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Edition Spéciale - Aliquante CD (album) cover


Edition Spéciale

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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erik neuteboom
3 stars Since a few months I've re-discovered the jazz rock music from the Seventies: MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, Jean-Luc PONTY, Al DIMEOLA and RETURN TO FOREVER. And then I got this promo, what a treat! The French band EDITON SPECIALE released their album "Aliquante" in '77 featuring nine splendid songs, including two bonus tracks ("Camara" and Aurore") from the third album entitled "Horizon Digital". From the first track "Verda" I'm blown away by EDITION SPECIALE, these four guys knew how to please their audience! The dynamic and powerful music on the nine compositions is based upon a strong and adventurous rhythm-section, great interplay and lots of sensational soli: wah- wah drenched guitar and pitchbend-driven keyboard pyrotechnics. The only minor flaw concerns the vocals, in my opinion the sound fits more to soul and R&B than to jazz rock. But doesn't matter because most of the music is instrumental with strong hints from RETURN TO FORVER and WEATHER REPORT (but more guitar oriented). A must for the jazzrock aficionados!
Report this review (#34177)
Posted Friday, January 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Quite strong French jazz fusion. The band are a tight unit, spotlighted by the nimble guitarwork of Marius "Mimi" Lorenzini, who interacts well with bassist Josquin Turenne des Prés and keyswoman Ann Ballester. Ballester contributes some rich synth tones courtesy of her ARP Odyssey and dazzles with her strong piano playing. An almost Canterbury feel pervades at times, but largely the influences seem to be American (i.e.: Mahavishnu/Return To Forever/Weather Report). Some of the pieces are infused with a Latin feel, bringing to mind the early RTF sides with Flora Purim. Ballester sings on many of the tunes, joined by Lorenzini and des Prés on "La Ville en Béton".

Bright, summery fusion, perfect for driving to the beach with the top down on your convertible.

Report this review (#45359)
Posted Saturday, September 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars 3.75 stars really, but rounded up to the fourth star!!!

I've known ES for decades, having been given a copy of this album back in those days, and while I was still a bit too young to appreciate JR/F, I kept on regular but rare rotation, wondering why ES was not at least as well known as RTF, EH, WR, and MO as well as SM, or BrX.. Of course the superstar status of the members of those previously-mentioned groups, looking at ES, none of them reached the heel as far as fame was concerned. Clearly all four musicians were more than excellent at their trades,the most impressive being bassist Josquin Turenne induced a slight Zeuhl twist that is completely absent in other JR/F groups. Graced with a superb and intriguing artwork, Aliquante was ES' second album (that was news to me still in the late 90's, though) and it was to be the second last (I was aware but had also never heard the album), so I remained with a largely misinformed opinion of this group for decades. BTW, Ballester and Lorenzini were romantically involved.

Now having wisely stayed away from ES's debut (only heard it twice at a friend's house), it's clear that Aliquante is from another galaxy than its predecessor. One of the main drawback of the debut is Ann Ballester's vocals, which coupled with her rather good electric piano playing sounds like a third rate Steely Dan, something that will pursue the group to the end of its career. While all four musicians have clearly improved compared to the debut album, the main difference is that Aliquante is an-almost instrumental album: only two tracks are sung, the rest deploying a very solid and aerial JR/F somewhere between RTF and MO, but never reaching the awesome amount of virtuosity so present in those groups. While Vedra starts clearly on a Caravan-derived line, the track quickly develops a speed where our Canterburians couldn't have followed. Even if newcomer drummer Gouillard's play is very reminiscent of Collins' in BX, the group is often on RTF grounds without the ultra-funk of later albums (as I said Zeuhl is more applicable), but obviously the execution speed is limited. If they indeed overstretch their limits (the start of Temps D'Un Solo), it immediately sounds bizarre or out of tune.

And once Ballester's vocals do come in the band, they sound better controlled but could've been done without as well, but if you don't mind Steely Dan, you shouldn't find much problem on this album. According to Ann, the recording of the album was rushed by their new label RCA, which might explain why it has much less vocals than the other two, but you might want to consider this a blessing. As for her keyboard playing, she's right up there with her fellow musos, and there is little discussion about her choice of synth sounds, a trap that her much more illustrious compadres (Hancock, Zawinul, Corea) couldn't avoid.

Whether the two bonus tracks are a useful addition is rather of a personal taste, but they're both early writing/recording stages of the first two track of the next album Horizon Digital, but they beef up a rather short original album, so if Aliquante is the only album you're planning on getting, they provide enough added value to the album, if you don't mind their last album's much more vocal statement. .Clearly the group's better album, you'll probably have to start with this one, while knowing that it's probably the least representative of their works.

Report this review (#171949)
Posted Thursday, May 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Incredible album mashing jazz and prog and funk delightfully. A beautiful ride, this album is (to my ears) smoother than an Arnold Palmer after 18 holes in the hot sun.

The record has been in my collection for a long time, yet I'd only played it sporadically. I felt it was great, it lived up to it's hype at, and I listened to #6 repeatedly "Fille du Ruisseau"

It's been on my turntable now for 4 days straight. Blissed out funkafied progjazz is what this treat is. This could just as easily be a Roy Ayers album if he had an affinity for progressive rock. Gorgeous in it's layout and carefully manicured, the sound of this album is culled from Zappa, Return to Forever, and other fusion artists of the day. Even some Gentle Giant in the bassline around the last fifteen seconds of #3 "So Deep Inside" and on into #4"Le Temps D'Un Solo".

It's the execution of the material that puts this masterpiece over the top for me. Each song is a short roller coaster that fits the perfect amusement park. Two bonus track thrown in from an almost equally as strong third album is icing on the cake.

Report this review (#697683)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Edition Speciale is one of the best jazz rock/fusion bands France ever had. A was completly knock out when I first listen to this second album named Aliquante from 1977, remaining one of my fav albums of the genre aswell. Very energic, up tempo kind of jazz rock with fusion elements with superb musicianship and very complex arrangements. The duels between Ann Balester's keyboards and Lorenzini guitar are top notch for sure. Also the new drumer Alain Gouillard show how great he is and very confident of his abilities, delivering some great chops here, very energic drumer remind me of Collins Brand X era or even with Bruford. I think this album is quite little unknown among listners, never bean very popular in comparation with other big names from that period like Brand X, Bruford, return to Forever, but I must confess this album kick ass from start to finish. All pieces are very good, specially the first 3 are simply outstanding Vedra, A La Source Du Ręve and So Deep Inside. Some vocal parts here alternating female/male vocal parts, who are ok nothing is over the top but pleasent most of the time, Ballester's vocals remind me in places specialy with canadian Et Cetera same attitude and tone of voice. All in all an album to be discovered by many listners as possible worth it, recommended for sure. 4 stars easy, excellent jazz rock/fusion. re issue by Musea on Cd with 2 bonus tracks, that will apper on their next album Horizon digital a year later.
Report this review (#778088)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is what Steely Dan would sound like on their best day if they had balls and were French. Groovy, spirited progfusion instrumentals line the first side while funky french and english, boy and girl voices dot the second. This is poppy party fusion with exceptionally balanced compositions, with each instrument standing out equally among the rest. The result is a coalescent whole that in my eyes is a truly a progfunkfusion masterwork.

Definitely not for everyone, this album demands attention from fusion admirers on the pop and rock and groove side of fusion. There's nothing to compare it to, maybe a group like Ain Soph. They occupy their own corner of left field.


Report this review (#1641405)
Posted Friday, November 11, 2016 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Just a killer Jazz Fusion album out of France, released in 1977. This four piece can play with the best of them and it's the drummer is who impresses me the most. We get a female keyboardist adding electric piano, piano, synths and vocals along with bass player, drums and guitar. Most often the synths and guitar solo over the amazing rhythm section. We get male vocals as well but I think it's just three tracks total that have vocals and they sound good and are in French.

The opener "Vedra" is a top four and it opens with the wind blowing before eventually the bass and drums create a foundation for first the guitar then the synths to solo over top. They will trade off throughout. Another top four is "A La Source Du Reve" and it's the longest at almost 8 minutes. Check out the melancholic synths late after 5 minutes all the way to the end. Love that sound. Another top four is "La Ville En Baton" and for me this is the one that has warmth and melody at least compared to the rest. Male vocals before 2 minutes but soon it's instrumental again and check out that guitar before 4 1/2 minutes to the end. "La Fille Du Ruisseau" is my final top four and it's the guitar, bass and drum show early. So much going on as female vocals join in. We get a guitar solo then the synths lead as the vocals stop before 3 minutes. Man they can play! This is actually closer to 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#2540218)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2021 | Review Permalink

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