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Sado - Tashkent Legend CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.00 | 1 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars Here's a true obscurity from the far corners of the globe. Садо (Sado) emerged from the capital city Tashkent of the current day Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan but at the time a part of the Soviet Union. Like many of the musical acts that existed within the rigid bureaucracy of the USSR, this project emerged from another state sponsored project when the director of the concert association Uzbekconcert Amp, Rubenovich Nazarov and composer Yevgeny Shiryayev appointed Vladimir Baramykov to head the Navruz Ensemble.

The Navruz Ensemble was a massive ensemble with around 40 musicians that included a huge brass section complete with ballet dancers and proved to be too cumbersome to handle and so it was decided that a smaller group that would form SADO would be plucked from this larger group. First in SADO came the vocalists Kumush Razzakova and Mila Romanidi followed by a 16 year old Aziz Mikhamedov who studied piano in her 9th grade school year. The band was rounded off with several other performers that are still a mystery as to who they are in the modern day but the band gained some popularity by performing with better known Soviet legends Gennady Khazanov and the biggest Soviet star of all Alla Pugacheva.

By 1981 the ensemble performed in the Uzbek SSR at the All-Union competition as well as in Yalta and steadily became one of Uzbekistan's best known pop rock acts that added progressive elements to the otherwise standard Russian pop sounds that took ethnic folk music and combined them with the disco and rock sounds that were made popular by Alla Pugacheva throughout the 70s and 80s. The band became particular popular after wining the competitions and toured the entire Soviet Union with other pop music stars and appeared on television and radio programs as well as traveling abroad in various nations particularly in Africa.

The music presented on the band's only recording Ташкентская легенда (Tashkent Legend) fits right in with the chamber orchestra pop recordings popular in the Soviet Union during the year 1985 when this album was released. The overall sound is a catchy bouncy mix of infectious grooves that incorporate an ethnic folk bass groove with a mix of progressive keyboard style. The album reminds me in many ways of Rick Wakeman's "No Earthy Connection" that captured a funky pop groove with progressive keyboard runs and extended compositional techniques that landed somewhere in between prog and pop especially the opening sequence "Prologue" but the album becomes less proggy and more Soviet pop as it continues.

The main female vocal styles are clearly straight out of the Alla Pugacheva playbook and for the most part sounds more than a tad derivative of her singing style. The album despite the attempts to incorporate more original styles seems a little too cloney for anyone familiar with Pugacheva's massive canon of pop releases but it was probably impossible to escape her influence as she was the equivalent to The Beatles in the USSR during the era. This is fairly catchy Soviet pop music with some extra prog touches but in the end doesn't come off as brilliantly as the true prog masters of the era such as the Turkmenistan's Gunesh Ensemble or even the symphonic prog Horizont from Russia but it's a fun little time capsule into an area not usually associated with any sort of progressive music whatsoever. It is an interesting historical artifact to understand what was popular in this region of the world before the Iron Curtain came down.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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