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Neil Ardley

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Neil Ardley Kaleidoscope of Rainbows album cover
4.42 | 22 ratings | 2 reviews | 41% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1:
1. Prologue/Rainbow One (10:25)
2. Rainbow Two (7:35)
Side 2:
1. Rainbow Three (3:28)
2. Rainbow Four (6:15)
Side 3:
1. Rainbow Five (4:25)
3. Rainbow Six (7:39)
Side 4:
1. Rainbow Seven/Epilogue (14:58)

Total Time 54:46

Line-up / Musicians

Neil Ardley: director, synthesizer
Bob Bertles: alto, soprano, flute
Paul Buckmaster: acoustic & electric cello
Ian Carr: trumpet, fluglehorn
Geoff Castle: electric piano, synthesizer
Tony Coe: tenor, clarinet, bass clarinet
Dave Macrae: electric piano, synthesizer
Roger Sellers: drums
Ken Shaw: guitar
Brain Smith: tenor, soprano, flute, alto flute
Roger Sutton: bass guitar, electric bass
Barbara Thompson: alto, soprano, flute
Trevor Tomkins: percussion, vibraphone.

Releases information

Gull - GULP 1018

Thanks to fluiddruid for the addition
and to BrufordFreak for the last updates
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Buy NEIL ARDLEY Kaleidoscope of Rainbows Music

NEIL ARDLEY Kaleidoscope of Rainbows ratings distribution

(22 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

NEIL ARDLEY Kaleidoscope of Rainbows reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars British intellectual Neil Ardley composes complex jazz-rock and then enlists the help of many seasoned musicians (many of whom had served in the ranks of Ian Carr's Nucleus).

Side 1: 1. "Prologue/Rainbow One" (10:25) layers upon layers of minimalist arpeggi performed polyrhythmically in rondo form--until 3:05 when they all come together in an awesome kind of DON ELLIS/EARTH WIND & FIRE/AVERAGE WHITE BAND jam. And then, oddity of all oddities (especially for a Jazz-Rock Fusion song) is the fact that the first instrumental solos don't begin until the seventh minute! (Given to Ian Carr, of course.) Very interesting--and enjoyable! (18.75/20) 2. "Rainbow Two" (7:35) a gentle duet of acoustic bass and flute open this one before woodwinds join in. Though mathematically interesting, eventually, the gentle, plodding music becomes rather soporific. (13.25/15)

Side 2: 1. "Rainbow Three" (3:28) Jean-Luc Ponty-like cello gets the leadership role over a percussive, Afro-folk rhythmic weave from the drums, percussion, and funky electric bass. Everything slows down at the end for a very subdued dénouement. (8.875/10)

2. "Rainbow Four" (6:15) this one starts out sounding like a merger of old-style jazz with modern minimalism but then everything shifts into old style Sketches of Spain-like music for trumpet, flutes, and other wind instruments to solo and weave in and out of a gorgeous Spanish-sounding ballad. Absolutely gorgeous melodies performed with awesomely inventive "choral" weave. Soprano sax solos in the fourth minute. The pain and anguish of the soloist gets so overwhelmingly powerful in the fifth and sixth minutes! Music does not get much better than this! (10/10)

Side 3: 1. "Rainbow Five" (4:25) sounds like a modern melding of DON ELLIS' big band ORCHESTRA with a smooth Weather Report or . Great clarinet play in the song's first and only extended solo. Ends with another odd separate whole-band horn motif. (9/10)

3. "Rainbow Six" (7:39) flutes and other winds trill around each other like butterflies before electric bass, vibes, hand percussion, and brass enter providing gentle waves of Kind of Blue-like textures. The bass and jazz guitar provide the only disruptors to the gentle waves of winds--the bass creating an EBERHARD WEBER-like feel. By the final third of the song the rolling waves of wind instruments begin to show a hint of a minimalist pattern. Nice tune. A very interesting composition. (13.5/15)

Side 4: 1. "Rainbow Seven/Epilogue" (14:58) sounds and feels like a kind of mélange of several (if not) all of the themes and styles of the other songs--the Epilogue portion definitely mirrors the opening in a re-oriented kind of variation. A little slower and more spacious than the opening side, there is some nice guitar and electric piano play involved (which was not so featured on previous songs). I love the rolling bass sound and the big band horn. Ken Shaw's extended guitar solo is a bit too jazz guitar-like and not so rock 'n' roll, and then Brian Smith's sax solo follows. With four minutes to go there is a full shift into a completely new and different motif with bass and drums leading the band into an almost- imperceptibly speeding up pace will horns et al. follow and embellish. (27/30)

Total Time 54:46

An album with wonderfully crisp and clean compositions performed and recorded with equal definition and clarity. With no side extending beyond 18 minutes--and three less than 15 minutes--in length I guess it should be no wonder that the sound quality is so great.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of finely-crafted jazz-rock fusion--an album that I think every prog lover would love.

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