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SOLUTION

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Netherlands


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Solution biography
Founded 1970 - Disbanded 1983 (re-united for 2 shows in Club Panama, Amsterdam on March 19/20, 2006)

Founder members Tom Barlage (saxophone) and Willem Ennes (piano) had played together in the Dutch band The Keys. The band played a crossover of jazzrock and soul. The band changed its name to Soulution and in 1969 drummer Hans Waterman (Ex-Cuby & The Blizzards) joined the band. One half of the musicians wanted to play songs the other half wanted to improvise in a jazz fashion. Soon the band split and Barlage, Ennes & Waterman formed Solution.

The band signed to the small Catfish label and was joined by Peter van der Sande on bass. The quartet recorded their first self titled record in 1971. The influence on this record, a brillant example of early jazzrock, ranged from Frank Zappa and Soft Machine to John Coltrane and contained an adaption of a classical composition by French composer Jaques Ibert.

For their second record 'Divergence' (1972) the band signed to EMI's progressive subsidiary Harvest and Guus Willemse replaced Van der Sande on bass. Willemse brought not only a rockier side with his semi acoustic Höffner bass, but became also singer of the band. 'Divergence' is as good as the first record with a punchier side and amore pronounced soul influence.

Due to the military duty of Barlage and Ennes the band had to stop. At the same time the musical climate had changed from experimental to a more polished fusion and Solution tried to jump on the train. Their third record 'Cordon Bleu' (1975) was produced by Gus Dudgeon fom Elton John fame. Still a good record, it was nevertheless moving more into a soul jazz direction with smooth ballads. The fourth record, 'Fully Interlocking' (1977), again produced by Gus Dudgeon, now for CBS, followed the same direction, alternating soul and jazzrock still with interesting instrumental passages.

In the meantime Disco had arrived and Solution changed to a fullblown funk-soul outfit, and recorded 'Its Only Just Begun' (1980), their most succesful record, still with solid songwriting, but no traces of Prog left. Their last studio record 'Runaway' (1982), was co produced by Jim Capaldi (Traffic), who co-wrote also some of the tracks and the band was joined by guitarist Harry Hardholt. Apart from the awful cover the band drowned even deeper in uninspired soul-funk. In 1983 the band made a farewell tour, that was released as a record 'Solution Live' (1983).

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SOLUTION discography


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

3.78 | 54 ratings
Solution
1971
3.24 | 44 ratings
Divergence
1972
3.94 | 59 ratings
Cordon Bleu
1975
3.26 | 33 ratings
Fully Interlocking
1977
3.65 | 15 ratings
It's Only Just Begun
1980
2.15 | 11 ratings
Runaway
1982

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

3.75 | 4 ratings
Solution Live
1983
3.00 | 6 ratings
The Best of Solution Live
1991

SOLUTION Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.08 | 3 ratings
Solution Live - Reunion Concert in club Panama, Amsterdam
2007

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

3.14 | 5 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2005
4.33 | 6 ratings
Mythology
2013

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

SOLUTION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Solution by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.78 | 54 ratings

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Solution
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars SOLUTION was amongst one of the first wave of jazz-fusion bands that sprang forth following in the footsteps of Frank Zappa's "Hot Rats" era. This band began as The Keys in 1966 when a bunch of school kids in Groningen, Netherlands wanted to start their own jazz band. Having gone through a series of lineup changes and a band name Soulution, by the time the band had settled down into the members of Willem Ennes (piano & electric piano, organ), Tom Barlage (alto & soprano saxophones, flute), Peter van der Sande (bass, vocals), Guus Willemse (bass, vocals),Hans Waterman (drums) and Steve Boston (congas, cowbells), the band had shed the extra U due to false assumptions that it was a soul band. SOLUTION was born and released its eponymously titled debut in 1971 on the Dutch label Catfish as well as simultaneously on the Decca label in the UK.

Although the band existed as SOLUTION from 1970 - 86, it went through many phases becoming more commercial sounding as the 80s approached. This debut represents a brief glimpse of the band and the only album that featured original vocalist and bassist Peter van der Sande who was replaced with Guus Willemse who joined in the middle of the recording sessions. Both appear on this album on different tracks. SOLUTION's first offering is much more instrumentally oriented than the album's that follow with only a few vocal tracks and the lion's share devoted to extended jazz-fusion jams that follows in the fusion footsteps of Zappa and adds a touch of Canterbury flavors along with some other surprises.

The album originally only had five tracks surpassing the 38 minute mark with two of them over the ten minute mark. The opening "Koan" is perhaps the most "Hot Rats" influenced with a heavy rock aspect that offers some jazz swing and a busy percussive section with not only the rock drumming techniques but congas and cowbells. The complex use of keyboards and synthesizers keeps it in prog rock territory while the saxophone parts are right out fo the 60s jazz playbook. The track alternates between heavy uptempo deliveries and softer downtime and is completely instrumental. The flute sounds bring to mind another Dutch prog band of the era, namely Focus but SOLUTION found its own sound from the start so this actually sounds pretty unique especially in 1971.

After a minute long dreamy atmospheric intro called "Preview" the 12 minute "Phases" offers a darker space rock slab of fusion with soft passages that offer atmospheric counterpoints while a simple percussive drive thumps like a heartbeat and the wind sections craft complex polyphonic expressions but completely changes course when the track shifts into a vocal led prog rock with heavy electronic piano and organ usage as well as some nice pastoral flute driven moments. The second major track "Trane Steps" obviously is paying homage to John Coltrane and features both slow burning build ups of jazz-rock splendor to the more frantic ensemble of instrumental interplay where all the instruments have a moment to shine. The mood completely changes on the closing "Circus Circumstances" which sounds like a klezmer party run amok and has been rightfully compared to the zany antics of Sweden's Samla Mamas Manna.

By far the strongest SOLUTION's albums that became slightly more watered down with each following album, this band has unfortunately been buried underneath the long list of excellent bands that played stellar jazz-fusion in the 70s but this debut is a very technically demanding album while crafting tight-knit melodies that are instantly attainable. Some newer CD versions have five extra bonus tracks. The album was also released as a twofer with the second album "Divergence" only under the same eponymous title. While i wouldn't call SOLUTION the very top of the heap when it comes to jazz-fusion bands, this introduction to the band surely is a satisfying one with five excellent tracks that offer a lot of creative touches. While not nearly as successful as Focus or Supersister, this is still a band that the Netherlands should be quite proud of.

 Cordon Bleu by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.94 | 59 ratings

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Cordon Bleu
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. I might prefer this one slightly to their second album "Divergence" but the debut is my favourite by far. The singing on this and "Divergence" drops my ratings in both cases, just not a fan of his voice at all while the debut just had vocals on one track but at least he could sing in a style I liked. There's two great tracks on here though, both all instrumental and both the longest songs on here hence my 3.5 rating. This was released in 1975 and is a Jazz/Rock affair.

"Chappaqua" is one of those two excellent numbers clocking in at 10 1/2 minutes. My hopes were high after my first listen to this one that's for sure. Relaxing organ then sax before it kicks in around a minute including bass and drums. Such a beautiful sound here. It turns jazzy around 2 1/2 minutes and a little more intense. It relaxes again with that sax after 3 1/2 minutes but the drums are busy this time. Nice keyboard sound as well. A change before 5 1/2 minutes as it becomes more intense again. Great sound. The sax is back around 7 1/2 minutes but not for long. The bass and drums really impress. More sax before 10 minutes in this energetic closing section.

"Third Line Part 1" opens with bass and cymbals in this relaxing piece before keys and sax join in. Mellow is the word. It blends into "Third Line Part 2" where the vocals join in and I don't like them. It's ballad-like here although it will build some with drums and organ but it's still very relaxed. The vocals stop before 2 minutes and the sound becomes a little more intense and the tempo picks up. Vocals are back before 4 minutes.

"A Song For You" makes me a little sick to my stomach every time I hear it. A ballad that sounds like it's done with the Reo Speedwagon singer. Yikes! "Whirlgig" is the other track I really like clocking in at around 9 minutes. A mellow start with cymbals, sax and not much more. It kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes, very jazzy but settles back just as fast. Funky bass and a beat as the sax kicks in and synths after 2 minutes. I like this. It settles back again as the tempo continues to shift until that steady jazzy groove arrives. Another calm after 7 minutes before kicking back in late.

"Last Detail Part 1" opens with sax, bass and drums, keyboards too. This is good. Organ just after a minute. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes unfortunately. "Last Detail Part 2" has the vocals returning quickly and while I like the instrumental parts I'm not into the rest.

"Black Pearl Part 1" has spacey synths with bass, piano and drums then it kicks into gear quickly to an uptempo sound. Organ too then it calms right down with sax. Nice. It blends into "Black Pearl Part 2" as the sax comes in with some power. Vocals replace the sax quickly. Again I like the instrumental parts best. More powerful sax but again it's brief. I'm not a big fan of the sax to end it.

So much excellent music but not a 4 star album in my opinion.

 Fully Interlocking by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.26 | 33 ratings

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Fully Interlocking
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars Prog needs more soul.

Solution looked at Chicago and thought; we can do that. And there you have it: a nice mixture of r&b/soul and funk/jazzrock. Not the synth-driven spacerock or progrock of the late seventies but smooth and versatile. Nothing wrong with all the other music out there, of course. Almost all music is great, when you're in the right mood.

And this fourth album of Solution is perfect for the autumn/winter time. Music to dance to, groove to. Great songs to sing along, without being to poppy. You gotta give to them; this is a very well crafted album. If it was Chicago, I would have believed it. But this here: an underrated, unknown perfect smooth funky groovy jazzrock album that could've been great weren't they from the Netherlands.

The Netherlands always had very great bands, that didn't get the attention they deserved, instead the lowlands always focussed on schlager and carnaval music. So many band gone without a trace. But glad we have the records to spin.

Highly recommended for lovers of Weather Report, Chick Corea, Chicago, Toto etc.

 Cordon Bleu by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.94 | 59 ratings

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Cordon Bleu
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars This is insanely good. Way ahead of its time.

Progrock seems to be a little lifeless sometimes, but folkrock and jazzrockfusion always has more soul and groove to it. And that's exactly what the band has: groove and soul. And the production is superb! Crystal clear and in-your-face. Nice melodies, great drumming and very thick basslines. Good vocals and very nice sax/flute work.

Where Supersister has more humour and aims towards Canterbury, Solution is much more serious. Less rock than Focus but heavier still than Alquin.

I cannot understand I have never ever tried this band before. But know that I have, I know I will play this record a lot.

Highly recommended for people who like the crossover of jazzfusion and progrock.

 Solution by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.78 | 54 ratings

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Solution
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I found this as a 1976 two-for-one that includes their first two albums, released on EMI, in a Eugene, Oregon record store around 2012, knowing that I've been aware of Solution for ages, and that Focus recorded one of their songs as part of "Eruption". I was rather amused of the "EMI" label, the "E" red, "M" was white", and "I" was blue, referring to the colors of the Dutch flag, to let everyone know the Dutch origins of Solution. To me, the debut is by far the best thing they have ever done. Later stuff started venturing too often in lite jazz. When hearing this debut, I hear elements of Supersister, and while Alquin had yet to release an album, I can see exactly where those guys were coming from. Of course, Solution lacked the humor element of Supersister, for some that's what they like of Supersister, other that's what puts them off about them. "Koan" is an incredible piece, love those sax parts and use of electric piano that isn't too different from Supersister. "Phases" has some really great stuff on is, but the part that bothers me is the vocal parts. I really get an impression the band is torn between jazz rock, prog, and American west coast rock, and this song proves it. So long as there's no vocals, I could do without them. It's not that they're bad, but the US West Coast style doesn't suit the band . "Circus Circumstances", OK, is where the band was trying to pull a Supersister on us by trying to be humorous, but that circus music that starts the piece is pretty lame, luckily they get serious and drop that, and go back to what they do best, more of that stuff that reminds me of Supersister and Alquin at their best. The album does have a couple of questionable moments, most of it is simply great stuff that I can highly recommend.
 Solution Live - Reunion Concert in club Panama, Amsterdam by SOLUTION album cover DVD/Video, 2007
4.08 | 3 ratings

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Solution Live - Reunion Concert in club Panama, Amsterdam
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by jvandemerwe

4 stars This DVD is a reunion concert held in the Panama Club in Amsterdam. All the classics of this great Dutch rockgroup are played here. Solution was already retired when they decided to do a one-time reunion concert in 2006. This DVD shows that these "old" men didn't loose any quality. It is a great performance of one of the best music ever composed by Dutch pop artists.

The nice thing about this DVD that it shows the concert (almost?) uncut, including the flaws in the presenation. But that only adds more to how much fun the members of Solution had in doing this evening, that was attended by die- hard fans and family. But there were no flaws in the songs played. That is just a big celebration to watch.

It is only a pitty that the video is in 4:3 format, but we can be very happy that it is so much more than nothing at all. A must see/have for Solution fans, but also for everyone else that loves to see professionals doing their greatest classics.

 Cordon Bleu by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.94 | 59 ratings

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Cordon Bleu
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Quinino

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #2

I'm reviewing My Greatest in no specific order, mind you, so #2 here doesn't mean second best.

But let's do them justice, 'cause these dutch guys reached on this album a balance not easy to obtain:
The fine equilibrium between lightness and immediate enjoyability, on one side, and enough complexity and sophistication to make you want to come back and listen again and again.

Global Appraisal

The whole record, from the first to the last note, flows seamlessly in a mood I would call Soft Fusion, if you know what I mean ? Good overall musicianship, tasteful jazzy arrangements, the occasional sax or guitar solo, joyful and melodic compositions (but never syrupy, no smooth jazz or easy listening here!).

I would say it's not even a question of taste, how can anyone not enjoy this music, but more of disposition; when you, like me, are in the mood for demanding complexity this won't do, but the rest of the time you'll get unrepentant immediate rewarding.

In spite of roaming frequently in the well-populated "smooth ballad" territory (as Martin highlighted in the biography the album was produced by Gus Dudgeon of Elton John fame) I don't think Solution got major inspiration from any other band of its time (it's 1975, man!).
They are to my judgment a singular case, not particularly original or influential but anyhow with a distinct personality of their own, let's be fair.

Doesn't sound dated, it's really in-temporal the pleasure I keep getting since the days I listened to the LP on my cheap pick-up until today. I hope it works that way to you too, give it a try.

Well, the cover art says it all: clean, bright, uncomplicated but with a glimpse of fantasy.
Sad note: later recordings would go further in a funkish trend, so don't be too hopeful for proggyness.

Goodies

I like the vocals as they are, clear and unpretentious (others would disagree), because I sense they blend well with the light mood of the music. Anyway the longer themes happen to be instrumentals.

Although the strength of the quartet resides mainly on the strong cohesion of the interplay, the saxophones really set the tone and that is honey to my ears.

Willem does a good if discreet job on keyboards and you get the chance to taste his working the Elka Rhapsody, one of those now vintage analog string synthesizers of the day (Jarre, K. Schulze, T. Dream, Supertramp)

 Divergence by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.24 | 44 ratings

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Divergence
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 1972 Solution moved from the Catfish label to Harvest and introduced new bassist Guus Willemse in the place of Peter van der Sande, the same Guus Willemse who played bass on Light's sole album ''The story of Moses''.The new album ''Divergence'' was released in 1972 in Holland and Germany, while EMI distributed it in UK.

The uneven sound of the long opener ''Second line'' sums up the story around ''Divergence''.Soulless vocal Jazz/Pop mixed with fiery, almost Canterbur-ian Prog Fusion, full of sweet melodies and blasting interplays.The title-track is more of the same: Sax-driven syrupy melodies meet dense, GENTLE GIANT-like Prog Rock along with soft jazzy interludes.''Fever'' is a suprising instrumental piece of Space/Fusion with dreamy flute lines and atmospheric electric piano to close nicely the opening side of the LP.The flipside is centered around the 13-min. Jazz Rock of ''Concentration'', another example of Solution's endless talent and questionable composing ability at the time.The first part offers a delicate Jazz Rock with Pop and Soul sensibilities, which is decent musically, but the vocals are extremely commercial and dull.The following second part is miles better, all instrumental, groovy Prog/Jazz Rock with bizarre sax breaks and solos and very good electric piano and synths textures, delivered in a semi-loose style.The very short flute-intro of ''Themes'' leads to the farewell track ''New dimension'', which is vocal-driven Jazz Rock with nice sax and flute lines and some psychedelic influences around.

At its more complex parts ''Divergence'' is absolutely on par with Solution's debut.However the mass of easy-listening tunes contained makes this a weaker album overall, but still recommended, as the great moments in it range from great to mind-blowing.

 Divergence by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.24 | 44 ratings

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Divergence
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I really love their debut album, but what on earth were they doing here? "Second Line" to my ears sounds like the band ditched all their jazz rock for generic soft rock, complete with vocals that sound like (if it weren't for the accent) it could have been any run-of-the-mill American soft rock act. But then the instrumental part of this piece is next, and it almost sounded like it was spliced from a different band's recording, because it's more in the familiar jazz-rock territory. The title track is familiar to every Focus fan, as they recorded a version of it off their Moving Waves album, as part of the "Eruption" suite, but was entitled "Tommy" there. But Focus actually recorded it first, although Tom Barlage is credited to it, and I'm certain Solution did perform this piece before the album Divergence ever came out (probably around the time of their debut). The next couple pieces are luckily in the jazzy prog department, where the vocals on "Concentration" do work better here, but plenty of instrumental passages. "New Dimension" is another vocal-dominated piece, and again, I really don't care for this piece. To me, this is a rather uneven album, and I've heard some of their later stuff, which sounds too close to lite jazz-rock to my liking. Personally I find their debut the better album.
 Divergence by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.24 | 44 ratings

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Divergence
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The Dutch band SOLUTION was formed back in 1966, and in a career that lasted until 1983 they explored quite a few different types of music prior to calling it a day. Their most interesting productions from a progressive rock point of view have generally been subscribed to their self-titled debut from 1971 and the following year's production "Divergence". Both albums have been unavailable for a number of years now, until the UK label Esoteric Recordings decided to reissue them on CD in the fall of 2012 ? as usual from this fine label, complete with a nice and good quality digital remastering.

Solution's second outing "Divergence" sees the band replacing the eclectic, innovative excursions on their debut with a smoother variety of jazz rock. Competent and accomplished musicians add a number of refined, subtle details to the proceedings to elevate it above the plain and ordinary, and occasionally the band showcases an inclination towards a more experimental expression. But by and large this disc appears to have the jazz rock crowd as its key audience, and in particular the section of it that doesn't mind an occasional flirt with mainstream oriented music.

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

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