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Volker Kriegel - Sugar Cane´s Got The Blues (with Don


Volker Kriegel

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars This was a real find for me. Recorded live in Berlin in 1971 at the "Violin Summit" where producer Joachim Berendt put this supergroup together to celebrate the violin in Jazz and Blues. The lineup is killer ! These are some of the most well known players in Free-Jazz and Avant-Garde Rock.Yes Sugar Cane Harris is on violin, he had played with John Mayall as well as on a number of Frank Zappa albums including "Hot Rats", "Apostrophe" and many more. He's been called the Jimi Hendrix of violin. Add former SOFT MACHINE drummer Robert Wyatt who had just left that band. Neville Whitehead on bass who had recorded with many greats including Wyatt and Tippett and was part of the ELTON DEAN QUARTET, live SOFT MACHINE and ISOTOPE. On keyboards we get Wolfgang Dauner from the great German band ET CETERA. Volker Kriegel plays most of the guitar (3 tracks) while the amazing Terje Rypdal plays on one song. It still blows me away to think of Wyatt and Rypdal on stage together in the same band. Cool stuff right here folks.The surprising thing to me was that the violin doesn't dominate the proceedings like I thought it would. Sugar Cane comes across as a humble person who realized that he was surrounded with a very talented band and therefore he didn't try to steal the show. He does add vocals and does it well.This is very much a Blues / Jazz album,or should I say Jazz / Blues (haha).

"Liz Pineapple Wonderful" opens with someone speaking in German introducing the band.The music then comes in and it's uptempo with vocals.The violin replaces the vocals after 2 1/2 minutes. Great sound. The guitar leads before 4 1/2 minutes and the drumming is very active. Nice bass too I might add. The vocals are back after 7 1/2 minutes. Big finish after 9 minutes. Sugar Cane then announces the band quickly by their last names then says "out-a-sight". He compliments the audience too.

"Sugar Cane's Got The Blues" opens with violin then piano a minute in and other sparse sounds.Vocals cry out briefly 5 1/2 minutes in. Bass to the fore then the guitar joins in as it builds with drums.Piano joins in after 8 1/2 minutes then goes solo before 10 minutes. Cool section.Violin before 11 minutes and it becomes dissonant late as he cries out one more time. Huge applause after this song and every song.

"Song For My Father" is a Horace Silver cover. This is the song Terje Rypdal plays on.You can hear all the guys playing early on in a fairly laid back manner but that will change. So much going on here. Guitar to the fore 4 1/2 minutes and Terje continues to lead until 7 1/2 minutes when the violin returns. Such an incredible track !

"Where's My Sunshine" is a Bluesy number with vocals. Catchy too. Violin or vocals mainly lead although Kriegel leads on guitar 5 1/2 minutes in then piano. When the song ends Sugar Cane says "I'd like to introduce the fellas". He seemed to be in his glory at this concert and he deserves a lot of praise. Such a talented man.

Without question 4 stars and this is one album I will boast about owning. A pleasure.

Report this review (#508463)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I like Volker Kriegel a lot but this is not one of his albums - he plays on 3 tracks and his contributions are essential while Terje Rypdal plays on track 3 - but he is not the leader here.

The album must be credited to Don Sugarcane Harris one of the musicians to introduce the violin (amplified) as a rock and blues instrument as a sideman to Johnny Otis (he gave him his nickname), Frank Zappa (Hot Rats) and John Mayall (USA Union) .

The recordings were made during the 1971 Violin Summit at Berlin, Germany - the same event also spawned a second LP named "New Violin Summit" released in 1972, where Harris meets Jean-Luc Ponty, Wolfgang Dauner, Terje Rypdal (again), Robert Wyatt (again) and some others.

Harris was primarily a blues artist who broke down all barriers (like many others at the time) and ventured into jazz fusion, progressive rock and even soul on later albums. On the 1972 album "Fiddler on the Rock" he was accompanied by Harvey Mandel, Larry Taylor and Paul Lagos (Canned Heat, John Mayall). Most of his albums were recorded for MPS in Germany and produced by Joachim-Ernst Berendt. His career was a short outburst (yes, those drugs) between 1969 and 1974 but whatever he recorded in that period is worth searching for.

Report this review (#2896019)
Posted Friday, March 3, 2023 | Review Permalink

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