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BACK DOOR

Back Door

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Nightfly
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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars Back Door were an extremely highly regarded band in North East England back in the seventies, with two of the band members coming from my home town of Middlesbrough. Their early seventies shows at The Lion Inn, a remote pub with nothing else for miles around on Blakey Ridge on the North York Moors were the stuff of legend. In fact the cover of this, their first album has a picture of the jazz trio stood outside that venue. Sadly, because I was too young and the fact that I didn't discover them until 1976, I never had the opportunity to attend any of these shows.

For a trio of just bass, drums and sax Back Door make plenty of noise and play highly energetic jazz rock. The sound is filled out by bassist Colin Hodgkinson's busy style who often and unusually plays chords. He, along with drummer Tony Hicks lay the foundations for Ron Aspery's wild and inventive sax excursions.

The totally instrumental 12 compositions are all fairly short in length and the diversity of the material ranging from the frantic Catcote Rag to its preceding track, the more mellow Human Bed where Aspery switches to flute show a range and scope many would think not possible with such limited use of instrumentation. The standard of playing is excellent. They're all primarily jazz musicians, but play with a rock sensibility giving their music plenty of fire and each is given a turn to shine. Often the main theme of the tune will feature unison bass and sax until Aspery goes off on some wild excursion. Not surprisingly Aspery takes most of the lead on sax throughout but Hicks, who is never less than stunning gets his turn with a fantastic performance on closing track Back Door. Hodgkinson, who incidently played with Whitesnake for a while in the early eighties gets his turn with the solo bass piece of Lieutenant Loose but his lively style of mixing individual notes with chords always puts him upfront anyway.

It's been a long time since I heard any of Back Door's other albums, this being the only one currently in my collection, but what I do remember is that as good as some of their music was, it never captured the raw excitement that's present on this stunning debut which is likely to appeal to jazz and rock fans in equal measure.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#271913)
Posted Sunday, March 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
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Neo Prog Team
2 stars UK Jazz-Rock trio, formed in 1971 in North Yorkshire by bassist Colin Hodgkinson and keyboardist/flute-sax player Ron Aspery, who both have been known each other since playing in Eric Delaney's Showband.Third member was drummer Tony Hicks.Hard to find any record labels interested, the trio recorded and mixed their 14-track self-titled debut alone, eventually about 1000 copies were preseed by RCA, distributed around the local area.

These jazz buddies were definitely talented back in 1972, when the album was published.Lots of improvisational parts with good performances, divided into 14 very short Jazz-Rock tunes.Especially the performance of Hodgkinson on electric bass is at moments really intricate.Aspery performs mostly with his sax, a mix of melodic parts and hardcore jazzy abstract playing.A few tracks though include some very mellow flute passages with an evident folkish vibe.Other times the sound closes to Brass Rock, when Aspery decided to deliver series of delicate sax tunes.However the problem of being a trio reflects on their music.The sound is very dry and dated at times and compared to multi-membered Jazz/Fusion acts of the time with a much more diverse sound Back Door seems to lose by a mile.And while the individual performances seem to be decent enough, the whole mix of the trio is not always conveincing.Additionally the majority of tracks relies heavily on the bass/sax/drums combination, making the album rather one-dimensional.

I think the music of Back Door on their debut would have been fun to watch live and even the album might have been a good entry back in early-70's, but today it sounds quite sterile and monotonous.Even so, Jazz-Rock fanatics will find a good dose of enjoyment on this one but they will be propably the only ones to fully appreciate it.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#613368)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Review Permalink

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