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Toto Blanke - Electric Circus: Friends CD (album) cover


Toto Blanke


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.96 | 4 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars More of Toto Blanke's experimentation outside of his gigs with Pierre Courbois and Jasper Van't Hof and Joachim K'hn. The influence of John McLaughlin's MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and SHAKTI project is quite obvious here as is the more recent sounds and songs of WEATHER REPORT (on bassist Norbert D'mling).

1. "Birds Of A Feather" (9:41) opening with some of the sequencing he was experimenting with on his two previous albums, the song moves into WEATHER REPORT territory. A little too uniform in sticking with one single motif throughout the song--which makes it hard to stay engaged over ten minutes, but very high quality musicianship throughout. (17.75/20)

2. "Asiento" (3:51) Trilock Gurtu's opening percussion barrage lets us know that we're in for a SHAKTI-like fusion of Eastern and Western traditions. Norbert D'mling's fretless bass is straight out of the JACO PASTORIUS school of bass. Very nice imitation with nocitceably loose and free feeling from all musicians. (9/10)

3. "Hallo J. (2:00) Toto's beautiful play on his steel-stringed acoustic guitar paired up with Norbert D'mling's wonderful Jaco Pastorius-like fretless bass Wonderful! Could've gone longer (for my tastes). (5/5)

4. "Billi (6:06) a Latin vehicle for some wild tenor sax play from Mat Nodolny. Stu Goldberg's mostly-two-chord support is a bit too forward and, therefore, obnoxious. In the fourth minute, Toto's electric (Roland?) jazz guitar gets the second solo. Lot's of unusual hand percussives and weird synth noises being thrown into the background (Trilock's contributions a little too far forward). (8.875/10)

5. "Floating (5:39) a high-speed cruise that has a lot of angular melody lines in its "Vashkar"/Mahavishnu-like sound palette. Exceptional musicianship on display, top to bottom. (9.3333/10)

6. "Winterlied (3:42) a duet between Stu Goldberg's MiniMoog and Toto's steel-stringed acoustic guitar. It opens as slow and ruminative duet of MiniMoog and gentle acoustic guitar chord picking before breaking down with some more flashy contributions from the acoustic guitar while the MiniMoog continues its melody-searching unphased. Reminds me of both SHAKTI and PAT METHENY. (9.25/10)

7. "I'm A Stranger Here Myself (8:00) very much like something from AREA's Crac!: "Nervi Scoperti" Excellent musicanship (as it would have to be to earn that comparison)! (13.75/15)

8. "Friends (Dedicated To T. Blanke)" (4:27) interesting Weather Report-like weirdness. Smooth and melodic, though. (8.875/10)

Total Time 43:26

I'm not sure why Stu Goldberg gets second billing unless he was integrally-involved in the composition department as his keyboard play serves more in a support role (except for "Winterlied").

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of a broad spectrum of wonderfully-performed jazz-rock fusion--one that could hold a candle to anything happening at the highest levels of fame, virtuosity, and sales marketing in the rest of the world.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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