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Fermáta - Fermáta CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.21 | 76 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In a time when saying Czech meant Czechoslovakian, the Slovakian ensemble Fermáta was the greatest pinnacle in the aforementioned ex-republic from Eastern Europe. Stating a progressive vision fully installed in the standards of the sort of experimental jazz-rock that ha become so big in the USA area (Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report). Formed in 1973, tow years later their namesake debut release will grace music shops. Such virtuosos as guitarist Frantisek Griglák and keyboardist Tomás Berka find a solid framework for their alternating expansions in the robust rhythm duo of Jaro and Szapu ? in this way, the development of the basic motifs and jams becomes fluid and solid equally. Fermáta were capable of starting their recording career with a progressive jazz masterpiece (and it wouldn't be the last, as the astonishing "Huascaran" will prove a few years later): prog collectors are seriously ulikely to feel any sort of disappointed when acquiring the "Fermáta" album, given the tremendous amount of elegance instilled in the band's sonic architecture. 'Rumunská rapsódia' opens up the album with an agile introductory motif that reminds us of The Nice mixed with early Deep Purple. Once the track shifts into its central jam, the band indulges in an incendiary display of jazz-infected heavy sonorities, eventually leading to an excellent coda that reprises a reconstructed version of the opening motif. The listener must be hooked by now, or otherwise, check his pulse? I'm not kidding. 'Perpetuum II' starts on a different mode, featuring an intro of languid electric piano chords set on an ambience of soft freedom, with the bass guitar subtly filling some empty spaces. Once Spazu's drum kit goes gradually settling in, the whole band brings a partial crescendo as anticipation for a drum solo, which in turn anticipates the main body. This main body grows on a blues-rock tempo, then shift to a warm jazzy swing seasoned with clever funky nuances. If you can figure how one of Mahavishnu's joyful numbers would sound like if jan Akkerman filled the lead guitarist's shoes, then you will get a good picture of the sort of musical magic that you can expect from this great track. 'Postavím si vodu na čaj' is the next one, ostensibly playful in its well-amalgamated lyricism. A special mention has to go to berka's electric piano flourishes, majestic yet not excessive. This is how the album's first half is filled: three masterfully crafted pieces in a row. 'Valčík pre krstnú mamu' rounds to my ears like a hybrid of Finch and Bill Connoer-era Return to Forever: there is a playful undertone that rounds related to track 3, but the sonic scheme is more related to track 1 actually. 'Perpetuum III' is the amazing closer, bringing in exulting moods right from the starting point. The main motif of 'Perpetuum II' can be easily recognized, although you can also tell that there is an extra psychedelic element that enhances the instrumental colors quite effectively. Once the band turns to a more relaxed ambience, Fermáta states certain homage to the eerie archetype of pre-Pastorius Weather Report. Spazu's talent is wide enough as to create absolute finesse for the nuances required from his drum kit, balancing technical proficiency and sensibility. Also, here are the best guitar leads in the entire album, at times properly augmented by spacey synth ornaments (like a robotic cornet). Finally, the track ends with storm effect whirling around the instrumentation's closing passages. All in all, this album is a total delight for any jazz-rock lover and prog rock collector, and it abundantly justifies Fermáta's good name among prog connoisseurs.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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