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Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Sole album of this JR/F band that had released their sole album at the ultimate end of the Quebecois prog boom; even though their music has more to do with Weather Report than Maneige or Sloche. This is an instrumental wind/key-led quartet that received much help from the well-travelled percussionist Michel Seguin, thus a guitar-less line-up which only increases the WR reminiscence.

Graced with a Magritte-like surrealist artwork, Agharta's album delves in the jazz-funk/fusion of the very late 70's and early 80's and seems to stick quite close to what Weather Report was or would be doing during the Victor Bailey era, even if often a tad more reflective and a wee bit less flashy in virtuosity. Also a bit of an asset to Agharta's sound is Veniot's ability to play sax, flute and clarinet to add some variations, something Shorter didn't do. Most of the tracks are upbeat, funky (especially 6i'me Avenue), some are downright World/Caribbean (Chants Des Iles), some are almost cosmic (Soy, probably my fave of the album), others are more of a showboat with solos ala RTF like Big Sur and its drum solo bit, while the only exception is a slow ballad (Femme Et Enfants) and the album closes on the aerial Daucile.

Agharta is never derivative, despite some moments that might make you think of (much) better- known artistes like Le Train, that's familiar stuff, but can't really place it anywhere else. Hardly essential an album, but every JR/F follower would (or should) welcome this album as a consolidating block of the genre on their shelves.

Report this review (#422170)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Agharta's one and only album is terrific and essential for any jazz lovers out there... Veniot's flute and saxophone soloing is outright brilliant, leaving us with near perfection when combined with Mignault's elegant keyboard playing, Trudel's extremely creative bass lines, and Séguin's masterful drum work.

As someone who puts prog above any other genre, with classical and jazz in second and third, this album was the perfect jazz/prog fusion I've always been looking for. As a composer and bass/flute/guitar/keyboards player who pays too much attention to detail, I can say this album can be listened to over and over and for at least several lifetimes without getting boring.

The melodies are beautiful, the rhythms precise...It might not be everyone's taste, but for anyone who loves Jazz, this has to be one of the best works out there.

Report this review (#1338425)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2015 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars AGHARTA were a Jazz band out of Quebec releasing this sole album back in 1980. A five piece if you include percussionist Michel Seguin who plays on 4 tracks. He was in a band called TOUBABOU previously. I really enjoy the rhythm section and those two are players, really good. I'm just not big on the soloists like the acoustic piano, sax, clarinet, synths and flute. Funny but I don't like the sound of the synths at all but with the flute it's his style. Especially to start the album playing these fancy flute flights(such a lame phrase) but then so is the style here. I don't mind him for the most part the rest of the way. The sax and clarinet are good but I could do without. Oh yeah this is a Jazz record. My favourite part of this record is the start of "Soy" where we get wind and then the drums and urgent sound kick in. That got my attention the first time I heard it but then the piano and sax arrive. Just not a record I'll be playing again despite the obvious talent.
Report this review (#2497828)
Posted Thursday, January 28, 2021 | Review Permalink

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