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Fermata - Fermáta CD (album) cover

FERMÁTA

Fermata

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.20 | 75 ratings

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Magor
5 stars Some background here: Fermáta was founded in 1972 by guitarist Fero Griglák, who had "graduated" from two seminal rock bands in Slovakia, Prúdy in 1970, and Collegium Musicum in 1971. Even between the two albums he recorded with the aforementioned bands there was considerable growth in his playing, and this album from '75 only confirms it. His playing was more advanced now, stylistically akin to McLaughlin; indeed the main influence throughout seems to be the first Mahavishnu Orchestra lineup. The other integral member in this period of Fermáta must not be forgotten - Tomás Berka, the rhodester and the mooger. Inspired by his fellow countryman Ján Hammer, he was no slouch in the game of jazz-rock. These two protagonists are joined on bass and drums respectively by Anton Jaro and Peter Szapu, a solid rhythm section. True, Fermáta was by no means on the same musical and technical level as Mahavishnu or Weather Report, but considering their place of origin in 70's communist Czechoslovakia, they did admirably well.

So this is their debut, a somewhat rough recording with the drums sounding a lot like cardboard boxes. Still, it's very listenable, and at least it's not as overproduced as some of their future albums. The first track is Griglák's adaption of George Enescu's Roumanian Rhapsody, being one of Fermáta hardest rocking numbers, with brilliant interplay and a great fat moog sound. The second track "Perpetuum II" is another highlight, an ominous, slow growing ostinato based track. "Valčík pre krstnú mamu/Waltz for Godmother" is the only track where Berka gets the sole writing credit, and it's another riff based monster with alternating 5/4 and 9/8 meters, in fact doing it with such ease, I'm sure they must have rehearsed this for quite a while before recording. Usually in the Eastern bloc, bands had only a few days to record their albums, which lends certain immediacy and spontaneity to them. This one is no exception.

This remains my favorite Fermáta album because it's constantly adventurous and explorative. They started with a bang, but in my opinion they never fulfilled their potential, even though all of their first four albums are worthy listens.

Highlights: everything

Magor | 5/5 |

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