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Gary Boyle - The Dancer CD (album) cover

THE DANCER

Gary Boyle

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.29 | 16 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Sometimes I like to remind myself that I have more patience than a mega-hospital (pun intended!). Another of those highly abused vinyls (this one being a canary yellow pressing!) in my collection and I have been waiting , waiting and waiting for years to see this in CD form, as it possesses a mythical attraction that is quite unexplainable. Of course being an unashamed fan of Isotope certainly helps in all the self-imposed adulation I exert towards this unique solo debut from the Irish guitarist. 'The Dancer', won the 1978 Montreux Jazz/Pop Award, which may mean something to some.

Back in the early 70s there was something extremely attractive when Brits attempted jazz with such luminary giants as the Soft Machine, Caravan, Ian Carr's Nucleus, Brian Auger, Brand X, Colosseum II, National Health, Hatfield and the North etc?. Something about their quirky sound, the mischievous lyrics and of course, that delightful tongue slammed in cheek sense of humor. Toss in some scintillating technical prowess and voila! Hooked for life!

Keyboard whiz Rod Argent, the amazing drummeister Simon Phillips, the fluid Steve Shone on bass , Automatic Man's Doni Harvey , Caravan's Dave McCrae as well as some Brand X members (Lumley, Pert) provide the support crew for Boyle, whose style is in the profound Mahavishnu crenel and unabashedly so. The deluge of notes is enough to send most Malmsteen fans to the showers, a sonic blitzkrieg that is spell-binding. On "Cowshed Shuffle" , little time is wasted to blow your speakers sideways , providing some meteoric performances from Simon (darn is he good!) , with Doni's funky-jazz bass yo-yoing in and out while Rod Argent's bubbly Mini-Moog duels with Boyle's ardent guitar (playing with my words again!) . Thrill seekers will love the shining Steve Shone bass and Jeff Seopardie drum interplay on the title track, another torrid sonic troika between Macrae's stupendous clavinet, Zoe Kronberger's various keys and Boyle's fulminating guitar. "Lullaby For a Sleepy Doormouse" is pure aural velvet, with more sultry fretless bass from Shone and some sparkling acoustic guitar fingering from the mad Irishman while "Almond Burfi" provides the more raucous, electric guitar-led continuation. If you have any doubts that this man can play, well check out his technique, my goodness! "Pendle Mist" has the Harvey/Phillips duo leading the misty charge, Boyle's towering acoustic guitar crisply raffling among the sinuous e-piano musings (Lumley), gradually spiraling into a hypnotic jewel that stands the test of time. "Apple Crumble" is raunch revisted , this time featuring a Dave Macrae performance on e- piano and an ARP synthesizer solo for the ages, while Harvey tortures his four string stick , leering at the mach II drumming of Phillips . What does Gary do? Well, he lays down a perverted axe solo, all speed and seduction. The set ends on my favorite track, "Maiden Voyage ?For Brian Auger", a piece written by no other than Herbie Hancock and has that laid-back confident shimmer that makes this such an audio delight. Playful, intelligent, technically supreme but highly charged in emotional content. When jazz-rock is performed so eloquently, how can one not be inspired?

This was a masterpiece in 1978 and it remains one today, a simply superlative performance that all jazz-prog fusion fans need to hear and witness to believe.

Find it and get it NOW

5 buried treasures

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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