Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Experience - 1971 - Experience


01. Gimme Some Lovin' 18:23
02. Louie Louie / Yes I Declare 7:03
03. Theme for an Unknown Island 7:38
04. Keep On Running 5:36
05. Kryptonite Party 8:45
06. I'm Alive 6:00
07. Snoopy Travel 5:32
08. Theme for an Unknown Island / Let's Be More Light 18:27

Alain Pewzner — guitar
Francois Jeanneau — saxophone
Bob Brault — bass
Sylvain Pauchard — organ, vocals
Rene Guerin — drums, percussion
Christopher Laird - vocals

French studio band made of members of Triangle and Martin Circus. Made to believe, at the time, that it was an UK or US band. Excellent music anyway for pop, prog and psych fans. I love this album... would love to know more on how it came to be.

Celebration - 1976 - Old Green Village

Old Green Village

01. El Passaparla   
02. Old Green Village   
03. Victory Rag   
04. What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor ?   
05. Black Berry Fugue   
06. Vietnam In Africa   
07. Shady Grove Ando   
08. Banks Of Ohio   
09. If Destruction Is Solution   
10. Salt Creek   
11. La Chouille Des Fumeroles "We Shall Not To Be Moved"   

Flute – Bertrand Côte
Guitar, Banjo – Jean-Pierre Lozac'h
Guitar, Banjo, Dulcimer, Autoharp, Vocals – Jacques Godin
Guitar, Vocals – Pascal Genneret

Some have an inserted or pasted mimeograph copy with notes (see picture)
Includes 1 handwritten (see picture) and 1 handtyped (recto-verso) insert.
Two different frontcover versions in black or green silkscreened colour design.

More of a one-off happening then an actual band, the album resulted from the one & only meeting of the group for a single overnight champagne-fueled session. as unlikely as it seems, somebody thought to roll some tape, and a very special evening was captured & pressed to vinyl… opening with a gorgeous drifting instrumental, and centered around three long jaw-dropping acidfolk originals, the album is filled out by wild romps though traditional folk songs. all english lyrics, female backing vocal, two acoustic guitars, dulcimer, autoharp, banjo, and some especially beautiful snaky flute work. the original compositions are truly magical : gently flowing and beautifully pastoral, but with an eerie, druggy, edginess. think 'book of am' minus the sunshine & electricity and you'll be in the right zone… the trad folk cuts on the other hand are nearly as cool : joyous, dirty, and totally ragged music by & for the people. no 'folk boom' pretense on display, just ageless tunes, fast pickin' and wild drunken wooziness, like some sort of reckless gypsy hoe-down… everything here is totally steeped in a damp, pagan / mystical basement atmosphere, that combined with the raw direct-to-tape, no overdubs / mixing execution & perfectly crude, haunting cover art make for a very distinct whole… originally only a few hundred copies of the lp were pressed up, and as there was no actual band to promote, those gradually slipped away into total obscurity. front covers were crudely screenprinted in green & black, and various back cover concepts were attempted & scrapped : a screenprinted variation had the incorrect track list and was all but totally illegible, some hand typed stickers were randomly done up, some had an inserted or pasted mimeograph copy with notes / credits, and many were simply left blank…

Codona - 1982 - Codona 3

Codona 3

01. Goshakabuchi (Traditional Japanese) (10:53)
02. Hey Da Ba Doom (7:11)
03. Travel by Night (5:47)
04. Lullaby (3:32)
05. Trayra Boia (5:17)
06. Clicky Clacky (4:07)
07. Inner Organs (9:17)

- Collin Walcott / sitar, tabla, voice, hammer dulcimer, sanza
- Don Cherry / organ, pocket trumpet, cornet, voice, dusongoni
- Naná Vasconcelos / percussion, voice, berimbau, Indian bells, caxixi, brushes/snare drum, train whistle, triangles

Let me start out by saying, that if you happen to be a fan of the smooth ECM sound, then you should feel right at home with this one. It just might be your entrance to the world of ethnic music - one that bonds together with an ethereal fusion touch that lingers in your brain long after the album has stopped.

I had a rough night yesterday. I drank the equivalent of a small lake in beer - mixed gin with chocolate milk - saw women in festive Germanic Alp dresses, -all of this in a place called Heidi's Bierbar. While the experience was rather fun and poles apart from my normal partying behaviour, this morning and still going strong, is a thundering headache prevailing - one that feels like I've stuck my head into a blazing jet engine. Now why on earth should I tell you all of this, you may be asking yourself? Well for one thing this album almost cured my hangover with its gentle and soothing fingers. It is a record that 'breathes' for lack of a better word. In addition to that, it also feels like having a beautiful woman lick your elbow.

Coupled together by the 3 musicians' names, Codona en-capsule the bridging between the east and west that started back in the 60s. Collin Walcott (sitar, tabla, voice, hammer dulcimer, sanza) Don Cherry (organ, pocket trumpet, cornet, voice, dusongoni) and Nana Vasconcelos (percussion, voice, berimbau, Indian bells, caxixi, brushes/snare drum, train whistle, triangles) all came from different musical pastures, but for some inexplicable reason, here they genuinely sound like sonic triplets. The jazz stylings of Don Cherry seem to work wonders outside of their regular playground, and interjecting them in Indian percussive soundscapes adds a rather unique shading to the feel of the trumpet.

Speaking about the trumpet, if you've ever heard that cool-cat-slick-Rick-morning-dew sound of the early Miles albums - then you're not entirely far off Cherry's sound, even if I think the way he phrases on that thing is highly original - and somewhat endemic to himself. On 3 it sounds like he was recorded inside the belly of a huge cathedral. It sounds so lonely and sad, that you almost wish you could reach through the album and give it a hug - telling it that the world only feels grey and dead, when you turn away from love.

Then we have the rhythm section, which probably shouldn't be referred to as such. The interplay of Walcott and Vasconcelos is much more than that. It is like a tribal meeting of melodic percussions, that more than anything assimilate what a raw piano is capable of, when used in its most primal form.

Whether it flourishes in the deep belching splashes of the tablas - or it is suggested through the berimbau, also known as a Capoeira guitar, - the ghost of the bass is always there in some form or another. I think it most acute and accomplished that 3 is totally bereft of said instrument, yet still sounding complete, full and rather vivacious and deep.

Both the opening piece Goshakabuchi and the closer Inner Organs are personal favourites of mine, although the whole album is stunning. These two tracks overflow with imaginative sprees, that take the listener into a beautiful levitating universe of music that truly sounds like a descending snowflake in an Indian desert. As much as I hear the desolate and ethereal fusion as well as those Indian instrumentations - what these really convey to me, is the same sort of ambiances I get from the more laid back Krautrock releases. Especially Inner Organs hover in those German surrealistic realms that speak volumes of a bewitching infatuation of music that dares to be slow and obscure in its expression. It challenges the listener to get in there - like a musical daydream trying to allure you and detour you all at the same time.

All of this is done in a way that is as enamouring and welcoming as a big soft Saint Bernhardt, and to those of you who normally don't venture out beyond the borders of the English speaking world, this album just might be the thing for you. Codona 3 is recommended to anyone into the ECM sound - as well as people with a thing for gentle and evocative trumpet cries served up with a spicy and endearing tangy eastern sauce.

Codona - 1981 - Codona 2

Codona 2

01. Que Faser (7:07)
02. Godumaduma (Traditional African) (1:54)
03. Malinye (12:39)
04. Drip-Dry (6:59)
05. Walking on Eggs (3:00)
06. Again and Again, Again (7:32)

- Collin Walcott / percussion, sitar, tabla, voice, timpani, sanza
- Don Cherry / pocket trumpet, voice, melodica, dusongoni
- Naná Vasconcelos / percussion, voice, berimbau, African talking drum, caxixi, Cameroon pods, animal calls, jingle ring, quica, cymbal

Continuing where they left off on their debut album CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry and NA-na Vasconcelos continue their experimental fusion of American jazz, various African styles, Brazilian and Indian influences but this time around they up the experimental ante a notch or two and require the listener to invest a few more listens in order to understand where they are coming from. Upon first listen I didn't like this as much as the debut. Whereas the debut CODONA album kind of had a logic to where they were coming from, this second album throws you for a loop. It's not that it's ridiculously lost in the clouds and creates a whole new musical experience, it's just that the melodies are more intricate and subtle and there are more liberties in the individual instruments creating separate and distinct roles which don't immediately sound pleasant and even ring a little dissonant at times. The band, in effect, are demanding that you evolve as they do in order to understand their progression.
There are all kinds of differences here. For one the band likes to expound on certain ideas. They present a theme and then kind of throw in an extended weirdness, or perhaps you would call it musical variation. On "Malinye" for example, a 12:39 progressive walk through fusion-land, there is an introductory cohesiveness to the song but it changes into a wild vocal frenzy that then turns into an African instrumental affair that incorporates many an ethnic flair to the mix. This is one of the major accomplishments of CODONA, which is the progressive fusion of hitherto unmixed styles of world music. Despite all my praise trying to elevate this album to such heights, I still like it a tad less than the debut, however it is very much recommended for fusion freaks who like a bit more bite and unexpected tumult to their music. This album can be quite exciting and surprising at moments but for an overall appreciation must be heard a few times. A particular sound that remains unique in the musical world as far as I know. I also really like how DO-n Cherry makes his trumpet sound like an elephant at times.

Codona - 1978 - Codona


01. Like That of Sky (11:07)
02. Codona (6:14)
03. Colemanwonder: Race Face/Sortie/Sir Duke (3:40)
04. Mumakata (8:14)
05. New Light (13:22)

- Collin Walcott / sitar, tabla, vocals, hammer dulcimer, sanza
- Don Cherry / bamboo flute, cornet, vocals, dusongoni
- Naná Vasconcelos / percussion, vocals, berimbau, cuica, caxixi, African talking drum, cowbells, ydu, cymbal

CODONA is a fusion jazz trio born during the late 70's. CODONA's name is derived from the leading letters of the first names of its three members. It has an Indian feel due to the presence of sitar/tabla player Collin Walcott ("co"). He is accompanied by the trumpeter Don Cherry ("do") who is a founder of free jazz, (notably worked with the Indian jazz fusion artist L. Shankar), the adventurous Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos ("na"), also known for his work with the Pat Metheny Group. Next to Walcott personal "eastern" touch, this project is also a great fusion between several "world" influences, from Africa, to Japan. Three "eclectic", "ethereal" albums have been released for ECM. They are all essential for fans of "world" fusion jazz music.

 Other than Shakti I have found most other artists listed as Indo / raga jazz fusion don't sound very Indian or raga, rather having the title based on more of a drone that is influenced by such exotica. CODONA is an obvious exception with Indo / raga just bursting into the scene from the getgo with sitars, tablas, dulcimers, timpanis and other exotic elements such as droning chanting vocals in the background adding a Tibetan getaway feel to the whole thing.
CODONA was a trio of talented musicians and cleverly the name of the group is the combination of the first two letters of each of the member's first names: CO-llin Walcott, DO-n Cherry, NA-na Vasconcelos. How's that for democracy? The band released three albums from 1978-82 with this eponymous release being the first. This kind of music probably sounds somewhat familiar since world fusion has blossomed and repeated itself a million-fold since this was released, but this 70s collaboration is dripping with a sublime soul and innovative phrasings that leave me feeling transported to the time and place that this was constructed when the world wasn't quite such a global village and the results of which seem exotic even by today's standards.

Collin Walcott was a disciple of Ravi Shankar and generously handles all of the Indian instruments previously mentioned while the presence of Don Cherry more often associated as a free jazz solo artist as well as with his works with Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Sun Ra and a gazillion others offers his trumpet and free jazz talents to the mix. He not only blows his horn but also throws in a few flute performances and his lesser known talents on doussn'gouni, an African percussion instrument. Naná Vasconcelos is a Brazilian Latin jazz percussionist and berimbau (looks like a Chinese erhu) player. He handles all percussion, the cuica, talking drum as well as his signature berimbau.

The music on this album is sensual and light, contemplative and only subtlety complex as the instruments weave around each other but never deviate from the main musical frame. All is designed to support the other on this meditative trip around the globe. This is light and fluffy music that makes you feel like you are on the verge of an astral trip or in another realm of consciousness altogether. Whereas Shakti was all about the highest tempos possible, CODONA has no problem letting the music breathe in and out just like a student of vipassana would allowing the soul to contemplate every beautiful construct and enigmatic insight the universe has to offer.

Hiromasa Suzuki - 1973 - Rock Joint Cither ~ Kumikyoku Silk Road

Hiromasa Suzuki 
Rock Joint Cither ~ Kumikyoku Silk Road

01. Silk Road
02. 3000 BC
03. Karei Naru Bamyan
04. Eurasia No Yoake
05. O No Michi
06. Kamigami No Sakebi
07. Gandhara
08. Merv No Tsurugi

Hiromasa Suzuki - piano & electric piano
Kunimitsu Inaba - bass
Hideo Sekine - drums
Yoko Uehara - sitar
Takeru Muraoka - tenor & soprano saxophone
Takehisa Suzuki - bugle
Tadataka Nakazawa - trombone
Yukio Eto - flute
Hiroshi Yoshinaga - oboe
Katsuyoshi Kurusawa - horn

Cither is a "lost in translation" situation and is really meant to be Sitar. Heavy jazz fusion with some killer fuzz bass. And sitars! Sitars everywhere. And unlike a lot of half-assed attempts at fusing sitars into jazz, this one actually works. It's REALLY damn good. Worth it for fans of On the Corner-era Miles, though it's not quite that weird.

Here is a fine progressive jazz album that follows on from it's sister release.....Hiromasa Suziki's "Rock Joint Biwa"......and again it's Hot Jazz Fusion but this time featuring Sitar and not Biwa. (The "Biwa" album was featured on Julian Cope's web-site....if that's any enticement to you?)

This has a hint or two of Frank Zappa's Waka-Jawaka era,or George Duke's best early work! Well worth the cash...

Hiromasa Suzuki - 1972 - Rock Joint Biwa ~ Kumikyoku Furukotofumi

Hiromasa Suzuki
Rock Joint Biwa ~ Kumikyoku Furukotofumi


01. Ame No Iwayado (8:22)
02. Hayabusawake To Medori No Okimi (2:32)
03. Ashiharashiko (5:17)
04. Uruwashito Saneshisaneteba (3:20)
05. Kamuyamatoiwarehiko (3:13)
06. Hi No Kawa (2:54)
07. Ananiyashiewotomewo (5:17)
08. Watatsumi No Irokonomiya (2:37)
09. Yamatoshi Uruwashi (3:55)

- Hiromasa Suzuki / piano & electric piano
- Kunimitsu Inaba/ bass
- Hideo Sekine / drums
- Shiho Miyake / biwa
- Akira Ishikawa / wadaiko
- Kiyoshi Sugimoto / guitar
- Takehisa Suzuki / trumpet
- Takeru Muraoka / tenor sax
- Tadataka Nakazawa / trumpet
- Tamaki Quartet

In the early 70's, jazz pianist and composer Hiromasa 'Colgen' SUZUKI and his self-titled trio (with Kunimitsu INABA on bass and Hideo SEKINE on drums) started working on a project of musicians which should have made a lengthy series of concept albums mixing jazz rock and world music called ROCK JOINT.

Musicians that worked around this albums were more of jazz background and some of the musicians stayed in the line-up of both albums released as ROCK JOINT projects even though the style of music was slightly different; first 'Rock Joint Biwa' was centered around the japanese instrument biwa, giving a fresh feel to album's early jazz influenced psychedelic rock (conceptually inspired by mythology in the ancient book Furukotofumi), while the second one 'Rock Joint Cither' was oriented around sitar and Indian music (cither being a mistranslation of sitar). Sounds of these albums were still very much under the impression of earlier psychedelia that for example used wah wah effects on the guitar but they were under the influence of early fusion as well; the second album could be in some respect be compared to indian fusion bands like CODONA but not as meditative and much more energetic.

Hiromasa SUZUKI would continue to record jazz albums under his name or under his trio until his death in 2001, leaving also behind him some soundtracks and collaborations with bands COUNT BUFFALOS ROCK BAND, THE FREDOM UNITY and ELECTRO KEYBOARDS ORCHESTRA as well.

As you can see from the back cover, this "Fulukotofumi" name came from a mis-romanization on the LP itself. There is no "l" sound in Japanese, it's always a hard/trilled "r". They sound the same to the Japanese ear, so they often make that mistake when translating things. Whoever got the LP and submitted it to Pokora obviously could only read that bit of text on the jacket, so Pokora printed it like that in one of his books and the incorrect name spread around. The actual name as I printed it above means "Suite: Furukotofumi". The Furukotofumi is also known as the Kojiki, or the "record of ancient matters". It's the oldest known book in Japan (from around 600 or 700 AD) and is full of creation myths, poems and songs, etc. This album has the concept of fusing the spirit of Japanese mythology (primarily through the use of biwa as lead instrument) with jazz and "new rock" (as they liked to call it in Japan back then), so that's why the Kojiki is used as source material. It was released as one of those Victor 4-channel discs that were popular in Japan for a brief period, and was actually supposed to be the first of a series of these concept albums. Unfortunately, only one more was released. It came out in 1973 and is called "Rock Joint Sitar - Kumikyoku Silk Road". As you might guess, this one has the concept of fusing new music with ancient Indian and central Asian sounds, with sitar replacing the biwa. It features many of the same musicians as the first LP."

We are at the meeting place of rock and jazz. Except the all-instrumental Furukotofumi has a completely different sound than Yokota's bunch. Definitely not a mystical experience as Primitive Community is, yet there are some fascinating Japanese indigenous moments to behold - primarily used as interludes between songs. I'd say the scales are more tipped towards the jazz side here, but make no mistake, this clearly is psychedelic rock influenced throughout. Some fantastic electric guitar work, including at least one blazing acid solo (and mixed with a biwa no less) amongst other excellent amped up shredders. A definite early fusion vibe permeates as well, no doubt informed by the UK groups like Nucleus or Soft Machine. Rhodes, piano, violin and organ also get their turn in the solo spotlight. Even a little Bacharach-ian lounger, with some wonderful horn and string charts, soap opera organ and a nice toned down guitar rip. The highlight is the pounding drum, biwa and psychedelic wah wah guitar piece followed by the groovy horn charts, sax solo - and get this - all phased out ala Dieter Dirks in the Kosmische Kourier studio. There's a lot here to digest.