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SECRET OYSTER

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Denmark


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Secret Oyster picture
Secret Oyster biography
Founded in 1972 - Disbanded in 1977 - Regrouped in 2007 - Still active as of 2020

SECRET OYSTER became somewhat of a super group when members of BURNIN'RED IVANHOE, CORONARIAS DANS and HURDY GURDY formed this unit. By the end of BURNIN' RED IVANHOE's career (that spawned seven years), Karsten Vogel started forming a new band taking along with him BRI's drummer Thrige and often jazz-partner bassist Vinding with him. Knowing from the Danish circuit guitarist Claus Bohling, he enticed him into the band that took its name from a track from BRI's second album Secret Oysters Service. The last to join was keyboardist Knudsen, who had never played an electric instrument prior to entering this outfit, but was playing in a piano avant-garde trio. Knudsen would prove particularly helpful as the second songwriter of the group and allowing Vogel to leave the keyboards at will to play wind instruments.

Their sound recalled MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, NUCLEUS, Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi and Sextant albums as well as Miles DAVIS's Bitches Brew. Quite a success and this prompted their record company to release that album internationally but under the title "Furtive Pearl". After a line-up changze that saw the rhythm section get a complete overhaul (Staer for Vinding and Streenberg for Thrige) their second album, Sea Son, is even better but failed to get international public recognition, even if all connoisseur will mostly agree on this album being the band's apex. At one point the line-up of this group was also exactly the same as BURNIN' RED IVANHOE (after it got revived because they also developed rockier material) as well as a third outfit, "Day Of The Phoenix". This did not stop them from writing the music to a ballet "Vidunderlinge Kaelling" released as an album under the name of "Astarte", with very mixed results just a few months before their final album, the much better "Straight From The Krankenhaus" also known as "Orlander".

Aside from their confusion of their album names and general discography, SECRET OYSTER is a great jazz-rock/fusion outfit that deserved a lot more attention for they were almost as good as the groups named above.

All four original albums have received a thorough and outstanding remastering with added bonus tracks on the great label Laser's Edge. Secret Oyster got back together (Bohling, Vogel and Knudsen plus a new bassist and drummer) during the re-issues of their albums, touring the states and Denmark. Also maybe in ...
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SECRET OYSTER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.06 | 62 ratings
Secret Oyster [Aka: Furtive Pearl]
1973
3.96 | 81 ratings
Sea Son
1974
3.28 | 42 ratings
Vidunderlige Kælling [Aka: Astarte]
1975
4.15 | 86 ratings
Straight To The Krankenhaus
1977
3.00 | 2 ratings
Striptease
2019

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

3.29 | 8 ratings
Live in the USA 2007
2008

SECRET OYSTER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

3.33 | 3 ratings
Oyster Jungle
1974
3.00 | 4 ratings
Æbler-Æbler
1975
4.50 | 2 ratings
Straight To The Krankenhaus
1976

SECRET OYSTER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Secret Oyster [Aka: Furtive Pearl] by SECRET OYSTER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.06 | 62 ratings

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Secret Oyster [Aka: Furtive Pearl]
Secret Oyster Jazz Rock/Fusion

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

5 stars Riding on the red hot heels of one of Denmark's early examples of jazz-rock fusion in the form of Burnin Red Ivanhoe which had a seven year run, the origins of SECRET OYSTER resulted from that band's disintegration through disputes in musical direction. Saxophonist and organist Karsten Vogel had aspirations of creating a more explorative styled jazz-fusion band and commenced to hand pick the new members who could master the art of a continuous rhythmic drive in jazz mode while adding their own creative stamps in virtuoso fueled improv jam sessions. After the star search was complete, Vogel settled on former Coronarias Dans keyboardist Kenneth Knudsen, guitarist Claus Bøhling of the short-lived heavy psych band Hurdy Gurdy, bassist Mads Vinding and Bo Thrige Andersen who tagged along from Burnin Red Ivanhoe but also played with the psychedelic jazz-rock Blue Sun.

After the lineup was complete, SECRET OYSTER proved to be a veritable powerhouse of talent that has gone down in history as Denmark's most accomplished jazz-rock-fusion act with quite the accomplished career that started in 1972 Copenhagen and lasted for five years before the changing tides swept many of these progressive bands out to sea including this almighty band that more than stands the test of time with its heavy rock fueled energetic drive hybridized with the intricacies of stellar jazz workouts and a well-packed magic paintbox that allowed the creative juices to flow like Amazonian waterfalls. The band's name SECRET OYSTER paid homage to Vogel's previous band Burnin Red Ivanhoe by mining the idea from the track "Secret Oyster Service" from the band's second album.

Long out of print, SECRET OYSTER's four album canon was finally reissued on the Laser's Edge label in 2007 for the first time on CD and this debut featured two bonus tracks. The original debut album that was released in 1973 had two completely different album covers and titles depending which side of the Atlantic you happened to reside. On the European continent the album was released eponymously with the cover art depicting some undisclosed quaint Danish city setting while in the USA the album was penned FURTIVE PEARL with a rather unremarkably drab beige cover with a canceled postage stamp on what was supposed to resemble a postcard from Denmark with selling points about the nature of the music contained inside. As far as the music itself, the track listing was identical but over time there has been a truce between the two versions with the European artwork sitting in tandem with the more flattering album title FURTIVE PEARL.

Somewhat sounding like the Danish version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra only more focused on an instrumental jamming style steeped with psychedelic and hard rock energy, SECRET OYSTER expanded on the members' strengths that they developed in their respective prior bands and in the process crafted one of my all time favorite heavy psych tinged jazz-rock albums of all the 70s. While the jazz provides that bass fueled swinging rhythm section with the incessant drive of hard rock driven by Bøhling's feisty guitar heft, the band also were masters of drifting off into heady psychedelic soundscapes that focused on cyclical repetitive grooves which allowed all the tricks and trinkets up the sleeves of the keyboardist to erupt into seriously trippy excursions that remind the listener that the 60s were not too overly far away at this point. The dexterity of these juxtapositions is what makes FURTIVE PEARL an absolute gem of musical prowess where the balancing act between technical guitar infused jazz-rock is pacified by psychedelic groove sessions that switch back and forth with admirable precision.

Not leaving the world of Burnin Red Ivanhoe too far behind, the three tracks "Dampexpressen", "Free & Water" and "Vive La Quelle" follow that band's style only taken to the next level with piano and organ dominated drifting jazz-rock that finds a few saxophone squawks adding some color but brought to a more energetic frenzy by Bøhling's decorative guitar solos that offer textures much like a skilled the decorative art of Steve Hillage crafting a more surreal counterpoint to the martial rhythms . "Public Oyster" and "Mis (S) Fortune" display the strong Canterbury connections with Soft Machine sounding organ runs and that special warm British sound effect in the form of chirping guitars and those unique chord progressions.

While the psychedelic touches punctuate the album throughout, by far the most experimental track overall is the avant-garde jazz closer "QVA-X" which features a series of saxophone squawks, droning effects and freeform piano, percussion and features a Krautrock kosmische effect which shows the strong influence of neighboring Germany from this same era. Add the decorative Canterbury flavors which culminate in oddball oscillations, talking saxophone lines and one of the most successful mashups of jazz, rock and psychedelia and it sounds more like something out of the Sun Ra playbook than what the rest of the album offers. For those with the CD version, the bonus tracks are worthy editions with a live version of "Dampexpression" and the military march meets psychedelia track "Orlav/er."

SECRET OYSTER would develop a more focused sound on the sophomore release "Sea Son" but on this debut crafted its most explorative and experimental journey that makes this one an unexpected treat for those who love an album that branches out in different directions. While this album is certainly less focused than those that follow, it's exactly that unabashed pioneering boldness to seek out myriad directions of expressionism that make this one absolutely perfect in my book! I can't count the number of "normal" jazz-fusion albums of the 70s but these wild roller coaster rides that are as decorative as the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland are fewer in number. This one was a grower that kept begging me for a return visit but after a while i became hooked and mesmerized by SECRET OYSTER's seductive charm. For my tastes, album #1 is their true magnum opus but what followed was brilliant as well.

 Sea Son by SECRET OYSTER album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.96 | 81 ratings

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Sea Son
Secret Oyster Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Argonaught

5 stars Out of thousands of PA members so far only 48 have gotten around to rating the Secret Oyster's Sea Son, and there has been only one grassroots review. Well, here comes another one for your kind consideration.

It turns out I have had some Secret Oyster music for years, if not decades. It was quietly sitting "somewhere", along with a few hundred other wonderful pearls of the 1970 like Brigati, Skylark, Bob Crewe et al.

The secret of this particular Oyster clearly lies in the stellar musicianship and fine taste of its members, Karsten Vogel's saxes being the most memorable. I have been reading reviews that suggest Sea Son is somehow exploring the same vein as Mahavishnu Orchestra .. well, it's not, thankfully :). The Sea Son is vigorous and ebullient alright, but there is not a millisecond of cacophony on it. The balance between the full shredding capabilities of the band members and the sensibilities of a happy fusion album for normal listeners is correctly established and maintained for the whole duration of the album.

If you feel you absolutely have to compare the Sea Son to any non-Danish fusion album of the period, you may want to give a nod to early Weather Report or Return to Forever instead. But, as I always say, it would be best if listened to the Sea Son for yourself .. I think you can preview the whole album on YouTube, so you know what you are buying before you reach for your wallet or PayPal password.

To re-state: if I had to reduce my collection to 100 albums only (the hypothetical "desert island challenge", I guess that's what it's called?), I am certain the Sea Son would make the cut.

 Sea Son by SECRET OYSTER album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.96 | 81 ratings

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Sea Son
Secret Oyster Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars ''Furtive Pearl'' was a great success in Denmark and around the fellow Scandinavian countries, while its reputation even knocked the doors of UK, USA and Germany.Despite the growing popularity of the group, Mads Vinding and Bo Thrige Andersen left the band and were replaced by drummer Ole Streenberg and former Burnin Red Ivanhoe bassist Jess Staehr.Actually the reformation between all these Burnin Red Ivanhoe members gave birth again to the group.Back in our story, the new core of Secret Oyster entered the Rosenberg Studios in Copenhagen and recorded the second album ''Sea son'' between the 4th and the 7th July of 74'.The album was released at the fall of the year on CBS.

Unfortunately ''Sea son'' does not exactly meets the standards of Secret Oyster's monumental debut.But it is not a bad album at all.Slightly psychedelic Prog/Jazz Rock with clever use of electric piano and moog synthesizer along with a strong dose of melodic sax lines, while Bohling's impressive guitar work really shines through, characterized by either soft or more furious solos with a Fusion edge.The sound is rich with a discreet spaceness in the synth-drenched moves and the energy is always at the higher level.Good interplays between sax and keyboards, inventive breaks and PASSPORT-like trippy solos are also basic elements of the new album.The work of Staehr on bass is outstanding at moments, overshadowing the rest of the group.Some funky vibes are also evident during the listening in an attempt by the group to combine its more intricate stylings with more comfortable and calm textures.More careful listenings reveal the presence of dual keyboards and piano lines in a fair amount of passages, making the sound of Secret Oyster quite unique.

To my ears Secret Oyster sound with each album as an updated version of Burnin Red Ivanhoe.Psych-tinged Jazz/Fusion/Progressive Rock with light spacey lines due to the use of synthesizers, another solid album by the Danish formation.Warmly recommended.

 Vidunderlige Kælling [Aka: Astarte] by SECRET OYSTER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.28 | 42 ratings

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Vidunderlige Kælling [Aka: Astarte]
Secret Oyster Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars Danish jazzy prog band Secret Oyster released this, their third album, in 1975. Although it functions primarily as a piece of music commissioned to accompany a dance piece, it stands on its own as an excellent album as well. It shows the band expanding its stylistic reach, moving beyond the energetic but somewhat predictable jazz rock shown on their first two albums, into an area more concerned with melodies than riffs.

"Intro" is an instrumental theme stated with electric piano/synth arpeggios, played at a lively tempo but with a drifting airiness about the piece. After two minutes, it fades out and gives way to "Stjernerne pa Gaden", a dark atmospheric piece underpinned by synthesizers and featuring some really expressive lead Moog work as well as thick strands of lead guitar. This track sounds a lot like the long drone intro to Pink Floyd's "Shine on You Crazy Diamond", and it nearly matches that piece in its quiet intensity. Finishing the first side is a pair of segued-together masterpieces, "Sirenerne" and "Astarte", making up 12 minutes of the finest music this band ever produced. "Sirenerne" begins with an arpeggiated 5/4 theme played on electric guitar and doubled on electric piano (arpeggiated themes are a favored compositional device with these guys), with Karsten Vogel blowing some delicate sax on top. The piece then lurches into a new theme, full-band this time, and oh-so-funky. Vogel and guitarist Claus Boling play some unison leads in between the funky beats, before the whole band returns triumphantly to the original arpeggio theme, with Boling taking an emotional, all-too-brief guitar solo, and the song ends in a synthesized whoooossshhhhh.... and in comes "Astarte". This functions as an Eastern drone piece, with an ostinato descending guitar figure repeating throughout, with a bass drone, as Vogel wails on soprano over the top, joined in spots with more lovely Moog playing, and a generous amount of sitar flying in and out of the mix. This drifting mantra will carry you above the clouds.

The second side is much more erratic. "Solitude" opens the side with a very slow, sad, piano ballad - the kind of understated beauty only hinted at on their first two albums. It may have some keyboard overdubs, but essentially it's completely solo - in the dance production, this number was probably used during a sad and lonely bit. Then things get a little bizarre for the next three tracks, which barely sound like Secret Oyster at all. "Tango Bourgeoisie" is an insistent march, with an almost comical synth/piano theme played over the martial rhythm. Not bad, but definitely an oddity in their recorded output. "Bellevue" brings us a little closer to safety, a funky instrumental (I swear there's even a "human beat box" segment in there, though I'm sure the band would deny this) similar to "Sirenerne" but not as compelling. "Valse du Soir" gives us another atypical piece, this time just a brief, slow waltz with an accordion playing the lead. The action in this part of the dance production probably included people sitting in a French cafe wearing berets. Finally, "Outro" brings us a fleshed out version of the "Intro" that opened the album, and this time its optimistic theme is given more room to breathe, and thus ends the album on a high note.

Despite a couple of weirdo tracks which don't really do much for the album (they're mainly specific to the dance production, and not Secret Oyster tracks per se), this is still my second favorite album by them (after Straight to the Krankenhaus, see my review of that one). The high points of the album (all of side one, "Solitude", and the "Outro") are among the best pieces they ever did. Recommended to fans of instrumental 70s prog (particularly Camel fans, as they have a similar vibe at times) and people who like their jazz rock melodic and a bit different.

 Straight To The Krankenhaus by SECRET OYSTER album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.15 | 86 ratings

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Straight To The Krankenhaus
Secret Oyster Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

3 stars Perseverence doesn't always pay.

Admittedly, Jazz-Rock is one of my fave genres and as such, I had to check this band out - of course. Alas, my expectations were somewhat ill-placed here. This final studio album is definitely better than previous efforts, but it still falls short of being impressive. Let me explain.

Undoubtedly, there is some excellent musicianship present here and one can tell that these cats are trying to do their best. Sadly, I have to conclude that their best is still not good enough to please.

Whilst echoes of Brand X, Gary Boyle spring to mind, don't let that deceive you. This work falls far short of the complexities associated with those peers. Indeed, one is left for wanting. In other words, so near, yet so far.

The issue is - as is often the case - the actual compositions, or more like the lack of such. No amount of spirited effort on the instruments succeeds without a decent framework, something that's in very short supply here.

This is far from jamming-type improvisations (that I would have perhaps enjoyed more), but more like trying to be lyrical. The end result is rather weak, hollow pieces lacking body. In other words, meandering aimlessly and boring to the point of irritation. Talk about falling between two chairs, neither here, nor there.

With some more attention this work could have been made much better, but as it is I find it quite disappointing, a let down. Compared with their other releases I am compelled to nominate 3 stars. As for my personal enjoyment as a Jazz-Rock fan, I couldn't go above 2.5.

 Straight To The Krankenhaus by SECRET OYSTER album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.15 | 86 ratings

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Straight To The Krankenhaus
Secret Oyster Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

5 stars It's not jazz, it's instrumental melodic prog with lead sax

^ Just wanted to get that out of the way first. "Jazz Rock" and "Fusion" as terms conjure images in my mind that are almost entirely inconsistent with the meat of this album, so let this heading serve as an ad-hoc quasi genre for the purposes of this review.

After listening to this for the 298th (give or take a few dozen) time the other day, I figured the time was right to write a formal review that tries to convey my feelings for this, one of my all- time favorite albums. Long before it became available on CD, I had a muddy sounding cassette copy of this album that I got from a friend of a friend, and I was absolutely addicted to this tape. To my ears, it was a tastefully played collection of concise, tightly melodic instrumental pieces that still allowed some breathing space for the excellent soloists. I'm always impressed with bands that really have a way with melody, because as an amateur musician myself, I have an awful hard time coming up with an original melody. Something that carries you on an emotional arc, has a beginning and an end, and doesn't quite sound like anything you've heard before. Secret Oyster had specialized in high-energy instrumental jazzy rock (oops, there's that word again) for several years before this, their 4th and final album, and the maturity of their craft by this point had reached a peak.

Beginning as it does with a thundering synthesized number, the brief "Lindance", you may at this point be having your doubts. As it happens, it's merely a "dramatic overture" to the pieces ahead. Next of which is the briskly paced (also brief) title track, which feels a little like a continuation of the first track, but introduces a catchy, almost playful new theme on the electric piano, as well as little 8-bar bursts of invention by electric guitarist Claus Bøling.

After this one-two punch of light entertainment, the album really kicks into gear with "My Second Hand Rose", the first spot that alto sax player, bandleader, and primary composer Karsten Vogel really gets to shine. Vogel's approach to his instrument is like that of a singer to his voice. Throughout the song and most of the album, he is basically singing lead with his sax, and it so happens that he is an incredible vocalist - bending notes ever so subtly, vibrato in just the right amount, pouring years of technical mastery into a simple melody line, giving it extra layers of meaning and nuance. And then later in the track, Bøling gets another solo, 24 bars of utter perfection. And despite all this musicality going on, the piece still sounds as fun and spontaneous as a Saturday Night Live band after-hours jam. Brilliant.

And the album only gets better from there. "High Luminant Silver Patterns" (penned by keyboardist Kenneth Knudsen) lays down a furious space groove as Bøling once again sets the world on fire. "Delveaux" is an extended meditation piece, sans percussion, highlighting some nice Moog work in the first half, and Vogel's plaintive sax melody in the second half. "Stalled Angel" (also by Knudsen) introduces some funk into the mix. "Rubber Star" (Knudsen again) is... deserving of its own paragraph, but this is already getting long. Another meditative piece, with gentle guitar arpeggios holding down the rhythm, as bass, electric piano, and sax take turns gently pushing the melody through its sad yet hopeful emotional arc, providing counterpoint for each other along the way. One of my favorite songs.

Closing things out are yet two more highlights: Vogel's exciting "Traffic and Elephants", a quick groove framing a slowly ascending bass line, providing Vogel with lots of space to tell us a story on the sax. The music gets louder and more frantic as it goes, culminating in an ecstatic finale. The final track, Bøling's "Leda and the Dog", almost feels anticlimactic in this context, but closer listening reveals this to be one of the more emotionally involving pieces on the album. Understated but incredibly vital, with a strange yet effective song structure.

Nine songs, and barely a moment wasted. These songs all have a clear forward direction (not always a given with fusion), fantastic nontrivial melodies, great solos, all played by players who have mastered their instruments so well they have no need to show off. About as good as it gets.

 Secret Oyster [Aka: Furtive Pearl] by SECRET OYSTER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.06 | 62 ratings

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Secret Oyster [Aka: Furtive Pearl]
Secret Oyster Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Furtive Pearl" is the debut full-length studio album by Danish jazz-rock act Secret Oyster. The album was released through CBS Records in November 1973. Secret Oyster was formed by former members of the acts Burnin'Red Ivanhoe, Coronarias Dans and Hurdy Gurdy, so we're taking seasoned and quite prolific Danish musicians.

The band play a jamming type of instrumental jazz-rock on this album albeit with strong and memorable themes which provide some hooks to hold on to. The themes are querky and with the driving rocking type drumming on the album I'm reminded a lot of late sixties Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. The high level of musicianship on display on "Furtive Pearl" is also equal to the high level musicianship of that band. The prominent instruments on the album are guitar, organ/electric piano and alto/soprano saxes. The latter mentioned are played by Karsten Vogel who is known for his work with Burnin'Red Ivanhoe. As mentioned the drums keep a steady driving beat throughout most of the album but there are some variation to be found in "Vive La Quelle?", which features a drum solo. The bass playing is also quite prominent and nicely organic.

There's no questioning the fact that "Furtive Pearl" is a high quality jazz-rock album, but personally I could have done without the most noodling jamming solo parts as I definitely enjoy the music most when those delightfully querky themes are played, but that's most likely an aquired taste and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still warranted.

 Live in the USA 2007 by SECRET OYSTER album cover Live, 2008
3.29 | 8 ratings

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Live in the USA 2007
Secret Oyster Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by gr8dane

3 stars In 2007 Secret Oyster was invited to play at Nearfest fusion Friday on June 22nd.They played at the Zoellner Arts Centre at Lehigh Univercity at Bethlehem,Pensylvania.They had been on hiatus for 30 years after their last album Straight to the krankenhaus from 1977.

There are 3 original members along here from then.Karsten Vogel-Sax and keys.Claus Bohling-guitar and Ole Streenberg on drums plus 2 newcomers on keys and bass.

We get mainly music from Sea Son and Straight to the krankenhaus plus opener Sireen from Astarte.It is a very nice concert with a good sound and an appreciative audience.Songs are sax and guitar dominated and Claus really shines on the guitar.The cd is only 50 minutes long and we get some great tunes mainly the mellower songs from their repertoire.I could have wished for some more upbeat tunes to break the mellowness but it is a relative short show ,so maybe that's the reason.

So all in all a nice little souvenir from Secret Oyster and Nearfest .I wish I had been there,but unfortunately I wasn't.

 Straight To The Krankenhaus by SECRET OYSTER album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.15 | 86 ratings

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Straight To The Krankenhaus
Secret Oyster Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Straight To The Krankenhaus is the 4th full-length studio album by Danish jazz/ fusion act Secret Oyster. The album was composed and recorded simultaniously with Vidunderlige Kælling (1975), but was not released until 1977. The band had enjoyed great succes with their first couple of albums and they had even been in contact with Colombia Records who had told the band that they might try and market the band in the US. Unfortunately Colombia Records changed their mind as they felt Secret Oyster sounded too much like Weather Report. The band ended up disillusioned and split-up in December 1977 after a short but but bright career. The original version of the album contained 9 tracks while the 2007 Laser´s Edge CD re-issue features 2 bonus tracks.

The music on the album is high energy jazz rock/ fusion. Weather Report is an obvious influence so in that respect Colombia Records were right, but Secret Oyster are not a clone band. Their brand of jazz rock/ fusion is very catchy and while there are plenty of soloing by especially sax and guitar on this album, the songs never drag or drown in excessive soloing. The band are exceptionally well playing but that´s not their only asset as the songs on the album are also high quality compositions. To top that off you have an excellent and warm production. The kind of warm production you only hear on seventies albums.

Straight To The Krankenhaus is slightly more interesting and a bit more in the band´s usual style than its predecessor, and while I certainly enjoyed Vidunderlige Kælling very much, Straight To The Krankenhaus is just a notch better. 4 stars are well deserved.

 Vidunderlige Kælling [Aka: Astarte] by SECRET OYSTER album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.28 | 42 ratings

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Vidunderlige Kælling [Aka: Astarte]
Secret Oyster Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Vidunderlige Kælling is the 3rd full-length studio album by Danish jazz/ fusion act Secret Oyster. "Vidunderlige Kælling" translates into "Wonderful Bitch". The album was made specifically and on request for a ballet of the same name starring one of the greatest Danish female ballet dancers at the time Vivi Flindt ( it´s Vivi posing naked on the cover of the album). The ballet was created by her husband Flemming Flindt who was at the time artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet. It was Flemming Flindt who contacted Secret Oyster to see if the band were interested in composing music for the ballet, which they certainly were. Sax player Karsten Vogel explains in the CD booklet, that not only was it a great artistic challenge but also an offer they couldn´t refuse, simply because they were offered a good paycheck, which was something they weren´t used to. The ballet went on to become a big success ( probably in part because Vivi Flindt and several of the other dancers were naked in their scenes. Denmark was already back then a very liberal country when it came to nudity, but still!), but Karsten Vogel says that the experience didn´t live up to the band´s expectations. The original album contained 9 tracks while the 2005 Laser´s Edge re-issue features 3 bonus tracks. All tracks were written for and used in the ballet except the bonus track Circus Sax. The scene in the ballet where that song was supposed to be used was cut. The music was recorded so the band were not present during the ballet performances.

The music on Vidunderlige Kælling was composed simultaniously with the tracks that would make up the 4th full-length studio album by Secret Oyster called Straight To The Krankenhaus (1977), but it´s obvious when listening to Vidunderlige Kælling, that the music they wrote for the ballet was meant for a more structured setting than the band´s usually more jamming approach. There are also more classical influences in the music than usual. The quiet and melancholic Solitude and the tango Tango-bourgeoise are also quite different from the band´s usual style. The majority of the music still sound unmistakably like Secret Oyster though just a bit less jamming. This means jazz/ fusion of the highest caliber. Weather Report is the most obvious reference, but Secret Oyster have a guitarist in the lineup which gives them a different sound from that band. But there are other similarities. The music is fully instrumental and while there are guitar soloing in the bands music and a strong rythm section it´s sax player Karsten Vogel and keyboard player Kenneth Knudsen that are mostly in focus. The latter one really shines on this album.

The production is excellent and warm. Perfect for the music.

Vidunderlige Kælling is a great album by Secret Oyster and it fully showcases the incredible talent and compositional range within the band. A 3.5 - 4 star rating is deserved.

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

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