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Ben Ben album cover
3.26 | 31 ratings | 3 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

A1. The Influence (10:08)
A2. Gibbon (9:30)
B1. Christmas Execution (7:20)
B2. Gismo (11:49)

Total Time 38:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Davey / saxophones, flute, clarinet)
- Alex Macleery / electric piano, harpsichord, Moog synthesizer
- Gerry Reid / electric and acoustic guitars
- Len Surtees / bass
- David Sheen / drums, congas, percussion, vocals

Releases information

LP Vertigo

Thanks to Evolver for the addition
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BEN Ben ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(26%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BEN Ben reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by GruvanDahlman
3 stars Oddly enough, or maybe not, this album has stuck with me over many a year. I bought it about 15 years (or so) ago simply because I found that Repertoire Records had released it. By then I was obsessed with a couple of catalogues displaying albums re-released på Repertoire. So, I bought it. I wouldn't say I regret it. Certainly not. On the other hand it proved to be less of an exciting listen than I had expected.

The music is all instrumental jazz-rock. The musicianship is nothing but excellent, yet the music tends to pass me by somewhat. I dig it when I listen but when it is all over there is actually not much sticking. The best track is the firts one, "The influence". This track has this absolutely amazing passage which I cannot describe in musically technical terms. Anyway, you have to listen to it to kniw what. I mean. The remaining tracks are enjoyable and very well played but, as already stated, fails to make a lasting impression. I cannot hum much of it.

Musically it bears resemblence to other bands in the genre. There are bits of everything here, actually. I fins that there are pieces of Graham Bond around 1970-71, Centipede (the melodious parts) and others. I would not say that I am able to find traces of the more popular bands of the genre like Chicago or Blood, Sweat & Tears. This is slightly less oriented towards that kind of jazz-rock. Though not overly complex (on the border of free-form territory that is) it still holds enough complexity to please anyone into this kind of music.

I like this album. It is enjoyable to listen to and holds somewhat of a mystical air to it. Being an obscure album i think that it has hold up well nevertheless. Some obscure albums tend to be less than potent but this is quite powerful music in it's own right. I would not however rate it higher than three stars. It is good but not great. It is simply for those already into the genre and in need for some of that obscure mystery an album like this provides. Good but non essential.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the really serious Vertigo rarities, a British Jazz Rock group with a short life but some fine talent.Ben were saxophonist/flutist Peter Davey, keyboardist/pianist Alex Macleery, guitarist Gerry Reid, bassist Len Surtees and drummer David Sheen, the later coming from Graham Bond's band.Their only self-titled album, which contains four long, instrumental tracks, was released in 1971.

This one falls into the same category as NUCLEUS and IF, it's technically competent Jazz Rock with some great solos and rhythms, varied climates, going from furious guitar moves and frequent instrumental interactions to a smoother keyboard/piano-driven music with a bit of a psychedelic enviroment, like RAY MANZAREK playing the piano.Cool sax work and some strong flute lines are always welcome, I fail to detect any impressive differences between the pieces, but if you ask me ''Christmas execution'' stands out from the bunch, because, unlike the other pieces, the atmosphere here is really dark and dramatic, rarely found in a Jazz Rock composition.It's also the most progressive piece in here with soft electric guitars, harsichord and lots of flute and an excellent second part with an incredible jazzy taste on guitars and eerie keyboard work.''Gibbon'' contains also some sporadic choirs, another element you'll hardly find in a Jazz Rock album, while the two longer pieces ''The influence'' and ''Gismo'', are definitely a lot more jazzier with good instrumental work, some parts with the guitars and sax in the forefront recall VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's jazzy masturbations, but there are very limited progressive values in these with emphasis given to isolated solos.

Len Surtees played with the post-80's edition of The Nashville Teens, while David Sheen was later involved in various Jazz Rock and Fusion groups, including Mirage and the Canterbury-linked Soft Head.

Good Jazz Rock from the fogotten years, containing two very good compositions with a few proggy glimpses and another pair of more standard Jazz workouts.Warmly recommended, original vinyl is incredibly expensive, various reissues exist.

Latest members reviews

3 stars 3.5 Really. I toyed with a 4.0 ratiing but to be honest, I'd be arrogant if I actually believed others would buy this album because I gave it a 4.0 instead of a 3.5, etc... Ratings just a frame of reference. Number rating aside, this is a very interesting and long time coming review (as ... (read more)

Report this review (#1021057) | Posted by progbaby | Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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