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Rhesus O - Rhesus O CD (album) cover


Rhesus O


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.32 | 18 ratings

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3 stars An early-70's French entry with strong Magma links.It all started in late-60's, when keyboardist Jean-Pol Asseline and drummer Thierry Blanchard played with bassist Gerard Prévost, future member of Zao, and participated in several Jazz-linked concerts, before deciding to form a regular band.Asseline and Blanchard were joined by organist Alain Monier, bassist Serge Lenoir and sax player Alain Hatot, forming Guige.They were rehearsing at Monier's family basement and were discovered by CBS, signing a long-term deal, folloed by a change of name.With Lenoir out for his military service Magma's bassist Francis Moze was recruited, but by the time of the first recordings Lenoir was back and the band had now two bassists plus Guy Pedersen, a Funk bassist, who joined them on double bass.The recordings took place at Chateau d'Herouville and the debut album came out in September 1971 on Epic.

An organic amalgam of loose Jazz, smooth Psychedelic Rock and intense Fusion was what this septet was offering at the time and the combination worked pretty great at moments, switching from dreamy interplays, powerful solos, ethereal sax lines and sinister Hammond organ waves.They do sound a bit like compatriots AME SON and, of course, MAGMA, although the Jazz component is more pronounced in ''Rhesus O''.The line-up of seven musicians allowed the band to create a vast palette of jazzy rhythms and solos, either performed with some furious electric piano and deep double bass or featuring the darker sound of organ, but always including the work of Hatot on sax.The music gets very dense and closer to Progressive Rock quite often with full keyboard/piano battles, electroacoustic changes and sax interventions in pieces which also include a more active role for the bass players.And there are even a couple of parts with some sort of Classical edge, executed on organ and harsichord.Best highlights of the album appear to be the fantastic changes between emphatic, dreamy, loose Jazz Rock and a more structured and Fusion-oriented Psych/Prog.At last a couple of folky, depressive flute parts add the album yet another dimension towards the end.

When Moze left to rejoin Magma he was replaced by Bernard Paganotti (who went on to become also a member of the French pioneers) and Richard Raux, a session sax player, who also played with Magma, Laurent Thibault and Popol Ace among others.The band was moving towards a more brass-oriented sound, but soon Paganotti and Raux quit along with original drummer Thierry Blanchard to be replaced by Chad-born Manfred Long on bass, Jean-Michel Herve on sax and Christian Ducamps on drums.1972 additions included also bassist Marc Bertreaux and trumpetist Michel Boss, but just when Rhesus O started recording new pieces Monier joined the army for his service and the contract with CBS came to an end, resulting the band's dissolution.Keyboardist Jean-Pol Asseline would also meet his destiny with Magma circa 1975, meeting again with Paganotti, and was a regular musician on Jean-Pierre Alarcen's solo albums.

Good, early-70's Jazz/Fusion with progressive overtones and slight, psychedelic explorations.Musea's reissue is a good chance to meet Rhesus O's rich and jazzy sound.Recommended stuff.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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