterpiece but it's very good especially with the fact that this was an attempt to a concept album which I thought that it was first started with Genesis "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". Keep on proggin' ..!

Ekseption - 1969 - Ekseption


01. The 5th (3:21)
02. Dharma for One (3:25)
03. Little X Plus (2:33)
04. Sabre Dance (4:35)
05. AIR (2:50)
06. Ritual fire dance (2:15)
07. Rapsody in Blue (3:39)
08. This here (4:10)
09. Dance Macabre Opus 40 (2:20)
10. Canvas (2:25)

- Rob Kruisman / saxophones, flute, guitar, vocals
- Rick van der Linden / piano, organ, dulcimer
- Rein van den Broek / trumpet
- Cor Dekker / bass guitar
- Peter de Leeuwe / drums, vocals
- Huib van Kampen / guitar, Tenor saxophone

EKSEPTION is a Dutch band that was famous during the late sixties/early seventies for the way it combined themes from classical composers with contemporary rock and jazz in a blend of dominating, virtuoso keys and trumpet plus sax(es). The story of EKSEPTION as we know it begins when they won the first prize at the Loosdrecht Jazz Festival in 1968, and they were rewarded with a record contract with Philips. At the suggestion of Rick van der LINDEN, the band?s keyboard player, they decided to record rock versions of Beethoven?s ?Fifth? and Khachaturian?s ?Sabre Dance?. Although initially the single with ?The Fifth? did not catch on, three months after it was released suddenly it began to sell like hotcakes, and the basis for the now famous EKSEPTION formula was
established: a cocktail of classical music with (symphonic) rock and jazz. Following the success of the single, their first album was recorded, which contained a mix of covers, classical themes in a rock/jazz setting, and one song written by the band.

Original Dutch album cover.

This is the debut album of Ekseption, where Rick van der Linden (reknown for his virtuosity on the keys) presents the formula that was to make Ekseption one of the most successful Dutch bands of it's time: mixing classical music with rock and Jazz. Thus the 5th of Beethoven, Khachaturian's sabre dance, Bach's famous Air, De Falla's ritual fire dance, Gershwin's rhapsody and Saint-saens's Dance macabre are mixed with Jazz and rock influences in the famous unique cocktail that was so characteristic of Ekseption: the dominant keys of Rick on piano, Hammond and synth together with trumpet and sax, supported by Cor Dekker's skillful bass playing and Peter de Leeuwe on drums. Besides the classical reworkings you will also find three covers from other rock artists as well as one composition written by the band. The quality of the audio is typical of the late sixties: 'limited', compared to today's recording technology. It's an album of a band just starting out with their own unique formula that was to be at the foundation of their success.