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Aviator - Aviator CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.36 | 31 ratings

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3 stars Goodness me, I have been trying to get a CD copy of this lost piece of prog glory for such a while now (30 years by last account), my vinyl becoming a sandbox of gritty snap, crackle and pop pebbles. The story of Aviator is a classic scenario of a hugely talented band that wilted under the anti-prog stance of the late 70s, pounded mercilessly into oblivion by a media frenzy dominated by punk and new wave bands. Mick Rogers is , in my humble opinion, the most underrated guitarist in Progland, his contributions to Manfred Mann's Erath Band are stuff of legends (check out his sulfurous axe solos on "Visionary Mountain", "Martha's Madman", "Solar Fire", "Father of Night/Father of Day" and many more) , former Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker is outright legendary , while John G. Perry is , perhaps the most underrated bass player ever, a fretless stylist of great repute (Gordon Giltrap, Anthony Phillips, Caravan and Quantum Jump , plus two magical solo albums). Throw in Jack Lancaster of Blodwyn Pig and Colosseum on sax and lyricon and you have the makings of a prog super group. The artwork on this debut 1979 album (ooh, bad year for prog!) is still among my all-time faves, being an SR-71 Blackbird aficionado. All great ingredients except for the poor timing, this album basically went nowhere, as the demands of the market were clearly anti-prog, which meant more commercial constraints that artists had to follow (ELP, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Gentle Giant and many more were guilty of such outside pressures) and ultimately wound up being counterproductive in every single way.

The set list is comprised of 3 distinct attitudes, the dashingly progressive jewels such as the magnificent "Keep Your Heart Right", the brooding "Country Morning" (sounding a lot like Italian prog/fusion band Nova) and its companion "Morning Journey". These are absolute prog classics that still stand the test of time and are entirely worthy of attention.

Then there are the outright rockers like the exuberant "Silver Needles" and its extended instrumental platform, "Greed" and the brash "Cleveland Ohio" (great loopy synthesizer riff) which veer near Spooky Tooth/Foreigner- like territory, but graced by some monstrous guitar playing.

And finally the poppy in-betweens such as the rambling and jagged opener "Your Loving Is My Home", "Evil Eye" , "Time Traveller" , all positive ear-candy but far from progressive , outside of a few twists and turns that keep things interesting.

Obviously, Aviator is more of a footnote than a sheer prog accomplishment but its scarcity make it a valuable addition to a progressive rock collection.

3.5 Supersonic jets

tszirmay | 3/5 |


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