Another masterpiece of British jazz reissued on Universal's outstanding Impressed Re-pressed series, where it joins other long unavailable classics such as Amancio D'Silva's Integration , reviewed last month. Recorded in '69, Greek Variations & Other Aegean Exercises is irresistible on two counts. First, for its daringly conceived and brilliantly performed music, inspired by Greek folk songs and instrumental textures and deep enough to reveal all its treasures only after many repeated listenings. Second, for being recorded at the moment when the Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet, a major force in British straight-ahead jazz since '62, had broken up and Carr's equally influential jazz-rock band Nucleus was rising from the ashes.
The Peruvian progressive rock band Fragil was founded in 1976 and gained quite huge success back then. Bands such as Genesis and Yes inspired them, and they took their name from the Yes album "Fragile" (1972). Fragil have released four albums and this is a re-edition of their first album "Avenida Larco" from 1981. Their sound is very beautiful, often dreamy and dominated by typical 80's sounding polyphonic synthesisers and lyrics in Spanish.
Gilbert "Gil" Scott-Heron was an American soul and jazz poet, musician, and author, known primarily for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and '80s. His collaborative efforts with musician Brian Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues, and soul, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. His own term for himself was "bluesologist", which he defined as "a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues." His music, most notably on Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul.
This is undoubtedly the equivalent of Gilberto Gil "Unplugged" – Gil, his acoustic guitar, and a nonelectric five-piece band recorded live in a studio – and it is a thoroughly musical triumph as Gil mesmerizes his attentive audience for some 74 minutes. He starts out with the nearly pure reggae of "A Novidade," but before long, he establishes himself in a mostly consistent, loping set of intimate grooves thoroughly rooted in Brazil. Gil had a hand in writing all of this tuneful material except Anastacia Dominguinhos' "Tenho Sede," Caetano Veloso's "Sampa," and a left-field choice, Stevie Wonder's "The Secret Life of Plants," which lends itself very well to Gil's bossa nova approach and proenvironmental position. It is not a complete live portrait of Gil, though; the astounding quickness and flexibility of his voice is fully vented only toward the end of the concert. The later Quanta Live album will give you a wider panorama of Gil's range.
The second of two album to come out of the Nov 1987 sessions featuring the great Gil Evans with Laurent Cugny's Big Band Lumiere. The first album is RHYTHM-A-NING. Laurent Cugny was born in 1955, he is one of the best French jazz musician and known as a specialist of Gil Evans' music. Laurent wears two hats: he is, on one side, a musician and, on the other, a musicologist and a professor at the Paris-Sorbonne University. Self-taught musician, he started playing the piano when he was ten and played in amateur groups at the age of eighteen. He created several groups while he was studying economics and film studies. In 1979, he created the Big Band Lumiere and won the same year the third prize of piano at the National Jazz Competition in La Defense. In 1980, he also received prizes for its compositions and for the Big Band Lumiere.