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Back Door - Back Door CD (album) cover


Back Door


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.65 | 25 ratings

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5 stars Back Door were an extremely highly regarded band in North East England back in the seventies, with two of the band members coming from my home town of Middlesbrough. Their early seventies shows at The Lion Inn, a remote pub with nothing else for miles around on Blakey Ridge on the North York Moors were the stuff of legend. In fact the cover of this, their first album has a picture of the jazz trio stood outside that venue. Sadly, because I was too young and the fact that I didn't discover them until 1976, I never had the opportunity to attend any of these shows.

For a trio of just bass, drums and sax Back Door make plenty of noise and play highly energetic jazz rock. The sound is filled out by bassist Colin Hodgkinson's busy style who often and unusually plays chords. He, along with drummer Tony Hicks lay the foundations for Ron Aspery's wild and inventive sax excursions.

The totally instrumental 12 compositions are all fairly short in length and the diversity of the material ranging from the frantic Catcote Rag to its preceding track, the more mellow Human Bed where Aspery switches to flute show a range and scope many would think not possible with such limited use of instrumentation. The standard of playing is excellent. They're all primarily jazz musicians, but play with a rock sensibility giving their music plenty of fire and each is given a turn to shine. Often the main theme of the tune will feature unison bass and sax until Aspery goes off on some wild excursion. Not surprisingly Aspery takes most of the lead on sax throughout but Hicks, who is never less than stunning gets his turn with a fantastic performance on closing track Back Door. Hodgkinson, who incidently played with Whitesnake for a while in the early eighties gets his turn with the solo bass piece of Lieutenant Loose but his lively style of mixing individual notes with chords always puts him upfront anyway.

It's been a long time since I heard any of Back Door's other albums, this being the only one currently in my collection, but what I do remember is that as good as some of their music was, it never captured the raw excitement that's present on this stunning debut which is likely to appeal to jazz and rock fans in equal measure.

Nightfly | 5/5 |


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