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Máquina! - En Directo CD (album) cover

EN DIRECTO

Máquina!

 

Proto-Prog

3.07 | 13 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gerinski
Prog Reviewer
3 stars As a Prog Rock album this barely deserves 2 stars, but it's a good blues-jazz-rock album.

Maquina! were one of the very first pioneers of progressive music in Spain, their 1970 album Why? is considered a classic by many (in the Proto-Prog sub-genre). After Why? the band broke up due to discrepancies in the musical direction and because some members had to leave for the then-compulsory military service. Keyboardist Enric Herrera rescued the project but took a rather different direction, focusing on blues-jazz-rock with a distinctive presence of horns (trumpet and sax). He recruited the trio from the band Crac (Carles Benavent on bass, Emili Baleriola on guitars and Salvador Font on drums) and two German musicians who had established in Barcelona Peter Rohr on sax and Hubert Grilleberger on trumpet.

Herrera's idea was to record a double LP in the studio but he could not find the required funding so eventually they settled for recording live in concert, with rather limited resources, which was cheaper. Finally the recording was taken in 2 concerts in Barcelona on 7 and 8 July 1972, in which Mk I singer and bassist Jordi Batiste joined although only as vocalist and with limited presence since most of the music is instrumental. Incidentally this was the first live double LP ever produced in Spain.

The music is not Prog Rock, it's late 60's- early 70's blues-jazz-rock, often fast-paced and with some subtleties making it more proggy, with lots of Hammond solos, guitar solos and horn-driven melodies. Think early Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin with horns, and often with a more funky-groovy mood. We have a good bass solo in 'Chains' (Benavent would go on to become the most valued jazz-rock bassists in Spain) and a very good drum solo in 'Sonata', the most Prog-sounding song in the album.

The opener is the jazz standard 'Cold Duck Time' by Eddie Harries, which for some reason was renamed 'Could That Time'. The rest are new original compositions, not included in their studio album Why?, except for 'Blues In F' which is a traditional blues and an extended version of their 1969 single 'Look Away Our Happiness'. So it is one of those live albums of original material rather than playing live songs already released in studio albums.

The last track 'I Can Only Fly But Very Well' had been recorded in the studio before the concerts and was added to complete the 2-LP album running time. It fades out much too quickly though, leaving you wondering why did they add it.

If you like Hammond and guitar solos on bluesy backgrounds, and appreciate good trumpet and sax input in the melodies and solos, you will surely enjoy this one. If you look for highly complex or symphonic-eclectic Prog, forget about this album.

Gerinski | 3/5 |

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