:::Jazz Europe Express – Latvia:::

Posted: Monday, 29 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

Latvian band Olive Mess has at least ten years making music, half way between avant garde, RIO and symph prog. "Cherdak" (Attic) is their second effort.
Purchased in 2008 is a 4 long-epic suites album where the average listener could find some melodic avant garde influences, oriental and medieval sections mixed with complex rhythmical sections and some floating 70's symph prog passages "a la Yes".
Even when it's not a masterpiece the truth is that the 4 tracks sounds really good with all this textures and mixes of genres and styles, making sections in which prog, avant, RIO and others collide in almost perfect harmony.
My fav one is "Beowulf". Is the most proggy track of the album and definitively reminds me the work of Jean Paul Prat on tle album "Masal". From my POV, the best track of the album by far. The complex and experimental "Mane, Trechel, Phares" comes to second because all the rhythms and genres mixed in 17 minutes of a track that deserves a second look in order to discover every little detail in their scales and melodies. Can's leave out of this highlight the epical grand finale of "Ovum Mechanicus" with several minutes of a thrilling crescendo...
4*. No more nor less... You can't miss this one...
:::Review by progadicto:::

Olive Mess - Cherdak (2007)

1. Beowuld (15:28)
2. Ovum Mechanicus (10:49)
3. Mane, Thechel, Phares (17:15)
4. Tombeau de Cherdak (12:10)

- Sergey Syomin/ archlute, baroque guitar
- Alexey Syomin/ electric & classic guitars
- Denis Arsenin/ bass guitar
- Edgar Kempish/ drums & percussions
- Maris Jekabsons/ vocal, bagpipes
- Elizabeth Perecz/ keyboards
and Julia Pecherskaya - female vocals on 'Beowulf'

:::Jazz Europe Express – Estonia:::

Posted: Sunday, 28 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

PHLOX are a six piece band from Estonia of all places, and they play a blend of Canterbury and Fusion. I've said this before and I’ll say it again, Canterbury music is the hardest for me to describe because of how much fuzz(distortion) there can be. I mean the bass is fuzzed out, the keys, organ, heck even the guitar is distorted, making it difficult at times to tell what I’m hearing. I love it though,and i love this album. The title of this album means "tearing & folding" in English. By the way the keyboardist had a hand in composing every track. "Rahn" features these relentless drums and distorted keys. I have to say this drummer really stands out on this recording. Some guest flute on this track as well. Lots of energy and we get some prominent sax as well.
The distorted keys are lighting it up before 2 minutes. Guitar and bass sound excellent 4 1/2 minutes in. Check out the drum work before 6 1/2 minutes. Great opening track! "Kraap" is a live track that I’m sure doesn't mean "crap" in English. This is a short experimental tune with noisy sounds. Ok maybe? "Habe" is uptempo with drums and keys leading the way. Electric piano and sax join in as it settles some. It's intense again as the contrasts continue. "Hunt" is the longest track at just over 10 minutes. Sax and electric piano to open. Bass and drums join in before 1 1/2 minutes. This sounds so good. It kicks into gear after 2 1/2 minutes with chaos and distortion. Amazing! It settles again 4 1/2 minutes in. Check out the keyboards before 7 minutes it settles again. These guys play so incredibly well whether it's fast paced or a relaxed soundscape. Some guest tablas in this song as well. This song really contrasts these two styles well. "Juulius" opens with some impressive guitar and drumwork. I love when it settles in though with the fuzz as the bass and drums support. This has to be heard. "Kaavjas" has more of a Jazz vibe with intricate drumming, throbbing bass and electric piano. Gorgeous sound 4 minutes in as it settles. Sax follows. "Uhe Poja Toit" is pastoral with liquid keys and sax. Drums and a fuller sound before 1 1/2 minutes. Amazing sound 2 minutes in!  This drummer is so
good. "Sojajalgne" turns powerful before a minute with lots of distortion and guitar. Just one big fuzz-fest! Haha. The song calms right down before it kicks back in with a wall of sound 5 minutes in. "Kurehirm" is live like the last track. It seems like the three live songs are the more adventurous and "out there" songs on this album. This one features smooth sax melodies and piano until it turns avant-garde 2 minutes in and stays there until it changes after 5 minutes back to the sax and piano. I can't say enough about this album. A must for fans of adventurous Canterbury and Fusion music.
:::Review by Mellotron Storm:::

Phlox - Rebimine and Voltmine (2007)

01. Rähn (6:52)
02. Kraap (1:26)
03. Habe (4:48)
04. Hunt (10:09)
05. Juulius (3:22)
06. Kaavjas (7:54)
07. Ühe poja toit (3:16)
08. Sõjajalgne (6:30)
09. Kurehirm (6:14)

- Kalle Klein / sax
- Kristo Roots / guitar
- Pearu Helenurm / keyboards
- Raivo Prooso / bass
- Madis Zilmer / drums
- Allan Prooso / percussion

- Ramo Teder / flute
- Arno Kalbus / tabla

:::Jazz Europe Express – Iceland:::

Posted: Thursday, 25 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

If Thursaflokkurin's debut album was a real shocker in its adaptation of pre-classical musics and modernizing them, the follow-up is a very different beast, but no-less interesting. With an unchanged line-up, but getting a hand in the guitar dept, with Arnasson's arrival, the group becomes a sextet, which opens more possibilities. With a lower-bust drawing of the group as artwork, the album was recorded in spring of 79. As for the Zappa influences invoked bt many, there are some, but not quite as obvious as some would have you to believe, and I don't think the band was out to make a derision of everything they saw or heard. Here the bizarre is more Bjork-esque or Samla-esque than Zappa-esque Nevermind the opening Sigtrygguryan, a complex piece holding some almost grotesque vocals, start listening to the following Bruokopsvisur (and it's a capella intro) to get some really strong material that's worthy of their debut album. Most likely Hoyry Kone heard this Iceland group doing the semi- operatic piece.
Also of much interest is the album's second longest track Aeri Tobbi, a Gentle Giant- esque track. The following 6-mins+ track, the instrumental Versturheimi is a bit its opposite as it takes lengths and turns allowing some overlong solos but remains concise enough (for a live track) not to get lost in unneeded meanderings.
The flipside starts with the dramatic Skriftangangur that could easily come from Anglagard's debut or Per Lindh Project's Gothic Impression, and while Bannfaering holds a good (and short, hence good) drum solo, the group is in op form here: the Hackettien guitar is even giving them a (slight) Genesis sound.
The album longest Sjo Sinnum track starts very slowly, before some choirs give a first kick, then the group up the ante and with a Hackettian guitar, and many more fireworks to make it yet another winner.The closing Tobaksvisur is another vocally twisted song with some acoustic guitar and some harmonium or eventually accordion. Although good track, it sure feels fine once it stopped: I'm not sure adding 5 more seconds would've tolerable ;o))) Certainly a different animal than its predecessor Thursabit is a bit more jazz, a bit more symphonic, a bit less folk, no less bizarre and just as intriguing, it's another album sitting in Iceland's best 10 ever.
:::Review by Sean Trane:::

Thursaflokkurinn - Þursabit (1979)

1. Sigtryggur vann... (3:24)
2. Brúðkaupssálmur (0:35)
3. Brúðkaupsvísur (3:00)
4. XXX (0:07)
5. Æri-Tobbi (6:32)
6. Frá Vesturheimi (6:15)
7. Skriftagangur (5:40)
8. Bannfæring (3:47)
9. Sjö sinnum..... (6:45)
10. Tóbaksvisur (3:40)

- Þórður Árnason / guitar, backing vocals
- Égill Ólafsson / lead vocals, electric piano, accordeon, synthesizer
- Ásgeir Óskarsson / drums, backing vocals
- Karl J. Sighvatsson / Hammond organ, backing vocals
- Tómas M. Tómasson / bass, general keyboards, backing vocals
- Rúnar Vilbergsson / bassoo

:::Jazz Europe Express – Norway:::

Posted: by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , ,

Jan Garbarek had studied with the great American composer George Russell, and had previously appeared on Russell's venture into jazz-rock, Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved By Nature. Whereas his teacher's usage of rock rhythms in an avant jazz context often came off as rather clunky, for Garbarek and his guitarist, Terje Rypdal, formerly a member of the popular Norwegian band the Vanguards, such a melding was more second nature. The Esoteric Circle, the first album by their band of the same name (hey, this was still the '60s after all), is a highly successful and enjoyable effort, one that can stand comfortably with work being done at that time by Tony Williams or John McLaughlin. Garbarek's compositions range from deeply felt homages to Coltrane ("Traneflight" and "Nefertite") to rocking jams like "Rabalder," where Rypdal gets to showcase his considerable chops. In fact, some of these themes were used by Russell in his aforementioned work. Garbarek's own playing, here entirely on tenor, come largely out of Albert Ayler as well as Coltrane, and his general attack is much more raw and aggressive than the style for which he would eventually become more widely known through his recordings for ECM. Listeners who enjoy his first several albums for that label (from Afric Pepperbird to Witchi-Tai-To) will find much to savor here.
:::Review by Brian Olewnick:::

Jan Garbarek - Esoteric Circle (1969)

1. Traneflight (2:59)
2. Rabalder (8:22)
3. Esoteric Circle (5:29)
4. Vips (5:49)
5. SAS 644 (7:55)
6. Nefertite (2:10)
7. Gee (1:16)
8. Karin's Mode (7:38)
9. Breeze Ending (3:44)

Jan Garbarek - tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Terje Rypdal - guitar
Arild Andersen - bass
Jon Christensen - percussion

Produced by George Russell

:::Jazz Europe Express – Sweden:::

Posted: Wednesday, 24 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , ,

There are two jazz rock albums of the 90's which I rate highly: 'Octave of The Holy Innocents' and the difficult to find 'Save The Robots' by Conrad Schrenk's Extravaganza.
'Octave' was recorded in the early 90's, when Hellborg was crossing and recrossing many music boundaries, in his musical experimentations and fortunately many ended up on record. Hellborg here is joined by the original Santana drummer Michael Shrieve, (by this time having had 15 years as an independent musician), and a young, then unknown, Buckethead (a connection no doubt made because of Hellborg's collaborations with Bill Laswell - e.g. check out Praxis).
What makes this a very special jazz rock album, is the unusual combinations of instruments: acoustic bass guitar (Hellborg) and acoustic guitar (Buckethead).
Both guitarists will pleasantly shock with their sheer speed of attack and complex playing - this is both an essential album for acoustic shredders and those who desire to know what one of the best acoustic bass guitarists in the world can do. And Michael Shrieve - always an individual drummer - his playing is a delight, complimenting Hellborg and Buckethead perfectly.
Hellborg wrote the following to describe the reasons for writing and recording this album, and the anger clearly expressed in the words with be heard clearly expessed in the playing:
"In a World of premeditated mass murder by governments, of rampant pedophilia, of values turned inside out by media tycoons in order to make money, of torture and unchecked genocide. Who is innocent? Who will protect the innocents? And who will stand up and face the grotesque explanations of why a 10-year-old girl walking to buy bread is shot in the back by a soldier, why parents molests their own children. How can a soldier who is somebody's brother rape.
Why can people be annihilated in the name of God the merciful.
Is it a consequence of these peoples evil? Are they aware that they are evil? Is their evil maybe only somebody's perception? Are they maybe just defending their own truth against somebody else's evil or truth. Who is pure? Who is innocent? We need to protect innocence. Not only individuals rights to be innocent but also innocence as a source of beauty, creativity and wisdom."
This is one of my rare 5 star albums.
:::Review by Dick Heath:::

Jonas Hellborg & Buckethead - Octave Of The Holy Innocents (1992)

1. Rana & Fara (15:00)
2. Death That Sleeps In Them (5:22)
3. The Past Is A Different Country, I Don't Live There Anymore (9:14)
4. Child King (5:47)
5. Kidogo (7:13)

- Jonas Hellborg / acoustic bass guitar
- Michael Shrieve / drums
- Buckethead / acoustic guitar

Releases information
The album artwork shown here, is in fact for the 2003 Bardo Records remix issue, which includes vocals (strictly chants) Jonas Hellborg omitted from the 1993 release (and 1992 recording). There in fact is confusion from what Hellborg writes about dates in the liner notes of 2003 remix issue, where he implies there is 14 years between the releases.

Hellborg also writes:

When looking over the tapes of these sessions I discovered tracks that I did not use the first time around. So there are no extra songs on this reissue, but a fundamental reworking of all the compositions of the first release. Some new light on this music that I did with 2 of my absolute favorite musicians.

:::Jazz Europe Express – Finland:::

Posted: Tuesday, 23 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , , , ,

"Fairyport" was the 3rd album released by Finlands WIGWAM which also featured the introduction of another cast member with the entrance of the outstandingly talented composer/musician/bassist Pekka Pohjola. The end result was WIGWAM's first real stab at pure progressive rock and INMO is one of my more favoured albums of the 70's prog era. On "Fairyport", WIGWAM mix jazz, rock, pop all in one exploratory album with a nice wide range of themes and moods. Generally the songs are pretty organ drenched with lots of rhythmic syncopation. With "Fairyport" the threesome of Gustavson, Pembroke and Pohjola was completed. Jukka Gustavson (keyboards) wrote the most progressive pieces, with Jim Pembroke (vocals, piano) wrote the lighter and shorter songs and Pekka Pohjola's (bass) focus on the instrumental aspects. The bottomline is a very well balanced album with lots of progressive tendencies, instrumental prowess and instrumental mastery. There are several magical moments on this album including "Losing Hold" , "Cafffkaff, The Country Psychologist" and Pohjols's ZAPPA-esque instrumental tribute "Hot Mice". Band membership was Ronnie Österberg (drums, congas, percussion, backing vocals), Jukka Gustavson, (vocals, piano, organ, electric piano), Jim Pembroke (vocals, harmonica, piano, electric piano), Pekka Pohjola (bass, violins, acoustic guitar, piano, celeste and harpsichord). I guess every diamond has one rough cut and so too does "Fairyport" with the last track being a 17 minute live epic recording circa 1971 and sounds even with the re-mastered CD version like something off a bootleg. Having said that the studio material is to kill for and I would heavily recommend this album to all lovers of progressive rock.
:::Review by loserboy:::

Wigwam - Fairyport (1971)

1. Losing Hold (7:06)
2. Lost Without A Trace (2:29)
3. Fairyport (6:53)
4. Gray Traitors (2:48)
5. Caffkaff, The Country Psychologist (5:22)
6. May Your Will Be Done Dear Lord (5:28)
7. How To Make It Big In Hospital (3:01)
8. Hot Mice (3:19)
9. P.K:S Supermarket (2:20)
10. One More Try (3:26)
11. Rockin' Ol' Galway (2:27)
12. Every Fold (3:07)
13. Rave-Up For The Roadies (17:20)

- Jukka Gustavson / vocals, acoustic & electric pianos, organ
- Ronnie Österberg / drums, congas, percussion, backing vocals
- Jim Pembroke / vocals, harmonica, piano (2-12)
- Pekka Pohjola / bass, violins, backing vocals (3), acoustic guitar (8), keyboards (8-9)
+ Unto Haapa-aho / bass clarinet
- Eero Koivistoinen / saprano saxophone
- Tapio Louhensalo / bassoon
- Risto Pensola / clarinet
- Pekka Pöyry / soprano saxophone
- Hannu Sexelin / clarinet
- Jukka Tolonen / guitar (2-7-13)
- Ilmari Varila / oboe

:::Jazz Europe Express – Denmark:::

Posted: Wednesday, 17 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

Also known as Overlander, Straight To the Krankenhaus (a hospital) this was actually released in 76 as their last album, but recorded simultaneously with Astarte. This second name for an album Secret Oyster's discography is the third time so, giving an impression that Secrtet Oyster's discography was extremely confusing although they put out only four albums. This album is a direct continuity of Sea Son and holds many superb moments, but one can't help thinking the group has followed the line from an earlier-70's steaming hot jazz-rock band to a later-70's cooler fusion. The main difference here is the appearance of the Moog as opposed to only organ and electric piano on the previous two albums, but there are few Latino effects sprawled here and there. The grotesque painting for this album's artwork was first seen in the window of an art gallery and had the group laughing their heads out for hours, so much that next morning they went out to buy it and asked permission to have it as their artwork.
In some ways, we are still very much in a jazz-rock realm not far away from Soft Machine's Softs and Bundles, Nucleus or Isotope, Mahavishnu Orchestra, but in other ways, the group sounds also more like the later 70's Weather Report, with some ethnic Latino flavours. After the short intro Lindance, the title track is a 100 MPH track leading the listener to the over-emotive Second Hand Rose (Vogel has heard some of VdGG's evocative lead sax lines, obviously) and the High Luminent Silver Pattern has some Jeff Beck lines (Blow By Blow era) and is easily side 1's highlight. The lengthy Delveaux is sublime moment of slower jazz-rock that easily matches it forerunner in terms of excellence.
Stalled Angel takes on the later 70's funk-jazz, while still retaining a superb Bohling guitar solo. Another real highlight is the superbly tense but gentle Rubber Star with its descending line, quickly followed by the delightful Traffic & Elephants with some terrific ambiances over layers of synthesised strings.
The closing Leda is yet another beauty that rivals not only with Delveaux but the while Sea Son album as well. The great interplay and dramatic guitar squeals create a splendid atmosphere. Clearly Krankenhaus finishes in a much stronger manner than it started; although the remasters version now has two bonus tracks; the both of which are Hancock-type of jazz funk (the second recorded live under poor conditions) that stick out of the album's scope, but nothing scary, either but not really adding much value to the album proper. Vogel pulls in some classic sax solos but doubles on keys (much the way Karl Jenkins did in Soft Machine), Bohling filling in some great guitars lines. Clearly no weak tracks but Delveaux is the highlight here with honourable mention to Traffic & Elephants and the track that surrounds the later. Funnilmy enough, the cleaned-up Krakenhaus gained more than Sea Son from the remastering; but the choice of bonus tracks has not only given the edge back to SS, but even widened the gap.
:::Review by Sean Trane:::

Secret Oyster - Straight to the Krankenhaus (1977)

1. Lindance (1:11)
2. Straight to the Krankenhaus (2:45)
3. My second hand rose (4:14)
4. High luminant silver patters (5:34)
5. Delveaux (7:51)
6. Stalled angel (3:54)
7. Rubber star (4:09)
8. Traffic & elephants (6:10)
9. Leda & the dog (5:47)


- Claus Bøling / acoustic & electric guitars
- Kenneth Knudsen / keyboards
- Jess Stæhr / bass
- Ole Streenberg / drums
- Karsten Vogel / saxophones

:::Jazz Europe Express – Italy:::

Posted: Tuesday, 16 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

Second album from this unchanged quartet and released on the same Mellow Records label, its title could be what the band meant when they chose their enigmatic name. Musically speaking, this album is quite different than its GG-influenced predecessor; here we're dealing with a much jazzier feel, often ogling towards space rock, sometimes towards symphonic as well. One of the things that will surprise you (outside the relatively cheap artwork) is Minella's much softer guitar, abandoning the hard rock feel of the debut album.
Quickly announcing its colour, the opening Escher pulls a very Ozric-ian soundscape, courtesy of Bonomi, but De Grandis' drumming is the star of the show.
This track is such an enjoyment that its 8-min+ doesn't overstay its welcome, in spite of its repetitiveness. The following Caleidoscopio is rather different, a slow-starting affair gaining momentum and once on top, the feeling is of a space/Gong-esque ELP (plus guitar) and symphonic overtones are there, with guitarist Minella pulling some Hackettian lines. Clearly since their start DFA has been under the wings of its bigger brother Deus Ex Machina and here singer Alberto Piras has a go at the third track called GG-inspired Esperanto (the hopeful universal language that never came to be), here sung in Italian alone. Unfortunately for DFA, Piras' personality is simply over-powering, and we're having this track transformed into a DEM track.
The two instrumentals Ascendente Scorpione and Ragno) are both in the space-rock mould, sometimes between Ozric and Gong, the former being similar to the opening track, while the latter is more in line with Caleidoscopio with its symphonic intro. The closing Malia gets another guest singer in Georgia Gallo, but it's the weakest track on the otherwise excellent album.
DFA's second album is just as worthy as their first, despite the surprising different musical direction - let's face it, we're not used to have Italian groups diddling with space-rock. With just two albums under their belt, DFA has the particularity of being Italy's brightest 90's band, IMHO, of course.
:::Review by Sean Trane:::

D.F.A. - Duty Free Area (1999)

1. Escher
2. Caleidoscopio
3. Esperanto
4. Ascendante scorpione
5. Ragno
6. Malia


- Luca Baldassari / bass
- Alberto Bonomi / keyboards, vocals
- Alberto DeGrandis / drums, vocals, percussion, keyboards,
- Silvio Minella / guitar
- Giorgia Gallo / vocals (6)
- Alberto Piras / vocals (3)

:::Jazz Europe Express – Netherlands:::

Posted: Monday, 15 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

Brown vs Brown was formed in 2004 by Dirk Bruinsma, Viljam Nybacka, Gerri Jaeger and Jeroen Kimman, who were then pretty much complete strangers to each other. In Amsterdam that is. Regardless of sizeable differences in musical background, the band's electrifying chemistry quickly made itself apparent. A love/hate relationship with jazz, a quirky alt-rock mindset, and the genuine need to create a new music that is coherent and personal, became their common ground in the hard-working years that followed. From this the self-proclaimed 'alleged Brown-sound' was born. It's denial of simple description has spawned poetic-licensed terms such as math-rock, stumble-funk, punk-jazz and what-not... a highly energetic & inventive music, which is tight but dirty, complex but oose, where amputated rhythms collide with spring-loaded melodies and surprise awaits around every corner. It's one of those tornado-shaped fresh breezes that pop up once in a while... Very much a collective, -all members bring in compositions- the band spends a lot of quality-time refining the arrangements and deepening their sound.
Brown vs Brown takes pride in its reputation as a powerhouse live-band, and feels as confident playing the consecrated ground of jazz-temples as well as the beer-soaked floors of ill-lit alt-rock clubs, leaving audiences flabbergasted. Numerous shows have been played in Holland, Austria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Estonia and Slovenia over the last few years.
Recommended if you like: Henry Cow, Igor Stravinsky, John Zorn, Charles Ives, Ahleuchatistas, Zs, Milton Babbitt, Kayo Dot, Ruins, King Crimson.
:::Taken from www.brownvsbrown.com:::

Brown Vs Brown - Intrusion of the Alledged Brown Sound (2006)

1. Illusive Glance (5:25)
2. Omnium (8:41)
3. Hillyrock (1:35)
4. Clock of the Years (6:20)
5. FFF (6:23)
6. Have a Bun (6:01)
7. Bloody Youthful (8:09)
8. Dike Burst (6:49)
9. Beasts with a Man's Face (7:52)
10. Bronson's Gardening (6:23)
11. SurFFF (1:40)

Viljam Nybacka-bass, vocals
Dirk Bruinsma-saxophone, vocals
Gerri Jager-drums, vocals
Jeroen Kimman-guitar, vocals

:::Jazz Europe Express – Belgium:::

Posted: Saturday, 13 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

This debut album was recorded in October 91 by Bill Laswell and the Knitting Factory in NY, but was only released for the opening of festivities of 93's Antwerp, European Cultural Capital that lasted a whole year. Apparently the Flemish regional government funded the project. Being mostly Peter Vermeersch and Pierre Vervloesem's group, the septet has an incredible sound, being mostly inspired by Zappa (and Beefheart), but clearly these guys listened to a wide array of music and the prog groups also. The inside group photo does show a girl named sally sitting cross-legged, you will never know if it was a spoof or not.
With its slow-beat but eccentric jazz opener the uninitiated proghead might just take the advice from the track title and push the FFWD, but this would be a serious mistake. Zippo Raid is a much more energetic track while the aptly-titled XLS - their eponymous track supposed to define them - raised the standards to such heights that Miriodor or Alamaailman Vasarat better be holding on to their seats, if they do not want to be taken by a storm. Among the other highlights are Blackhead BB with its sax orgies (were VDGG's Jackson was obviously an influence) underlined by Vervloesem's Zappa-esque guitars, Bacon & Eggs and Turkish Bath. In a much harder and funky way (in a Red Hot Chilly Peppers sense) Little hearts and Lacto B rock your heart out with a real virtuosity but staying away from the demonstration.
A stunning debut album (well the group members were no rookies, Plouvier hammering the keys since the early 80's), and the first of series of impressive records. X-L S is one of the seminal bands of Belgium's 90's scenes, and a must-hear-to-believe-it.
:::Review by Sean Trane:::

X-Legged Sally - Slow-Up (1991)

1. FFWD (5:35)
2. Zippo Raid (4:15)
3. XLS (6:53)
4. Down At The Dinghy (4:34)
5. Bacon & Eggs (5;25)
6. 34th Street (4:59)
7. Blackhead Blue Blues (5:08)
8. Lacto B (1:06)
9. Fuck & Coffee (2:50)
10. Turkish Bath (5:21)
11. Little Hearts (4:24)
12. Liquid (4:06)
13. Pinocchio (5:05)
14. Memphis (4:49)
15. Ongenaam (1:54)

- Pierre Vervloesem / guitars, vocals
- Danny Van Hoeck / drums
- Peter Vermeersch / Tenor saxophone, clarinet
- Eric Sleichim / Alto saxophone
- Jean-Luc Plouvier / keyboards
- Michel Mast / Bariton & Tenor saxophone
- Bruno Deneuter / bass
- Sally C.S. / x-noise, twists

:::Jazz Europe Express – U.K.:::

Posted: Friday, 12 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , , ,

If the first NH took a long time to materialize, their second album certainly didn't make itself long to appear, as it came out the same year as the debut. It is also a fairly different beast than its predecessor, even if only the departed brilliant Neil Murray is now replaced with ex-Henry Cow bassist John Greaves. Although it might appear a minor line-up change, it also opens the studio gates to a bunch of other ex-Cows to participate to the album's sessions. And this is where the difference appears: Phil Minton, Georgie Born, Keith Thompson and Peter Blegvad all join mainstay guest Brother Jimmy Hastings. A very pleasant line-up news for this proghead is the departure of Parsons and her irritating vocals.
Musically the album is less jazz-rock and more pure prog, as if Steward's omelette days were indeed not fully digested. Yes, you can hear some Egg/ELP-like prog opening with a wandering bass line and birdsongs, the album on the book-ending Bryden 2-Step is soon a wild jazz-rock, much reminiscent of their first album, but an added slightly symphonic touch. The closing section of this track is the same riff repeated tiredlessly until interrupted its slow death. Collapso is a play on word (calypso) due to the steel drums, but rest assured that outside these drums, you won't find any tacky Caribbean music on this track. It is hard to call this track jazz-rock either, especially midway through, when the group members are giving it their all. Greaves' bass opens the lengthy Squarer For Maud, probably the most Cow-esque NH track, with Born's cello in the background with Hastings' clarinets and Blegvad's short spoken vocals, but the second part returns to a Caravan-type bossa improv, before going in an insane stop & go section to end it. Great stuff. Just as demented is Miller's Dreams Wide Awake, where Stewart's organ goes completely mad in the first part, then in a much quieter Caravan-styled second part, followed by Miller's usual once-per-album wild solo. Binoculars is the only sung song (by John Greaves), features another of Miller"s sizzling solo. 
This last NH album (besides the Gowan tribute) is another one of these links between the RIO circle and the Canterbury family, but sadly seems to indicate that Canterbury is reaching its end as RIO is only really getting under way. A marginally better album than their debut, it is mostly the disappearance of Parsons" vocals in the NH soundscape that makes the difference for this proghead. Essential and the last masterpiece of Canterbury music.
:::Review by Sean Trane:::

National Health - Of Queues And Cures (1978)

1. The Bryden 2-step (for amphibians)Part 1 (8:52)
2. The collapso (6:16)
3. Squarer for Maud (11:30)
4. Dreams wide awake (8:48)
5. Binoculars (11:43)
6. Phlâkatön (0:08)
7. The Bryden 2-step (for amphibians) Part 2 (5:31)

- John Greaves / bass, piano innards (3), crooning (5)
- Phil Miller / guitar
- Pip Pyle / drums, percussion / hand claps (3)
- Dave Stewart / acoustic & electric pianos, organ, Mini-Moog (3-4)

- Selwyn Baptiste / steel drums (2)
- Rick Biddulph / bass on organ solo (4)
- Peter Blegvad / voice (3)
- Georgie Born / cellos (1-3-7)
- Jimmy Hastings / clarinets (3-5), flute (5)
- Phil Minton / trumpets (1-5-7)
- Paul Nieman / trombones (1-5-7)
- Keith Thompson / oboe (3-5)

:::Jazz Europe Express – Ireland:::

Posted: Thursday, 11 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

As this band comes from Ireland, it's not a surprise that there are exceptional melodies on their songs, along with some Christian themes. The gentle amplified electric and bass guitars and drums reminds of the band's rock relations, but this isn't very psychedelic music in my opinion, as the songs are logical and don't have very stoned feeling in them. In the song "Heaven Heath" some harpsichord runs brings a slight baroque feeling to their music, but this isn't medieval folk neither.
The song "Sheep Season" reminded me the sounds on the "On The Shore" album by the TREES. There are also some slightly symphonic passages at the end of the song, where guitar, piano and flute do solos over the nicely pulsing rhythm section, and they let it to grow in wonderful heights. Sadly the climax remains unheard, as there is an annoying fadeout here, a solution which I never grow tired to hate. "Silver Song" is then a more bluesy tune, having truly unbelievable beautiful guitar and singing melodies! Stunning harmonies of two female singers are introduced here, which are the most notable feature of this record. These double vocals are also highly present on "Break Your Token", and on "Reverend Sisters" which is a pretty piano driven song. "Vile Excesses" has a nice dialogue with these voices, which unite in the verses, and the fast final song "Boulders On My Grave" has interesting wordless singing on it. There are also few faster slightly rockier tunes here, like "Buy Or Beware" and the strong "The Poet And The Witch", which emerges from a short soundscape of a sea.
I think that the songs on the beginning of the album are a bit better compositions, though the rest are no bad either. The sleigh ride from five star material from the more average three star songs make this a four stars album still in my opinion. Sadly my version didn't have the two bonus tracks, as they would have been interesting to hear.
If you wan't to hear more Irish proggy folk check out MUSHROOM's "Early One Morning", a fine album done in acid folk style.
:::Review by Eetu Pellonpää:::

Mellow Candle - Swaddling Songs (1972)

1. Heaven Heath (3:00)
2. Sheep Season (5:01)
3. Silver Song (4:26)
4. The Poet And The Witch (2:51)
5. Messenger Birds (3:39)
6. Dan The Wing (2:45)
7. Reverend Sisters (4:21)
8. Break Your Token (2:27)
9. Buy Or Beware (3:05)
10. Vile Excesses (3:14)
11. Lonely Man (4:28)
12. Boulders On My Grave (3:40)


- Frank Boylan / bass
- William Murray / drums
- Clodagh Simonds / vocals, keyboards
- Alison Williams / lead vocals
- David Williams / guitar, vocals

:::Jazz Europe Express - France:::

Posted: by jazzlover in Etykiety:

RAHMANN could be described as an Algerian version of MAGMA, without vocals, mixed with a some MAHAHVISHNU influences. The rhythm section in this band is absolutely powerful. If you can imagine layers of percussion instruments playing around some powerful drumming (almost like the Middle-Eastern version of the percussion work on a Fela Kuti album) you will have some idea of their concept of rhythm. Add to that, complex guitar riffing (sometimes on Fretless guitar), aggressive Zeuhl-bass, dissonant keyboards, and you have the ingredients for some powerful music. The CD contains 6 tracks from the original album, as well as a few bonus live recordings of the same tracks. This is a must for fans of AREA's Middle-Eastern/Greek influenced compositions.
:::Review by Steve Hegede:::

Rahmann - Rahmann (1977)

1. Atlanta (5:26)
2. Nadiamina (6:23)
3. Ab (8:00)
4. Danse sacrée (6:35)
5. Leila (9:38)
6. Marche funèbre (5:00)

Bonus tracks on cd release
7. Marche funèbre (5:04)
8. Danse sacrée (10:13)
9. Nadiamina (7:08)
10. Atlanta (4:51)

- Mahamad Hadi / synth-guitar, electric guitar, fretless guitar, oud, bouzouki, snitra
- Amar Mecharaf / drums, percussion
- Michel Rutigliano / acoustic piano, grand piano, ARP Odyssey
- Gérard Prevost / acoustic bass, fretless bass
- Louis-César Ewande / percussion
- Nadia Yamina Hadi / vocal
- Didier Lockwood/ violin
- Sylvain Marc / fretless bass
- Richard Gérard Kurdjian Guem / ney, tablas, darbouka
- Liza Deluxe / vocals
- Joël Loviconi / electric piano
- Ali Shaigan / violin

:::Jazz Europe Express - Spain:::

Posted: Wednesday, 10 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety:

The Spanish progrock quartet Imán Califato Independiente has its origins at a convention, given by the meditation guru Maja-raj-ji, in the mid Seventies.
Like genuine hippies, the musicians lived together in one house in El Puerto De Sta. Maria and eventually they founded Iman and in '78 they made this debut album, entitled Iman Califato Independiente, two years later followed by the LP entitled Camino Del Aguila. Iman also appeared on the Spanish compilation albums Rock Andalus ('94) and Duende" ('97, a 2-CD).
1. Tarantos del Califato Independiente (20:46) : The title points at a strong rhythm in the flamenco music. First a wonderful string- ensemble sound in a sultry atmosphere with twanging guitars and electric guitar play with a strong Morish undertone. Then lots of shifting moods with great guitar-synthesizer interplay (evoking Iceberg) and exciting soli on guitar and synthesizer, a piece with lots of percussion. The final part delivers a slow rhythm with a beautiful and very sensitive electric guitar solo, accompanied by a lush string-ensemble sound, goose bumps!
2. Darshan (8:30) : Again those wonderful strings, followed by great interplay between guitar and synthesizer with the support of a very adventurous rhythm-section. Next a howling guitar solo and an accellaration with fat, pitchbend driven synthesizer flights and a duel between guitar and synthesizer in a captivating atmosphere that blends Prog Andaluz and jazzrock.
3. Cerro Alegre (7:33) : The intro delviers fragile piano work and sensitive twanging classical guitar, then a swinging rhythm with sparkling piano and flamenco rhythm guitar. Halfway a fiery guitar joins, supported by a powerful bass and subdued harpsichord runs. Next a part with bluesy Fender Rhodes electric piano that gradually changes into an exciting interlude with a guitar solo that sounds like the Andalusian Carlos Santana (Caravanserai-era) and culminates in a swinging rhythm, Prog Andaluz meets jazzrock, what a dynamic and cpativating musical experience!
4. Cancion de la Oruga (5:32) : This is a beautiful piece that starts with dreamy twanging classical guitar, soaring keyboards and warm vocals, then a mid-tempo featuring fat synthesizer runs with a Morish undertone and propulsive percussion.
This is a very exciting fusion of Prog Andaluz and jazzrock, highly recommended!
:::Review by erik neuteboom:::

Imán Califato Independiente - Imán Califato Independiente (1978)

1. Tarantos del Califato Independiente (20:46)
2. Darshan (8:30)
3. Cerro Alegre (7:33)
4. Cancion de la Oruga (5:32)

- Iñaki Egaña / bass and vocals
- Kiko Guerrero / drums
- Marcos mantero / keyboards
- Manuel Rodrigue / guitar

:::Jazz Europe Express - Portugal:::

Posted: Tuesday, 9 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , ,

Double bass player and composer Carlos Bica is among the most prolific and innovative sound artists of Portugal where he was voted "Jazz Musician of the Year" in 1998. He is also well acknowledged outside of his home country: "A first-class virtuoso" (Berlin's TIP magazine). "Both a remarkable composer and musician who knows how to mix his folkloric, lyrical roots with any modern style he encounters" (Double Bassist). Bica gained international fame through his work with such as Maria Joao, Kenny Wheeler, Ray Anderson, Aki Takase, and Paolo Fresu. In 1996, Bica's debut album "Azul" was voted Jazz Record of the Year in Portugal. Three years later, his trio Azul recorded the follow-up "Twist" which became equally successful. "A masterwork" (Jazz Podium). "CD of the month" (Stereo). "Excellent and transparent ensemble playing and intimate interaction" (Double Bassist). "Unusually conceived and often poetic".
:::Review by Jazz Journal:::

Now this is Azul's third strike. Again it is Frank Möbus on guitar, one of Europe's leading guitarists and leader of the band Der Rote Bereich, and Seattle-born Jim Black on drums who brings in some Knitting Factory adventure. The three of them deliver a fresh and funny, naughty and original mixture of ironical guitar rock, refined modern jazz and transformed folk elements that come out of Portuguese, Sephardic and North African origins. The title tune, an adaptation of Melanie's hippie hymn "What Have They Done To My Song, Ma", gets the stylistic bordercrossing to the point: It's Flower Power passing Bica's lyrical Portuguese soul and translated into guitar cries and jazz beats. Southernish lightness with a touch of downtown hipness and a twist of rock: This could be an appropriate description. Definitely one of the hottest breezes blowing these days.
:::Review by Enja:::

Carlos Bica & Azul - Look What They've Done To My Song (2003)

01. Waiting For Tom 5:09
02. Password  3:51
03. Chão 5:43
04. Look What They've Done To My Song 5:02
05. Episódio: "À flor da pele" 3:14
06. New World 5:13
07. The Navigator 4:11
08. Clara Linda 3:47
09. Bela 5:00
10. Heranças 4:35
11. Durme 5:39

Frank Möbus - guitar
Carlos Bica - double bass
Jim Black - drums, percussion

:::Bass #4:::

Posted: Monday, 8 November 2010 by jazzlover in Etykiety: , , ,

Dave Holland's debut as a leader, Conference of the Birds, doesn't seem to get its proper due outside of avant-garde circles; perhaps, when discussing the greats, Holland's name simply doesn't spring to mind as immediately. Whatever the case, Conference of the Birds is one of the all-time avant-garde jazz classics, incorporating a wide spectrum of '60s innovations. Part of the reason it works so well is the one-time-only team-up of two avant-garde legends: the fiery, passionate Sam Rivers and the cerebral Anthony Braxton; they complement and contrast one another in energizing fashion throughout. But much credit is due to Holland; make no mistake, even though he throws the spotlight to Rivers and Braxton, this is his date. The repertoire consists entirely of Holland originals, and his work here established him as easily the most advanced bassist/composer since Charles Mingus. His compositions show an impressive range: twisting, unpredictable themes accompanied by storming solos (the classic "Four Winds," "Interception"); free improvisation in group-dialogue form ("Q&A"); inside/outside avant-bop ("See Saw"); and surprisingly lovely, meditative flute showcases (the classic title track, "Now Here (Nowhere)"). No matter how free things get, Holland's pieces always set up logical frameworks with a clear-minded focus, which makes it easier to get a handle on the advanced musicianship of Holland's quartet (which also includes drummer Barry Altschul, who played in Chick Corea's Circle with Braxton and Holland). The absence of a piano frees up Rivers and Braxton to play off of one another, but the task of driving the ensemble then falls to Holland, and his prominent, muscular lines manage to really push his front line all by themselves. This album is a basic requirement for any avant-garde jazz collection, and it's also one of the most varied and accessible introductions to the style one could hope for.
:::Review by Steve Huey:::

Dave Holland - Conference Of The Birds (1973)

1. Four Winds 6:32
2. Q & A 8:34
3. Conference of the Birds 4:34
4. Interception 8:20
5. Now Here (Nowhere) 4:32
6. See-Saw 6:40

Anthony Braxton (flute, clarinet, reeds, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone);
Sam Rivers (flute, reeds, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone);
Barry Altschul (marimba, drums, percussion).
Dave Holland (bass)