January 30, 2019

A new review about "Elements 1970-1971" on "IT".

After a first long review by Mike Ferguson in November 2018 (here), "International Times" publishes a new short review on "Elements 1970-1971" by Drew Darlington at http://internationaltimes.it/third-ear-band/

Drew Darlington
January 26th, 2019


"Things that make you go… cosmic. The Third Ear Band never fit into any genre that’s yet been devised. Before there was ambient, before there was world music or trance-dance, they were exhaling the mantric star-winds somewhere out beyond the space-time continuum, free, improvisational, as Raga-cyclic as the eternal rhythm of gravity tides. It’s spontaneous music, with as much to do with Stravinski and Penderecki as it has to do with Pop. Two ears, naturally, are insufficient, and yet they soundtrack their curious wide-open era as effortlessly organic as breathing.
This, their second album from June 1970 was essential tuning at every crash-pad and arts lab, free festival and Druid ritual, now expanded into a beautiful 3CD artefact, absorbing bonus previously unissued BBC alternate takes of the four elemental suites – “Air”, “Earth”, “Water” and “Fire”, with added John Peel Concert tracks, plus the full soundtrack for the German ‘Abelard And Heloise’ TV-movie, and the never-issued third album ‘The Dragon Wakes’. Essentially orbiting percussionist Glen Sweeney, there’s oboe-player Paul Minns, plus the duo who split away in September 1970, Richard Coff (violin) and Ursula Smith (cello), making way for future Elton string-arranger Paul Buckmaster with Benjamin Cartland. So turn off your mind, close your eyes, drift away."

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 28, 2019

Another interesting review on "Elements 1970-1971" from the Web.

David Kidman reviews "Elements 1970-1971"...

David Kidman
"EMI’s “underground” label Harvest, which started up in 1969, was for several years into the ’70s the home of some of the most interesting, imaginative and unusual music of the era. Its first batch of releases spanned a wondrously diverse collection of acts – Deep Purple, Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments, Panama Limited Jug Band, Shirley & Dolly Collins, Michael Chapman, Edgar Broughton Band and Pink Floyd … and the Third Ear Band. But even by the wildly eclectic standards of the Harvest imprint, the Third Ear Band was definitely Far Out on a limb. The band’s music was (rather perceptively) described by one critic as “difficult music to rationalise about, because it simply exists and demands to be taken on its own terms”. Literally no other band boasted a lineup like it – oboe, violin/viola, cello and hand-percussion, with no guitars, no keyboards, no vocals. Their musical stock-in-trade was trance-fuelled, improvisatory compositions, meandering mantras with a simultaneous air of deep antiquity and cutting-edge experimentalism. Symbiotic creativity producing sounds that were equal-parts inspired by ancient and medieval music, folk and world musics and eastern mysticism, while also influenced by contemporary classical music. Highly esoteric, for sure, and certainly not destined to be everyone’s cup of tea, but once your head’s in the right place immensely satisfying and spiritually rewarding. But the band’s music certainly polarised even the trippiest of audiences, and reactions ranged wildly from utter captivation to bare tolerance, intense dislike and blind indifference.

So now more than ever, the intensely original, definingly unique music of the Third Ear Band demands reassessment. And this programme of totally handsome reissues from the perfectly-named Esoteric label will undoubtedly do the trick. It might seem mildly illogical, though, for the series to be launched at the apex of the band’s success, its most prolific time and annus mirabilis 1970. This lavish three-disc set centres round the band’s prosaically eponymous second album, which Harvest released in June of that year (exactly one year on from their 1969 debut LP Alchemy). It’s often referred to as Elements, since it takes the form of four lengthy pieces for each of which the “impossible” brief was to represent or portray one of the four elements (Air, Earth, Fire and Water). The music is indeed elemental, yet at the same time highly contrasted. Air seems literally to arise out of thin air, with its ethereal, wispy, elusive melodic fragments and complex shifting rhythms, whereas Earth arises out of a primitive, bucolic peasant-dance and builds in a rapid accelerando before losing momentum mid-way, after which it limps along almost drunkenly. Fire is a white-heat droning cauldron of discords and persistent driven rhythms, while Water steers its restless eddying string currents through a smooth folk-inspired contour. Elements is an extraordinary, and extraordinarily coherent, record. (Only one glitch in the presentation of this new edition: the package lists Fire and Water the wrong way round…)

However, the Elements album proves the mere tip of the iceberg within this fabulous new Esoteric edition, for the set also delivers over two complete discs’ worth of priceless unreleased bonus material of stunning quality. This enables us to appreciate the continuum of the band’s artistic development and does much to fill in the gaps and progressions which at the time had baffled even the band’s admirers including myself. There’s an illuminating, even more primordial early studio take of Earth, followed by three pieces from a BBC Sounds Of The 70s live-in-the-studio session recorded a couple of months after the album. The gem of this set, though, is a suite of six pieces written as soundtrack to the film Abelard & Heloise, a “psychedelic love-story”, for NDR-TV in Munich; it forms a kind of bridge between the organic archaic medievalism of Alchemy and the progressive extemporisation of Elements, and contains some of the band’s most persuasive playing and arrangements. Although this suite was briefly available previously, on a 1996 Mooncrest CD set (Hymn To The Sphinx), this new Esoteric issue is superior, since it has been sourced from the original master, and the remastered sound is splendid.

Barely three months after the release of Elements, though, and shortly after playing a series of celebrated free concerts in Hyde Park, the band dynamic underwent a drastic change when violinist Richard Coff and cellist Ursula Smith quit (ostensibly to form another band), leaving oboist Paul Minns and percussionist Glen Sweeney to be joined by Paul Buckmaster (bass) and Denim Bridges (electric guitar); confusingly, Richard soon rejoined TEB, and the expanded lineup was signed to produce a soundtrack for Roman Polanski’s film of Macbeth (the resultant album appears as the second instalment of Esoteric’s TEB reissue series, and will be reviewed separately).

The Elements set continues with three tracks recorded for a projected third album The Dragon Wakes, which show the band progressing towards a more integrated (albeit still loose-limbed) version of their organic multi-faceted musical vision, one that featured some more “orthodox” instrumental colourings yet still refused to compromise into the realm of over-accessibility. The observant might discern shades of the music of peer bands like Soft Machine, Family, Henry Cow and Art Bears, both here and in the subsequent studio recordings from early-to-mid-1971 which appear on the third disc of this set. The comparatively brief Very Fine…Far Away even introduces some vocal counterpoint, while The Dragon Wakes possesses something of the aura of early King Crimson, with jittery percussion and glittering shards of electric guitar mingling with splintery oboe and bells and chimes and treated sounds in an ambient but full-on attention-grabbing mix. Sunrise employs a subliminal drone rather reminiscent of Tuvan overtone singing, remarkably presaging the use of this texture in the music of David Moss (LightGarden, Banoffi) a couple of decades on. The quirky psych-fusion of East Of Eden and the early jazz-rock adventures of Ian Carr also come to mind on tracks like the extended, at times surprisingly funky Evening Awakening (and Glenn had by this time acquired a full drum-kit!). Even so, the new-look “high-powered and progressive”, then-five-piece Third Ear Band still didn’t sound much like any other outfit, as the final three items on this set – previously unreleased John Peel In Concert session tracks including a coruscating revisit of Water – certainly demonstrate. The above-mentioned early 1971 studio recordings (newly “liberated from the vaults” for this set) were even stranger; allegedly driven by a heavy influence from Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, they were abandoned after some manic acid-fuelled experiences and personality changes – but these tracks prove intriguing and tantalising glimpses of what that projected third album might have been.

I loved the music of the Third Ear Band back then, but now if anything I love it even more, and it does genuinely stand the test of time, even while it transports me back to its era – and for that matter back even further into the archaic reaches of time itself. It was idiosyncratic: challenging, sure, and provocative, but also intensely spiritual and very often strangely soothing. A lot of water has flown under the bridges since then, but Third Ear Band’s music still sounds profoundly original today."

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 25, 2019

A review about "Music from Macbeth" on "The Recoup" webzine.

Joseph Kyle reviews TEB's "Music from Macbeth" on "The Recoup" - "a reader-supported, advertising-free music and popular culture website" - at https://therecoup.com/2019/01/22/third-ear-band-music-from-macbeth-esoteric/

Joseph Kyle
January 22nd, 2019

"Film director Roman Polanski worked through the pain of the Manson Family murders in a most unique manner: making a film. Not just any film, though; he took on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, one of the greatest tragedies of all time. Released in 1972, Macbeth is a naturally dark and disturbing production made all the more thought-provoking through subtle and not-so-subtle allusions to the murders. A dark production requires an equally dark score, and British progressive collective third ear band were selected to do the job. Esoteric’s recent reissue of the score indicates Polanski made the right choice.

Third Ear Band came to be in the late 1960s and made a name for themselves as a top notch live act known for blending classical and medieval instrumentation with modern rock sounds and improvisation. Prior to being recruited by Polanski, the troupe had seen some success for their score of the 1970 score of the film Abelard and Heloise, so the group was eager for more soundtrack work. Seeing the opportunity to experiment, they approached Polanski with a request: they wanted to record a live, improvised score as opposed to a preplanned composition. Such a move was bold for a big budget production, but one that the filmmakers accepted. Polanski, however, took an active role in this soundtrack, attending sessions and making sure the band had to visual stimulation needed.

Music From Macbeth is a dark, dreary, and disturbing album, one that perfectly fit the soundtrack. Consisting of sixteen pieces, the album ebbs and flows as one continuous whole, and with many of the pieces being less than two minutes long, it’s not an album to be taken piecemeal. At times the music is so dissonant and harsh—the mixture of medieval instruments and modern technology when together like oil and water—listening can be difficult. Music From Macbeth’s overture sets that standard from the get-go, but yet the cacophony can be oddly appealing, such as on “The Banquet” and “Court Dance.” Then there’s “Fleance,” which is sung by the actor Keith Chegwin, and is based on a poem by Chaucer. It’s a beautiful ballad, and though it breaks up the flow of the atmospherics, it feels oddly out of place; unsurprisingly, the band did not care for it, as it felt disjointed from the rest of the album.
Macbeth was a flop, but it remains a fascinating and difficult work of art. Its soundtrack is no different; it is a complex, dense work of dark and foreboding compositions that can try the patience of even the most steadfast listener. Still, approached as a wholeMusic From Macbeth is nothing less than an interesting and compelling musical artifact."

 no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 23, 2019

"Music from Macbeth" out now!

Original "Music from Macbeth" is finally on sale these days. A beautiful digipack edition for a classic TEB album!
Here below you can see the front/back cover and the booklet included I've edited for Esoteric Recordings.
Any critical contributions about it (opinions, reviews, critics...) will be very appreciated...

 (photo by Elena Blasi)

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 21, 2019

Dave Thompson reviews "Elements 1970-1971" on "Goldmine" magazine.

Excellent journalist Dave Thompson reviews TEB's "Elements 1970-1971" album on "Goldmine" (the Music Collector's magazine) at https://www.goldminemag.com/blogs/spin-cycle-blogs/reviews-third-ear-band-curved-air-bay-city-rollers-the-bordellos-unicorn-bananarama-underground-freaks-rock-art-sex-clark-five
Here's the verdict:

Dave Thompson
January 11th, 2019

"If you don’t know the Third Ear band, stop reading and look them up on Youtube. We’ll see you back here in about thirty minutes. If, on the other hand, you do know their music… and have been waiting for a CD package that comes close to the quality of your original vinyl… this is what you’ve been looking for.

Effectively, Elements is a deluxe edition of the group’s self-titled second album, four songs named for the elements of earth, air, fire and water. Except “songs” is not a word that hangs easily over the group’s oeuvre, as forty minutes of haunting oboe/cello/violin/hand drum-led improv (more-or-less) transports you to places that even the more outre prog rock rarely venture.

They’ve been described as “challenging,” but that’s not strictly true. Rather, the Third Ear Band was the ultimate destination of a lot of what was going on musically at the end of the sixties, only armed with a vision that refused point-blank to sit comfortably among your expectations. Hence, as this package makes clear, a somewhat dishevelled recording career.

Disc one is the original album, a couple of out-takes, and three BBC session recordings. (More, from a BBC concert broadcast, conclude disc three). Disc two, however, places the group in what might well have been their most natural environment, and their soundtrack to the German TV drama Abelard and Heloise. A medieval romance decorated with the mindbending art of Herbert Fuchs, it provided an exquisite setting for the band’s musical inclinations and, taken, for the first time, from the original master tapes, the music sounds amazing.
There’s more unreleased material spreading across the remainder discs two and three, as sessions for the group’s ultimately scrapped third album are unearthed for the first time. The original line-up had splintered just months before the recordings began, and the new look TEB was perhaps still finding its feet. But what was to be titled The Dragon Wakes nevertheless ushered in a brand new electric era… a preface to their so majestic soundtrack for Polanski’s MacBeth… and it’s great to finally hear it here.

The Third Ear Band was never going to be toppermost of the poppermost; was never going to ascend to the highest echelons of even left field prog success. Peter Mew, who engineered Third Ear Band, described the sessions as the “weirdest” he had ever been involved with; journalist Richard Williams mused, “what they have to do with pop music, I don’t know.” But while they flourished, the Third Ear Band had no peers, and took no prisoners. Elements, which one hopes is simply the first shot in a wholesale reissue package, is a terrific place to start (re-) acquaint ing yourself."

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 17, 2019

Carolyn Looker about Andrew King's interview with "Uncut".

In his recent interview with "Uncut"'s Tom Pinnock, Andrew King told a funny story about Glen:

"(...) He was a lot older than anybody else – allegedly he had taken part in the Second World War, which makes him 20 years older than me. My favourite [of his war stories], which might be completely fictitious, is that he bailed out of an aeroplane over Cairo, floated down in a parachute, landed by the side of a swimming pool surrounded by half a dozen rich Egyptian ladies, and stayed there being looked after by them until the end of the war."

Because I remember Glen told me a story like that, I asked Carolyn Looker to tell us how things really are.  She says:

"Ha ha!! Glen had some amazing stories from those days but that one... hmm l don't think so!!! He and another guy did spend a few weeks in a resort in Heliopolis enjoying themselves and forgotten about by the airforce... how it came about l'm not too sure!! You know Glen, he was a great storyteller. Really funny. In the Star and Garter home [last hospital residence of Glen in Richmond] he was visited one Christmas by some "bigwig" from the airforce who asked about his military experience. Glen gave him an amazing Biggleswade type story about flying his plane and being shot down surviving to battle yet again!! I was with him and found it hilarious. You see even then when he was really ill he still had that wonderful imagination. That should read BIGGLES as in boys own stories not Biggleswade!"

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 12, 2019

An interview with Andrew King on "Uncut" magazine on line.

After a four pages review about the "TEB" remastered editions on the last issue (February 2019), "Uncut" journalist Tom Pinnock collected some opinions by Blackhill manager Andrew King about Glen Sweeney and the band on the Blog section of the Web magazine (HERE).

Here's the very interesting interview (where Andrew King finally changes his opinions on the band)...

The Third Ear Band remembered: “Glen thought it was very good PR for us to be heavily involved in the druids”
Tom Pinnock
January 11, 2019

Manager and producer Andrew King recalls the strange world of Glen Sweeney

In a recent Uncut, I wrote about a couple of excellent deluxe reissues from a group that, despite the endless reassessment of the past, still remain obscure – the Third Ear Band. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, however, they were quite the sensation, outselling many other artists on the Harvest label, and supporting the Stones and Blind Faith in Hyde Park. Delightfully, their mix of improvised and otherwordly cello, violin, percussion and oboe still sounds strange in 2019, as you might discover if you track down a copy of their new Elements CD boxset on Cherry Red. As fascinating as their eerie music, though, is their incredible story, involving druids from Dorking, working for Roman Polanski, alchemy and an unlikely Egyptian sojourn during the Second World War for leader and percussionist Glen Sweeney.
The band’s manager and producer Andrew King explains more below – and you can track down the Uncut featuring my four-page Third Ear Band review, and New Order on the cover, until January 18th.

The Third Ear Band sold pretty well at the time, didn’t they?
"They sold better than almost any of the funny things we did on Harvest, apart from maybe Edgar Broughton. For instance, they always sold more than Kevin Ayers, which surprised me. They were pretty unique, I must say. I did listen to a bit the other day; it’s quite extraordinary. They were very strange. Glen Sweeney, good lord, what a guy."

How did they go down live?
"People never got up and started jumping around when they played, because it was the other way – it was more Quaaludes than speed – but they did go down well, yes. There was a small and devoted band [of fans] which gradually grew."

They seemed to be into all the countercultural interests of the era – drugs, mysticism…
"…and the concept of the drone – every hippie thing under the sun could be connected to it, one way or another. The whole aura around them was, I think, a manifestation of what Glen wanted. I think he controlled it – it’s hard to say how. Maybe he did it instinctively. The third ear, the whole mystic thing, he had it sussed."

He sounds a bit like a cult leader.
"Yeah, he was. The band was very much not a cult, though, it was very much four individuals, and he wasn’t seen as a spiritual leader, but he could be quite bossy. He was a lot older than anybody else – allegedly he had taken part in the Second World War, which makes him 20 years older than me. My favourite [of his war stories], which might be completely fictitious, is that he bailed out of an aeroplane over Cairo, floated down in a parachute, landed by the side of a swimming pool surrounded by half a dozen rich Egyptian ladies, and stayed there being looked after by them until the end of the war. "

What do you remember about the sessions for the second Elements LP?
"Allegedly they were completely off their heads on acid, but I naively didn’t realise it. I don’t remember them being any stranger than anybody else around that time, but maybe they were tripping away, a lot of people were. I would say it was all completely improvised. Glen might have a rhythm on his drums to start it going. All the Third Ear Band stuff was done in Studio 3 at Abbey Road. The engineers were very discreet and well behaved, but I did sense that they wondered, “What the fuck’s going on here? What the fuck’s all this about?”"

They played some big gigs – with Al Stewart, with the Stones at Hyde Park…
"[Blackhill] were quite ruthless – if someone had got a tour, we’d stick one of our other bands on it. And when we were doing the concerts in Hyde Park we’d stick all our bands on. I remember on the morning of the Stones concert, Paul Buckmaster phoned me up and said [poshly], “Andrew, what do you think I should wear? Should I wear a dark suit?”"

Ursula Smith was an important part of the second album. What was she like?
"She was a pretty good cellist. I think she’s still married to Steve Pank, who was the roadie. He famously once drove 40 miles the wrong way down the M1 with the band in the back. Steve was a legend for getting lost, always. It’s a miracle they ever got to any gigs at all with him driving. "

If there was a lead instrument, it was surely Paul Minns’ oboe.
"Paul Minns was a pretty extraordinary bloke – I say he’s the John Coltrane of the oboe, I think it’s quite amazing what he plays. There’s nothing to compare it with, his improvisations, I think they’re brilliant, utterly brilliant. Because of the way the reed’s constructed in oboes, you can make incredible noises with it."

What do you remember of their performance on Glastonbury Tor?
"That was really funny – straight out of Monty Python. Glen thought it was very good PR for us to be heavily involved in the druids, so for some solstice or another, or an equinox, we went down there and the druids all showed up and we walked up to the top of Glastonbury Tor. Marching up the hill, Glen was probably complaining about his leg… yeah, it was a war wound. He made out it was anyway. The druids did whatever druids do, sort of moved around and shook their robes and what have you, and the Third Ear Band played, and then we went down again and had a roast lamb and two veg lunch with them. I always remember, we went through all that crazy druid stuff, then they all suddenly turned out to be quantity surveyors from Dorking."

Were they serious about alchemy and magick?
"They were very good musicians; I don’t think they gave a shit about alchemy one way or another. I think they all thought they’d found a way to make some great music and they were going to have a go at it, and they did. Looking back at it now we can laugh at some of the hippie excesses, as they look to us now, but at the same it was very serious stuff. The music doesn’t sound dated at all, that’s the thing."

How did they come to be involved in Macbeth?
"Through one of Polanski’s producers, Hercules Bellvile, he was a nice chap. It was a great experience for everyone, going down to Shepperton in Polanski’s huge Rolls-Royce. It was very exciting. Polanski was just so bright and so smart, he was always 10 paces ahead of anybody. He knew more about everything – he knew every technical thing backwards, he knew exactly what he was trying to do."

It really was the perfect film for them to soundtrack.
"There’s something magic about the Third Ear Band. You don’t realise it at the time, then it’s hard to pin down years later, but there was something special there, there really was."

 no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 09, 2019

TEB album is one of the best reissue of 2018 (according Rocklistmusic)!


Julian White runs the interesting project of Rocklistmusic at http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/. The idea is simple but very incisive:  he tracks all the lists published by the main English and USA rock magazines and makes "the list of the list" for documenting the best records of the year. 
In the section Re-Issues/Compilations (read at http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/tysofar.htm) you can find our TEB with the Elements album...


Brian Eno - Discreet Music/Ambient 1 & 4/Music For Films
Rolling Stones - Beggers Banquet
Super Furry Animals - At The BBC
Paul McCartney & Wings - 1971-1973 Box Set
Manic Street Preachers - This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours 20th Anniversary Edition
Terry Callier - The New Folk Sound Of.../What Color Is Love
Neil Young - Songs For Judy
Buzzcocks - Another Music From A Different Kitchen/Love Bites
The Moody Blues - In Search Of The Lost Chord
The Fall - 58 Golden Greats
Third Ear Band - Elements 1970-1971 / Music From Macbeth
Badfinger - Badfinger/Wish You Were Here
The Beta Band - Hot Shots II
Stereolab - Peng!/The Group Played "Space Age Bachelor Pad Music"

 no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 08, 2019

An old review about Gonzo's "Spirits" and "Exorcisms"...

An old review from the Web it's this one taken from "Exposé" - American Website devote to "exploring the boundaries of Rock" - written by Peter Thelen (http://www.expose.org/index.php/articles/display/third-ear-band-exorcisms-spirits-3.html). 
He reviewed Gonzo Multimedia's "Spirits" and "Exorcisms" releases:

"Third Ear Band from the beginning was one of the strangest sounding bands, and remains so to this day. I remember bringing home the LP of the band’s first album Alchemy (bought blindly because it was on the reliable Harvest label), playing it all the way through, and just scratching my head in bewilderment. Sounds built up from violin, cello, oboe, recorder, and hand drums, and that’s all! A blend of improvisation seemingly rooted in jazz, Eastern themes, folk, and very little rock, it was definitely the strangest album in my collection up to that point. Truly, in retrospect, it was a precursor of what we call world music today. I was aware of a few more albums coming out in the early 70s, including the soundtrack to Roman Polansky’s Macbeth, then they disappeared, or so I thought. Fast forward to 1988, and the band is back in action on an Italian tour with two original members, drummer Glen Sweeney and oboist Paul Minns, now documented on the album Live Ghosts, opening a second chapter of the band’s career which lasted from that point until around 1993 when they finally called it a day. During that period they were championed by the Italian labels Materiali Sonori and ADN, releasing many more albums both studio and live, and did several more tours of Italy, usually just a handful of dates each time. In recent times, the Gonzo Multimedia label has picked up the mantle and begun releasing archival recordings from both the early 70s and the 88-93 period, the latter where the two releases at hand were culled from. 

Exorcisms is a studio disc of demos from the 1988-89 period, the first the tracks are subtitled The Cambodian Embassy Rehearsals 1988, which is where the band was rehearsing for the upcoming Italian mini-tour that is documented on the Live Ghosts release. The band, just reunited after over a decade of inactivity, consisted of originals Sweeney and Minns, guitarist Mick Carter, and violinist Samuel Allen. The recordings open with “Druid Three,” and then move into a new version of “The Egyptian Book of the Dead,” both derived from the band’s Alchemy period, and then they move onto an eight minute version of “Live Ghosts” (the live version on the album of the same name a year later would be a full five minutes longer). The second part is subtitled The Magic Music Demos 1989, which contains demos of some of the cuts that appeared on the Materiali Sonori 1990 release Magic Music (“Behind the Pyramids” and “Reading the Runes”), another that appered on Live Forecasts (“Witches Dance”) and a couple more in addition to that. For these sessions, Allen and Minns had left, and the band now included violinist Ursula Smith (who had played cello on the band’s second album in 1970), and Lyn Dobson on sax and flute (who had played in Soft Machine and the Keef Hartley Band, and appeared on dozens of recordings over the years as a session man). This is the same lineup that went to Italy for a three date tour in January ’89, four tracks from the first date are documented on the New Forecasts album (originally a cassette release on the ADN Tapes label, Gonzo has now re-released it on CD), and a fourth date was hastily added on the last day before the band went back to England, and seven tracks from that show are released on Spirits – Live at Circolo Tuxedo, the live archival release under review here. A version of “Druid,” “Hyde Park Raga,” a short version of “Egyptian Book of the Dead,” “Spirits” (which is actually “Live Ghosts”) and others, but the real surprise here is “Lark Rise,” which was the closing track on their first album, and I don’t think any other live recordings exist of it. All taken, Gonzo is doing the needful work of getting this archival material out there for all to hear.

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)

January 03, 2019

TEB's album in "All About Jazz"'s Best Releases of 2018!

As every year, editor of the worthy ALL ABOUT JAZZ (https://www.allaboutjazz.com/John Kelman writes a list of his favourite albums. Introducing it, he explains:

"Once again, the chronic health problem that has reduced my writing pace to a crawl continues without any respite. My best of the year lists have traditionally been predicated upon having reviewed the releases chosen, but with only a relative handful of reviews to choose from this year (and with those choices, more than ever now, always representing music that moved me in a big way), there's simply no way to come up with the big lists I used to compile. 

And so, like last year, I figured I'd throw in a top ten (well, eleven) for jazz and beyond (meaning: anything else), including a mix of new releases and reissues/archival finds. But to let folks know that this lists barely scratches the surface of all the music I've been privileged to hear this year—and that, as ever, there are far more "best of" titles than even my previously large lists included—I'll also add, at the end, for anyone interested, a whack of releases would have been reviewed, had it been possible.

So, bearing that in mind, first up are just a few of the top recorded events in jazz and beyond for 2018 (in alphabetical order): 

Unreviewed But Still Faves
And now, those two additional lists of 2018 releases that I couldn't get around to reviewing, but sure wish I could have. Again, in alphabetical order, every one of these is top-drawer, regardless of genre, and worthy of attention:



The Beatles, The Beatles (White Album) Super Deluxe Edition Kate Bush, Remastered Part 1 & Remastered Part 2 
Rosanne Cash, She Remembers Everything (Deluxe) 
Ry Cooder, Prodigal Son 
Bob Dylan, More Blood More Tracks: Bootleg Series Vol. 14 Family, At the BBC
Grateful Dead, Pacific Northwest '73-'74 (The Complete Recordings) 
Jimi Hendrix, Axis Bold As Love (Mono + Stereo SACD Hybrid) Ashley Hutchings, Paradise & Thorns 
Paul McCartney, Egypt Station
Willie Nelson, Last Man Standing 
Procol Harum, Still There'll Be More 
Sanguine Hum, Now We Have Power 
Third Ear Band, Elements 1970-1971 
Richard Thompson, 13 Rivers 
The Sea Within, The Sea Within 
Frank Zappa, The Roxy Performances  

Digital version HERE

no©2019 Luca Chino Ferrari (unless you intend to make a profit. In which case, ask first)