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Kraan - Tournee  CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.83 | 16 ratings

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4 stars Kraan play their own brand of mostly instrumental rather optimistically sounding jazzy rock, dominated by Hellmut Hattler's relentless basslines (I think in the seventies and eighties he was voted best German bassist ten years in a row or so) and the general virtuosity of the band members. It is music that flows (time signatures are usually straight) but still has some good sophistication in the harmonic department.

Kraan always have been a live band in the first place; on stage the interplay between the musicians in free flow could really shine, the tighter concepts that they tried out in the studio, including the occasional attempts at catchy songwriting have never played that strongly to the strength of these musicians. "Tournee" is a smaller brother to their probably best, best known and best sold 1975 double album "Live", which I think is one of the best live abums of all time. Tournee was recorded five years later and is just a single album of 42 minutes length. Hellmut Hattler and guitarist Peter Wolbrandt are still in the band, drummer Jan Friede was replaced by Udo Dahmen and saxophonist Alto Pappert was replaced by keyboard player Ingo Bischof. The fact that there are keyboards now rather than a sax is one of the major differences between Live and Tournee. Bischof is an amazing keyboarder, very virtuous but always relaxed and melodic. The keyboards make the sound somewhat smoother and fuller; also Bischof brings even more of a jazz influence, although Dahmen balances this with a more rocking approach. Bischof and Wolbrandt both compete for the title of the Fastest Hand In The West and Dahmen and Hattler surely don't need to hide. Dahmen can certainly play a well driving groove and he has quite some speed in his hands, too. "Live" has a bit more audience interaction, sharpness and spark than Tournee, but Tournee can hold its own very well with its more melodic dreamy approach and several rather calm relaxing parts. There is no overlap between the material covered by both albums, Tournee concentrates on the material of the 1977 album Wiederhoeren with the odd yet unpublished track. So Tournee is the perfect addition actually to "Live"; it's very nice how both of these albums are unmistakenly Kraan through Hattler's bass, the optimism, the joy of playing and the swinging sound yet they are quite different in character, "Live" more of a bright daylight character and Tournee for the smaller hours, lush and pleasant, sounding almost effortless yet still exciting and tight. The musicians of both Live and Tournee (apart from Dahmen, as far as I know) will turn up on Kraan concerts through the decades and the sounds of these albums together represent what the band stands for on stage to this day. By the way, the sound of Tournee is the way I like live albums: clear and transparent yet characteristically live without unnecessary perfectionism or studio trickery, with some natural concert hall reverb which a studio producer wouldn't let a band get away with, still perfect if you want to feel as close to being at the gig as you can.

Live is my number one Kraan album and Tournee is the number two, all studio albums are far behind. Tournee should really be better known; highly recommended, 4.2 stars!

Lewian | 4/5 |


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