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Snowball - Defroster CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.71 | 15 ratings

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4 stars Snowball were a fairly short-lived, German-based, jazz-rock band formed in 1977, recording their debut album "Defroster" in a Munich studio in November of that year, and releasing it in 1978. The band at this time consisted of two ex-members of Passport, drummer Curt Cress, and keyboardist the late Kristian Schultze, ex-Nektar guitarist/vocalist Roye Albrighton, and ex-Embryo bassist Dave King. It is a shame that this overlooked group was under the radar for a lot of people, as this record exhibits a very special musical synergy and chemistry, that unfortunately would not last with subsequent records.

Not as jazz based as Passport, and not as hard rocking as Nektar could be, Snowball create a very accessible sound with no one influence predominating the music. There is a rock element, a funk one at times, and some jazzier moments making for a very likable music. There are four tracks with vocals, all done by Albrighton in a very nice way, Hold On, which is sort of philosophical, Devil's Demons, taunting the listener with "Devil's Demons, never reason", Backfire, about a night of whiskey, and being "laid out on the table", and Paradise, about a bird.

The other cuts are instrumental, Tender Storm, Country Dawn, Lilli Henry, Defroster, and Shade, full of some very tasteful playing by the band, not super frenetic fusion, really, but more laid back, almost atmospheric in places. Shade, the album's closing number, features Kristian Schultze's keys to the fore in some wonderful playing, a nice way to end things.

Alas, the things that contributed to Defroster being such a great record were to fall apart by next year's album "Cold Heat", with Albrighton and King leaving, and the sound of Snowball becoming more conventional, and much less appealing. Despite it's obscure status in general, Defroster is an album that has stood the test of time for me, and i continue to get quite a bit out of listening to it every time i do. Four stars.

presdoug | 4/5 |


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