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UK

UK

 

Eclectic Prog

4.07 | 437 ratings

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jrfernan
3 stars If you lived in a cave during the late 60s and early 70s and were not aware of the jazz fusion movement stemming from the US, and your first "prog" record was this UK release, then surely you would've been mesmerized by this recording. On the other hand, if you had, or have, any clue to the history of jazz fusion you would dismiss this UK record as one of the many clones of that era.

First and foremost: to say that this album is an essential piece of prog history is a far stretch and does injustice to the MUCH better recordings that were available by other groups during that era.

To classify this recording as prog ROCK is an even larger stretch. This recording sounds to me like an English quartet's effort to clone Chick Corea's Return to Forever projects(all of the ones that came out before this UK release).

Wenton shamelessly tries to sing in a jazz idiom, but fails miserably. His tries to stretch phrases to encompass several octaves and embarrasses himself in a large way. His voice crackles throughout the recording. How he ever allowed his voice to appear on this record after such a lousy performance is beyond me.

Please listen to any of Corea's recordings with Flora Purim on vocals then listen to this UK release. There is NO WAY that anyone with any sense of honesty can tell me Wenton is not trying to sing like Purim. I am not saying that he is imitating Purim, but he is imitating that style; and frankly, he is WAY OUT of his league. He is NOT a jazz singer.

As for all of the non-vocal music on this record, not much new ground was covered. To be fair, none at all. That's why I have a very difficult time considering this an essential piece of prog anything. There's noting progressive about it; it was ALL done before. By Corea, Miles, Weather Report(Zawinul), DiMeola, Ponty, Hancock and McLaughlin.

"But those are all jazz names you threw out", you say. Exactly my point! This UK record is nothing but jazz fusion, with a rock vocalist trying to sing jazz. Again, I'll emphasize that no matter how many times I listen to this CD it sounds like a bad imitation of Return to Forever.

Then, to say that this was the FIRST super group of prog rock is absolutely inaccurate. First, because they are NOT playing rock, and second because they are not the first to play this type of music. If you want to talk about the FIRST super fusion group, then go back to Miles Davis's Bitches Brew; after that group came Return to Forever and Weather Report(both preceeded UK).

With all due respect to you die-hard," English-is-the-only-true-prog" types, this is the most blatant example of English musicians ripping off what had already been done in America at least half, if not a full decade earlier.

I had to force myself to rate this CD at three stars and only out of respect for Bruford, who is an excellent drummer. If it weren't for his contribution the CD would serve as a coaster.

A VERY, VERY overrated and plagiarizing effort.

jrfernan | 3/5 |

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