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Curt Cress - Curt Cress Clan CD (album) cover


Curt Cress

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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3 stars The debut album from one of the '70s best drummers is an undemanding but energetic collection of instrumental Jazz-Funk not far removed from the Fusion grooves of PASSPORT, in which Cress was still a member at the time. As with his parent band, the influence of WEATHER REPORT looms large, but here the playing leans more gently on the crutch of virtuosity, opting instead for a simpler, sunny vibe with lots of infectious jamming.

CCC practiced a slightly condensed variation of the classic Passport style, which even at its height (circa "Cross-Collateral", released the same year as this effort) was never very complex. Trade the Space Rock synths and sequencers for common electric pianos and a Hohner Clavinet, eliminate the distinctive Wandrey's Studio cover art, and Passport might have looked something like this, moving gracefully from the strutting '70s funkathons of "From the Back" and the cryptically titled "451271" to the bluesy "Shuffle on Out", arranged in a nimble rhythmic count of fifteen.

The album misses the dynamic saxophone of Passport's main man Klaus Doldinger, but the flugelhorn in the song "Fields" was a nice addition, alongside the more prominent electric guitars (Volker Kriegel was an adept pupil in the John McLaughlin school of performance). The drumming of course is impeccable throughout, played as always with deceptively simple yet sophisticated ease, occasionally giving way to a brief, frenzied storm of pure Fusion pyrotechnics, in the appropriately titled "Cyclone" and later during "Movin' Right Along".

The material may be lightweight, but this is an album that would sit comfortably on a shelf alongside the early solo efforts of BILL BRUFORD, and it's hard to imagine a higher compliment. Three solid stars.

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Posted Thursday, January 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Curt Cless Clan formed around drumer Curt Cless of course is one shot wonder group with only one album released in 1975 selftitled and re issued on CD by Sireena label digipak format in 2010. Well what we have here is a kind of jazz fusion funk almost typical for thet period, no groundbreaking moments, only being the opening track Cyclone who is btw killer, Curt druming on this pieces and of course the rest of the musicicans involved here is top notch. This album released when he was still a Passport member, maybe the music goes towards Passport influnce in places, but to me is little less intrsting the on Passport same period. Anyway some great musicians here, all memebers being in or later one joining good bands from progressive rock/ jazz fusion realm like Volker Kriegel on keyboards, Dave King later on with Snowball, Curt Cress from intialy in Orange Peel and going through Passport to Atlantis, so a bunch of great skilfull musicians, unfortunatly is not enough to be only skilful as individual is needed to work like a unit to come with something special, this album is only ok, not a bad one but sometime is to releaxed and safe jazz fusion. If the rest of the album were sounding like opening track Cyclone then for sure would be much better, that piece kick ass, the rest are only good nothing really impresive moments are present. A forgotten album, maybe with the re issue on CD they will get more attention. 3 stars for this release.
Report this review (#895061)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars I remember how excited I was when I first heard about this album, especially when I saw the lineup. Curt Cress is probably most well known for being the drummer of PASSPORT, but before that he drummed on ORANGE PEEL's only album released in 1970. So yes an excellent pedigree and the former label boss for PASSPORT Sigi Loch was impressed enough to make it possible for Cress do this solo record. The lineup besides Cress on drums is Volker Kriegel on guitar, Dave King on bass, Ack Van Rooyan on flugelhorn, and Kristian Schultze on keyboards. My enthusiasm became dampened though after reading many opinions around the internet suggesting this was a good but lightweight album. And after many listens I have to agree. Some really good songs here but also some almost cringe-worthy tunes that makes this one a 3.5 star recording for me.

"Cyclone" certainly got my hopes up as Cress shows us why he is such a talented drummer. It's all Cress early on doing it solo then the bass kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes in. So good ! Keyboards around 2 minutes then they stop as the guitar takes a turn while the bass and drums continue. Killer tune. "From The Back" is funky and one tune I have a hard time with. It's not bad though and I like the guitar. "Fields" opens with drums and is more laid back. This is a sweet track with intricate drumming and tasteful flugelhorn. One of favs from this disc. "Shuffle On Out" is a cool track with the guitar and drums standing out. Love the sound of the keyboards before 3 minutes.

"Delphine" is the worst track in my opinion. I just find the melody to be so annoying. "451271" is a funky song. Not bad a but a little repetitive. "No Answer" is a very laid back and mellow tune. I like it. "Movin" Right Along" shows off Cress' drumming skills and the bass is fantastic. Great track. Too short though. "Funk Off" is not a song I can't get into. Too lightweight and the word "annoying" comes to mind.

So a hit and miss affair but if you like the PASSPORT albums "Hand Made" and "Looking Thru" you will probably love this one. I just wish it was more like "Cross-Collateral" that PASSPORT released the same year as this one.

Report this review (#1026896)
Posted Sunday, September 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Funky Fusion - that bores me to tears...

1976 was the year when many leading artists of the Jazz-Rock scene started to stray into Funk, Soul, Brass-Pop, etc. territory. Sadly, many of them got stuck there, having lost inspiration.

Curt Cress is an excellent drummer I've heard with Passport first and I was mightily impressed with his techniques, also with the rest of that band (then). He is held in very high repute in Germany and worldwide - and rightly so.

So what's on offer here by this excellent line-up? Funky Fusion that would be more at home in New York than in Germany, the home of Krautrock and exceptional Jazz-Rock that gives the British counterparts a good run for their money.

There is no doubt that CCC are familiar with Tony Williams Lifetime and Return To Forever as those influences are evident. But here it's a pared down, "lite" approach to those giants that's evident. Excellent musicianship anchored(?) onto simplistic tunes that emulate the weaker, less sophisticated moments of those peers. Pretty much "just having a fun" for the sake of it and it should have been kept private, just gathering dust in the vaults.

Well, I am not having much fun with this release. Indeed, it leaves me rather disappointed. Sure, if I was young and new to the scene I may find it somewhat engaging. (For Heaven;s sake I was once into Black Sabbath before "discovering" Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, etc.)

As is, my enjoyment here is barely 2, but as for the actual playing it would be 4, or 5 stars. Well, that leaves me to award a reluctant 3 all up, as this is not an album I'll listen to again. A classic case of "so near, yet so far".

Report this review (#1035886)
Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 | Review Permalink

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