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SOLUTION

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Netherlands


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Solution biography
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).

'Solution' and 'Divergence' are recommended.

: : : Martin Horst (aka Alucard), France : : :

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Will Not Be TelevisedWill Not Be Televised
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SOLUTION discography


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

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

3.73 | 39 ratings
Solution
1972
3.25 | 38 ratings
Divergence
1973
4.05 | 42 ratings
Cordon Bleu
1975
3.19 | 25 ratings
Fully Interlocking
1977
3.71 | 9 ratings
It's Only Just Begun
1980
2.00 | 6 ratings
Runaway
1982

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

2.00 | 1 ratings
Solution Live
1983
2.50 | 4 ratings
The Best of Solution Live
1991

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Solution Live - Reunion Concert in club Panama, Amsterdam
2007

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

3.00 | 3 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2005
3.60 | 5 ratings
Mythology
2013

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

SOLUTION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cordon Bleu by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.05 | 42 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)

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 Divergence by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.25 | 38 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.

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 Divergence by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.25 | 38 ratings

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Divergence
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

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.

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 Divergence by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.25 | 38 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.

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 Solution by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.73 | 39 ratings

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Solution
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars 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.

As far as debut albums go, "Solution" is a very interesting one. Innovative, adventurous and broad in musical scope, I'm slightly mystified as to why this album isn't high on the list of classic albums progressive rock fans should sample. The very eclectic nature of this disc will not be to everybody's taste admittedly, but for those with a broad range in musical tastes and a keen interest in early 70's progressive rock Solution's debut warrants a keen inspection.

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 Divergence by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.25 | 38 ratings

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Divergence
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by beebfader

3 stars With new Bassist/Vocalist Gus Willems replacing Peter Van Der Sande, Solution took a slightly different approach to the follow up to their excellent debut `Solution'. The vocals are more prominent, but the sound of the band overall is consistent with the debut and is again excellently recorded (and at the same studio). There are fuzz organ tones reminiscent of Hugh Banton's work with Van Der Graaf, and some pleasing melodic Flute work from Tom Barlage on the opening track `Second Line', which also reminds the listener of some of David Jackson's less intense work.

Then...a wonderful surprise with the title track `Divergence' which will need no introduction for fans of Focus's landmark `Eruption' suite. Focus liked the piece so much when sharing stages with Solution that they rechristened it `Tommy' after Tom Barlage and recorded their own version. This version uses Sax as its lead instrument and is a wonderful example of the cross fertilization that seemed to be so much a part of the music scene in the golden age.

`Fever' uses a Herbie Mann flute theme as the basis for some breezy improvisation with a sunny disposition, whilst the next piece `Concentration' sees the return of Willems' very capable vocals alongside some dreamy saxophone and mid paced grooving from the band. It seems that Soft Machine's `Third' was required listening for many musicians of the era, and the latter half of the track explodes into a homage to one of the famous 7/4 riffs from that album.

`Theme' sees the soul influences rise to the surface of the melting pot and is never less than pleasing, although it makes for a somewhat anti-climactic finish to the album. On the whole this collection is slightly less impressive than the debut, but nevertheless makes an excellent companion to it. (Three and a half stars)

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 Solution by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.73 | 39 ratings

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Solution
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by beebfader

4 stars The first thing that immediately strikes home about the opening section of this album is the assured and accomplished playing, and the beautifully clean recording. Ensemble playing at its best, Tom Barlage leads a four piece Sax/Flute, Piano/Organ/Elec Piano, Bass and Drums outfit with a pleasing blend of the happening influences of the time. There are plenty of tempo and dynamic changes which perhaps inevitably remind the listener of Focus, but also Pink Floyd, Van Der Graaf, Soft Machine, The Nice and even Frank Zappa. There are extended passages of jazzy soloing over pleasing well written riffs and plenty of first class Hammond backing to keep the interest throughout.

It's fully 14 minutes into the album before Peter Van Der Sande's somewhat superfluous vocals make their first and only showing. His voice is not unappealing, but the focus and strength here is mainly instrumental, and the first four pieces flow beautifully into each other for the first 30 minutes of the album.

This mood is rudely interrupted with the intro to epic closer `Circus Circumstances' which is a kind of jokey Focus type Dutch leap-around, which then rather surprisingly uses a direct quote of The Nice's `For Example' as a jumping off point for more bright and appealing jazz influenced prog.

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 Solution by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.73 | 39 ratings

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Solution
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars An elegantly-forged slice of jazzy progressive psychedelia courtesy of the Netherlands, this 1972 release from the little-known outfit Solution is yet another unexpected European surprise for those willing to undertake the exploration needed to locate such things. However, those familiar with the country's other progressive exports - the likes of Focus, Cargo, Trace, Supersister, Finch, Group 1850 etc - should sit up and take note as this is actually a rather different creation. Instead of flowing symphonic melodies and quirky art-rock, Solution's self-titled debut treads a distinct jazz-fusion path glossed with occasional Canterbury-style moments and one surprise(albeit, thankfully, rather brief) headlong rush into comedic faux-classical goofing. Supersister may be the nearest national Touchstone then, yet even that link may be tenuous at best. Made up of five fairly lengthy pieces and one disposable minute-long time-filler, 'Solution' should more than please those with a taste for Miles Davis' 1969-1975 electric period, Soft Machine's jazz-fusion series and the similarly-intoned sounds of Nucleus, Catapilla and Return To Forever. Highlights include both of the album's longer pieces, with the impressively mellow 'Phases' slowly building up a layered head of steam before morphing into the hazy John Coltrane tribute 'Trane Steps'. Both tracks display Solution's obvious affection for the sounds of classic American jazz, yet the real trick here is the group's seamless blending of complex jazz elements into a wider progressive whole. 'Trane Steps' in particular finds the group stretching out into almost psychedelic territory - some moments also hint towards National Health's first two studio recordings - yet kudos to the group for never quite slipping into the trap of indulgent soloing that blights many a lesser fusion outfit. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Divergence by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.25 | 38 ratings

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Divergence
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well I tend to agree with Hugues rating here. After the excellent debut the band lost their bass / singer and also the percussionist. So enter a new bass player who also sings but i'm not a big fan of his vocals. More importantly as others have mentioned the opeing track is too commercial sounding. Of course there is lots to like here but I do find this one pales when compared to their debut.

"Second Line" reminds me of Lionel Ritchie's "Easy Like Sunday Morning" for some reason. The vocals and piano i'm thinking. Now they had changed labels prior to this release so maybe a poppy tune was encouraged by EMI. Anyway this really is like getting off on the wrong foot. Piano and a beat leads early then the vocals join in. We get a relaxed sax solo before 3 minutes that lasts for a minute. "Divergence" has some nasty organ and drums to start then smooth sax takes over with bass and a beat. The organ is back as contrasts continue. Some dissonant sax late. "Fever" is much better with those sparse sounds early then flute before 2 1/2 minutes before it kicks in after 3 minutes. Good tune.

"Concentration" has a nice intro then it settles with a beat, sax and organ. Prominant bass 2 1/2 minutes in followed by vocals. This is kind of bluesy. The sax replaces the vocals 4 1/2 minutes in then the vocals return. They stop again as the tempo picks up. Great section from 6 1/2 minutes to the end. Excellent track. "Theme" is a short flute piece. "New Dimension" has a beat, piano and vocals. Sax comes and goes. It's okay.

A little inconsistant for my tastes but I know many who are big fans of this one. Thanks Doug !

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 Solution by SOLUTION album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.73 | 39 ratings

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Solution
Solution Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The early seventies appear to be an endless source of amazing music. It blows me away everytime I discover a great album from that era done by a band i've never heard of. When will it end. Hopefully never, but here's another one. SOLUTION were from Holland and played a Jazz / Rock styled brand of music but not limited to that. Sax and flute along with the usual instruments are featured on this 1972 release. Love the album cover as well.

"Koan" is uptempo as it hits the ground running. It does settle a minute in to a groovy sound with sax playing over top. It kicks back in as contrasts continue. Flute 2 1/2 minutes in along with a calm. Love the distorted organ reminding me of Canterbury. This is so good. Flute is back after 6 minutes. "Preview" is a short piece with piano melodies throughout. "Phases" opens with floating organ and atmosphere. Drums and more as it builds 3 1/2 minutes in, then it kicks in at 5 1/2 minutes. Vocals too and this is the only track with singing on it. Great sound after 7 minutes when the vocals stop and the sax becomes prominant. Vocals are back 8 minutes in. Such a cool sound 9 1/2 minutes in with those dark piano lines and sax. Vocals again after 11 minutes then it ends with atmosphere.

"Trane Stops" opens with organ as the drums and sax join in. Back to organ only as themes are repeated. I like the drumwork on this one. The guy can play. An interesting drum / organ section before 6 1/2 minutes then the sax joins in. Nice. Some jazzy bass here as well. "Circus Circumstances" kicks in quickly. This is insane as the sax hits us with short, quick blasts over and over. Yes the circus does come to mind until the sax stops and it turns heavier before 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound here. It then settles back before picking up as the tempo continues to shift. A calm with piano, drums and sax leading 5 minutes in then it kicks in one more time.

There's a great picture of the guys on the back cover of this release. This is another gem found, and one i'll enjoy for years to come. A solid 4 stars.

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