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John G. Perry - Seabird CD (album) cover

SEABIRD

John G. Perry

 

Canterbury Scene

4.55 | 11 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This British band was touted as a super group to be called Sunset Wading (title of Perry's first solo album), even set to tour with French band Pulsar in the late 70's but never really materialized because of bad management and the impending arrival of punk. Yes, it started out as a John G. Perry solo project, he of Caravan, Anthony Phillips and Quantum Jump fame, a bassist extraordinaire using the WAL, a hand-made fretless wonder that has an astonishing tone. Under the guidance of the supremely talented and connected keyboardist / producer Rupert Hine, many of Europe's most talented progressive musicians eagerly signed on to participate. The fabulous Michael Giles of KC on drums, the equally legendary Geoffrey Richardson of Caravan on viola and flute , the most accomplished percussion session man ever in Morris Pert of Brand X fame, the duo from Italian group Nova: Elio D'Anna on saxophone and flute as well as the thunderous Corrado Rustici on lead guitar. That first classic album "Sunset Wading" is rightly considered as perhaps the finest example of Brit prog-jazz rock ever to be "undiscovered", a little gem that only too few have ever discovered. "Seabirds" is the second chapter, also recorded at the illustrious Trident Studios in London, arguably one of the finest temples of creation in the 70's. What characterizes their brand of distinctive music is the overpowering influence of strings arranger Simon Jeffes (Penguin Café Orchestra, Ant Phillips, Caravan, Quantum Jump, Hine, among many others) with Richardson's viola up front and center, leading the charge. With a rhythm section comprising the cymbal -savvy Michael Giles, Pert's inventive frills and the fat wobbly bass of the main man, the percussive side is perhaps one of the finest ever anywhere. Hine stays in the background allowing Rustici and D'Anna to solo when necessary or called for.

The whimsical introduction "Uncle Sea Bird; His Nibs" is a rousing little flute/oboe/viola ditty, playful and true to that unpretentiously precious Canterbury style, the percussion work in particular simply bedeviling.The 9 minute epic "The Art of Boeing" (what, the aircraft ?) is a disjointed collage that is maliciously held together by the massive string arrangements and the rhythm section , as the inventive piano scours the horizons while Perry's rather pleasant voice spins a tale. Again, the sheer textural quality of the musicianship here is spell binding, with the spot lit WAL creating a fair amount of havoc; wow, my kind of bass player! The next two joined pieces offer a tone that gets a tad experimental with some dissonant sonics, weaving a shimmering expanse, enough teasing foreplay until the gloomy bass and drums gets cooking, seductively searching for that funky jazz furrow. That zipping groove suddenly appears out of the blue with the joyously brief "Uncle Seabird's Finest Hour", with monstrous Hohner clavinet work (another classic 70's prog keyboard sound) and an all around splendid touch. Hey, let's have another aviation innuendo with splendid "The Lockheed Lizard" a tune that illuminates a hypnotic percussive-vocal jungle theme, a lush runway supplying the takeoff for a magical Corrado Rustici guitar sortie, full of rustling jazz chords. Humor, you ask? How about this fine example! A tune titled "Obsoletely True", a flute-laden spoken-vocal oddity that suddenly explodes into this immense joyride full of whimsy and spirit, the walls of strings giving it an even more British sound, all with truly remarkable ease. The nearly 7 minute two-part finale possesses some very clever innuendo-laced lyrics ("Alice in autumn.clothes of air , Blue bird adventures..what to where, Oboeing over..flutes away, Sorrowful penguins..Sad café. There was nothing to do but jive, But by Jove, I jove!") and the most playfully confident music you will ever hear anywhere.

Simply timeless and original

5 windswept droppings.

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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