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BEN

Ben

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.21 | 26 ratings

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apps79
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the really serious Vertigo rarities, a British Jazz Rock group with a short life but some fine talent.Ben were saxophonist/flutist Peter Davey, keyboardist/pianist Alex Macleery, guitarist Gerry Reid, bassist Len Surtees and drummer David Sheen, the later coming from Graham Bond's band.Their only self-titled album, which contains four long, instrumental tracks, was released in 1971.

This one falls into the same category as NUCLEUS and IF, it's technically competent Jazz Rock with some great solos and rhythms, varied climates, going from furious guitar moves and frequent instrumental interactions to a smoother keyboard/piano-driven music with a bit of a psychedelic enviroment, like RAY MANZAREK playing the piano.Cool sax work and some strong flute lines are always welcome, I fail to detect any impressive differences between the pieces, but if you ask me ''Christmas execution'' stands out from the bunch, because, unlike the other pieces, the atmosphere here is really dark and dramatic, rarely found in a Jazz Rock composition.It's also the most progressive piece in here with soft electric guitars, harsichord and lots of flute and an excellent second part with an incredible jazzy taste on guitars and eerie keyboard work.''Gibbon'' contains also some sporadic choirs, another element you'll hardly find in a Jazz Rock album, while the two longer pieces ''The influence'' and ''Gismo'', are definitely a lot more jazzier with good instrumental work, some parts with the guitars and sax in the forefront recall VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's jazzy masturbations, but there are very limited progressive values in these with emphasis given to isolated solos.

Len Surtees played with the post-80's edition of The Nashville Teens, while David Sheen was later involved in various Jazz Rock and Fusion groups, including Mirage and the Canterbury-linked Soft Head.

Good Jazz Rock from the fogotten years, containing two very good compositions with a few proggy glimpses and another pair of more standard Jazz workouts.Warmly recommended, original vinyl is incredibly expensive, various reissues exist.

apps79 | 3/5 |

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