Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Jazz Rock/Fusion • Germany

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Toto Blanke picture
Toto Blanke biography
Hans Otto Blanke - 16 September 1936 (Paderborn, Germany) - 24 October 2013

Toto BLANKE (or Hans Otto BLANKE) was a German jazz and experimental guitarist from Paderborn. He first became known as the member of ASSOCIATION P.C. formed by Dutch musician Jasper VAN'T HOF but soon became more active as a band leader in his own right. He released his first solo album 'Spider Dance' in 1975 (featuring future RETURN TO FOREVER drummer Gerry BROWN) and very soon followed it up with 'Electric Circus', which morphed into a side project of sorts featuring musicians like VAN'T HOF. The project changed line-up again in later 70's and continued as TOTO BLANKE's ELECTRIC CIRCUS which played original but more conventional fusion unlike the first iteration and experimental live performances. His career overall while jazz influenced does contain more avantgarde work which might be interesting to various audiences while fans of progressive jazz fusion can be recommended his earlier work and albums that are related to ELECTRIC CIRCUS in any combination.

See also: WiKi

TOTO BLANKE Videos (YouTube and more)

Showing only random 3 | Show all TOTO BLANKE videos (2) | Search and add more videos to TOTO BLANKE


TOTO BLANKE discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

TOTO BLANKE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.88 | 7 ratings
Spider's Dance
4.21 | 5 ratings
Electric Circus
3.75 | 4 ratings
Tales Of Tomorrow
4.96 | 4 ratings
Electric Circus: Friends
0.00 | 0 ratings
Somewhere In Time
4.00 | 1 ratings
Electric Circus : Bella Donna
0.00 | 0 ratings
Don Perlimplin
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fools Paradise
0.00 | 0 ratings
Going Crazy

TOTO BLANKE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Electric Circus : Live At The Quartier Latin
0.00 | 0 ratings
Electric Circus : Family

TOTO BLANKE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TOTO BLANKE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TOTO BLANKE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Spider's Dance by BLANKE, TOTO album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.88 | 7 ratings

Spider's Dance
Toto Blanke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The side project of German guitarist Hans Otto Blanke when not working with Jasper Van't Hof or with Pierre Courbois' ASSOCIATION P.C. This album finds the European virtuosi playing with Philadelphia expats John Lee (bass) and Gerry Brown (drums).

1. "Lady's Bicycle Seat Smeller" (7:00) sounds very much like RETURN TO FOREVER (in no small part due to Gerry Brown's pre-RTF drumming). The drums, bass guitar, and electric guitar play are so closely fitted to the RTF style, it is only the presence of Carmin Ugo Mariano's flute and Joachim Kühn's more Herbie Hancock-like keyboard playing style. (13.5/15)

2. "Intermission" (6:58) another song styled very closely after some of RETURN TO FOREVER's more quirky and dynamic constructs, this time with keyboard player Joachim Kühn's stylings sounding more akin to those of Chick Corea. (13.75/15)

3. "Rocbaron" (2:45) a Django Rhinehardt-styled acoustic guitar song solo by Toto definitely takes on a non-Django sound and style (and more Al Di Meola- and acoustic John McLaughlin sound) as it goes on. Excellent virtuoso guitar play! (9.75/10)

4. "Toto" (6:22) opens with two concurrently played tracks of Toto's electric guitar(s) playing wah-wah-ed arpeggi, soon along with John Lee's bass and Gerry's syncopated drums. Very cool! (Very "Discipline" like!) At 1:08 the hypnotic weave is broken by a crash into a slower procession of chunky-funky effected-bass, syncopated almost-military drums, and electric guitar arpeggi with Fender Rhodes electric piano support. (I hear no saxes or flutes.) The guitar soloing in the fourth minute reminds me very much of Larry CORYELL while Gerry Brown's drumming is like a mirror copy of the style and sounds of Lenny WHITE! In the fifth and sixth minutes the guitars return to two tracks weaving opposite one another, eventually speeding up to signal the band's transition into decay and finish. I really love this song--from multiple perspectives--maybe the drumming the most! (9.5/10)

5. "Spider's Dance" (4:33) a protracted Mahavishnu-like progression of chords from guitar and bass while Joachim's clavinet and Gerry's drums sky rocket all over the place beneath and around the plodding oddly-time-signatured stringed rhythm section. Charlie Mariano's flutes and saxes as well as another track devoted to Toto's lead guitar carry the smooth melody line to the song's conclusion. Quite exciting and noteworthy. (9.33333/10)

6. "Prelude" (0:58) strumming acoustic guitar receives some flange treatment. (4.5/5)

7. "Slight Touch Of Hepatitis" (14:28) using a sparse and rather spacious rhythm section from the bass à la Bitches Brew and the early Mwandishi albums, drummer Gerry Brown is free to explore wherever Spirit guides him as Charlie Mariano and Joachim Kühn go wild and crazy over the top--for the first five plus minutes, that is. Toward the fifth and sixth minutes John Lee's bass begins to become quite adventurous and interesting while Toto Blanke's lead guitar and Joachim's wah-wah-ed Fender Rhodes become increasingly angular, key-bending, and at times outright dissonant. The band reigns it in and thins out in the eleventh minute to allow for some pure Fender Rhodes solo time (though John Lee's very active bass is still unavoidably noticeable just beneath). Gerry's drumming is solid and fluid but feels, compared to the creative freedoms he was given in previous songs, more constrained and liming. I'm sure this was a very cerebral and liberating song to perform--and the performances are certainly impressive for their virtuosic creativity--but my puny little brain happens to prefer the melodic commitments of the previous songs. (27/30)

Total Time 43:04

Quite an excellent and creative album despite the obvious emulation and inspiration from Chick (and Herbie), Stanley, Al (and Larry), and Lenny. Evenso, these musicians are all at the top of their games--given further freedom and expressive boosts by wah-wah pedals and multiple track recording.

A-/five stars; a remarkable masterpiece of high-powered Jazz-Rock Fusion--one that every prog lover and J-R Fuse lover should experience! Four of these musicians should be household names on the tips of everybody's tongues.

 Electric Circus: Friends by BLANKE, TOTO album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.96 | 4 ratings

Electric Circus: Friends
Toto Blanke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars More of Toto Blanke's experimentation outside of his gigs with Pierre Courbois and Jasper Van't Hof and Joachim K'hn. The influence of John McLaughlin's MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and SHAKTI project is quite obvious here as is the more recent sounds and songs of WEATHER REPORT (on bassist Norbert D'mling).

1. "Birds Of A Feather" (9:41) opening with some of the sequencing he was experimenting with on his two previous albums, the song moves into WEATHER REPORT territory. A little too uniform in sticking with one single motif throughout the song--which makes it hard to stay engaged over ten minutes, but very high quality musicianship throughout. (17.75/20)

2. "Asiento" (3:51) Trilock Gurtu's opening percussion barrage lets us know that we're in for a SHAKTI-like fusion of Eastern and Western traditions. Norbert D'mling's fretless bass is straight out of the JACO PASTORIUS school of bass. Very nice imitation with nocitceably loose and free feeling from all musicians. (9/10)

3. "Hallo J. (2:00) Toto's beautiful play on his steel-stringed acoustic guitar paired up with Norbert D'mling's wonderful Jaco Pastorius-like fretless bass Wonderful! Could've gone longer (for my tastes). (5/5)

4. "Billi (6:06) a Latin vehicle for some wild tenor sax play from Mat Nodolny. Stu Goldberg's mostly-two-chord support is a bit too forward and, therefore, obnoxious. In the fourth minute, Toto's electric (Roland?) jazz guitar gets the second solo. Lot's of unusual hand percussives and weird synth noises being thrown into the background (Trilock's contributions a little too far forward). (8.875/10)

5. "Floating (5:39) a high-speed cruise that has a lot of angular melody lines in its "Vashkar"/Mahavishnu-like sound palette. Exceptional musicianship on display, top to bottom. (9.3333/10)

6. "Winterlied (3:42) a duet between Stu Goldberg's MiniMoog and Toto's steel-stringed acoustic guitar. It opens as slow and ruminative duet of MiniMoog and gentle acoustic guitar chord picking before breaking down with some more flashy contributions from the acoustic guitar while the MiniMoog continues its melody-searching unphased. Reminds me of both SHAKTI and PAT METHENY. (9.25/10)

7. "I'm A Stranger Here Myself (8:00) very much like something from AREA's Crac!: "Nervi Scoperti" Excellent musicanship (as it would have to be to earn that comparison)! (13.75/15)

8. "Friends (Dedicated To T. Blanke)" (4:27) interesting Weather Report-like weirdness. Smooth and melodic, though. (8.875/10)

Total Time 43:26

I'm not sure why Stu Goldberg gets second billing unless he was integrally-involved in the composition department as his keyboard play serves more in a support role (except for "Winterlied").

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of a broad spectrum of wonderfully-performed jazz-rock fusion--one that could hold a candle to anything happening at the highest levels of fame, virtuosity, and sales marketing in the rest of the world.

 Electric Circus by BLANKE, TOTO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.21 | 5 ratings

Electric Circus
Toto Blanke Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Igor91

4 stars German guitarist Toto Blanke (1939-2013) came to prominence as a member of the excellent avant-jazz rock outfit Association P.C. "Electric Circus," Blanke's second solo effort, is quite different from his first, "Spider's Dance." While his first album consisted of Anglo-American style jazz-rock (which was very good), "Electric Circus" finds Blanke incorporating the ground-breaking sounds of his home country at the time.

Blanke not only handles the guitars on this album, he also plays a ppg synth, ppg sequencer, moog taurus, as well as the banjo. As you may guess, the modern (at the time) synths, sequencers and moog make this quite different from your average fusion LP. Joining Blanke is his former band mate from Association P.C., Jasper van't Hof on keyboards. Also in the mix is American bassist Dave King, who also played with Embryo and the Curt Cress Clan, as well as others. Drums and percussion duties were handled by Edward Vesala of Finland.

The result is an interesting blend of jazz rock and Krautrock. Blanke's guitar (and Banjo) playing is magnificent as ever, but "Electric Circus" is not a guitar album. The synths take center stage on most tracks, layered over spacey, Kraut grooves. Experimental in nature, the album captures the best of both of the worlds it straddles. Recommended to those who like experimental music like Et Cetera / Wolfgang Dauner and other like-minded Teutonic musicians. 4 stars.

Thanks to historian9 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.