Monday, April 13, 2020

Magog - 1973 - Live In Montreux

Live In Montreux

01, Magog (One, Two, Three)
02. One For Lucky Luke
03. Tell (One)
04. Tell (Two / Three)
05. Ganz Zum Ueberfluss Meinte Eusebius Noch Folgendes
06. Mini Rock
07. See Waldi

Bass – Peter Frei
Drums – Peter Schmidlin
Piano – Klaus Koenig
Saxophone – Andy Scherrer
Trombone – Paul Haag
Trumpet – Hans Kennel

Magog were a Swiss sextet who played many concerts throughout Europe in the seventies - including at the prestigious Montreux Festival in 1973, a performance released on LP on the great Evasion label. They also went on to record one album for JAPO/ECM and both LPs became underground classics garnering much praise from Melody Maker at the time.

The groups approach reflected an all embracing attitude to music making that was akin to other groups of the time such as Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi band and the more improvisatory explorations of early Weather Report. However Magog had their own very distinct personality and like British jazz of the early 1970's is clearly deserving of rediscovery.

Jazz Rock Experience - 2018 - Let Yourself Go

Jazz Rock Experience
Let Yourself Go

01. If It Wasn`t For Dicky
02. Krivo Sadovsko Choro
03. Blues No Blues
04. Cheyenne
05. The Starter
06. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
07. Let Yourself Go
08. Get Out Of Here
09. Listen Here
10. Blind Man

All tracks recorded 1969 & 1970 in Switzerland,
previously unreleased, *bonus tracks on CD only

Tracks 1/ 2/ 4/ 6/ 7 & 8 recorded March 29, 1969 at club Rössli in Steinen:
Hans Kennel (tp)
Bruno Spoerri (e-ts, sopranino sax)
Freddy Meier (ts)
Raffael Waeber (g)
Dave Lee (e-pi, clav, vib)
Jonas Haefeli (fl, perc)
Hans Foletti (b)
Kenny Schmidt (d).

Track 3 recorded September 18, 1969 at Jazzfestival Zurich:
Hans Kennel (tp)
Bruno Spoerri (e-ts, sopranino sax)
Raffael Waeber (g)
Nick Bertschinger (pi)
Hans Foletti (b)
Kenny Schmidt (d)

Tracks 5 & 9 recorded November 29, 1970 in Zurich, studio unknown:
Bruno Spoerri (el-as, ts)
Hans Kennel (tp)
Christy Doran (g),
Irène Schweizer (e-pi)
Hans Foletti (e-b)
Fredy Studer (d).

Track 10 recorded on February 6, 1970 in Dietikon, SM studio:
Bruno Spoerri (e-ts)
Hans Kennel (tp)
Raffael Waeber (g)
Nick Bertschinger (e-pi)
Hans Foletti (e-b)
Kenny Schmidt (d)

Previously unreleased live and studio sessions from 1969/70. Transeuropean Jazz by Bruno Spoerri's and Hans Kennel's sextet and octet "Jazz Rock Experience" from Zurich. Deep brew of electrified Jazz-Funk, spiritual sounds, folk music from Eastern Europe and free improvisation. Original material plus vibrant versions of Leadbelly, James Brown and Eddie Harris,
Fantastic work from a group who are way more than just the sum of their name! The combo is definitely jazz, only a bit rock, and really provide a funky experience on most of their numbers – in the same sort of wicked blend of acoustic and electric jazz elements that you'd find on MPS Records at the start of the 70s! The musicians here are Swiss, but come from the same mindset as that famous German label – and like some of their contemporaries across the European scene, they were young players who were really open to new ideas – which they let flow from their fingers over the course of these cool long tracks! The lineup shifts a bit over the course of these recordings, and there's some real surprises in the roster of musicians
Featuring a young Irene Schweizer!

Klaus Hess - 1983 - Sternentanz

Klaus Hess

01. Maguh 4:50
02. Eismeer 3:10
03. Pierrot 3:50
04. Vogelflug 4:40
05. Vegas 3:43
06. Sommerwind 3:45
07. Die Hexe 2:47
08. Sternentanz 4:50
09. Lamentha 3:35

E-bow, Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Drums, Effects – Klaus Hess
Drums – Bernie Van Der Graaf (tracks: B1-B3, B5)
Drums – Rosebud (tracks: A3, A4)
Strings – Wolfgang Krantz (tracks: A2, B2, B5)

Born sometime in 1946 in Hohenhorn, Klaus Hess was among the leading figures of Jane, one of the most significant bands is German Hard Rock history.He had a long and fruitful career with the group, releasing no less than 10 albums over 12 years, before quiting and developing his skills as a multi-instrumentalist.Come 1983 and Hess releases a solo album on the German Sky Records, entitled ''Sternentanz''.Drummers Bernie Van Der Graaf and Rosebud, Jane bandmate Wolfgang Krantz on strings and Uli Reicher on percussion/bass helped Hess during the recordings.

Far from the sound he used to play with Jane and up-to-date with the more modern sounds and sights, Hess proposed a spacey Electronic Rock album, where his guitar comes in evidence over an enviroment of synthetic stylings, like the propulsive drum beats.He uses constanly an E-bow guitar, thus his album has often a cosmic feeling, often showered by a weird MIKE OLDFIELD-like atmosphere and romanticism.The bulk of ''Sternentanz'' is built either on some slightly psychedelic/spacey moves or on intense and groovier guitar runs, while the floating sound of keys and the rhythmic drones draw comparisons with the German Kraut/Electronic Music scene.The tracks are short with varied tempos and steady drumming, supported by a keyboard background, which is not identified, but there seems to be even some Mellotron sampling beyond the typical synth flows.A couple of tracks are more melodic and sensitive with slight references to CAMEL, while ''Die Hexe'' reminds of his days with JANE, the guitar solos are sharper and more dominant.The title-track and the following ''Lamentha'' sound a lot like SHAMALL'e early efforts with a typical 80's Synth Pop sound sitting next to the guitar distortions.

An attempt to revive the lone star of Jane was made by Hess and Peter Panka in 1992, resulting to an extensive tour, but eventually this collaboration woudn't last.Hess released a second solo album the same year, ''Technodrome'', which was more Electro/Techno-oriented, before giving birth to his own version of Jane under the name of Mother Jane.

Unique, synth-based Electronic/Art Rock, pretty similar to P'COCK.Nice guitar work and a palette of synth-drenched soundscapes, which show Hess' talent as a multi-instrumentalist.Not the best album out there, but good enough to gain a recommendation.

Efendi's Garden - 1979 - Efendi's Garden

Efendi's Garden
Efendi's Garden

01. Lazy Man Crazy
02. The Garden
03. Doom's Day
04. Oh Boy
05. Whip Of Roses
06. The King
07. Mary
08. The Sirens
09. Lemmie Go Hanging
10. Fisherman

Vocals, Instruments [Megaphone] – Curtis Efendi
Bass – Frank Meier
Drums, Percussion, Instruments [Bottle-opener] – Wolfgang Schreiner
Guitar, Keyboards, Instruments [Vibrator] – Wolfgang "Wild Man" Krantz

Saxophone – Heinz Alberding
Guitar, Instruments [Electric Fish] – Klaus Hess

Recorded and mixed at DELTA-Studio, Wilster, W-Germany, January '79.

EFENDI’S GARDEN was – despite of their exotic musical sound  - a band from Hannover. Founder Wolfgang Krantz formerly played with the bands called JANE and HARLIS, then he took a year off, to make a terrific return in 1979 with EFENDI’S GARDEN. Activated by the former bandmember of JANE, Klaus Hess, as well as bassplayer Frank Meier, drummer Wolfgang Schreiner, Saxophone player Heinz Alberding and the uncommon singer Thomas Stender, Krantz presented a collective which had to search one’s own kind in former musical aera of West Germany. Arabian singing, amplified by a megaphone, between shrill and hypnotic but always very intensive joining the slick arranged music. Partly like a soft ballade then again hardrock sound á la best JANE-tradition – even disco elements (it was the big disco fever at that time) are to be heard and are integrated into the musical concept. Pure relief – for this band normally all doors would have been open for future business – allthemore the live gigs built real hightlights, due to the optical appearance of singer Thomas Stender alias Curtis Efendi. But he lived in West Berlin thus no constant tours/rehearsals could take place.

1989 EFENDI’S GARDEN came together again, reason was an appearance in the Capitol, Hannover. 1990 they entered the Peppermint studios with new song-ideas where finally 10 titles have been recorded but never appeared on a sound carrier. (This changed with the cd you have in hand, all songs have been added as bonus tracks because they really are perfect examples for great rockmusic). After the recording session the band unfortunately dissolved.

Klaus Hess still is on tour with MOTHER JANE, Wolfgang Krantz belongs to the actual cast of Peter Panka’s JANE. Both vinyls of HARLIS „Harlis“ and „Night Meets The Day“ have been re-released in 2009 by Sireena Records.

Firehorse - 1980 - On the Wind

On the Wind

01. Another Night, Another Day 6:17
02. Es Vedra 1:31
03. Earth Witch 5:58
04. Only for a Moment 7:02
05. Looking for Love 6:15
06. On the Wind 6:28
07. The Martians and the Music Box 6:45

Manfred Wieczorke (keyboards)
Florian V. Hofen (bass, vocals)
Peter Ludwig (guitar)
Sandy Nedde (guitar)
Rudi Kädling (drums)
David Hanselmann (vocals)
Heinz Alberding (saxophone)
Hasso Anhoek (timbales, congas)
Jürgen Baumann (keyboards)
Heiner Schädel (vocals)
Jutta Garrattoni (vocals)

Close to an all-star German group, mainly consisting of ex-members from Eloy, Jane, Triumvirat, Zomby Woof, Message, Madison Dyke, recording for the Ariola label.''On the wind'' is a mix of Hard Rock and Prog with some strong ELOY and GENESIS overtones due to the smooth organ lines and symphonic synths of keyboardist Manfred Wieczorke.
Formed in 1979 in Hanover, Germany.There is little known about this band and even the internet comes up with limited resources, suffice to say they fit comfortably within the Crossover progressive genre with a simple yet convincing blend of progressive sound.
Most reviews I have read about them are pretty negative, thou personally I find it a rather nice album, better known bands made far worse albums in 1980... I dig it.. a lot!

Manfred Wieczorke - 1987 - Transfer

Manfred Wieczorke

01. Andaluz
02. Spirit Of Djema El Fnaa
03. Qued
04. 54 Degree
05. Dance
06. Too High

Recorded: July/August 1987 at: Tonstudio Zuckerfabrik, 7000 Stuttgart
Mastering: Harmonia Mundi Acustica

Manfred Wieczorke (born 28/4/1946, in Sarstedt) started in rock music with a variety of bands, chiefly Hannover based, first with Eloy, then Jane and numerous other late-1970's progressives.
Over the years Manfred established himself as an accomplished keyboard player and synthesist, and has recorded music for library labels and films apparently. But, it seems that his first (and only) proper solo release is TRANSFER, which is a fine example of the genre, and one that adopts his space-progressive Pink Floyd inspired roots into a style reminiscent of 1980's Tangerine Dream or Johannes Schmoelling's solo work

When I saw this rather obscure CD come across the wire, I was most intrigued. I hadn't realized Manfred Wieczorke had any solo albums, and given that his work with Eloy and Jane in the 70s was exemplary, I was most curious what this would be like, so I snapped it up. Looking at the cover, it was apparent this would be of the electronic music variety. And indeed that is exactly what it is. Of course, anything from 1987 comes with the hazard of thin sounding digital tones. And while there is certainly some of that here, in particular the opener and closer, I think many will be surprised at the quality put forth. There's some nice sequencer work, most notably on 'Qued', but I wouldn't necessarily categorize the album as from the Berlin School. The compositions are well thought out, with plenty of variety, and an eye on melody. Not a classic of the genre by a long shot, but certainly no better or worse than what Klaus Schulze was releasing in the mid to late 80s.

Jane - 1986 - Beautiful Lady

Beautiful Lady

01. I need you (5:05)
02. Beautiful lady (4:40)
03. In my life (4:50)
04. Hold your line (4:20)
05. Silence (5:10)
06. Never let you go (4:30)
07. Just so in love (4:05)
08. Imagination (6:45)

- Klaus Henatsch / vocals, keyboards, synth-bass, synthesizers
- Werner Nadolny / keyboards, synth-bass, tenor bass
- Peter Panka / drums, vocals
- Kai Reuter / lead & rhythm guitars
- Kalle Bösel / backing vocals (2-3-4)
- Anca Graterol / backing vocals (1-6-7-8)
- Jane James / backing vocals (2)
- Andrea Schwarz / backing vocals (1-6-7-8)

The line-up is completely upside down for this album. Peter Panka remains the only founding member who has never left the band from their debut. Another well known old chap is back on business again. Nadolny gets hold of the keys (he was also present on their debut album). He already was featured on their previous effort as a guest on the . sax (for one track).
IMO, the most important fact here is that Klaus Hess has left "Jane". He had taken control of the band (he signed each of the tracks from "Germania" )and he had a profound influence on the "Jane" sound. It is definitely him that brought these heavy guitar oriented tracks. One might like it or not but when compared to the ones we will be served here, they should be categorized as great songs!

When one listens to this album, it is of a complete different genre. Pop-rock all the way through. Mellow songs, uninspired for most of them. The "Buggles" oriented "Hold Your Line" being one of the bearable songs from "Beautiful Lady".

Almost no more great guitar solo (there is only a short one during "Hold The Line"). But taking this song as a reference says sufficiently about the quality of this album.

Keys are dominating. But not those great ones that could be heard in "Jane". Far from them. Electro-pop at times, they are just not convincing (just listen to the ugly "Beautiful Lady" or "Never Let You Go").

One heavy-funky song is vaguely reminiscent of better days. But this one features no melody, no feeling, no nothing to be honest. Another weak song (but it is the sixth one so far). This album is a complete mess. The real killing being reached during "Imagination" in which the band will include a part of the great "Imagine" in the midst of a flat song. Poor John. You didn't deserve this. Please RIP and forgive this.

Even if "Germania" was not a good effort, it still delivered some average to good compositions. I can't find any good one here. Only one average.

Jane - 1982 - Germania


01. Germania
02. Rock And Roll Revolution
03. Got No Shadows
04. Cool And Collected
05. Get Back To You
06. No Future
07. I'm So Down
08. Driving Me Crazy
09. When I Went To The Scene
10. Southern Line

 Klaus Hess - lead guitar, vocals
 Charly Maucher - bass, vocals
 Peter Panka - drums

"Jane" is again a trio for this album. Their shift into the "heavy prog" genre (from Eclectic) is maybe deserved when you listen to the title track. One of their heaviest rock song. Rather convincing.
But this will be the mood of this album. "Rock And Roll Revolution" is fully reminiscent of "Born To Be Wild". A great hard to heavy rock anthem. A highlight.

This German band has had very little weaknesses in terms of album releases. They deserve a serious applause for this. Their offering will not always be great of course, but just remember which type of music was released by the giants in those days (1982).

It is a pity that Pedja who took over the vocals on their previous album is not there any longer. His decadent type of vocals fitted perfectly well "Jane's" music. He added such a special atmosphere that I really miss him here.

Most of the songs art purely rock songs. Energy and hardness are on the menu.

Almost, I should say because "Jane" already demonstrated some chameleon skills with their previous album. Being more new wave oriented than anything else. No wonder then that "Get Back To You" has a DEEP reggae style.

The only negative comment would be that in those days (1982), this style was kind of outdated in Europe.

"No Future" has nothing to do with the "Pistols" revolutionary anthem. This song is just a heavy, very heavy blues/rock song. Not my cup of tea, but not bad either. "Jane" has been able to avoid a poor rating from my listening and it still will be the case with this one.

This is of course another "Jane" (but their previous album also showed a new sound) and even if the end of this album is not really strong : "I'm So Down" and "Driving Me Crazy" are indeed heavy rock songs and don't have any relation with prog. They belong more to the post-punk period actually. Same sort of "garage" sounds for the last two songs from this album.

Jane - 1980 - Jane


01. On My Way
02. New Man In Town
03. Stay With Me
04. Stop The Clock
05. Rockin' Around
06. Intro/Easy Going
07. Love Your Life
08. Dynamite
09. Cadillac Rider
10. Out On The Street

Klaus Hess - guitars, keyboards, vocals
Martin Hesse - bass, vocals
Peter Panka - drums, percussion
Pedja (Predrag Jovanovic) - lead vocals, strings

Werner Nadolny - saxophone on track "Cadillac Rider"

The trio from the previous album has been extended to a quartet. A full time singer has been brought on board which is not a bad idea since the vocal parts from "Sign N°9" were not really great. There is also a old "Jane" friend present on this album. Werner Nadolny was already featured on the first "Jane" album. He plays the sax on this one (but only on one song).
The very energetic opening song "On My Way" is rather pleasant. The beat is really strong and the high-pitched voice is not a bad surprise. With this album, it is clear that "Jane" did not abandoned their heavy style, nor the energy of their long career. "New Man In Town" is fully in-line with their hard-rocking music. Very well achieved I must say.

Some heavy, bluesy notes for the short "Stay With Me" won't transport me with joy. But you know the button to press, I guess. Next of course to reach "Stop The Clock" which opens on a drum solo (???). Rather weird to open a number in this way. This intro lasts for two minutes (!!!) and then, it finally leaves the place to a solid rocking beat. Hess is again so great on the guitar during this very stirring instrumental part.

The vocals sound pretty decadent here (but I could have made this remark for "New Man In Town". It almost sound as a new- wave number. Hypnotic bass playing and fantastic beat. The voice sounds like the one of Ken Elliott from "Seventh Wave" (an obscure band of the mid seventies who released a great album : "Psi-Fi").

This album sounds different than the previous "Jane" offering. The voice of course, but not only. The guitar work is as usual very convincing. Almost each number has its Hess moments. Even the jazzy and average "Rockin' Around".

"Easy Going" starts with a keys session (which aren't that many here). Rhythm is again very strong and the vocals are irresistibly John Foxx (Ultravox!) oriented.

Heavy sounds again during "Love Your Life" which is not the best offering on this work. This album is a pure rock one. Little progressiveness here. But is it globally a good album.

The whole album has this indefinite decadent feeling. This is mostly due to the vocals. I guess that it is a love / hate situation. I would tend to be more on the former side. This album is pretty even. No real highlights but only one (short) blunder. I quite like "Cadillac Rider" and its almost punkish mode. Quite surprising for "Jane". But I'm very familiar with these sounds. Upbeat and primary rhythm. Tremendous number and my fave here.

"Jane" will also release an almost reggae song. But it was in the mood by then (as was the new wave). A serious change, but not bad an album at all.

Jane - 1979 - Sign no. 9

Sign no. 9

01. No.9 (6:35)
02. That's the way (5:45)
03. Love can't wait (5:57)
04. Henry goes married (4:14)
05. Say hello (5:07)
06. Moonstone (4:47)
07. Love on earth (4:37)
08. Letter to Marianne (3:11)
09. I know one day (3:28)

- Klauss Hess / acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, vocals
- Peter Panka / drums, percussion, vocals
- Martin Hesse / bass, vocals

And then they were three. Manfred Wieczorke has now left the band and Klaus Hess is holding the keys on top of his guitar work. It is definitely a loss even if Manfred did not stay long with "Jane".
The opener is still a good hard-rocking piece of music and "That's The Way" returns to their psychedelic themes of their debut and therefore sounds outdated in this 1979 release. It fully sounds as the very early "Floyd". A bit harder in the second part with a great guitar and heavy keys. It is my fave on this album. A highlight, frankly.

Bizarrely, "Love Can't Wait" sounds as a song from the great "Lou Reed". Same type of vocals (really very close), heavy riff and strong guitar again (but Hess has been used us to this). A bit to much extended probably but quite decent.

The time is not on the epic side any longer. Only one track over six minutes (the opener and title track). One of the shortest is "Henry Goes Married". It started as an uninspired instrumental and mellow piece of music but turned into a better category when the Floydian guitar enters the scene. Not great, but not bad by any means.

The first weak track is "Say Hello". Vocals are pretty bad and the whole track falls pretty deep. Even Hess's guitar work won't save it. The type of "press next" song, if you see what I mean.

I like pretty much "Moonstone". A harder version of "A Writer Shade Of Pale" in its initial phase (with the guitar replacing the organ). This song is frankly excellent even if the production is not top notch to say the least. I am just found of these guitar sounds. Another very good song. Fantastic riff, really and a must listen for each guitar fan.

"Love On Earth" is not a great song, that's for sure. Vocals are pretty weird. It's the second low point of this album because the next "Letter To Mariann" is on a better edge. Again, a fantastic guitar play. This characteristic truely holds this album in a good territory. And even if the closing song has nothing to do with a highlight, the guitar and the instrumental parts are very good.

I don't find this album so weak after all. Far much better than "Jane III" (their weakest so far IMO).