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Bonfire - Bonfire Goes Bananas CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.36 | 28 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Home alone!

While other progressive bands like Focus, Finch or Supersister are pretty well known in the prog world, and have been already reviewed or discussed, Bonfire never gets mentioned and are shoved somewhere behind all those bands for no good reason, and that's a shame. So...Bonfire was an all instrumental prog rock dutch band that only released one album in 1975 with the cool title ' Bonfire Goes Bannanas' . Although not as popular this album have been reissued on cd with the addition of some bonus tracks, giving Bonfire an extra push out of total obscurity. The album consists of five "short" tracks on side one and their take on a long progressive piece on side two. Like in a lot of cases the short tracks tries to capture the different styles the band is influenced by, and the long piece takes all of these influences, and fuses them together to form something new and exciting.

The band's style is jazzy, eclectic prog rock with some canterbury influences and a lot of funk too. I would say closer to Focus than Finch or Supersister. Although listed under jazz rock/fusion which absolutely does not categorize them well, the band never solo too much and the songs are more constructed than improvised if at all. Being led by keyboardist Frank Witte who uses mainly the fender rhodes, the band feature some great guitars all along, some are delicate and some are harder edged with some good rocky solos, the sound is never too heavy though but always eclectic and sophisticated. Rhythm section is outstanding too, bass and drums does push the music forward and the band manages to stay tight and focused all the time, execution is very good. Side one holds five tracks showing different sides of the band and some several mood changes, from rocky to jazzy to eclectic but always tight and kind of funky too, brilliant stuff really. 'Delirium' and 'Contrast' shows that side while 'Vuurstaal' sound like a song that Focus would be proud to own, personal and sensitive with beautiful flute and some good guitar fused together creating a beautiful ballad. 'Chinese in Europe(Part 1)' demonstrates how a 3 minutes track can be so interesting and progressive. Starting out with a quirky riff divided to two it goes softer, returns and then addes an instrumental short bit to conclude it, although they could easily strech it they thought it was just right like that ( it makes you wonder where is part 2 tough?). 'Circle' contains intricate rhythm and jumps from one idea to the next easily, also contain one of my favourite parts in the album, the rocky crazy guitar solo over the jazzy rocky rhythm, just terrific. Side two holds the highlight 'The Sage of the Running Nose' a complete piece that demonstrates their great writing skills, showing everything the band have and how progressive they really are, evolving from one part to the other, the piece flows perfectly taking one idea and going around it than moving to something else changing the lead instrument and bouncing between keys and guitar. With beautiful piano lines, and some good change of moods the band manages never to sound the same all the time and makes the listener up on his toes and doesn't fall into boring instrumental sections infact you can feel it's all well written. Jazzy, rocky, funky, quirky, sophisticated, invigorating it all ends after 19 minutes of pure prog rock.

The cd contains two bonus tracks that are edited single versions of 'Circle' and 'Contrast' which does not help the album,but the other two bonus tracks are featuring a totally different band, changing most of the previous line up leaving Frank Witte, the keyboard man the only original member and i guess the driving force behind the band. Those tracks shows the band moving forward and taking a more funky rocky approach while still maintaining progy edges, amazing stuff actually and a very good addition to the already good album. The band is even tighter than before incorporating a strong bass and good guitar. Vocals are added to one song and shows some humor on top of it all. I would be more than happy to see a full album from this line up as well, but it was never recorded since the band broke up in 1980 shortly after the recording of these demo songs. Shouldn't be overlooked anymore, Bonfire is an excellent addition to your prog collection don't pass it up!

Sagichim | 4/5 |


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