Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Toto Blanke - 1976 - Electric Circus

Toto Blanke
Electric Circus

01. PPG 6:06
02. Flowers All Over 6:16
03. Arabab 5:52
04. Minister Ed 7:37
05. Song For Zeenat 3:59
06. Spiesser Krollak 4:32
07. Spinner 2:03

Bass – Dave King (tracks: A2 to B2)
Drums, Percussion – Edward Vesala (tracks: A1 to B3)
Keyboards – Jasper Van't Hof (tracks: A1 to B3)
Guitar, Bass [Moog], Banjo – Toto Blanke

Remixed July, 1976 at Studio Maschen.

Guitarist in the German-Dutch avant-jazz band Association PC, achieving fame as one of the most dazzling fusion guitarists in Europe. As soloist, group leader, and Electric Circus, he's been prolific and varied. From fiery fusion akin to Mahavishnu Orchestra, via spacey Dauner territoty and some weirdo jazz Heldon diversions, onto FOOL'S PARADISE, which does its utmost best to defy description! Toto also works with Czech jazz guitarist Rudolf Dasek, doing classical jazz.

With Vesala on drums, Jasper Vant Hof on keyboards (and with very unique sounds - all analog) and the 'Mahavishnu era Mclaughling' influenced Toto Blanke you get one hell of a dynamic trio. All the pieces seem to have been constructed around the analog keyboard (some tremendous sequencer drenched pieces!) and although the jazz element is always present there is also a strong progressive and mid 70s fusion style. Don't let the 'fusion' word scare you as here that is precisely what gives this record a strong original sound (rather than coming up with yet another Mahavishnu, Return to Forever or Weather Report copy). For example, Toto plays the mandolin on one piece and is one of the most memorable solos of the album. Also, Vant Hof really shines in his soloing and sounds picked. Vesala is, as always, just the perfect poly rhythmic drummer capable of monster grooves too. If you like melodic yet experimental fusion or like Krautrock at it's most creative than download this baby now! you won't regret it!

Markus Stockhausen & Jasper Van't Hof - 1980 - Aqua Sansa

Markus Stockhausen & Jasper Van't Hof 
Aqua Sansa

01. Aqua Sansa 9:55
02. Silent Bell 11:47
03. Daybreak 3:20
04. Takone 15:33
05. Conspiration 5:03

Recorded March 6th & 7th, 1980.
Mixed in July 1980 and May 1980 at Conny's studio.

"No overdubs have been made".

Markus Stockhausen:
Trumpet, Trumpet with effects, Piccolo Trumpet, Flügelhorn, Japanese Singing Bowl
Jasper Van’t Hof:
Organ, Fender Piano, Steinway Grand Piano, PPG Wave Computer, Synthesizer, Rhythm Box, Sansa (Kalimba)

Born in Cologne, he is the son of composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. At age four he appeared as "child at play" in his father's theatre piece Originals. He received his first piano lessons at age six, and at age twelve he began to play the trumpet. He attended the music secondary school in Cologne.

From 1974 he studied at the Cologne Musikhochschule, where he began on piano with Klaus Oldemeyer, then classical trumpet with R. Platt and jazz trumpet with Manfred Schoof, graduating in 1982. Further studies between 1978 and 1983 were with P. Thibaud, C. Caruso, T. Stevens, and C. Groth. His jazz and classical débuts were in 1974 with the group Key at the Newcomer Jazz Festival in Frankfurt and in 1976 in his father's Sirius at the Washington Bicentennial. In 1981 he was the winner of the German Music Competition.

Already in 1974 Markus began to cooperate intensively with his father. The trumpet parts of the following works were written for and premièred by him: Sirius 1975–77 (with Aries 1980); Thursday from Light 1978–81 (especially the major parts in Examination, Michael's Journey around the Earth, Dragon-Fight, Vision, and the Thursday Farewell); Saturday from Light (Upper-Lip-Dance, 1984); Tuesday from Light (Invasion, Pietà, 1990–91); Europa-Gruss (1992); Michaels-Ruf, version for four trumpets (1978/1994); Trumpetent (1995); In Freundschaft (version for trumpet, 1998). In addition, his father composed cadenzas to the trumpet concertos by Haydn and Leopold Mozart for him.

In addition to his activities as a soloist, he has played in and led various jazz ensembles, the quintet "Key" (1974–79), Rainer Brüninghaus Group (1980–84), Kairos (1985–90), Aparis (1989–96), various formations with the Chilean bass player Enrique Diaz (1989– ), Possible Worlds (1995– ) and the performance lila with sculptor Norbert Müller-Everling at Leverkusener Jazztage. Partners today are Simon Stockhausen (keyboards, saxophone), Enrique Díaz, Arild Andersen (bass), Patrice Héral (percussion), the Hungarian guitar virtuoso Ferenc Snétberger, Antoine Hervé (piano), Angelo Comisso (piano) and Mark Nauseef (percussion), the pianist Fabrizio Ottaviucci and in the duo "Moving Sounds" he performs together with the Dutch clarinetist Tara Bouman, with whom he has lived and worked since the year 2002.

Concerts and Festival appearances, also for the Goethe Institute, have taken him around the world. His main interest as a trumpeter is improvised and contemporary music; therefore, in February 2003 he premiered Jetstream for trumpet and orchestra, which was written for him by Peter Eötvös, who also conducted the premiere in London with the BBC Symphony Orchestra,[citation needed] and in November 2008 he gave the first performance of Freedom Variations, a composition for trumpet and chamber ensemble written by Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero.[1] The classical repertoire he plays on request only. He increasingly performs his own music, also giving solo performances with intuitive music, often in churches.

As a composer he has, in close collaboration with his brother Simon, written several film and theatre scores and created two open-air spectacles for the 5th and 10th anniversaries of the Philharmonic Hall in Cologne, with 70,000 and 100,000 spectators respectively.[citation needed] Recently he composed Choral and Sehnsucht for jazz trio and orchestra. New works have been commissioned and performed by the London Sinfonietta and the Musikkollegium Winterthur.

Jasper van't Hof and George Gruntz - 1979 - Fairytale

Jasper van't Hof and George Gruntz 

01. Fairytale (6:26)
02. Cinderella Friday Night (4:33)
03. Filomeel and Procne / Swallow and Nightingale (9:47)
04. Boom! Boom! Boom! (4:47)
05. The Rat Catcher / 1001 Night (9:55)
06. Home Again (6:11)

Jasper van't Hof: piano, synthesizer, Rhodes, drums
George Gruntz: synthesizer, Rhodes
Ken Wheeler: flugelhorn, trumpet
Jan Akkerman: guitar
Tony Oxley: drums

Born in 1947, Hollander Jasper van’t Hof is one of the best known jazz pianists and keyboardists in Europe. Van’t Hof first made a name for his work with guitarist Toto Blanke, and went on to form Porkpie with jazz greats Charlie Mariano, Jean-Franois Jenny Clark, and Aldo Romano. Jasper has recorded with such major names as Archie Shepp, Steve Swallow, and Steve Kühn. He is especially noted for his solo piano work and his highly successful world music group Pili Pili. With its Euro-African mix of jazz, rock, and pop, the group has been a mainstay on the World Music scene from its founding in 1985 through the present, and has been a stepping-stone for the careers of such African pop icons as Angélique Kidjo. Co-led and produced by the influential Swiss keyboardist-composer George Gruntz (1932-2013), Fairytale takes us on a journey through a fantastical musical landscape. A 21-piece brass band and leading European-based musicians enliven this whimsical escapade of six van’t Hof and two Gruntz compositions. Highlights include Gruntz’s Cinderella Friday Night with its funky bass line, hip counterpoint and intermingling of jazz and rock. Filomeel and Procne brings the age of classic romanticism back and feature Jasper’s emotive acoustic piano solo; the piece refers to the dark Greek myth of rape, infanticide, and cannibalism. The story continues as the two sisters are transformed into a Swallow and Nightingale. Jasper continues on piano with a high-flying solo. The Rat Catcher is a quirky piece with a loping-looping bass line and the brass taking staccato jabs at the synth. 1001 Night has the synth running chromatic lines into a horn orchestration that could be out of a Fellini film. Challenging, beautiful arrangements, unusual instrumentation, and great solos make for a richer Fairytale than Disney could ever imagine.

Jasper Van't Hof - 1979 - Sleep My Love

Jasper Van 't Hof 
Sleep My Love

01. Sleep My Love 4:00
02. 5 Pages 6:24
03. Le Sept Boules De Christal 5:52
04. Scrabble 2:42
05. Janet 7:45
06. Smell Of Madras 5:27
07. Improvisation On A Theme Of Schoenbergs "Verklärte Nacht" 6:57

Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Synthesizer – Philip Catherine
Piano, Electric Piano, Organ, Synthesizer, Kalimba – Jasper Van't Hof
Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Flute, Nadaswaram [Nagaswaram] – Charlie Mariano

Recorded December 1978 and February 1979 at Easy Sound Studio, Kopenhagen.

This edition of Pork Pie - was it really billed as Pork Pie? - works surprisingly well despite the difficult setting of guitar, piano (or keys, actually) and saxophone. The three members are equally well represented (although the record has an overall Philip Catherine sound to me), each bringing in some of the compositions - with Schönberg's 'Verklärte Nacht' thrown in as an added surprise. Jasper van 't Hof makes his early electronic playware, never overused, sing like you never heard it before. Even Charlie Mariano's then-unavoidable nagaswaram works well, placed in a more or less realistic context by Catherine's sitar-like guitar. - by Signalman,

They were in the context of fusion, heavily relying in electric instruments. This is different in that it is mainly acoustic and is in a trio setting, much more intimate and personal. That's not to say that you won't hear an electric piano or guitar, but the use and context are a mile away from Pork Pie's "Transitory" and Michael Gibb's "The Only Chrome Waterfall Orchestra", both of which you'll find in this blog. A modern jazz album, not a fusion album. This is about the dymanics between great musicians in a small group setting, their interplay and invention, great stuff. Here we also get to hear Catherine, the electric bass player. He's good, so good that there is no doubt that he could also have been a very successful bassist. - by Micaus,

Jasper Van't Hof - 1977 - The Selfkicker

Jasper Van't Hof 
The Selfkicker

01. The Selfkicker 5:30
02. Pas de deux 6:07
03. Associations 7:12
04. Hang Out 6:14
05. Night After the Day Before 4:18
06. Refillable 4:45
07. Home Again 3:32

Bass [Guitar] – Bo Stief (tracks: B1, B2)
Keyboards – Jasper Van't Hof
Drums – Pierre van der Linden (tracks: A3)
Guitar [Electric] – Toto Blanke (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B4)
Mixed By – Jan Schuurman
Percussion – Kaspar Winding (tracks: A1, A2, B1, B2)

Recorded at Tonstudio Zuckerfabrik, Stuttgart, Oct., 4-8, 1976.
Mixed at Soundpush Studio, Blaricum, Holland.

A2 was written and dedicated for the Ballet of Felix Blaska.

Born in 1947, Hollander Jasper van’t Hof is one of the best known jazz pianists and keyboardists in Europe. Van’t Hof first made a name for his work with guitarist Toto Blanke, and went on to form Porkpie with jazz greats Charlie Mariano, Jean-Franois Jenny Clark, and Aldo Romano. Jasper has recorded with such major names as Archie Shepp, Steve Swallow, and Steve Kühn. He is especially noted for his solo piano work and his highly successful world music group Pili Pili. With its Euro-African mix of jazz, rock, and pop, the group has been a mainstay on the World Music scene from its founding in 1985 through the present, and has been a stepping-stone for the careers of such African pop icons as Angélique Kidjo.

The Selfkicker reunites Jasper van’t Hof with his compatriot German guitarist Toto Blanke. The album demonstrates why they were considered two of the best fusion players on the international scene. The title piece integrates a strange rhythmic pattern with a rhythmically juxtaposed melodic motif, and the 3/4 Pas de Deux has a pensive theatrical quality, with van’t Hof alternating between the electronic effects and acoustic piano. Associations is another off-beat piece with Blanke’s needle-sharp lines piercing through the dark background; Jasper vocalizes the melody towards the end. Hang Out heralds a synth spectacle whereas there’s a bit of French romanticism at the beginning and end of The Night After the Day Before as well as a fantastic (synth? guitar?) solo. Refillable and Home Again unite van’t Hof and Blanke in dynamic duo (Jasper also plays drums here). Creative European jazz fusion at its peak by players who know how to do it right!

Jasper Van't Hof - 1974 - Eye-Ball

Jasper Van't Hof 

01. Bax 7:50
02. Viber Snake 5:12
03. Eye-ball 1 (Piano Solo) 3:37
04. Hyrax 5:55
05. Schwester Johanna 6:15
06. Laur 4:17
07. One Leg Missing 3:06
08. Eye-ball 2 (Piano Solo) 4:57
09. The Rev 4:20

Bass, Bass Guitar [Fender] – John Lee
Drums, Percussion – Jerry Brown
Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes], Grand Piano, Organ – Jasper van't Hof
Guitar, Electric Guitar, Banjo – Wim Overgaauw
Violin – Zbigniew Seifert

Producer: Chris Hinze
Recorded at the Dureco Studio, 16-track, dolby-system, Weesp, Holland.
Recording dates: March 16th and 17th 1974
Dedicated to the late Peter Trunk.

Jasper van't Hof: Eyeball
Liner notes by Charley Baker:

The fast rising star of Jasper van't Hof brings every real music lover to excitement. His way of piano playing is overwhelmning. Jasper is a young giant in the music scene of today. Enough reasons for "Keytone Records) producer Chris Hinze, in whose Combination Jasper played before, to record an album with this incredible pianist. Jasper's intention of music is very deep, and based on the tradition of jazz from blues, swing, bebop, and free jazz till the rock idiom of now. Jasper van't Hof - lately the biggest discovery in jazz - belongs to the best pianists of Europe. Do you remember the Piano Conclave? Well, he played with such piano giants as George Gruntz, Joachim Kühn, Wolfgang Dauner and Keith Jarrett! He was a member of the Pierre Courbois Association and the sensation of the Berliner Jazztage in 1972. Jasper played at all important European jazz festivals and now appears with jazz giants as Charlie Mariano, Steve Grossman, Albert Mangelsdorff etc.

Eyeball presents Jasper van't Hof as the brilliant piano player with many musical sides in jazz. His lyrical quality reaches the top in his own compositions Eyeball nr. 1 and nr. 2. Jasper's excellent rhythm capacities do show his incredible talent, such as in One leg missing.

The album presents beautiful sound nuances, played by totally involved musicians. They joined the multi-talented Jasper, and it really cooks! Guitarist Wim Overgaauw, Dutch jazz guitarist number 1, could not be missed on this album. Wim is featured amongst the others in the lovely ballad Viber snake in a wonderful combination with Jasper. There is no way to forget Zbigniew Seifert. This Polish violinist possesses a dominating position in the European musical territory and it is inevitable that he will become world famous.

It is unnecessary to say that Eyeball is a musical adventure in jazz. An adventure which we can follow with admiration and praise. I'd like to finish these liner notes with a few words about the rhythm section, the closest and most dynamic in Europe. They were members of the Chris Hinze Combination. Bass player John Lee and drummer Gerry Brown. They, too, make Eyeball delicious, exciting and I still hear Jasper talking about this album: "It's unbelievable, Charley, unbelievable how this rhythm section behind us can bring the intensity of my record to unexpected atmospheres."

Jasper van't Hof. His music of today will surely move into tomorrow!

Dutch jazz keyboard player van 't Hof produced music on this 1974 album that sits well with the jazz-rock classics of the day.
The music has a strong and original thrust, in textures and its complicated rhythms, perhaps in flavour somewhere in the territory of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters with a dash of Stephane Grappelli, through the touch of Polish violinst Zbigniew Seifert.
The rhythm section of John Lee (bass) and Gerry Brown (drums/percussion) is at times quite aggressive, setting up solid lines around which the Fender Rhodes and acoustic pianos and organ, violin, and high energy guitar playing of Wim Overgaauw snake.
Overgaauw's acoustic guitar sections add contrast and light to the imaginative musical directions on Eyeball. It's one of the best and perhaps most original Continental European jazz-rock albums of that era.

Coxhill, Curbois, Van't Hof - 1972 - Toverball Sweet

Coxhill, Curbois, Van't Hof 
Toverball Sweet

01. Five To Four 6:43
02. Clompen Stomp 0:25
03. Spirit Of Maasluis 0:04
04. Association 2:59
05. Or Alternatively Nine 3:18
06. One To Three 1:38
07. P.C. One 0:21
08. Toverbal 2:22
09. Toverbal Sweet 12:04
10. Jasper And Out 4:58
11. The Un-Tempered Klavier And Heavy Friends 5:54
12. Toverbal Revisited (Bonus Track)    19:41

Drums, Percussion – Pierre Courbois
Electric Piano, Piano – Jasper Van't Hof
Soprano Saxophone – Lol Coxhill

Music was recorded during a concert at "De Toverbal" in Maasluis, May 4th, 1971
Originally released on vinyl by Mushroom Records in 1972.

The second of innumerable albums released by soprano sax master Lol Coxhill during his lifetime (he sadly passed away earlier this year), Toverbal Sweet arrived on the heels of Coxhill's tenure in two key Canterbury concerns, Delivery and Kevin Ayers And The Whole World. This trio outing finds him paired with one half of Nurse With Wound-listers Association PC in the form of keyboardist Jasper Van't Hof (also of Pork Pie and Electric Circus) and drummer Pierre Courbois, who'd previously been mixing it up with Gunter Hampel, Manfred Schoof and Alexander Von Schlippenbach in Hampel's Heartplants group. The live recording quality here is a mite rough (in keeping with Coxhill's warts and all DIY approach heard on his debut solo Ear Of The Beholder), but the glow generated by this inspired trifecta quickly renders such concerns moot, with the arc, swoop and drunken list of Lol's delicately shaded soprano statements snaking through and spiraling out from the wily and invigoratingly raw thrust and parry generated by Van't Hof's insistent vamping and Courbois' Robert Wyatt-like rhythmic attack.

Eberhard Weber Colours - 1980 - Little Movements

Eberhard Weber Colours 
Little Movements

01. The Last Stage Of A Long Journey 9:42
02. Bali 12:28
03. A Dark Spell 8:25
04. Little Movements 7:28
05. "No Trees?" He Said 5:03

Eberhard Weber / bass
Charlie Mariano / soprano sax, flute
John Marshall / drums
Rainer Bruninghaus / piano, synths

"Little Movements" was released in 1980 and boasts the exact same lineup as on his 1978 album "Silent Feet". Weber on bass, Marshall on drums, Mariano on sax and flute, and Bruninghaus on piano and synths. While Weber is not one of my favourite artists, it's impossible not to be impressed with his beautiful compositions and music. It's the kind of music you would expect from the ECM label. Too classy for yours truly as this style of music makes me think I should be wearing a suit and drinking expensive wine. I'd rather be listening to Krautrock and smoking herbs with a bunch of long hairs, but that's just me. Still, as I already mentioned, this is beautiful music.
We get five longish tracks beginning with "The Last Stage Of A Long Journey". The atmosphere is surprising to start this track as bass, piano and drums come and go. Great sound here. Sax 2 1/2 minutes in as the atmosphere continues. It's not until 4 1/2 minutes in that we get a melody and it sounds so good. Some impressive bass 6 minutes in. Sax to the fore a minute later. That sweet melody from earlier returns 9 minutes in to end it. "Bali" is the longest tune at 12 1/2 minutes and it also opens with lots of atmosphere as sax and sparse drums come in. Piano leads before 3 minutes as drums come in in a prominant manner. Sax follows. Excellent section and one of the few breakouts on this album. A change after 4 minutes as it turns to a more more jazzy sound with bass, piano, drums and sax all contributing to this part of the song. Before 6 1/2 minutes it changes to an almost electronic vibe with flute playing over top. Cool ! Sax replaces the flute after 9 minutes then back to a full sound.

"A Dark Spell" opens with some gorgeous piano as cymbals and bass join in. Sax around a minute. I like this. It all settles back after 2 minutes but the piano still stands out the most here. The tempo picks up after 3 1/2 minutes. Marshall sounds great 5 1/2 minutes in. Nice. "Little Movements" opens with piano only until Marshall comes in crashing and banging on the cymbals and more. Sax joins in after 2 minutes. A change 3 minutes in with the bass standing out as Mariano plays sax over top. Piano does continue along with intricate drumming this time. Marshall can contain himself no more as he lets loose before 4 1/2 minutes. Check out the bass 5 minutes in. The last couple of minutes are beautiful to say the least. ""No Trees ?" He Said" opens with intricate drum work as the piano joins in. Bass follows then sax. Excellent sound here and the rest of the way.

Another outstanding piece of work from Eberhard Weber and company. A must for fans of classy Jazz.

Eberhard Weber Colours - 1978 - Silent Feet

Eberhard Weber Colours
Silent Feet

01. Seriously Deep 17:47
02. Silent Feet 12:11
03. Eyes That Can See In The Dark 12:19

Bass – Eberhard Weber
Drums – John Marshall
Piano, Synthesizer – Rainer Brüninghaus
Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Charlie Mariano

Recorded November 1977 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg

If YELLOW FIELDS, the first album Eberhard Weber recorded with his group Colours, was a sensation, SILENT FEET (which appeared a year later) turned out to be more conventional, but still highly enjoyable.
SILENT FEET boasts just three tracks performed by four musicians: Weber on bass, Rainer Brüninghaus on pianos (both acoustic and electric) and occasional synth, Charlie Mariano on soprano sax and flute, and John Marshall on drums.

John Marshall had just left the Soft Machine; Brüninghaus's electric piano sounds similar to Karl Jenkins's; even Weber's composing is reminiscent of the Soft Machine's BUNDLES, which had just appeared when SILENT FEET was recorded. Chances are that if you enjoy BUNDLES, you will also like this. The main difference is, of course, the total absence of electric guitars and organs, with the result that SILENT FEET sounds like a subtler album, less "rocky" than anything the Softs were providing at around this time.

SILENT FEET's three compositions more or less follow the same pattern: plangent, sometimes mournful melodies dissolve into slow grooves, which gradually pick up speed as one of the soloists struts his stuff, until the solo reaches its climax and the process can start over again. The 17+ minutes "Seriously Deep" boasts extended solos from Weber, Brüninghaus and Mariano. The title track (12 minutes long) is the highlight of the album and one of the highlights of Weber's career. It's the only track on SILENT FEET which features a truly fast and exuberant main theme - but the band play the old trick of starting out slowly and soloing on top of the basic chord pattern BEFORE the main theme is played. The initial solo is taken by Brüninghaus, and (as it speeds up) it's one of the most exuberant piano solos I know. The only time I've ever heard Brüninghaus come close to this, is on Jan Garbarek's recent live album DRESDEN, where he's once again given the space to shine.

What you make of Charlie Mariano's solos will depend on how you feel about soprano sax in general. In my view, Mariano's playing was more remarkable on YELLOW FIELDS. Here, it never really catches fire (in spite of those crescendos), not in the way Brüninghaus's playing does. Weber himself, on the other hand, is absolutely brilliant. SILENT FEET is worth buying just to hear the way he accompanies his fellow band members. He sounds so strong and confident, it's a joy throughout. As for Weber's own solos, they're highly convincing and totally sui generis. Just imagine a fretless bass which sounds more "organic" than any guitar ever could, and which also swoops and trills in unexpected ways... Incredible mastery is all I can say.

N.B. SILENT FEET is now available in a bargain-priced two-disc set which includes all three albums recorded by the 'Colours' band: YELLOW FIELDS, SILENT FEET itself, and LITTLE MOVEMENTS. A strongly recommended collection.

Eberhard Weber Colours - 1976 - Yellow Fieldes

Eberhard Weber Colours
Yellow Fieldes

01. Touch 4:58
02. Sand-Glass 15:40
03. Yellow Fields 10:05
04. Left Lane 13:35

Eberhard Weber / Bass
Charlie Mariano / Soprano Saxophone,Shenai,Nagaswaram
Rainer Bruninghaus / Keyboards
Jon Christensen / Drums

The German double-bass player Eberhard Weber (born 1940) is known for his work in three different ''incarnations'': as one of the representative artists of the prestigious ECM label, as a member of Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek's band (which also records for ECM), and as a member of the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, a first-rate multinational fusion band. With a background like this, Weber is often assumed to be a typical jazz musician. It goes without saying that jazz is Weber's natural element, and most of the albums he released on ECM are natural developments of the styles first developed by Miles Davis on his seminal albums ''Kind of Blue'' and ''In a Silent Way''. However, Weber's compositions are also influenced by minimalistic music and by romantic European concert music. Moreover, Weber has written a number of ambitious multi-movement suites, and (just like his ''boss'', Jan Garbarek) he often favours a firm but catchy rock beat. To this combination of factors must be added that Weber's long-time collaborator Rainer Brüninghaus (a keyboards player) favours lush electric piano solos and, occasionally, a rich mellotron sound. As a result, some of the great Eberhard Weber's albums from the early 1970s, such as ''The Colours of Chloë'' and (especially) ''Yellow Fields'', bear a more than passing resemblance to the classic symphonic prog albums of that era. This is probably not a coincidence: like virtually all jazz musicians of his generation, Weber must have listened a lot to the rock music that was in the air, and albums like ''A Saucerful of Secrets'' or ''In the Court of the Crimson King'' will not have escaped his attention. The main difference between symphonic prog and Weber's own music is that Weber never uses electric guitars, Hammond organs or fancy synths as solo instruments; he generally prefers the saxophone (as played by lyrical virtuosi such as Charlie Mariano) as well as Brüninghaus's pianos and even the ocarina (on ''The Colours of Chloë'').

At the age of six Eberhard Weber received his first music lessons from his father, a classical cellist. Young Eberhard initially played the cello as well, but he switched to double bass when that instrument was needed in his school orchestra. In the 1960s Weber joined pianist Wolfgang Dauner in a jazz trio which eventually turned into Et Cetera, one of the earliest German fusion bands. In the early 1970s Weber also played with vibraphonist Dave Pike and fusion guitarist Volker Kriegel. In 1972 Weber had the body of a double bass removed to turn the instrument into a unique electro-acoustic hybrid. This revolutionary new instrument allowed Weber to be heard far more clearly on stage, and to develop a uniquely plangent sound, by plucking the strings.

Weber employed his new bass to superb effect on certain albums where he appeared as special guest, such as Gary Burton's ''Ring'' (1974) and ''Passengers'' (1977) as well as Pat Metheny's ''Watercolors'' (1977). All of these albums bear similarities to the symphonic fusion pioneered by bands like Brand X and Pierre Moerlen's Gong, albeit that, in typical ECM fashion, lyricism is much more important than flashy virtuosity. Around the same time, Weber created a number of impressive masterpieces under his own name, above all ''The Colours of Chloë'' (1973), ''Yellow Fields'' (1975), ''The Following Morning'' (1976) and ''Silent Feet'' (1977).

In the 1980s Weber lost his enthusiasm for being a band leader, and after 1985 (apart from being a member of Garbarek's touring band) he played mainly solo concerts, using a sophisticated technique of tape loops and delay to accompany himself. Even though Weber's music is mainly melancholic in nature, his solo performances are highly entertaining affairs, as he treats his audience (between numbers) to an inexhaustible supply of comic anecdotes in fluent English, when abroad. Weber's solo playing can be heard to great effect on ''Orchestra'' (1988) and especially on the magical ''Pendulum'' (1994).

To the delight of his fans, Weber finally released an entirely new band album in 2000, ''Endless Days''. Unfortunately it turned out to be a lacklustre affair, with little of the flair of his 1970s albums. In 2005, however, Weber's 65th birthday was celebrated in style, with a gorgeous series of concerts featuring Gary Burton (vibes), Wolfgang Dauner (piano), Jan Garbarek (sax) and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. All the most exciting tunes from Weber's long solo career received an airing, and the concerts resulted in an exceptionally fine live album, ''Stages of a Long Journey'' (2007).

In 2007 Weber suffered a stroke and was forced to cancel a world tour with Jan Garbarek's band. At the time of writing (August 2009) he is still recovering from his stroke. Let's hope he soon returns to the stage, to regale us with his inimitable playing.

 Of all of Eberhard Weber's classic albums, YELLOW FIELDS is probably the most likely to appeal to the average prog fan. First of all, it opens with "Touch", the most "symphonic" piece Weber has ever recorded without using an orchestra: a lush, stately, moving instrumental ballad featuring gorgeous mellotron, with the main melody performed by Charlie Mariano's lyrical sax, Rainer Brueninghaus's synth and Weber's own plangent bass playing in unison. "Touch" remains utterly delightful, a highlight in Weber's oeuvre.
The remainder of the album's original A-side is taken up by the fifteen-and-a-half minute "Sand-Glass", which is strongly reminiscent of mid-seventies Weather Report, especially because Brueninghaus's playing on Fender Rhodes borrows a trick or two from the late Joseph Zawinul. As the title of the piece suggests, the beat is rockier and steadier than with Weather Report (not polyrhythmic) and the main melody sounds somewhat hesitant, at least until Mariano switches from sax to an Indian wind instrument (either shenai or nagaswaram, I don't know which) and the piece suddenly acquires wings! It's another magic moment on a deeply satisfying album.

YELLOW FIELDS' B-side opens with the ten-minute title track, one of the sprightliest tunes Weber has written, beautifully played by Mariano on soprano sax. The real highlight of this piece, however, is Brueninghaus's exciting Fender Rhodes solo. Together with the magisterial Weber and the energetic Jon Christensen (on drums) Brueninghaus is also the star of "Left Lane", the thirteen-and-a-half minute closing track. Once again he shines on Fender Rhodes, but the piece also contains an intriguing extended break for solo piano, reminiscent of Yes's "South Side of the Sky" but much better recorded and played with far greater subtlety.

Pork Pie - 1997 - Operanoia

Pork Pie

01. Arthur Rainbow
02. Hippie
03. Merci Afrique
04. Candy Lip
05. Get Down
06. Ballade
07. Lazy Day
08. Operanoia
09. Zulu Stomp
10. The Quiet American

Don Alias: Percussion, Drums
Philip Catherine: Guitar
Nicolas Fiszman: Guitar (Bass), Producer, Bass (Acoustic) on (4)
Charlie Mariano: Saxophone
Jasper van't Hof: Piano, Keyboards

JASPER VAN'T HOF was born in Enschede, Holland on June 30, 1947. The child of a jazz trumpeter and a classically trained singer and pianist, his great interest in music became evident at an early age. The groundwork was laid with private piano lessons. At the age of fourteen he wrote his first compositions and became increasingly interested in jazz. His parents would have liked to send him to a conservatory, but JASPER VAN'T HOF preferred to play live. At nineteen he was already participating in various jazz festivals and raking in prizes. He celebrated his first great European success with the band ASSOCIATION P. C., founded in 1969 by VAN'T HOF along with the Dutch drummer Pierre Courbois and the German guitarist Toto Blanke. The bassist was sometimes the Dutchman Peter Krijnen, sometimes the German Sigi Busch. The band produced a synthesis of jazz and rock never before heard in such high quality and acclaimed as a sensation at the Berlin Jazztage of 1971. "Eighty percent of ASSOCIATION P. C. was electronics", JASPER recalls, and he accordingly soon belonged to the circle of jazz musicians interested in exploring the sound possibilities newly created by the electronic instrumentarium. This he undertook in a formation founded in 1973 with Charlie Mariano and Philip Catherine, the group’s name - PORK PIE - alluding to an old Lester Young number. Of the two excellent albums that came out of this collaboration, the second one, TRANSISTORY, was dedicated to the bassist Peter Trunk who had died in a car accident in New York in 1974. It was also very much in the Trunk spirit that PORK PIE merged the technical-artistic virtuosity of jazz with the dynamic extroversion of rock. JASPER VAN'T HOF recorded his first solo album, THE SELF KICKER, in 1976, following the dissolution of PORK PIE, and it was already a clear avowal of faith to fully developed melody and precisely conceived music; it is still one of JASPER’s favourite albums today. This period also witnessed a number of duo contacts with musicians like Archie Shepp, Manfred Schoof, Wolfgang Dauner, Zbigniew Seifert, Toto Blanke, Stu Martin, Alphonse Mouzon and Bob Malach. And solo performances by JASPER VAN'T HOF were also not rare during those years: as a keyboarder with "all the works,” but often alone at the concert grand as well. Interestingly and curiously enough, the readers of a jazz magazine elected JASPER VAN'T HOF as "Europe's second-best synthesiser player" in 1978, despite the fact that he had played piano, e-piano and organ exclusively until that time - albeit frequently connected to various kinds of electrical effect devices. The year 1984 marked the founding of the Afro-European formation PILI-PILI. Its first album was a major success, above all in the dance and pop scene. The legendary fifteen-minute title track "Pili Pili", which gave the band its name, resounded from the approximately 160,000 copies sold of this firstling, raising it to the status of a cult number. VAN'T HOF worked primarily in Germany, due perhaps to the proximity of the border, perhaps also to his marriage to a German woman of Hamelin. PILI-PILI's success has taken VAN'T HOF on eighteen concert tours to date; the band appears on stage in Germany twenty to thirty times a year. PILI-PILI was a stepping stone for Angelique Kidjo, now an internationally successful ethnopop singer who worked with JASPER VAN'T HOF in his band for four years and recorded a number of CDs with him. The members of PILI-PILI include Marion Klein (Bielefeld), also a musician in the ethno band Dissidenten, the bassist Frank Itt of Hamburg and the trumpeter Eric Vloeimans. The band is VAN'T HOF's most continuous project and celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2004. Under the title OPERANOIA, PORK PIE underwent a revival in 1992 with Philip Catherine, Charlie Mariano and Don Alias. JASPER VAN'T HOF has published his some seventy albums almost exclusively with German record companies. It was not until recently - on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday - that major tribute was paid him in Holland for the first time, in the form of the renowned BIRD AWARD. The two organ CDs recorded in Italy two years ago received wide recognition, and in the meantime VAN'T HOF has played the church organ at well-known classical music festivals. In April 2003, twenty-five years after his first piano solo CD, a new studio solo CD appeared finally. It was recorded in November 2002 in the broadcasting hall of Radio Bremen. The main theme is the explainable, mathematical and recurrent aspect of music, inspired by Gödel, Escher and Bach, who traced this formula back to its origins in mathematics, painting and music, respectively.

Pork Pie - 1976 - The Door Is Open

Pork Pie 
The Door Is Open

01. Devil Toes 5:37
02. Zana 7:25
03. Telisi Rama 5:09
04. He´s Gone 2:32
05. Simul Synchrone 6:14
06. Avoid the Year of the Monkey (parts 1 & 2) / Fugawy 9:44
07. The Door Is Open 6:29

Philip Catherine: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo
Jasper van't Hof: electric piano, organ, grand piano
Charlie Mariano: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, flute, bamboo flute, nagaswaram
Bo Stief: electric bass
John Marshall: drums

Jasper van't Hof and Charlie Mariano first met in 1971 at the Domizil jazz club in Munich, Germany. Their paths crossed several times (at that time Jasper van't Hof played with Association P.C. and Charlie Mariano was a member of Ambush) before they met again in December of 1973 at the New Jazz Meeting Baden-Baden. During the meeting Jasper van't Hof and Charlie Mariano decided to found their own band. Pork Pie was very successful in Europe and the band would have existed longer, but Charlie Mariano also was a member of Eberhard Weber's Colours recording for ECM. Producer Manfred Eicher wanted Charlie Mariano to concentrate on Colours which meant that he finally had to leave Pork Pie.

Pork Pie - 1974 - Transitory

Jasper Van't Hof's Pork Pie feat. Charlie Mariano 

01. Epoch 7:39
02. Transitory (Part 1) 4:47
03. Transitory (Part 2) 4:07
04. Angel Wings 5:15
05. Pudu Kkottai 8:04
06. Something Wrong 2:40
07. Bassamba (Part 1) 2:51
08. Bassamba (Part 2) 4:35
09. March Of The Oil-Sheikhs 3:04

Charlie Mariano Reeds, flutes
Philip Catherine Guitars
Jasper van't Hof Keyboards
J.F. Jenny-Clarke Bass
Aldo Romano Drums
Ivanir Do Nascimento Percussion

A3 dedicated to Peter Trunk.
Recorded at Conny's Studio Neukirchen, Germany, May 17 & 18, 1974.

Dutch keyboardist / composer Jasper van`t Hof was one of the most prominent young Jazz musicians on the European scene in the late 1960s / 1970s and a pioneer of the new European Jazz, which emerged like a Phoenix on the ashes of the stagnant Jazz tradition. A founding member of the legendary Association P.C., van`t Hof left the group in 1972 (to be replaced by Joachim Kuhn) and a year later formed his own ensemble Pork Pie (the name being a tribute to a famous Lester Young tune) with four other excellent musicians: the veteran American (but resident in Germany) saxophonist Charlie Mariano, Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine, French bassist Jean-Francois Jenny-Clark and Italian (but resident in France) drummer Aldo Romano. The group recorded a couple of albums on the legendary German MPS label, of which this was the first. The group played a completely innovative music, which moved freely between genres and included Free Jazz, Jazz-Rock Fusion, Psychedelic and World Music elements. All five members of the group were splendid musicians, blessed with virtuosity and inspiration, and the rapport between them was phenomenal. This album sounds today as advanced and oracular as it did at the time of the recording, losing nothing of its freshness, a true timeless masterpiece. The Brazilian percussionist Ivanir “Mandrake” Do Nascimento appears as a guest on some of the tracks and adds his magic to the mix. In retrospect this is a superb example of what was happening on the European Jazz scene at the time, underlining the perpetual quest for new forms of expression and ceaseless search for new musical vocabulary. Superbly remastered and elegantly packaged by Promising Music, this is a treasure and a great trip down the memory lane. Hopefully the other MPS recording by this group will follow soon. Brilliant!

Pork Pie was the fusion band of keyboardist Jasper van't Hof during the 70's with this being the best of their output. This brand of fusion comes with a jazz bent, with the band featuring Charlie Mariano on reeds, J. F. Jenny Clarke on bass and the recently departed Aldo Romano on drums.

The rock element comes from the guitar of Philip Catherine, he of Focus fame.

You cannot review this band without a comment about Mariano. A true innovator, he played with, amongst others, Charles Mingus before moving to Europe, where he has lived for several decades. His music has encompassed straight jazz, fusion, oriental and he has experimented with a large range of alternative instruments. Here he displays complete command of the nagaswaram, the instrument you can see him playing on the back cover. Most of all he is a lyrical and attractive player.

Not much needs to be said about Catherine, a brilliant guitarist, but I think more at home here in a jazz setting than in a true rock band. Let's face it, Focus were more "prog" than "rock". To amplify my point, listen also to Michael Gibb's "The Only Chrome Waterfall Orchestra"

I have great respect for Romano, more than a percussionist, a fine composer and band leader in his own right. He went on to make many fine but totally overlooked albums, including "Alma Latina", 1983, with Catherine. With the ever present Jenny-Clark on bass, they make a formidible rhythm section.

It must be said that of all the fusion bands that plied their trade in the 70's this is one of the very best and this is one excellent album, with its mix of ambient, jazz and even eastern colours, courtesy of Mariano.

Association P.C. - 1974 - Mama Kuku

Association P.C. 
Mama Kuku

01. Mama Kuku (5:42)
02. Bold 'n Steig (Duo Flute-Piano) (5:30)
03. Dr. Hofmann (4:27)
04. Ecnelis (4:30)
05. Bassamagic (unaccompanied solo on bass-flute) (3:55)
06. Lausanne (21:35)

-Toto Blanke/ E-Gitarre
-Joachim Kuhn/ E-Piano
-Jeremy Steig/ Querflten
-Siggy Busch/ Bass
-Pierre Courbois/ Schlagzeug

Recorded June 1973 live in Freiburg/Br., Germany Tracks 1-5 and Lausanne, Switzerland Track 6

This was the last recording for ASSOCIATION PC and it's a live one from a 1973 tour.The band here was comprised of two Dutch guys and two Germans. On this particular album American Jeremy Steig plays flute and is given equal billing really as the title on the album cover says ASSOSIATION PC + Jeremy Steig. Jeremy was gaining quite the reputation for his aggressive and daring use of the instrument.They first saw Jeremy at a Jazz Festival in Munich, Germany that was celebrating the summer Olympic Games that year in 1972. He was playing with a few bands including Tony Williams, ASSOCIATION PC liked what they saw so invited him to tour with them. This album is a taste of that. The music here is very much flute dominated and i'd guess you'd call the Free Jazz for the most part. My favourite parts are the two sections where the flute isn't leading like the first 4 minutes of track one and the 10 minutes towards the end of the side long closing track. Don't get me wrong, I like flute but it absolutely dominates here. When he starts to play it's like the band stops to listen.That's exaggerating but that gives you the idea.
"Mama Kuku" opens with a relaxed bass solo then the guitar joins in after 1 1/2 minutes followed by a full sound.This is great ! Flute then comes in before 4 minutes as it settles right down. "Bold N Steig" opens with flute then the keyboards join in. Keyboards only before 4 minutes then the flute returns to end it. "Dr. Hofmann" features laid back flute and sparse drum work throughout. "Ecnelis" has some energy. Finally ! Everyone is pitching in here. "Bassamagic" is pretty much a flute solo.

"Lausanne" is the over 21 1/2 minute closing suite. Flute and keys to start as the drums join in. It's better 7 1/2 minutes in when the keyboards become more prominant and the sound gets more intense. It settles back 10 minutes in as the flute stops.The guitar plays lazily here with drums, bass and keys. Much better. Check out the keyboards 14 1/2 minutes in. Applause 17 1/2 minutes in when they stop and bass only takes over. Flute's back 20 minutes in to end it.

Association P.C. - 1973 - Rock Around The Cock

Association P.C.
Rock Around The Cock

01. Phenis (5:03)
02. Polar Anna (6:40)
03. Mirrored Dimensions ( 2:40)
04. Shirocco (3:38)
05. Rock Around The Cock (6:43)
06. Autumn In March (7:45)
07. Cap Carneval (9:07)

-Toto Blanke/ Guitars, Ring-Modulator, Nogoya-Harp
-Joachim Kühn/ E-Piano (Tracks 5-7)
-Siggi Busch/ Bass, Kontrabass
-Pierre Courbois Drums, Percussion
-Karl-Heinz Wiberny/ Sax, Basset-Horn, Flute, Chin. Schalmei (Tracks 1-4)

Recorded March 4th - 7th, 1973 at Windrose Studio Hamburg

Association P.C. - 1972 - Erna Morena

Association P.C.
Erna Morena

01. Frau Theunissen's Kegel (8:05)
02. Erna Morena (37:12)
 a) Space Erna (9:35)
 b) Erna In India (5:50)
 c) Erna Audi Maxima! (2:28)
 d) Only Grass In My Stomach (12:17)
 e) Schnoor 8 (7:02)

-Toto Blanke/ Guitars
-Jasper van't Hof/ E-Piano, Organ
-Siggi Busch/ Bass, Kontrabass
-Pierre Curbois/ Drums, Percussion

-Karl H. Wiberny/ Sax, Clarinet

Recorded at SWF Jazz Session Freiburg April 25, 1972

Budubb Budubb Budubb Badadubb Budubb Budubb Budubb Badadubb - Erna Morena starts with Siggi Busch's bass of Frau Theunissen's Kegel, which then takes off as a wild, fast and furious 7/8 orgy of jazz rock with Pierre Courbois's superbusy drums and some plainly incredible solos. This is one of the best pieces of jazz rock I have ever heard. Particularly Jasper Van't Hof on his distorted e-piano blows away my ears with what he is doing here, but also guitarist Toto Blanke is very inventive, after Karl-Heinz Wiberny on saxophone introduced the solos in a more conventional way. The band strikes a perfect balance between free (and at times atonal) creativity and energetic rock feeling. The remainder of the album is the title track, a long suite that has five parts but is basically just a single opus. On vinyl it is cut into two halves somewhat clumsily (but perhaps unavoidably) between the A and the B side because it's just too long for one side; I'd be curious whether there is any version out there where one can hear the whole thing from beginning to end. Anyway, this is a somewhat different animal from Frau Theunissen. Much more of this is influenced by bandleader Pierre Courbois' free jazz background without a straight rhythm and a transparent harmonic concept. Something more rhythmic and rocky happens again at the end of side A and the beginning of side B. A rhythmic pattern on the e-piano, later joined in by again fast and wild drums, emerges out of a calmer drone-like part on the organ that makes me imagine a desert and has some arabic influences, together with a meditative bass line; something fast is always present as both drummer Pierre and pianist Jasper can't stop themselves from making things buzzing and moving around. Earlier on side A the band creates a spacey atmosphere with Jasper and Toto producing some longer open sounds behind which as ever the drums and the bass and the saxophone are jumping around. It starts rather noisily but becomes quite relaxed and even calm at times despite the amount of notes piled up by the musicians. Still it is always atmospheric, ever evolving and surprising. On side B, after the most rocking part of the Erna Morena suite has ended, things calm down again and come almost completely to a halt with some cymbal and hi-hat sounds, some less conventional calm percussion and some bass, before Jasper takes again off into outer space with Siggi now using a bow on his bass (I think). This develops into a short part with relaxed jazz drum and bass and a crazy guitar solo. Later the initiative is taken again mainly by Jasper on organ and e-piano and Pierre, who just can't stop. There is a rather dynamic stretch with some calm, some rhythmic and some rather loud and noisy parts in quick succession. Pierre then gets a fairly long well structured drum solo before the whole band says goodbye with a short intense rhythmic part with one of these crazily unpredictable jazz melodies, before we hear the audience celebrating the band for more than a minute.
Overall this is extremely inventive, exciting and intense music bringing together rather free and experimental jazz with some rock elements and feeling creating a very atmospheric and emotional music (which although may be difficult to stomach for listeners who are into more conventional harmonic and melodic music), played at a very high level of skill. I bought this on a flee market in the early eighties and in more than 30 years this album never failed to impress me. I heard two studio albums of Association P.C. which I didn't like as much as their live offering here, which is just so much more lively and pulsating.

Association P.C. - 1971 - Sun Rotation

Association P.C. 
Sun Rotation

01. Idee A (4:30)
02. Suite:
  a) Scorpion (6:47)
  b) Neuteboom (5:42)
  c) Scorcussion (5:56)
03. Silence (0:18)
04. Don Paul (3:09)
05. Totemism (16:45)
06. Frau Theunissen (1:10)

-Jasper van't Hof/ E-Piano, Orgel
-Toto Blanke/ Gitarren
-Sigi Busch Bass/ Kontrabass
-Pierre Courbois/ Schlagzeug

he fusion world is a strange one. It can be suave and smooth like a baby´s bottom - taking you on a melody filled trip through soft lingering jazzy landscapes, but then again you just might end up with a record that is all chops and no sauce - with terrorizing musicianship thrown around in all directions with not a tune in sight. Sun Rotation is something in between, and as much as I hate the latter form of fusion, I´ll also admit that sometimes this manic approach does work wonders - Herbie and Miles are both proof of that.

Sun Rotation is a weird beast, and sometimes I wonder if all the tracks are played by the same musicians, or if they after the first cut simply decided to eat some LSD with their mashed potatoes and gravy, - because WOW - let me tell you, this music reeks of gravy... The first track is a dandy little fusion track, that keeps it´s arms and legs in the trolley - the kind of track that opens the door for an elderly lady and eats with its mouth closed. Perfect manners, melodic aspirations and wonderfully executed in every way. Reminds me of early Brand X somehow.

And then the mayhem starts! Swoosh! Have you ever wondered what Faust would sound like, if they had been comprised of jazz musicians? If so, let me introduce you to Association P.C. In fact, let me introduce anybody who´s interested in fusion with emphasis on the jazz part of the equation, Canterbury, Krautrock and improvisation all wrapped up in one big hefty pile. The first time I listened to this album, I couldn´t quite fathom why it was part of the (in)famous Nurse With Wound list, but then I reached the second track, and everything now seemed clear as vodka. I will say, that for an album included in this wild and crazy list, the overall feel of the music here and how it comes across, is something I think many people around these parts would appreciate, and that´s without having to convert their beliefs to the more porous and bizarre end of the avant seas.

To paint a better picture of the music here, then let me be your guide through that second track, which incidentally is divided up in several movements. Oh yeah! Gotta be something there for the prog head!! This little excursion is very much representative of what you can expect from this astonishing little album.

It´s aptly called Suite and starts out with some rather cacophonous jamming with the different instruments falling elegantly all over each other in what seems like a musical edition of a women´s mud wrestling match performed on guitar, upright bass, drums and a mixture of piano and organ. At some point the music pulls itself together - and feels like it´s been through a regular storm, only to be metamorphosed into an entirely different beast: the organ turns evil in an eccentric and freakish way - sounding like a derailed version of a circus melody spinning around its own axis. The rhythm section on the other hand turns solid and groovy balancing things out nicely - just in time for the electric piano to take off on a pulverizing ride over stock and stone. This piano player knows what he´s doing, that´s for damn sure. Abruptly the focus is turned to the drums for an earthshaking rhythmic hubbub, before the whole track takes the form of a runaway car violently crashing into a children´s percussion store, and rattles, bongos and eggs are flying all over the place in one big explosion. Ending this musical mayhem is (and I might be mad at this point) the distinct buzzing of a giant insect - genetically combined with the store´s ringing alarm.

If anybody out there is thinking: Wow this doesn´t sound like Yes at all. That´s because it doesn´t. It emanates musical facets such as you will find in freejazz and Canterbury, and beneath these leading trades of it, I sense an electronic infused Krautrock layer to it. This might be down to the man who´s behind the engineering of this album, and that´s Conny Plank. It is far from being up front and in your face, but these swarming, sizzling electronics are certainly there to form some sort of cribbly crawley foundation, and who else does this kind of thing better than Plank?

I wholeheartedly recommend this album to fans of Soft Machine, early Weather Report, Wolfgang Dauner´s Et Cetera and Exmagma. This is music that tears down the walls of conformity and punches you directly in the nose with everything it´s got! It´s free and it´s music!

Association P.C. - 1970 - Earwax

Association P.C.

01. Spider (4:20)
02. Hit The P. Tit (11:00)
03. Elsen (1:35)
04. Earwax (7:19)
05. Round A'bout Nine (6:36)
06. Jazzper (3:56)

Pierre Courbois: Drums
Toto Blanke: Guitar
Jasper Van't Hof: Electric Piano
Peter Krijnen: Bass 4-6
Siggi Busch: Bass 1-3

Recorded at "Middelhorst" Studio Wageningen by "AUDIO" geluidsregistratie, Oct. 30 (A side) and 31 (B side), 1970.

ASSOCIATION PC was formed in 1969 by Dutch drummer Pierre Courbois and was originally known as simply ASSOCIATION. Just look at the album cover provided here and you'll see that that was the case with this the debut album released in 1970, while Pierre Courbois' name is in smaller print on the lower left side of the album cover. The band was a multi-national group with Germans and Dutch making up the lineups over the years. This is an all-instrumental affair with the music being in the Jazz/Rock and Free Jazz sub-genres. Some of you may have heard of the guitarist named Toto Blanke who puts on a show in his unique style but then I have to say that each member blows me away with their performances on here.
"Spider" is up first and it's an energetic, uptempo track with intricate guitar sounds and lots of cymbals, bass and keyboards. We get a brief drum solo(hey it's his band and there will be more solos to come) after 2 minutes then the keyboards lead the way a minute later but not for long. A complex opening number. "Hit The P. Tit" is the longest song at 11 minutes. The guitar sounds different here as he rips it up while we get some jazzy drum patterns and bass to fill out the sound. The guitar is almost experimental sounding here. The sparse electric piano reminds me of early seventies Miles Davis. Some insanity follows that makes me believe these guys were influenced by Free Jazz. We get a calm and the bass solos after 4 minutes and this continues until around 5 1/2 minutes in. A full sound returns after 6 minutes sounding much less experimental than before and quite jazzy. Another calm arrives as we get an interesting drum solo then back to the full sound before 9 1/2 minutes. Some fuzz here as well.

"Elsen" is one I really like. Just a feel good, melodic beauty but it's so short at just over 1 1/2 minutes. "Earwax" is a top three song for me and what a pleasure to focus on the instrumental work of all these guys. So intricate and sophisticated. A drum solo before 6 minutes that lasts just under a minute. "Round A'bout Nine" and the next and final track fill out my top three songs. This one starts with a bass solo and it continues for some time. Some drum work then the guitar joins in around 4 minutes along with more of that early seventies Miles Davis sounding electric piano. So good. "Jazzper" is another beauty as keys, bass, drums and guitar impress with their intricate and melodic sounds. The title of this song is a play on words i'm sure on the keyboardists first name(Jasper).