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Neil Ardley - Kaleidoscope of Rainbows CD (album) cover


Neil Ardley

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Mellotron Storm
4 stars Neil Ardley is an interesting man as he seemed more content composing the music then bringing in the musicians he wanted to play them and he'd conduct them. Very old school yet this is a man who wrote over a 100 books on not only music but science and technology making an estimated 10 million dollars from those sales. His earlier "Greek Variations" album was almost like being schooled on conventional Jazz, so cold and technical to my ears and over my head. This album from 1976 I can relate to at least.

So crazy that he uses I think eleven NUCLEUS musicians(past, present & future) including the man himself Ian Carr. I counted 15 musicians total and Neil at least adds some synths this time besides conducting. I counted three more synth/ keyboard players, 5 horn players and a wind man. Cello, drums, percussion and vibes. And just reading through the names of musicians brings various NUCLEUS albums to mind. One of the things I really like about this album is the rhythm section with the extra percussions thrown in. So much going on just with that foundation then we get various musicians soloing over top. I like this one so much better.

On the opener we get some spacey atmosphere before the guitar, bass and drums take over then add vibes playing over top. Carr and Brian Smith will solo on this one. I like the flute on "Rainbow Two" as the bass helps out in this mellow start. Electric piano around 2 minutes as the flute steps aside. Sax after 2 1/2 minutes. A beautiful piece of music that is quite drifting and we get solos from Castle and McCrae. Nice contrast then with "Rainbow Three" as the drums jump out of the speakers. Punchy bass and drums as the cello saws away.

Barbara Thompson gives us a sax lesson on "Rainbow Four" while we get that amazing foundation of sounds again on "Rainbow Five" as the horns and guitar play over top. Nice solo from Coe. "Rainbow Six & Seven" is interesting for the space allowed as guitar, horns, bass and beats come and go in atmosphere. Piano before 3 minutes as it changes with shuffling drums and horns as it turns melancholic. Bertram and Shaw solo. It ends with "Epilogue" the over 15 minute goodbye. Lots of highlights of course including the clarinet and piano early on. Love the bass and guitar section 6 1/2 minutes in as the horns step aside. Loud and proud 8 minutes in with guitar over top. Sax is ripping it up before 10 minutes. There's that rhythm section again 11 minutes in, so good.

This one is a keeper and check out that album cover. The music here reminds me at times of THE UNITED JAZZ + ROCK ENSEMBLE out of Germany that includes Thompson and Carr.

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Posted Sunday, March 7, 2021 | Review Permalink

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