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Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars Hannibal was a short-lived jazzrock band from England that morphed into existence from the band Bakerloo. Their sole, self-titled album featured jazzy rock with horns, similar to early Chicago and Blood Sweat and Tears. Hannibal, however, did have their own style within the genre. They leaned more heavily on the "rock" end of jazzrock. That's not to say that Hannibal did not have any jazz chops, they did, especially sax/clarinet player Cliff Williams and guitarist Adrian Ingram.

The album starts out with its weakest number, "Look Upon Me," which is a more straightforward brass rock attempt at a radio single. Not a bad song, but fairly generic. The remainder of the LP takes a rockier, and sometimes jazzier, direction. Williams lays down some excellent, jazzy soling at various junctures, and the band's playing is tight. Jack Griffits' bass and John Parkes' drums are high in the mix, providing a bottom-heavy groove for each track. Alex Boyce provides soulful, and sometimes animated, vocals which fits the music beautifully. Ingram's guitar work is very impressive on various tracks. His soloing jumps from jazzy to bluesy, often seamlessly within the same solo. At his jazziest, he reminds me at times of the late, great Alan Holdsworth. Yes, he is that good. Maybe not as good as Holdswoth, but Ingram had a similar soloing style, and was an astounding player in his own right.

The band would not last long after this release, their only album, but at least we have this gem from 1970 to listen back to. Not a very progressive effort, but a nice example of early jazz fusion from the UK. 4 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | Review Permalink

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