Tuesday, January 31, 2017

George Russell - 1959 - New York, NY

George Russell 
New York, NY

01. Manhattan   
02. Big City Blues   
03. Manhattan-Rico   
04. East Side Medley: A) Autumn In New York, B) How About You   
05. A Helluva Town

Bass – George Duvivier (tracks: B1, B3), Milt Hinton (tracks: A1, A2, B2)
Bongos – Al Epstein (tracks: B1)
Drums – Charlie Persip (tracks: A1, A2, B2), Don Lamond (tracks: B1), Max Roach (tracks: B3)
Guitar – Barry Galbraith
Narrator – Jon Hendricks
Piano – Bill Evans
Saxophone – Al Cohn (tracks: B1, B3), Benny Golson (tracks: A2, B2), Gene Allen (tracks: B1, B3), McKusic (tracks: A2,B1, B2, B3), John Coltrane (tracks: A1), Phil Woods (tracks: A2 to B3), Sol Schlinger (tracks: A1, A2, B2)
Trombone – Bob Brookmeyer, Frank Rehak (tracks: A1, A2, B2), Jim Cleveland (tracks: B1, B3), Tom Mitchell
Trumpet – Art Farmer, Doc Severinsen (tracks: A1), Ernie Royal (tracks: A1, B1, B3), Joe Ferrante (tracks: A2, B2), Joe Wilder (tracks: A2 to B3)

George Russell was one of the most forward-thinking composers and arrangers on the jazz scene during the 1950s, but his work was generally more appreciated by musicians than the jazz-buying public. New York, New York represents one of many high points in his career. He assembled an all-star orchestra, including pianist Bill Evans (a frequent participant on Russell's recordings), Art Farmer, Bob Brookmeyer, John Coltrane, and Milt Hinton, among others. In Rodgers & Hart's "Manhattan," Russell has the soloists playing over the orchestra's vamp, while he also creates an imaginative "East Side Medley" combining the standards "Autumn in New York" and "How About You." His original material is just as striking as his arrangements, while vocalist Jon Hendricks serves as narrator between orchestra segments. While this release has been reissued several times, it rarely remains in print for long, so don't miss the opportunity to acquire this elusive CD.

George Russell - 1959 - Modern Jazz Concert

George Russell
Modern Jazz Concert

01. All About Rosie   
02. On Green Mountain   
03. Suspensions   
04. Revelations (First Movement)   
05. All Set   
06. Transformation

Alto Saxophone – John LaPorta
Arranged By, Conductor – George Russell, Gunther Schuller
Baritone Saxophone – Teo Macero (tracks: B1, B2)
Bass – Fred Zimmerman (tracks: B1, B2), Joe Benjamin (tracks: except B1, B2)
Bassoon – Manuel Zegler
Drums – Teddy Sommer
Flugelhorn – James Buffington
Flute – Robert DiDomenica
Guitar – Barry Galbraith
Harp – Margaret Ross
Piano – Bill Evans
Tenor Saxophone – Hal McKusick
Trombone – Jimmy Knepper
Trumpet – Art Farmer, Louis Mucci
Vibraphone – Teddy Charles
Vocals, Bass [Pizzicato] – Charles Mingus (tracks: B1, B2)

Modern Jazz Concert
Six Compositions commissioned by the
1957 Brandeis University Festival of the Arts, New York City
Track A1, A3: Recorded June 10, 1957
Track B1, B2: Recorded June 18, 1957
Track A2, B3: Recorded June 20, 1957

(Reissued in 1977 in Japan as Brandeis Jazz Festival)

Most of the material is representative of third stream experiments popular for a time in the late '50s and early '60s, with Bill Evans in the role as a hired hand rather than leader, the role that falls either to conductors Gunther Schuller or George Russell, with most of the tracks originating from a Columbia LP titled Modern Jazz Concert and having reappeared in various incarnations with other selections in earlier reissues. Russell's impressive modern big band scoring of his "All About Rosie" is easily one of the highlights, with terrific ensembles and solos. Charles Mingus' "Revelations" is rather ominous, often suggesting the influence of Igor Stravinsky. The last three tracks are from an unrelated live Newport Jazz Festival Verve recording by mellophonist Don Elliott, who leads a quartet with Bill Evans, bassist Ernie Furtado, and drummer Al Beldini through merely average arrangements of three standards. The piecemeal gathering of these very dissimilar sessions for two different labels is troublesome, though the difficulty in acquiring this music make this edition a viable option for collectors.

George Russell - 1956 - Jazz Workshop

George Russell
Jazz Workshop

01. Ye Hypocrite, Ye Beelzebub    3:49
02. Jack's Blues    3:44
03. Livingstone I Presume    3:24
04. Ezz-Thetic    5:12
05. Night Sound    3:53
06. Round Johnny Rondo    3:28
07. Fellow Delegates    5:37
08. Witch Hunt    3:47
09. The Sad Sergeant    3:24
10. Knights Of The Steamtable    2:34
11. Ballad Of Hix Blewitt    3:15
12. Concerto For Billy The Kid    4:42

Alto Saxophone – Hal McKusick (tracks: A1 to A6, B2, B6)
Composed By – George Russell
Double Bass – Milt Hinton (tracks: A1 to A6, B2, B6), Teddy Kotick (tracks: B1 to B5)
Drums – Joe Harris (3) (tracks: A1 to A4), Osie Johnson (tracks: B1 to B9), Paul Motian (tracks: A5, A6, B2, B6)
Guitar – Barry Galbraith
Piano – Bill Evans
Trumpet – Art Farmer

While George Russell was very active as a free-thinking composer, arranger, and bandleader, his biggest effect upon jazz was in the quieter role of theorist. His great contribution, apparently the first by a jazz musician to general music theory, was a book with the intimidating title The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, where he concocted a concept of playing jazz based on scales rather than chord changes. Published in 1953, Russell's theories directly paved the way for the modal revolutions of Miles Davis and John Coltrane -- and Russell even took credit for the theory behind Michael Jackson's huge hit "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," which uses the Lydian scale (no, he didn't ask for royalties). Russell's stylistic reach in his own compositions eventually became omnivorous, embracing bop, gospel, blues, rock, funk, contemporary classical elements, electronic music, and African rhythms in his ambitious extended works -- most apparent in his large-scale 1983 suite for an enlarged big band, The African Game. Like his colleague Gil Evans, Russell never stopped growing, but his work is not nearly as well-known as that of Evans, being more difficult to grasp and, in any case, not as well documented by U.S. record labels.
Russell's first instrument was the drums, which he played in the Boy Scout Drum and Bugle Corps and at local clubs when he was in high school. At 19, he was hospitalized with tuberculosis, but he used the enforced inactivity to learn the craft of arranging from a fellow patient. Once back on his feet, he played with Benny Carter, but after being replaced on drums by Max Roach, Russell began to zero in on composing and arranging. He moved to New York to join the crowd of young firebrands who gathered in Gil Evans' "salon," and he was actually invited to play drums in Charlie Parker's band. But once again, he fell ill, finding himself in a Bronx hospital for 16 months (1945-1946), where he began to formulate the ideas for the Lydian Concept. Upon his recovery, Russell leaped into the embryonic fusion of bebop and Afro-Cuban rhythms by writing "Cubana Be" and "Cubana Bop," which the Dizzy Gillespie big band recorded in 1947. He contributed arrangements to Claude Thornhill and Artie Shaw in the late '40s and wrote the first (and not the last) speculative scenario of a meeting between Charlie Parker and Igor Stravinsky, "A Bird in Igor's Yard," recorded by Buddy De Franco.

While working on his Lydian theories, Russell dropped out of active music-making for a while, working at a sales counter in Macy's when his book was published. But when he resumed composing in 1956, he had established himself as an influential force in jazz. Russell's connection with Gunther Schuller resulted in the commission of "All About Rosie" for the 1957 Brandeis University jazz festival, and he also taught at the Lenox School of Jazz that Schuller co-founded. He formed a rehearsal sextet in the mid-'50s that became known as the George Russell Smalltet, with Art Farmer, Bill Evans, Hal McKusick, Barry Galbraith, and various drummers and bassists. Their 1956 recording Jazz Workshop (RCA Victor) became a landmark of its time, and Russell continued to record intriguing LPs for Decca in the late '50s and Riverside in the early '60s. Another key album from this period, Ezz-Thetics, featured two important progressive players, Eric Dolphy and Don Ellis.

Finding the American jazz scene too confining for his music, Russell left for Europe in 1963, living in Sweden for five years. From his new base, he toured Scandinavia with a new sextet of European players and received numerous commissions -- including a ballet based on Othello, a mass, and the orchestral suite Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature: 1980. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1969, he joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music, where Schuller had started a jazz department, and this gave him a secure base from which to tour occasionally with his own groups. Russell stopped composing from 1972 to 1978 in order to finish a second volume on the Lydian Chromatic Concept. He led a 19-piece big band at the Village Vanguard for six weeks in 1978, played the Newport Jazz Festival when it was based in New York City, and made tours of Italy, the U.S. West Coast, and England in the '80s.

Russell's most imposing latter-day commissions included "An American Trilogy" and the monumental three-hour work "Time Line" for symphony orchestra, jazz ensembles, rock groups, choir, and dancers. In addition to The African Game and So What on Blue Note, Russell made recordings for Soul Note in the '70s and '80s and Label Bleu in the '90s, while continuing to teach at the New England Conservatory and leading his Living Time Orchestra big band into the 21st century. In 2005 George Russell & the Living Time Orchestra's The 80th Birthday Concert, released on the Concept label, celebrated the legendary octogenarian's contributions to the art of jazz with performances of some of his most groundbreaking extended compositions and arrangements. George Russell died in Boston on July 27, 2009 of complications from Alzheimer's disease; he was 86 years old.

This set, originally cut for RCA, was composer/arranger George Russell's debut as a leader. The original program (which includes such numbers as "Ye Hypocrite, Ye Beelzebub," "Livingstone I Presume," "Ezz-thetic" and "Knights of the Steamtable") has been joined by alternate second versions of "Ballad of Hix Blewitt" and "Concerto for Billy the Kid." Listening to the music, it is hard to believe that Russell only utilized a sextet (comprised of trumpeter Art Farmer, altoist Hal McKusick, guitarist Barry Galbraith, pianist Bill Evans, one of two bassists and one of three drummers). The ensembles are frequently dense, the harmonies quite original and there are often several events occurring at the same time; one would swear there were at least four or five horns being heard in spots. "Fellow Delegates" is particularly intriguing for it finds Russell playing chromatic drums while joined by Osie Johnson on wood drums; the otherwordly effect is worthy of Sun Ra. Even the more conventional pieces such as "Ezz-thetic" (based on the chords of "Love for Sale" but here almost resembling a Lennie Tristano line played backwards) sound quite advanced. Russell was able to utilize some of the more versatile and technically skilled players of the era, several of whom worked regularly in the studios. Recommended.

John Wetton - 1980 - Caught In The Crossfire

John Wetton
Caught In The Crossfire

01. Turn on the radio (3:47)
02. Baby come back (3:24)
03. When will you realise (4:34)
04. Cold is the night (5:22)
05. Papertalk (4:00)
06. Get away (4:30)
07. Caught in the crossfire (5:03)
08. Get what you want (3:18)
09. I'll be there (3:33)
10. Woman (4:33)

- John Wetton / guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals
- Simon Kirke / drums
- Martin Barre / guitars
- Malcolm duncan / saxophone
- Phil Manzanera / guitar

Born in Derby, raised in Bournemouth, John Wetton first cut his musical teeth on church music at his family’s piano. He often played the bass parts to help his brother rehearse tunes for services….an experience that led to John’s love of the relationship between top line and bass melodies. This is still a major feature of his music today.In his teens, John focused those melodies on the bass guitar and honed his skills by playing and singing with local bands. He also discovered a knack for songwriting with an early bandmate, Richard Palmer-James; a relationship that would continue to flourish through five decades.

John’s early work with a variety of bands allowed him to show off his impressive bass talents, but did little to showcase his equally impressive singing and songwriting skills. Frustrated, John began to listen a bit closer to the sales pitch of an old friend, Robert Fripp, who set about to reform King Crimson in 1972. The eventual Crimson core of Wetton, Fripp, and Bill Bruford is often considered the “classic” line-up, releasing three studio albums (“Larks’ Tongues in Aspic,” “Starless and Bible Black,” and “Red”) that truly stretched the band to its imaginative limits. But after a blistering show in New York’s Central Park in 1974, the band took a hiatus that became permanent.

Again, John quickly found work to bide his time, but comments from fans and even the media proved to John that there could still be some life in the Wetton/Bruford rhythm section of King Crimson. A series of phone calls and meetings proved to be all the momentum needed in getting U.K. off the ground. The line-up of Wetton, Bruford, Eddie Jobson, and Allan Holdsworth delivered a potent mix of jazzy fusion and progressive pop that brought great success, but also division in the band. After one album, Bruford and Holdsworth were out, and drummer Terry Bozzio in. The trio delivered one studio album and one live album before a demise similar to King Crimson…a hiatus that turned permanent.

At this point, John decided to turn his attentions to a solo career and entered the studio to record “Caught in the Crossfire,” an album that, in hindsight, shows a logical bridge from the music of U.K. to the eventual music of Asia. While most Wetton fans are now familiar with “Caught in the Crossfire,” not many people heard it in 1980. E.G. Records failed to give it the necessary promotion; a move EG blamed on John’s advancing age. He was 31 at the time…..

Feeling it was time to clean house, John parted ways with his old management, publisher, and record company, and joined forces with Brian Lane, who had just ended a successful run with Yes. John had already started  working with Atlantic Records’ A&Rman John Kalodner, Kalodner was moving to the newly-formed Geffen Records, and wanted to assemble a group that would unleash a new sound across the musical landscape while preserving the finest elements of progressive rock. He found his dream line-up with Wetton, Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, and Carl Palmer. This “fab four” of progressive pop would rule radio and record sales for a scant year and a half before losing Wetton in an unceremonious shake-up just weeks before MTV’s heavily-promoted Asia in Asia concert broadcast. Not long after, John returned to the Asia fold , and as a result,Steve Howe made his exit. The band entered the studio with new guitarist Mandy Meyer to record “Astra.” The album showcased a few Wetton/Downes classics such as “Rock and Roll Dream” and “Go,” but the die had been cast, and the record companyconfidence translated to lack of promotion,and loss of momentum equalled lost sales.

By the end of the ‘80s, interest in Asia reignited in Europe. John rejoined Carl Palmer, and eventually Geoff Downes, for a series of concerts that proved successful but left John empty. To him, Asia was sounding tired and he was ready for a break. Further enticing him was a solo deal with Virgin Records. So, after wrapping up a South American tour in 1991, John temporarily bid adieu to Asia… or so he thought.

With renewed energy, John moved to California and began work on his “Voice Mail” album, the first album to really show off his talents for emotional, autobiographical material. Two songs from the album, “Hold Me Now” and “Battle Lines,” have become classics among Wetton fans. In fact, “Battle Lines” eventually replaced “Voice Mail” as the album’s title when British producer Bob Carruthers selected it as the theme for his film “Chasing the Deer.” To promote the album, John embarked on his first solo tour and later released a live CD called “Akustika.”

Returning to the studio in the mid 90s, John contributed tracks to tribute albums featuring the works of Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Genesis. He furthered the link to Genesis by signing on with Steve Hackett for his “Genesis Revisited” project, which culminated in several highly successful live performances in Japan.

Continued autobiographical songwriting led to 1997’s “Arkangel” album, an emotionally gritty album that would add more staples (“Arkangel,” “Emma”) to John’s live solo performances. 2000’s “Sinister” album, also entitled “Welcome to Heaven,” finished the trilogy of solo offerings. He further promoted these albums with extensive tours of Europe, Japan, and South America.

Despite being left off the tour schedule, American fans had plenty to celebrate in 2002 with the first-ever John Wetton Fan Convention in suburban Allentown, PA. Hundreds filled a local venue to spend a weekend with John, his band, and Geoff Downes, who joined John for a gala Saturday night concert which marked the first time the two had shared a stage in more than ten years.

Fans delighted in a resurgence of the Wetton/Downes team when John returned to the studio to begin work on 2003’s “Rock of Faith.” Two new songs written by John and Geoff ("I’ve Come to Take You Home” and “I Lay Down”) created a buzz among fans hoping for an eventual reunion of the original Asia line-up. That buzz roared in 2005 with the release of “iCon,” an album of original music by Wetton and Downes that the duo followed with a number of live shows. Fans cheered the fact that Wetton sounded as good in person, if not better, than he did during the heyday of Asia.

With Wetton at the top of his game (again), imagine what it would sound like if Downes, Howe, and Palmer all joined in!  It indeed happened in early 2006, as the four musicians responsible for Billboard's Number One Album of 1982 sat down in a London hotel and began the groundwork for a worldwide reunion tour. After a media blitz across the US, the tour kicked off in Rochester, NY in August of 2006. Fans quickly snapped up tickets as more and more dates were added.

Several months into the reunion tour, Asia and its fans were stunned to learn that John Wetton needed emergency heart surgery. During his hospital stay in London, worried fans flooded the switchboard with calls about his progress. Thankfully, John made a remarkably quick recovery and, after a few short weeks of resting at home, Asia returned to the road.

During this same time, John and Geoff released the second of their iCon albums, "Rubicon."  The historical meaning of the title was not lost on the musicians or their fans, as the songs reflected John and Geoff's personal and professional decisions to sever restrictive ties of the past and forge a positive new outlook.

As Asia set out on a much-anticipated second year of touring, fans demanded more. They wanted to hear what would happen if Wetton, Downes, Howe and Palmer sat down in a studio and created a new album. Fans got their wish as the band retreated to the studios at Liscombe Park and got to work on "Phoenix." The appropriately titled project was an incredibly balanced one, fully showcasing the writing and playing of each band member. John's thoughtful reflections on his health crisis and his healthy resurgence coloured many of the lyrics on the album.

Asia wrapped up months of touring in the spring of 2008 with a series of shows in Eastern Europe, leaving John and Geoff with time to craft their third iCon album.  The Phoenix tour resulted in the Live CD/DVD “Spirit of the Night”.   A track from that album, An Extraordinary Life, was also selected as the theme to America’s Got Talent.

The band’s success continued with the recording of the second album of their reunion, Omega.  The subsequent World Tour resulted in the release of “Resonance” which captured a live performance in Switzerland.

Wetton returned to his solo career in 2011 to record Raised in Captivity, an album of new compositions with Billy Sherwood.  A band was formed to tour the UK and Japan, playing music from the new album and a career spanning back catalogue.  Wetton’s other ventures during this period included the reunion of UK with Eddie Jobson and guest appearances for Cleopatra Records.

In 2012, ASIA returned to the studio to record XXX, proving that a reunion can last longer than first time around.  The album cover shows the ASIA dragon 30 years later and was supported by another World Tour, taking in America, Europe and Japan.

In 2013, Steve Howe announced he was leaving ASIA and Wetton was instrumental in selecting new guitarist, Sam Coulson, to join the band.  The band plans to record a new studio album, Valkyrie, for release later in the year…

Upon leaving UK, before reaching Asia, journeyman John Wetton released his first solo album, Caught in the Crossfire. Although a vocal doppelgänger of Greg Lake, as a songwriter Wetton was always more of a team player, so there was no occasion in Wetton's past work where you could say, "Aha, this is what he'd sound like on his own." And he is largely on his own here, handling vocals, bass, keyboards, and even guitar while writing all of the material (though Peter Sinfield does chip in on "Get What You Want"). The result is surprisingly good; Wetton is clearly more comfortable writing songs on the bass, but he fleshes them out nicely with keyboards, supported by Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke, embellished with the plaintive guitar leads of Jethro Tull's Martin Barre, and polished with a pair of saxophone solos from Malcolm Duncan. The songs could be seen as Asia on a more intimate scale ("Baby Come Back," "When Will You Realize?"), though in some cases the taut sound of UK is also evident ("Turn On the Radio"). While there are occasional missteps, such as borrowing the Monkees' "Daydream Believer" for "I'll Be There," there are also occasional moments of near-greatness, such as the haunting "Cold Is the Night." Far from the grab-bag approach that these maiden voyages often take, Caught in the Crossfire benefits from a consistent vision and execution. Wetton's not trying to dazzle you with his songwriting or range, just make an album of relevant, intelligent music. And he succeeds more often than not here. F.Y.I., the Renaissance reissue features different cover artwork than the original EG editions.

Phil Manzanera - 1975 - Diamond Head

Phil Manzanera
Diamond Head

01. Frontera 4:02
02. Diamond Head 4:30
03. 2Big Day 3:44
04. The Flex 3:32
05. Same Time Next Week 4:45
06. Miss Shapiro 6:40
07. East Of Echo 5:45
08. Lagrima 2:27
09. Alma 6:48

Phil Manzanera / guitars, keyboards, bass, fuzz bass, string synthesizer,
Robert Wyatt / lead vocals, timbals, cabasa, backing vocals
Brian Eno / backing vocals, guitar treatment, rhythm guitar, piano
John Wetton / bass, lead vocals, mellotron
Brian Turrington / bass
Paul Thompson / drums
Eddie Jobson / strings, fender piano, electric clavinet, synthesizer
Andy MacKay / soprano sax, alto sax, oboe
Bill MacCormick / fuzz bass themes, vocals
Charles Hayward / percussion
Dave Jarrett / keyboards
Ian McDonald / bagpipes
Sonny Akpan / congas
Doreen Chanter / lead vocals
Chyke Hainu / drums
Danny Heibs / bass
Mongezi Feza / trumpet

Phil Manzanera is one of the UK's best-known musicians and record producers, having shot to prominence in the early '70’s as the lead guitarist with the seminal band, Roxy Music. He is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading guitarists and is in much demand both as a performer and record producer.

Phil Manzanera was born in London to a Colombian mother and English father, and spent most of his childhood in different parts of the Americas : Hawaii, Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba. It was in Cuba that the young Manzanera, aged six, encountered his first guitar, a Spanish guitar owned by his mother. Phil’s early musical accomplishments were Cuban folksongs learnt against the upheaval of the Cuban Revolution.

In Venezuela the eight year old Phil started experimenting with the sounds of the electric guitar, a cello electric. During his teenage years Phil was absorbing and marrying the twin influences of 60’s rock and roll with the Latin-American rhythms of the merengue, cumbia and particularly the boleros of the Mexican, Armando Manzanero.

Manzanera was determined to join a professional band and by the New Year of 1972, aged 22, he had joined the recently formed Roxy Music as lead guitarist - the line-up at this time was Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Paul Thompson and Andy Mackay. Roxy’s rise was meteoric, with the band being hailed as the stylistic influence of the early 1970’s. During the next 12 years, until 1983 when the band members went on a 'long break’, Roxy Music released a series of international best selling albums, achieving ten UK top ten albums and touring extensively throughout the world. In parallel with Roxy Music, Manzanera has alway pursued solo projects, both recording his own albums and producing for others. All his previous solo albums have been digitally remastered and re-released with new artwork, available on his own label, Expression Records through his web-site, www.manzanera.com.

As a writer, producer and solo artist, Phil Manzanera has worked with many of the luminaries of modern music, such as Steve Winwood, David Gilmour, John Cale, Godley and Creme, Nico (Velvet Underground) and John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia). He has co-written material with many artists, including Brian Eno, Tim Finn, Robert Wyatt and David Gilmour. Manzanera co-wrote Pink Floyd’s single 'One Slip’ from their 1988 'Momentary Lapse of Reason’ album. In 2008 Manzanera co-produced David Gilmour: Live in Gdansk as well as David Gilmour’s 2006 chart topping album, On An Island, he also toured with Gilmour playing concerts in Europe and North America. Also in 2008 his production of Enrique Bunbury’s album Hellville DeLuxe,was no1 in Spain and Mexico enabling Bunbury to play the biggest ever concert in Mexico city to 120000 people.

Manzanera has performed in concerts all over the world, including 'Guitar Legends’, the five day guitar festival in Seville where he was musical director for the event as well as playing with Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Jack Bruce and Richard Thompson. Phil has also played in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Spain, France Italy and the UK, including a ten date European tour with the Cuban band, Grupo Moncada. He played in WOMAD festivals in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Phil ended the 20thCentury by appearing with Bryan Ferry at the British Gas Millennium Concert at Greenwich, the first time they had performed together in 18 years.

The Roxy Music 'long break’ came to an end in 2001 with a critically acclaimed, sellout 52 date world tour, featuring Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera, Andy MacKay and Paul Thompson. The world rediscovered Roxy Music and the band were shown to be as relevant and influential as ever. In the Summer of 2003 Roxy played 10 dates in the US followed by 13 European gigs in 2004, including performing at Live 8 in Berlin. After a five year wait, Roxy fans will be able to see the band this Summer in Festivals in the UK, Europe and Japan.

Phil Manzanera has his state of the art Gallery Studios in West London. The first recording was Robert Wyatt’s Mercury Prize nominated Cuckooland, and since then clients have included Roxy Music, Eno, Hot Chip, David Gilmour, Annie Lennox, Kevin Ayers,and Chrissie Hynde.

Phil Manzanera defies easy musical definition, preferring to continually explore new musical directions and experiment with sounds and styles, continuing Phil’s musical journey, one that takes many twists and turns , and shows his enduring passion and talent for making music.

Phil Manzanera's first post-Roxy foray into solo albums is a terrific all-star affair that still holds up enormously well. Calling on favors from Roxy members present and past, and those from the Cambridge/British art rock scene, Manzanera assembled a supergroup for every song. Robert Wyatt sings Spanish gibberish on the opener "Frontera," a rewrite of his own "Team Spirit." Brian Eno teams up for the sunny "Big Day" and the nonsensical "Miss Shapiro," both of which would not have been out of place on his own early solo albums. John Wetton (of several groups including Family and Asia) sings a duet with Doreen Chanter (of the Chanter Sisters and the Joe Cocker Band), and Bill MacCormick of Matching Mole and Quiet Sun sings his own "Alma," the album's closing ballad. Fans of any of the singers above, not to mention Manzanera, whose party this is, won't be disappointed. A majority of these tracks went on to form the set list for 801 Live.

When, in 1975, Phil Manzanera put together his debut solo LP Diamond Head, fans of Roxy Music already expected something special. The versatile guitarist was already well-known for his highly textured guitar work. For the record he enlisted the aid of a number of talented friends: Brian Eno (ex-Roxy Music), John Wetton (King Crimson, Family), Eddie Jobson and members of Manzanera’s old band Quiet Sun.

The original album featured nine songs, all composed totally (or in part) by Manzanera. From the Spanish language “Frontera” to the soaring instrumental of the title track, Diamond Head was both a showcase of Manzanera’s talents as a guitarist, composer and arranger. But it also served to show that he could create some damn good songs.

The one thing Manzanera didn’t do on Diamond Head was sing: he left the vocal duties in the capable hands of Robert Wyatt, Eno, Wetton, Bill MacCormack and others*. On tracks like the infectiously poppy “Big Day,” Listeners would be treated to the multiple-overdubbed singing of Eno; Manzanera concentrated on creating catchy guitar parts with innovative sonics. While about half of Diamond Head was comprised of instrumentals, the record was far from a guitar-wank excursion. Fascinatingly varied, the album included the funkified “The Flex,” featuring some tasty sax work from Jobson, and — as always – fascinating sounds from Manzanera’s guitar arsenal. The Latin flavor he’d explore in subsequent outings was already evident even on this early work.

Diamond Head was reissued in 2011 with bonus tracks (more on those forthwith). The album mixes progressive styles with proto-world music, art-rock and other styles. More commercially-oriented than Eno’s solo work, it’s occasionally every bit as adventurous. And it’s as close to an ego-free outing as could be imagined for a solo record: Manzanera affords his mates plenty of space to do their things. Wetton’s lead vocal on the tricky-beat “Same Time Next Week” (actually a duet with Doreen Chanter) is almost as musically off-kilter as King Crimson, yet it is somehow rooted in pop styles alien to that group.

Eno’s contribution to “Miss Shapiro” helps create an arty rocker that one-ups the Roxy Music approach; whether it’s Eno’s perfectly dispassionate vocal, the corkscrew guitar lines of Manzanera’s axe, or the whip-smart playing of the rhythm section, the song offers something for everyone. Manzanera’s heavily phased guitar is a major feature of “East of Echo,” a track featuring Quiet Sun. Notably, the timeframe for recording and mixing Diamond head was a mere 26 days; even more notably, during that period Manzanera and his Quiet Sun pals also recorded another album!

“Lagrima” is built around backwards Spanish-styled acoustic guitar, with evocative oboe playing from Andy Mackay. The soaring “Alma” features a Bill MacCormack vocal plus a Leslie’d guitar and some subtle string synthesizer work from Manzanera and Jobson.

The 2011 reissue of Diamond Head offers up a digipak, a lovely and informative booklet, and a pair of bonus tracks. “Carhumba” features a group of African musicians playing in a Latin style, with a searing Manzanera solo (of course). The song tips Manzanera’s hand toward his abiding interest in what is now called world music; had it been released in, say, 2002 instead of 1985, it could have been a hit. “Corazon Y Alma” is a lengthy piece — a demo of sorts – predating the Diamond Head sessions; it explores many of the musical themes fleshed out on the album proper. It marks one of the few notable uses of Farfisa organ (courtesy of Quiet Sun’s Dave Jarrett) in a jazz-prog setting. The song sounds a bit like Caravan, not surprising in light of Quiet Sun’s pedigree.

No catalog of progressive music should be considered complete without a copy of Phil Manzanera’s Diamond Head, and if you’re not going to track it down on vinyl, the 2011 reissue is the one to get.

Gordon Haskell - 1971 - It Is And It Isn't

Gordon Haskell 
It Is And It Isn't

01. No Meaning - (3:31)
02. Could Be - (3:18)
03. Upside Down - (4:31)
04. Just a Lovely Day - (3:59)
05. Sitting by the Fire - (3:44)
06. When I Lose - (0:26)
07. No Need - (2:51)
08. Worms - (4:46)
09. Spider (Robert Smith, Gordon Haskell) - (4:19)
10.Learning Not to Feel - (2:39)
11.Benny - (4:49)
12.When I Laugh - (0:24)

John Wetton - Organ, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals, Gut String Guitar, Vocal Harmony
Gordon Haskell - Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Bill Atkinson - Drums
Alan Barry - Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
David Brigati - Vocals
Eddie Brigati - Vocals
Dave Kaffinetti - Piano, Keyboards, Electric Piano
Arif Mardin - Keyboards, Electric Piano, Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements
Neal Rosengarden - Piano
David Spinozza - Guitar, Rhythm Guitar

From Gordon Haskell's official page, about his latest album release.
Dear Friends,
I live quietly and freely, but industriously on a beautiful Greek island. I had no intention of writing or recording. I had had 60 years of life under English rule and had always found it too oppressive for my tastes.

In 2006 I finally gave up on England as a lost cause. Besides, the cost of living was beyond me and my taxes were going to finance wars. It was hardly encouraging. I shriveled up, starved of light. The vineyard was destroyed. Any good gardener knows the remedy for that.

My father, Professor Harry Hionides, was a Greek-American and whilst I never knew him, I had his Greek blood and humanitarian ways. After 60 years of mental imprisonment and frustration, and never-ending arguments, I am finally free.

When I first arrived on the island I began learning how to build my own house and with enormous help from my inspirational partner and soulmate we began to grow our own vegetables and fruit. Together we built a new and rewarding beautiful way of life.

Being able to provide shelter and food for oneself seems so obvious yet most of us leave the education system without the basic tools of survival. Most of us become dependent on somebody as a result. Our natural abilities and talents are too often overshadowed by our ambitions, put there by the good intentioned but misguided.

We begin our lives trying to please, trying to make someone proud of us. We can become successful, even President . Along the way we are obliged to make certain compromises to achieve those goals. George Bush is the perfect example of how any idiot can achieve his goal if you don’t mind the company you’re forced to keep and are willing to follow orders.

The song ‘How wonderful you are’ encapsulated the potential in each and every one of us . I had hoped the song would awaken those who felt oppressed by our idiotic authorities and we would start objecting and fighting back, but never mind. It’s a bit late now. Wars cost billions. Who did you think would pay for them? The Banks?

I had repeatedly rejected success over 40 years of ‘show business’ whether it was King Crimson or my own solo efforts simply because it felt phoney. Which in the main it was. My instincts never let me down. I had been right all along. I was simply outnumbered. Here on this island I find agreement and like minds. I have moved on. The new album “One day Soon” is here and I feel very good about it. There’s nothing more to say. Except that the fruit and vegetables never tasted so good as they do now.

I wish you all a good harvest on this amazing and beautiful planet. As I used to say in my previous life back in The Bent Brief and The Thomas Tripp, ‘May you be blessed with many goats!’ I remember you all with enormous love and admiration. Jazz was conversation. I’ll never forget listening to the jazz in Harry’s Bar. It was my education.
Thank you. Gordon Haskell Hionides

Gordon Haskell is usually thought of as a footnote in the history of King Crimson -- the only lead singer in the group's long list of personnel who never played a single live date with the band, though he was with them long enough to cut most of an album (Lizard) and get one performance ("Cadence and Cascade") onto its predecessor. Otherwise, he's been an enigma even to many Crimson fans.

Haskell's history with Robert Fripp goes back to the days they spent together in the mid-'60s as members of the League of Gentlemen, a band that backed various American R&B stars on tour and cut a couple of singles. Haskell was also a member of a Liverpool band called the Quotations, formed by ex-Big Three bassist Johnny Gustafson (before he joined the Merseybeats), who recorded for English Decca ("Alright Baby" b/w "Love You All Over Again") in 1964. His main group affiliation for most of the mid-'60s was the Fleur de Lys, a somewhat lightweight psychedelic band who recorded at least once under the pseudonym of Shyster. Haskell passed through the lineups of Rupert's People and Cupid's Inspiration, and, as a member of the Fleur de Lys, also played on records by Bill Kimber, John Bromley, Sharon Tandy, and Terry Durham. By the end of the '60s, he was a solo act, trying to establish himself as a singer/songwriter, and released a pair of singles in 1969 and 1970, "Boat Trip" and "Oh-La-Di-Doo-Da-Day," and one LP, Sail in My Boat, all for British CBS.

In 1970, as his former League of Gentlemen bandmate Robert Fripp was struggling to keep his current group, King Crimson, viable in some form and complete a second album, Haskell joined the band as successor to bassist-singer Greg Lake, who was leaving the lineup to join Emerson, Lake & Palmer. After singing on one song for that album, In the Wake of Poseidon, he joined a new Crimson lineup and recorded most of the next album, Lizard. As was often the case with Crimson lineups in those days, however, Haskell didn't last -- he and other members of the core band had left by the time Lizard was completed and released late in 1970, and he never worked live with the band.

Haskell cut a solo album, It Is and It Isn't, during 1973 (actually the album was recorded circa 1971 but saw the limelight round 1973-74), and worked with such artists as Tim Hardin, Alvin Lee, and Van Morrison. His solo work tends to be in a folk-like, singer/songwriter vein, reminiscent of Gordon Lightfoot with something of a progressive rock edge and more humor, some of it very sardonic. Based in southern England at the end of the '90s, he concertizes regularly in the Hampshire and Dorset areas, and he has continued his recording career into the '90s with his albums Butterfly in China and Hambledon Hill. In 1993, he also teamed up with Mike Wedgewood (ex-Curved Air and Caravan) to tour Scandinavia. In the late '90s, Voiceprint Records' Blueprint label reissued Haskell's solo albums of the '60s and '70s on compact disc. The massively popular "How Beautiful You Are" hit British airwaves in the winter of 2001, announcing Haskell's comeback to music. Harry's Bar followed the next year, fully bringing him back into the public spotlight after years of inactivity.
by Bruce Eder

Duncan Mackay - 1980 - Visa

Duncan Mackay

01. Visa
02. Peru Tu
03. Fistful Of Keyboards
04. See Sea
05. In The Pink
06. South American Express
07. Third Bird
08. Gin-Sing
09. Night Flight
10. Hand Gliding

- Duncan Mackay / keyboards
- Simon Phillips / drums

So. On Duncan Mackay's third solo album, he has thrown away his backing band, other than a light drum track by none other than Simon Phillips, completely rid himself of all Keith Emerson imitations from the previous ventures.

Track after track, Mackay gives us a sound that has the Euro-pop aspirations of Kraftwerk, the synthesizer swirling patches of Tangerine Dream.

Was this a collection of radio jingles paid for by Visa?  If you can get past the limited palette of electronic keyboard sounds and electronic beats, you may even find you can enjoy the tunes beyond the, for me, two or three minutes fade point.  'A Fistful of Keyboards', six bruising minutes long and 'Third Bird' with electronic bird calls added as a variation to the Jean Michel Jarre like theme are the most striking examples.

'Gin-Sing' manages to keep my interest throughout and sounds like something from Camel's 'Stationary Traveler' while 'Peru Tu' could have been on a Jan Hammer album.  'In the Pink', soft and dreamy, could have done without the tish-tish beat but then I don't like dancing.

Overall, there are more good than ugly sounds and if you can find it, don't hesitate to pay a few dollars more.

Duncan Mackay - 1977- Score

Duncan Mackay

01. Witches
02. Triptych
03. Spaghetti Smooch
04. Time Is No Healer
05. Fugitive
06. Score
07. Pillow Schmillow
08. Jigaloda
09. No Return

- Duncan Mackay / Keyboards, Yamaha Grand Piano, Hammond B3, Clavinet D6, Wurlitzer 200, Roland Sequencer, ARP 2600, ARP 2800, ARP 2701, ARP2100 ARP 2200
- Steve Harley / Vocals on "Time Is No Healer"
- John Wetton / Vocals (except for "Time Is No Healer")
- Clive Chaman / Bass, Fender Precision Bass
- Andrew McCulloch / Drums & Percussion
- Mel Collins / Flute on "Time Is No Healer"
- Wilf Gibson / Orchestra Arrangements
- Yvonne Keeley / Vocal effects

Duncan Mackay, on this, his second solo album, has moved slightly away from the Keith Emerson imitations that permeated his first album. Slightly, because the Emerson sound still appears. On the first track, Witches, a somewhat Spanish sounding symphonic proc piece, Mackay plays Emerson-like riffs on a honky-tonk tack piano, similar in sound to keith's in Benny The Bouncer. Acousic piano appears throughout the album, with Mackay providing obvious Emerson-influenced sounds.
Most obvious are Spaghetti Smooch, which sounds very much like a reworking of the main sections of Tarkus, played in 7 instead of 10, and Time Is No Healer, which owes a lot to Take A Pebble.

Despite the Emerson overtones, Mackay is developing his own style here. He does a nice job of layering piano, keyboard and synths all at the same time without making the songs too busy. One slight complaint is that his reliance on mostly Arp synthesizers makes many of the tones very similar to those used by Larry Fast at the same time.

And Mackay's inclusion of John Wetton and Mel Collins as sidemen brings him firmly into the nineteen seventies progressive rock family tree.

Duncan Mackay - 1974 - Chimera

Duncan Mackay 

01. Morpheus [11.29]
02. 12 Tone Nostalgia [8.23]
03. Song For Witches [19.56]

Bonus track

04. The Opening [7.03] recorded 1990

- Duncan Mackay / Vocals, piano, Hammond B3 organ, Denon electric piano, clavichord, ARP synthesizer
- Gordon Mackay / Violin, electric piano, piano
- Mike Gray / Drums

What do bands like ALAN PARSON'S PROJECT, BUDGIE and CAMEL have in common?

The logical answer would be very little, but the truth is that the common denominator is DUNCAN MACKAY, a guy who paradoxically completed his studios in Violin (He was elected the most promising violin player in UK at the age of 11) but was famous for his keyboard performances.

After earning a music scholarship in Shrewsbury Public School, he finished his studies in 1967 obtaining his L.T.C.L. and L.R.S.M diplomas in violin. Soon was invited to join the famous (In Latin America) SERGIO MENDEZ band (1970).

Is in this days the he works in his debut album "Chimera" that is released in 1974 with Duncan playing Vocals, piano, Hammond B3 organ, Denon electric piano, clavichord, ARP synthesizer, the album was brilliant but it was the year in which Tales from Topographic Oceans and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway were released, and due to the tough and unfair competition, the album never received the credit it deserved, being that people was busy buying music from the already famous icons who were at their peak.

In 1975 he joined Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel with whom they release the hit single Come Up And See Me, Make Me Smile that reaches the peak of the British charts, but in the meanwhile, faithful to the music he loves, works and releases his second album Score that saw the light in 1977, with famous musicians such as John Wetton and Mel Collins (King Crimson), it's only recently that this album has reached the status of Collector's Item.

Around he date of release of Score, Duncan worked with famous musicians and bands as KATE BUSH, ALAN PRSON'S PROJECT, CAMEL and Budgie, and in 1978 releases his third solo album VISA, more oriented towards Electronic music.

In 1990, after working for several years with different bands and artists, MacKay's fourth album is released under the name A Picture of Sound.

After his last solo release, he continues working and teams Greg McEwan to form REUNION in 2003.

After checking this extensive career, seems unbelievable that DUBNCAN MCKAY wasn't added to Prog Archives before, but this are things that happen when a site manages such a huge database of artists an albums, but at last we are making justice to a great artist unfairly forgotten by us.

The album presents us an impressive display of keyboards of all kinds, piano, Hammond B3 organ, Denon electric piano, clavichord, ARP synthesizer ,etc, all taken to the maximum of their possibilities by MACKAY who does a very competent work. But that's not all, DUNCAN has a pretty decent voice and is supported by his brother Gordon, who adds some piano and violin, plus Mike Gray in the drums...Yes, it's true, no guitar or bass.

"Chimera" is opened with the strange "Morpheus", contrary to what the name may imply, the song has nothing dreamy or oneiric, as a fact is a frenetic song with multiple and radical changes of style, that go from pristine Symphonic with clear Rick Wakeman references to hard and excessive in the mood of Keith Emerson with a touch of Jürgen Fritz from TRIUMVIRAT.

The vocals are good enough and the drums are outstanding, a solid track from start to end, maybe a bit bombastic but strong and interesting

The second track "12 Tone Nostalgia" starts dramatic and sober, with a dramatic edge, and even when MACKAY explores all the possibilities of the keyboards, that heavy and almost Psychedelic atmosphere provided by the Hammond Organ adds emotion and sentiment.

The instrumental breaks marks a change; from being sober and nostalgic, the song changes into bombastic and unpredictable, MACKAY includes everything, from Bach inspired music to ELP oriented passages, and incredibly "REFUGEE" sounds (something hard to believe because both albums were released in 1974). Maybe people will say it's pompous and self indulgent....But that's the reason why I love it, at the end...Isn't that what we seek for in Prog Rock?

The original release ends with the 19:15 minutes epic "Song for Witches", a really strange song that begins with a clear Psychedelic inheritance, MACKAY and band jam with the instruments as if they were in the late 60's, and suddenly, when less expected they move into a frenetic Jazz section, with a slight MAHAVISHNU influence, but this doesn't last too long, MACKLAY as usual returns to the complex fantasia of sounds and influences that go from Classical, Baroque and Gothic to something that could had been released by THE NICE...The guys is absolutely versatile and this deserves credit.

My copy of "Chimera" is closed by a 1990 released bonus track contradictorily named "The Opening", even when it's obvious that MACKAY'S skills have improved even more, the sound is radically different, more modern and with a strong mainstream component in the vein of late ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, but we are here to talk about the original release, and even when the song is entertaining, sounds completely out of place in a 1974 release, and for that reason doesn't alter my opinion about the original album.

I believe "Chimera" is a forgotten gem that deserves no less than 4 stars, so except for people who dislike pompous music, it's highly recommended.

Chapman Whitney - 1974 - Streetwalkers

Chapman Whitney

01. Parisienne High Heals 4:04
02. Roxianna 3:46
03. Systematic Stealth 2:24
04. Call Ya 6:32
05. Creature Feature 4:14
06. Sue And Betty Jean 5:08
07. Showbiz Joe 4:07
08. Just Four Men 2:50
09. Tokyo Rose 2:26
10. Hangman 4:44

Roger Chapman - Percussion, Vocals
Charlie Whitney - Guitars
Linda Lewis - Vocals
Boz Burrell - Vocals
Mel Collins - Brass, Brass Arrangement, Woodwind
Jim Cregan - Vocals
Mike Giles - Drums
Rick Grech - Bass
Tim Hinkley - Keyboards
Neil Hubbard - Guitar
Godfrey Mclean - Congas
Max Middleton - Keyboards
Del Newman - String Arrangements
John "Poli" Palmer - Vibraphone
Ian Wallace - Drums
John Wetton - Bass, Vocals

The band, put out three consistent albums of funky booze rock in the mid to late '70s, but the origin of the band was not a mediocre affair. Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney led their previous outfit, Family, through eight LPs of limited success, breaking up the band in late 1973. But their partnership continued and months later they set out to record a one-off album as a duo. A number colleagues contributed to the project, including alumni of Family (John Wetton, Ric Grech, Poli Palmer, Jim Cregan) and King Crimson (Wetton, Mike Giles, Boz Burrell, Ian Wallace, Mel Collins). The resulting LP, Chapman Whitney Streetwalkers, was released in May, 1974. The mixture of rockers and ballads was not Family; yet there was added depth to the music, stemming from the evolved songwriting and from the involvement of so many musicians. "Roxianna" and "Showbiz Joe" were part New Orleans jazz, continuing the Americana feel of Family's last album. "Systematic Stealth," a lovely textured ballad, and the slunky "Creature Feature" demonstrate the range of Roger Chapman's unusual voice, from gravelly crooning to just plain gravel. The album's most stunning moments, "Parisienne High Heels" and "Hangman," are brooding and hair-raising in their energy and dark themes. Chapman and Whitney kept drummer Ian Wallace and horn player Mel Collins to form a touring group, adding bassist Phil Chen and guitarist Bob Tench. Only Tench would stay for the full-fledged Streetwalkers band, which embraced funk and hard rock in a less subtle way than this first venture. Whitney's biting lap steel guitar would become a signature sound of the Streetwalkers, but the songwriting never matched what was accomplished on this album. ~ Patrick Little, All Music Guide

Rest Easy John Wetton

Bassist, singer and songwriter John Wetton has passed away in his sleep following a long fight with cancer at the age of 67

I first became aware of him as a teenager when the first Asia album came out, later I discovered his earlier work. 
Wonderful voice and a sad loss.
Rest easy.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Hustler - 1975 - Play Loud

Play Loud

01. Money Maker
02. You Had It Coming To You
03. Boogie Man
04. Break Of Day
05. Who D'Yer Think Yer Foolin'
06. Goin' Home
07. Strange Love
08. Little People
09. Night Creeper

Bass, Vocals – Tigger Lyons
Drums – Henry Spinetti
Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica – Micky Llewelyn
Keyboards – Kenny Daughters
Mixed By – Gary Lyons
Vocals – Steve Haynes

While Foghat and Status Quo consistently laid down heads down boogie during the high-times '70s, there were numerous groups that attempted to roll in the same vein. It's not easy relevantly reworking songs based on blooze rock power chords and shuffle patterns on a steady basis, but Foghat and S.Q. managed to deliver the goods for several years with their jean jacket racket. Others came up short, as evident by Hustler. Hustler went two albums and out, with the 1975 release of Play Loud putting a punctuation mark on the group's brief run. As expected, there is no new ground broke on the nine song LP, which comes off as standard bar band fare. Opening with "Money Maker", Play Loud features the stompin' boogie delivery of "Little People".

Hustler - 1974 - High Street

High Street

01. Just Leave A Good Man 4:12
02. Piranhas 5:40
03. Let The Wind Blow 3:40
04. Uptight Tonight 3:43
05. Get Outa Me`Ouse 3:08
06. Jack The Lad 5:23
07. Midnight Seducer 5:38
08. Miranda 5:02
09. The Hustler 5:28

Bass – Tigger Lyons
Drums – Tony Beard
Guitar – Micky Llewellyn
Piano, Synthesizer [Moog], Organ – Kenny Daughters
Vocals – Steve Haynes

Recorded Island Studios, London July '74

Produced by Peter Gage, 1974's "High Street" was one of those mid-'70s blues-rock albums that was actually quite good, but ultimately couldn't distinguish itself from the onslaught of similar sounding outfits.  With all five band members contributing to the writing chores, the majority of the collection reflected the band's due to blues-rock bands like Free and Bad Company.  On tracks like 'Piranhas' and 'Midnight Seducer' those blues-rock efforts occasionally included a bit of Deep Purple, or Uriah Heep heavy metal/progressive moves.  With Steve Hayes handling most of the lead vocals, the band had an excellent singer, though he ultimately lacked that certain characteristic that would distinguish him from the rest of the competition.   The same could be said for lead guitarist Mickey Llewellyn.   Exemplified by performances on tracks like 'Just Leave a Good Man' and 'Jack the Lad', Llewellyn was an accomplished, economical player, but there wasn't much to distinguish him from dozens of other talented players.  Would you be surprised to hear me say the same thing about the Tony Beard and Kenny "Tigger" Lyons rhythm section?   The album's most interesting track was also the strangest song.  Written and sung by Llewellyn with a heavy cockney accent, 'Get Outta' Me 'ouse' sounded like some sort of Status Quo, or Slade outtake.  It certainly lacked the polish found on the rest of their FM certified catalog and while it wasn't the album's best performance (that would go to 'Miranda'), it was the most interesting.

"Main Street" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Just Leave a Good Man    (Mickey Llewellyn - Kenny Lyons) - 4:14
Technically this was a pretty pedestrian slice of blues-rock, but the combination of a seriously catchy refrain, Kenny Lively's lead guitar, and Kenny Daughters' bubbly synthesizers kicked this one out of the pack.  
2.) Piranhas    (Mickey Llewellyn - Tony Beard) - 5:30
It opened up with a tasty Lively guitar riff that bore a slight resemblance to the start of Focus' 'Hocus Pocus'.  From there 'Piranhas' found the band taking a stab at a more progressive sound.  You weren't going to mistake this for ELP, but the combination of Steve Haynes  rugged vocals and Kenny Daughters' extended keyboard sections have always reminded me of a mash-up of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.   A tune that grows on you if given a chance.  You can actually get a taste for the band's live act.  In 1974 they undertook a US and UK tour opened for Queen. on their "Sheer Heart Attack" tour.
3.) Let the Wind Blow  (Steve Haynes) - 3:39
For anyone who thought these guys were a one dimensional hair band, 'Let the Wind Blow' would have come as a major surprise.  Penned by lead singer Haynes who displayed an unexpectedly sweet soul-tinged voice,  this was a pretty and radio friendly ballad that would have made a dandy single.
4.) Uptight Tonight  (Steve Haynes) - 3:40
'Uptight Tonight' found the band returning to standard blues-rock that bore more than a little to the Paul Rogers/Free/Bad Company school of performances.   Along those lines, this one was actually quite good.   The Rainbow performance clip starts around the 11:30 minute mark.  At least to my ears the live version beats the studio version by a mile.
5.) Get Outta' Me 'ouse     (Mickey Llewellyn) - 3:08
Just when you thought you'd gotten your ears around the band's sound, along came 'Get Outta' Me 'ouse'.   Penned and sung by the late (Mickey Llewellyn, this one traded in their radio-friendly sheen for a song that sounded like a castoff from Status Quo.   Easy to see why Llewellyn only got an occasional shot at the vocal spotlight, though the lyrics were pretty funny.  I'm guessing the song's very English sound was the reason A&M tapped it as a single in the UK.  In the States the best the band could do was a promo release.   Interestingly, the 45 featured several edits to the lyrics - example "scruffy little bleeder" was changed to "scruffy little geezer".

(side 2)
1.) Jack the Lad   (Steve Haynes - Kenny Daughters - Mickey Llewellyn) - 5:21
It took forever to actually kick into gear, but if you could get through almost a minute and a half of "street' sound effects, there was actually a sound here.   Other than some nice  Llewellyn lead guitar, I can't say 'Jack the Lad' was anything special, but if you were into mindless AC/DC hard rock, this one might have been up your alley.
2.) Midnight Seducer   (Kenny Lyons - Mickey Llewellyn) - 4:05
The keyboard and bass sound again recalled something out of the Deep Purple, or Uriah Heep catalogs. Just like the title, this one wasn't particularly original or enjoyable.  r
3.) Miranda   (Tigger Lyons) - 5:03
Another Free/Bad Company styled blues-rocker ...  Again, not particularly original, but still enjoyable.   The Rainbow performance clip starts with an energetic performance of 'Miranda':
4.) The Hustler  (Steve Haynes) - 5:17
The closer was also the album's most pedestrian and forgettable performance.   Yeah it was meant to be somewhat dark and threatening, but with the whispered female backing vocals intruding throughout, it came off as almost comical.  

Still an active musician until the end, Llewellyn suffered a fatal heart attack in January 30, 2014... Three years ago today, and we still miss him lots.

Anyone interested in checking out the band's live chops should check out the Rainbow performances:

Ariesta Birawa, Nancy Suwandy & Mus Muljadi - 1965 - Djoko Tarub

Ariesta Birawa, Nancy Suwandy & Mus Muljadi
Djoko Tarub

01. Djoko Tarub
02. Tjerita Mimpi
03. Djumpa Dan Bahagia
04. Selawat Badar
05. Kau Datang Hari Ini
06. Harapan Hampa
07. Kata Hati
08. Berkawan

One of the most sought after albums from Indonesia is Ariesta Birawa’s “first” album which is often called Indonesia’s first psych album. (Enteng Tanamal was already doing some pretty psych-y stuff for some years when that album came out). If you manage to find it, the original version on vinyl, can set you back 2000 maybe 2500 dollars. What most people don’t know is that before that album they already released this album backing Mus Mulyadi, the later King Of Krontjong, This is a great, great 60’s garage album and very, very rare..

Does anyone know the exact date of his album and what the line up was?

Thanks to Madrotter and johnkatsmc5 for reminding me that I had this one waiting to be posted!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Geraldo Pino - 1978 - Boogie Fever

Geraldo Pino
Boogie Fever

01. Ganja (Ganja) 07:53
02. 5th Bethoven Africana 04:08
03. Boogie Fever 05:55
04. Dance For Love 06:50
05. African Hustle 05:26
06. Shake Shake Shake 06:48

Does anyone know who the musicians on this album are?

When Geraldo Pino rolled into town from Sierra Leone with his Heartbeats, Nigeria had never seen anything quite like them. Slick, tight and playing the latest James Brown-style funk on the very expensive equipment, they soon had the country in their thrall. ‘Made me fall right on my ass!’ a chastened Fela Kuti remembered in 1982. Fans of Geraldo’s disarmingly eloquent enunciation on early albums – re-issued soon by PMG – may shocked the gruff, rawer tones on Boogie Fever. The album starts with a jaunty reggae track extolling the virtues of ganja and, later, ‘Dance Fever’ sounds like it was recorded down in Trenchtown after Geraldo had taken a toke or two of his own advice. Even the more traditional funk tracks like ‘African Hustle’ have a darker, more threatening vibe. Not that that is a bad thing. Boogie Fever is the sound of consummate musician letting his hair down. Or in Geraldo’s case, letting it grow into a tight afro and not bothering to watch his Ps and Qs anymore. - Peter Moore, www.africanrevolutions.com / "Geraldo Pino came to Nigeria from Freetown in Sierra Leone in 1968 with his band THE HEARTBEATS and quickly changed the music scene completely. He was the first bandleader that brought sophistication into show business. He owned the best musical equipments, his costumes on stage was fantastic, his musicians were good looking guys with afro hair styles. His drummer then was Francis Foster who later played percussion with Paul Simon. Pino got the title of THE HARDEST WORKING MAN IN SHOW BUSINESS in Nigeria. Girls loved him. I later joined his band with new set of musicians in 1974 as a singer while he based in Kano in the north of Nigeria. To survive in Nigeria those days as a musician you have to be very good on stage and Pino was. His stagecraft was exhilarating, his costumes were dazzling, he command the band and his audience wherever he played with his dancesteps and he became an inspiration to many Musicians. He later moved to Port Harcourt where he lived and died many years ago. Though he is dead, his music lives on through his many songs and this vinyl in your hands. His memory also lived with those who watched him on stage. Ladies and gentle men, this is GERALDO PINO!"

"What's that Discogs? One copy for sale for £4,495.86? Fuck that! I'mma get this official reissue on the rather marvelous PMG if it's alright with you..."

Second hand piss-takery aside, this late 70s slice of groove heavy Afro-funk regularly changes hands for a monkey, so your bank manager should be thanking those fine folk in Austria. Drawing on reggae, disco and funk, Mr Pino gets up, down and all the way around across six party starting, largely instrumental offerings. Any record which starts with a buoyant reggae-disco ode to Barry's favourite plant life ("Ganja") is gonna be dope (ahem!), but when we're then taken through a bordering on ludicrous Afro-funk rendition of Beethoven's 5th, you know we're in safely wasted hands. You could easily assume this discoid arrangement would be whack, but you'd be better served throwing some shapes to the buzzing Moogs, chiming keys and wild wah guitar which make this beast purr. Things straighten out for the full steam ahead funk of title track "Boogie Fever" before "Dance For Love" opens the flip with a weirdo reggae lilt. If you're looking for the best party of your life condensed into five and a half minutes, then you should probably cast an ear over "African Hustle", crack your knuckles and dive into air piano ecstasy. After that Moog-led madness, there's just enough time to spark one up to the Afrobeat-meets-reggae of "Shake Shake Shake" before the run out groove reminds you it's time to pick the kids up from school. Killer!

Triumvirat - 1980 - Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette

01. Party Life (3:28)
02. You Can't Catch Me (4:08)
03. Come with Me (3:59)
04. Games (4:14)
05. Cooler (4:20)
06. The Ballad of Rudy Törner (4:20)
07. We're Rich on What We Got (4:09)
08. Twice (2:45)
09. Rien Ne Vas Plus (4:34)
10. Roxy (6:33)
11. Russian Roulette (5:48)

- Jürgen Fritz / piano, moogs, organ, percussion, synthesizers
- Arno Steffen / lead vocals
- Jeff Porcaro / drums
- Steve Lukather / bass guitar, electric guitar
- Tim May / electric guitar, acoustic guitar
- Robert Greenidge / steel drums
- Neal Stubenhaus / bass
- Pete Christlieb / saxophone, clarinet
- Mike Gong / electric guitar
- David Hungate / bass
- Alan Estis / congas, maracas

From the start, Russian Roulette is nothing like the classic Triumvirat music period that fans knew and loved, and many felt it was a let down because of that. My appreciation and understanding of this record has grown over what was a pretty long span of time. I initially made an error in only judging this album by those the band made previously, and now, after years later, i finally fully realize how much of a mistake that really was.
For years, i refused to give Russian Roulette a second chance, but on re-evaluating this record totally as it's own entity, my view and perspective have changed-it doesn't deserve the bum rap given by so many. The songs are catchy, but not commercial to the point of irritatingly so, and there is diversity here, which creates different moods, and that is actually refreshing. "Party Life" is an infectious song that flirts with an almost new wave/punkish feel and is quite well done. There is the reggae tinged "The Ballad Of Rudy Torner", the upbeat rockers like "Cooler" and "Were Rich On What We've Got", and the more mellow "Rien ne vas Plus"

Different songs for different moods-it is obvious in this musical experiment straying so far from what was tried and true for the band, Triumvirat had no one track mind. And a couple of musical guests from the excellent group Toto, Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro, help to diversify and shake things up, creatively.

When guitar player/singer Helmut Koellen left the band after the "Spartacus" tour in 1975, things were never the same, never on the same quality level-they couldn't be, with Koellen absent.

But 1980 was not like 1975, for any band, musically. I have finally come to the conclusion that Russian Roulette should not be ignored because of that. For me, you might say it's uniqueness and diversity has enabled me to grow to like it.

Triumvirat - 1978 - A La Carte

A La Carte

01. Waterfall (4:58)
02. (Oh I'm) Late Again (6:48)
03. Jo Ann Walker (4:46)
04. For You (5:53)
05. I Don't Even Know Your Name (4:47)
06. A Bavarian In New York (5:38)
07. Original Soundtrack From The Movie (3:48)
08. Darlin' (3:46)
09. Good Bye (4:28)

Bonus tracks on EMI remaster (2002):
10. Waterfall [Single Edit]
11. Jo Ann Walker [Single Edit]

- Jürgen Fritz / keyboards
- Matthias Holtmann / drums
- Werner Kopal / bass
- David Hanselmann / vocals
- Richard Hurwitz / trumpet
- Bill Lamb / trumpet
- Mark Isham / trumpet
- Vinnie Fannele / trombone
- Randy Alcroft / trombone
- Marie Robinson / French horn
- Allen Robinson / French horn
- Tommy Johnson / tuba
- Bob Hardaway / tuba
- Jene Cipriano / tuba
- Jules Chaikin / contractor
- Rob Stevens, Jon Osbrink, Jerry Whitman, Stan Farber, Walt Harrah, Larry Kenton, Fred Frank, Bill Brown, Gene Moredro, Gene Merlino, Allan Davies, Diana Lee, Sally Stevens, Terry Stilwell, Gloria G. Prosper, Linda Harmon, Susie McCyne, Darice Richman, Jackie Ward, Sue Allen, Peggy Clark, Myrna Matthews, Jan Gassman, Karen Kenton / singers
- Bill Cole / contractor
- Gordon Marton / conductor violins
- Israel Baker, Michelle Grab, Ken Yerke, Robert Lipsett, Brian Leonard, Robert Dubow, Spiro Stamof, Peter Kent, Mari Tsumura, John Wittenberg, Bonnie Douglas, Linda Rose / concert master
- Sam Bogossian, Denise Buffom, Linda Lipsett, Dan Neufels / violas
- Fred Seykora, Glenn Grab, Juliana Buffom, Gloria Strassner / cellos
- Steve Edelman, Buell Neiblinger / basses

Triumvirat's A La Carte is a quite nice pop-rock effort. Though nothing like the previously heralded progressive masterpieces from the band's past, and that something that a lot of listeners held against this record, if you want tasty pop-rock for a change, (and even a progressive rock fanatic like me gets in that mood sometimes) A La Carte delivers. Though not as diversified as the following Russian Roulette album, there is cohesion here, and the songs fit together quite nicely.
The album is very well produced, and sounds simply wonderful on headphones. Previous vocalist Barry Palmer is around for a few songs here, and Juergen Fritz, the one constantly remaining member, does play some tasty keyboards. The vocals are tastefully done, as well, and always discernible.

Surprisingly, there was no hit single from A La Carte, though the album could be called radio friendly and a potential for the mainstream market. Of course, in 1978, the industry was still in the grips of punk rock, and the emerging "new wave", so progressive groups, even going mainstream like here, still had an uphill climb of it. Come to think of it, though, Triumvirat were never really much a successfully singles oriented band, like some of their more well known colleagues in prog.

When i want full blown progressive rock, of course i don't turn here, and put on Spartacus or Illusions On A Double Dimple, but when i want something easy and fairly light, but still an intriguing listening experience, i go to A La Carte.

Triumvirat - 1977 - Pompeii


01. The Earthquake 62 A.D. (6:18)
02. Journey Of A Fallen Angel (6:15)
03. Viva Pompeii (4:16)
04. The Time Of Your Life...(?) (4:35)
05. The Rich Man And The Carpenter (5:57)
06. Dance On The Volcano (3:31)
07. Vesuvius 79 A.D. (6:40)
08. The Hymn (7:04)

- Jürgen Fritz / Steinway grand piano, Hammond C3 organ, moog synthesizers, Yamaha polyphonic synthesizer CsS-80 & GX-1, ARP string essemble, Fender Rhodes piano, Hohner clavinet, bells, tympani.
- Barry Palmer / lead & background vocals
- Dieter Petereit / Fender, Rickenbacker & Yamaha bassses
- Curt Cress / Gretsh & Fiber drums, roto toms, timbales, Paiste cymbals & gongs, handclaps, moog-synthesized percussion.


- Ulla Wiesner, Hanna Dölitzch, Brigitte Witt / female backing vocals
- Sondra / female vocals on track 4
- String section, Horn section & Choir arranged and conduced by Jürgen Fritz

Triumvirat, is one of the most underrated bands in prog' history, they're often accused of being ELP clones without remembering that their arrangements are so unique that the similarities don't matter at all when the sound is so spectacular as in their first three albums.
After the great commercial and musical success of Illusions on a Double Dimple and Spartacus, the band releases the slightly inferior Old Love Dies Hard, but this time they hire two new musicians Dick Frangenberg for the bass (allowing Köllen to dedicate fully to the guitar) and Barry Palmer as lead vocalist due to the problem of Jürgen with his hard German accent, but after this release Köllen and Bathelt leave Triumvirat, leaving Fritz as the only original member of the once great trio.

Of course Jürgen Fritz was not happy with he idea of an early retirement at the peak of his career, so he makes a slight change in the name of the band to The New Triumvirat and he stays as the only official member inviting Peter Pettereit for the guitar and bass, Curt Cress in Percussion and Barry Palmer as vocalist.

With this lineup The New Triumvirat releases another conceptual album about Roman history, this time not about gladiators and wars but about the natural cataclysm and volcanic explosion in Pompeii.

Being a Triumvirat fan and feeling that they could do a great work about this concept bought Pompeii the same day it was released, but it was a big disillusion,

The album starts very promising with the Earthquake that has a very similar sound and atmosphere as Spartacus, great changes, and strong keyboard solos made me believe Pompeii could be another masterpiece, but the reality was different, immediately after this song ends the dream vanishes.

It's evident at the first listen that the music has almost no relation with the concept, the arrangements without Köllen and Bathelt are far bellow Triumvirat's level, Barry Palmer sounds like a bad version of Sting that makes me miss Jürgen's accent but great voice and Curt Cress is good but not in the level of Bathelt.

The second song Journey of a fallen Angel is a clear example of most of the album, Fritz has good ideas but doesn't has the help required to develop them, seems the band doesn't know where are they going.

But not everything is bad, Fritz abilities as a composer still are present in moments of the album like in Viva Pompeii, The Rich Man and the Carpenter and Dance on the Volcano, songs in which remains the great sound that turned the German trio one of the best bands outside the UK and made me dream of a better future for The Rat. This are by far the best tracks of the album

It will be long and boring to comment song by song this album because there's not much more to be said. Only want to add that the most important achievement of The New Triumvirat in Pompeii is that we can still listen the great keyboard virtuoso Jürgen Fritz at the peak of his abilities.

Triumvirat - 1976 - Old Loves Die Hard

Old Loves Die Hard 

01. I Believe (7:52)
02. A Day In A Life (8:14)
    a) Uranus' dawn (2:57)
    b) Pisces at noon (3:51)
    c) Panorama dusk (1:21)
03. The History Of Mistery (Part One) (7:50)
04. The History Of Mistery (Part Two) (4:00)
05. A Cold Old Worried Lady (5:50)
06. Panic On Fifth Avenue (10:31)
07. Old Loves Die Hard (4:28)

8. Take A Break Today (3:44)

- Hans Bathelt / Slingerland percussion
- Dick Frangenberg / Fender bass
- Jürgen Fritz / Steinway Grand piano, Hammond C3 organ, Moog synthesizers, Fender, Wurlitzer & Hohner pianos, ARP string ensemble
- Barry Palmer / lead vocals

Additional credits:

- The Cologne Children Choir on 1
- Jane Palmer / backing vocals on 7
- Charly Schlimbach / saxophones on 2
- Sondra / spoken words (money!) on 1
Strings on 5 arranged and conduced by Jürgen Fritz

What a memorable album. Well, I may write a novel about this excellent album. Musically, this album is not as excellent as ELP or KC or Genesis around the time of this release. However, the musical nuances created by this album remind me clearly on my teenage times when I kept on waiting everyday about "what's next" rock album available in local record store. Hey, at that time we did not know what is prog or not prog; we just loved rock music but were not aware about the prog categorization. Secondly, there was no internet and I had a (very) limited access to international music magazine like Muzik Express. So, no news about upcoming rock albums. No "pre-order: kind of thing like we have nowadays under digital era. I just wait at the record shop. Everyday! Yeah, music was my passion since childhood - no music, no life!
When this album came out, it blew me with the "The History of Mystery". I like the catchy introduction part with nice piano melody and great voice of Barry Palmer. "Give me a chance to see through my reason. Wasting my time because I was so young ." uuughh . man . this melody has been killing me everytime I play the CD. Overall track (part 1 and 2) is heavily influenced by ELP. If you like ELP, there might be two outcomes I guess would happen after first listen: you like it because it's similar in composition (even though much simpler, I would say), or you completely hate it and say "ELP ripp-offs!". Whatever your comment, my appreciation about this album stays intact. It's still an excellent album for me.

"A Cold Old Worried Lady" is not a prog (at all!) song but . it's really a great tune! Again, the harmony of Barry's vocal and Jurgen's piano touch is really top notch! It's accessible to many people.

"I Believe" is a track that my colleagues and I - who at that time claimed our-self die hard fans of rock music - use to voice outloud our passion on rock: "I sold my soul to rock'n'roll and never got it back ..". It's the opening lyric of this track. The track combines the pop, classical, jazz and sort of "prog" (that I knew later) elements. It's a simpler form of ELP music, I would say. It's an enjoyable track.

"A day in a life" is a simple instrumental piece using keyboard and piano as lead melody. Classical music influence appears strongly. "Panic on 5th Avenue" is an excellent track exploring Jurgen Fritz' similarities with Keith Emerson. It's definitely very close to ELP music. I love the solo keyboard / synthesizer during the interlude part. "Old loves die hard" concludes the album with a slow style and classical influence. Great composition, excellent melody. I think this final track is also accessible to most music buffs.

I think this album is an excellent addition to any prog collection. Highly recommended. Keep on progging!