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Gary Boyle - The Dancer CD (album) cover

THE DANCER

Gary Boyle

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars Sometimes I like to remind myself that I have more patience than a mega-hospital (pun intended!). Another of those highly abused vinyls (this one being a canary yellow pressing!) in my collection and I have been waiting , waiting and waiting for years to see this in CD form, as it possesses a mythical attraction that is quite unexplainable. Of course being an unashamed fan of Isotope certainly helps in all the self-imposed adulation I exert towards this unique solo debut from the Irish guitarist. 'The Dancer', won the 1978 Montreux Jazz/Pop Award, which may mean something to some.

Back in the early 70s there was something extremely attractive when Brits attempted jazz with such luminary giants as the Soft Machine, Caravan, Ian Carr's Nucleus, Brian Auger, Brand X, Colosseum II, National Health, Hatfield and the North etc?. Something about their quirky sound, the mischievous lyrics and of course, that delightful tongue slammed in cheek sense of humor. Toss in some scintillating technical prowess and voila! Hooked for life!

Keyboard whiz Rod Argent, the amazing drummeister Simon Phillips, the fluid Steve Shone on bass , Automatic Man's Doni Harvey , Caravan's Dave McCrae as well as some Brand X members (Lumley, Pert) provide the support crew for Boyle, whose style is in the profound Mahavishnu crenel and unabashedly so. The deluge of notes is enough to send most Malmsteen fans to the showers, a sonic blitzkrieg that is spell-binding. On "Cowshed Shuffle" , little time is wasted to blow your speakers sideways , providing some meteoric performances from Simon (darn is he good!) , with Doni's funky-jazz bass yo-yoing in and out while Rod Argent's bubbly Mini-Moog duels with Boyle's ardent guitar (playing with my words again!) . Thrill seekers will love the shining Steve Shone bass and Jeff Seopardie drum interplay on the title track, another torrid sonic troika between Macrae's stupendous clavinet, Zoe Kronberger's various keys and Boyle's fulminating guitar. "Lullaby For a Sleepy Doormouse" is pure aural velvet, with more sultry fretless bass from Shone and some sparkling acoustic guitar fingering from the mad Irishman while "Almond Burfi" provides the more raucous, electric guitar-led continuation. If you have any doubts that this man can play, well check out his technique, my goodness! "Pendle Mist" has the Harvey/Phillips duo leading the misty charge, Boyle's towering acoustic guitar crisply raffling among the sinuous e-piano musings (Lumley), gradually spiraling into a hypnotic jewel that stands the test of time. "Apple Crumble" is raunch revisted , this time featuring a Dave Macrae performance on e- piano and an ARP synthesizer solo for the ages, while Harvey tortures his four string stick , leering at the mach II drumming of Phillips . What does Gary do? Well, he lays down a perverted axe solo, all speed and seduction. The set ends on my favorite track, "Maiden Voyage ?For Brian Auger", a piece written by no other than Herbie Hancock and has that laid-back confident shimmer that makes this such an audio delight. Playful, intelligent, technically supreme but highly charged in emotional content. When jazz-rock is performed so eloquently, how can one not be inspired?

This was a masterpiece in 1978 and it remains one today, a simply superlative performance that all jazz-prog fusion fans need to hear and witness to believe.

Find it and get it NOW

5 buried treasures

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#636701)
Posted Monday, February 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After ISOTOPE broke up guitarist extraordinaire Gary Boyle decided to record a solo album and "The Dancer" is the result. Released in 1977 Gary gets lots of help from people like Robin Lumley (BRAND X) who not only plays on here but produced it, Dave MacRae (MATCHING MOLE, NUCLEUS), Morris Pert (BRAND X), Simon Phillips on drums who has played with so many bands and Rod Argent (ZOMBIES, ARGENT) and more.

"Cowshed Shuffle" is maybe my favourite, it just sounds so good and I think that's clavinet playing over the bass and drums although Argent is all over this with his mini-moog as well. Gary then takes the lead after 3 minutes and proceeds to rip it up. I like the electric piano on this one too. Before I go any further I think Simon Phillips is the one who impressed me the most on this album as he is just amazing on the drum kit. "The Dancer" is uptempo with so much going on as we get lots of intricate sounds including mini-moog, percussion, drums, clavinet and more. Guitar to the fore-front before 2 minutes and he's lighting it up. A bass solo before 3 minutes as drums pound. More aggressive guitar late. Maggia Pert added some vocal melodies on this one too. She's Morris' sister. "Now That We're Alone" is a short piano and bass piece. "Lullaby For A Sleepy Dormouse" is mid-paced with bass and drums as electric piano and guitar play over top in a relaxed manner.

"Almond Burfi" is uptempo with bass and drums out front. Guitar and synths arrive a minute in. Boyle is on fire after 2 minutes. A change 4 minutes in as the clavinet leads. "Pendle Mist" has sparse cymbals, bass, electric piano and guitar in this atmospheric intro. It's building until it sounds pretty amazing late. "Apple Crumble" is uptempo with bass, drums and electric piano as the guitar solos over top. "Maiden Voyage (For Brian Auger) is a Herbie Hancock cover and the fact it's dedicated to Brian Auger shouldn't be too surprising since it was Auger who Boyle recorded and played with a lot in the sixties. Auger introduced him to this style of music. They would listen to Miles Davis and would see Tony Williams live on more than one occassion all of which had a profound influence on the direction Boyle would go musically. This song has a nice solid sound as acoustic guitar joins in. Boyle turns to his electric though and becomes quite prominant.

This is a great album but I do prefer ISOTOPE especially their "Illusion" album.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#796152)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When I purchased the cassette of Gary Boyle "The Dancer" on 6 December 1981 in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, I had no idea at all who Gary Boyle was. Remember at that time there was no internet and basically no music magazine that could tell me any artist. But as the artwork was so proggy, I purchased the cassette anyway that costed me quite cheap, only Rp. 1.200,-. I was surprised with the kind of music Gary Boyle played and wondered who he was until a friend of mine told me that he was a lead guitarist of Isotope. Isotope? I had no clue at all with this band so, I was still blind about the artist. But ... I kept playing the cassette until now.

Only this morning I realized that this artist is finally featured here in this wonderful progressive music site on planet earth ever - the ProgArchives. I am so happy knowing this artist is featured here as his music is really progressive with some sort of jazz-rock fusion style. I am so impressed with the title track "The Dancer" where the stunning guitar playing by Gary Boyle is combined beautifully with tight basslines of Steve Shone. His music is actually not quite unique as compared with other jazz-rock style prog music. However, his guitar playing can be considered as unique. He also plays great acoustic guitar work like in "Lullaby for a Sleepy Dormouse ". The music is nicely composed and what makes it excellent is his unique acoustic guitar work that in some segments remind me to the work of Al Di Meola. The only difference is that Al usually use the low notes strings while here Boyle use that high register notes. It's a nice track. "Pendle Mist" is another track where he uses great acoustic guitar work. The opening track "Cowshed Shuffle" is also an excellent track demonstrating great guitar work and tight basslines by Doni Harvey. I also love very much the jazz-rock fusion style in relatively uptempo music "Apple Crumble". I think this composition is truly a masterpiece as all instruments demonstrate their contribution in a balance way: the drums, the bass as well as keyboard are all great!!! This is my all-time favorite track.

Overall, this is a gem that this site should have included it since the beginning. Well, I know that this is a rare collection as the CD is not available easily and I only got the cassette version. Keep on proggin' ...!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#865360)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2012 | Review Permalink

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