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TAI PHONG

Symphonic Prog • France


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Tai Phong biography
Taï Phong is a bit of an oddity, as it is a French band founded by Vietnamese brothers Kahn and Taï Ho Tong. The sound is comparable to Camel, and Novalis, but the most telling description is 'France's answer to Barclay James Havest.'

The first incarnation came together in 1972, and included an American and a German (keep telling yourself this is a French band). They were in the process of recording, when contract disputes broke out. Because the brothers refused the terms (thus leaving them without a deal), the other two members left. Soon after, they would be replaced by keyboardist Jean Alain Gardet, and the now famous (or infamous) Jean-Jacques Goldman. Yes, he is the man responsible for several of Céline Dion's hits (does this mean that Céline is prog related? Say it ain't so).

In 1973, they again entered the studio. However, more artistic disputes, and contract haggling, with recording executives would keep them from releasing anything for the next couple of years. By 1974, they had a contract they could live with, but still needed a drummer. They chose 17 year-old Stéphan Caussarieu. The classic lineup of Taï Phong was now complete, and would remain intact for the first two albums. This was also a potent combination of talent and ego.

After the release of 1976's "Windows," some of the members branched out. Jean-Jacques dabbled in some solo work, and Gardet recorded an album with Alpha Ralpha. It is during this period that trouble started brewing. "Windows" did not sell very well, and the band spent all the money from the first album on a new sound system. Goldman did not wish to perform live, which was a serious problem considering his contribution to the band's sound. This disheartened Jean Alain, causing him to exit. The band went on tour in 1977 with bassist Michael Jones also taking over lead vocal, but it just wasn't working. They decided to cancel any remaining shows, and just concentrate on studio work. This is the moment when brother Taï left.

After much turmoil, they released 1979's "Last Flight," but the magic was gone. By 1980 interest in the band was waning, and they were in yet another contract dispute. Rather than push ahead with a fourth album, the band broke up.

Over the years the interest in Taï Phong's music went up and down. This is largely due to the song "Sister Jane" resurfacing in one form or another. In 1993, reissues of the albums breathed new life into the story. Some of the guys got t...
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SunSun
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$31.30
$43.79 (used)
Return Of The SamuraiReturn Of The Samurai
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Annees WarnerAnnees Warner
Import
Warner Music France 1999
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Audio CD$32.54
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SunSun
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TAI PHONG discography


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

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

3.61 | 66 ratings
Taï Phong
1975
3.32 | 58 ratings
Windows
1976
2.45 | 29 ratings
Last Flight
1979
2.76 | 18 ratings
Sun
2000
3.00 | 5 ratings
Return of the Samurai
2013

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

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TAI PHONG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Windows by TAI PHONG album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.32 | 58 ratings

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Windows
Tai Phong Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I've been aware of Tai Phong for a number of years, since 1996, in fact. I remembered a mail order catalog describing them as something like CSNY gone totally progressive. Most others never made that comparison, but I can understand where that catalog was coming from. For one thing, the vocalist (I presume Jean Jacques Goldman) often sounded a bit like Graham Nash. Yes, there are vocal harmonies from time to time, but prog opinion tends to compare it to Yes, even that, it don't remind me that much of Yes. Just recently I ran across an original LP on their second LP, Windows at a Eugene, Oregon record store and decided to get a copy. I was really shocked with the amazing sound quality, given so many LPs I own on the Warner Bros. label have such crummy sound quality, even non-US pressings, like Greenslade's Bedside Manners are Extra and Curved Air's Airconditioning (although the latter can be easily forgiven since my copy is a picture disc). This album gives me that same reaction I get with Barclay James Harvest, perfectly pleasant listen, but nothing that really blew me away, but still worth having in my collection. There are times I almost get reminded of Pavlov's Dog, particularly when the vocals go into almost David Surkamp territory (but not as so ridiculous, as the vocals don't have that same absurd vibrato). Not every day you come across a prog rock band that has two Vietnamese (believe it or not, Khanh Mai and Tai Sinh weren't the only Vietnamese involved in prog, Jean My Truong, drummer for Heldon, was also Vietnamese). Jean Jacques Goldman was Jewish, so what you got is a multi-cultural band (the other two I'm sure were your typical Frenchmen of Catholic upbringing, apparently some early incarnation included Americans). Tai Phong might not have the highest opinion of the prog community, probably because they're not the most intense or mindblowing out there, and with Windows, it sounds more like they were emphasizing ballads, but I found a lot of them rather nice, particularly "Games". I like some of the synth work from Jean-Alain Gardet, especially when he gives it a nice spacy feel (Hammond organ, Moog, and Elka Rhapsody are what he uses here, as well as piano). I like how "The Gulf of Knowledge" gives a more Asian feel. For the most part, this isn't the usual French prog where vocals are sung in French (like Ange or Atoll) or made-up language like Magma, this was sung in English, in hopes of international recognition ("Sister Jane" from their debut album appeared to be a hit in France). This isn't something heavy or intense but I didn't need to have all my prog to be like that. Sure there are a few cheesy moments, like the acoustic ""Last Chance", not to mention some of the vocals, but for the most part, it's a pleasant listen. Deserves a three and a half, but I'm not given that option, so four stars it is. One of those album you shouldn't overspend on.

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 Taï Phong  by TAI PHONG album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.61 | 66 ratings

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Taï Phong
Tai Phong Symphonic Prog

Review by Taurus123

4 stars This is the first album realeased by the french band Tai Phong and it is their best one.

The song "Sister Jane" was issued as a single and sold 200 000 copies. This "slow" was a favourite in the french teenage parties and was considered as good as "Angie" by the Rolling Stones or "I'm not in love" by Ten CC. Dim the lights, put the sound loud, this "slow" is a killer !

The band was founded by two brothers (Khanh and Tai) who were born in Saigon (South Vietnam). They were less than 10 years old when they arrived in France. Tai Phong means "strong wind " in vietnamese. They recruited Jean-Jacques Goldman for vocals and guitar playing. Some years later, Goldman will choose to have a solo career and will have a phenomenal success in France. But it is an other story... The sleeve design is very good and original and pictures an electronic samouraï. This cover art was made by Lang, the third brother of Khanh and Tai.

The other gem of this album is the last song "Out of the night " , very melodic and atmospheric. The songs "For years and years" and "Fields of gold" are very good and very melodic too.

I think this album brings the same type of pleasure like the prog albums of Pink Floyd or Barclay James Harvest. And i think it would deserve to rank among the 50 best prog albums. So I give 4 stars and half.

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 Last Flight by TAI PHONG album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.45 | 29 ratings

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Last Flight
Tai Phong Symphonic Prog

Review by Music By Mail

2 stars This is not the best album of the band and the transition towards the pop-rock world is perceptible at several levels; the line-up is different than on the two previous albums, the first sign of the fracture being guitarist, singer and keyboardist Tai Sihn leaving the band (and with him a part of the group's name, Taï, maybe even a part of the musical vision?); the egos are exacerbed, both Khanh Mai and Jean-Jacques Goldman seeming to fight for becoming the lead(er) singer of the band; then, each in turn was not present at the recording sessions, therefore absent on some tracks; all this contributing to a real lack of musical unity! Goldman finally made it later as a pop star! Last sign of the commercial thoughts: an ugly and uninspiring cover! But what about the music? Well, it finds itself trapped between the dreams of the past and the seek for fame of the future; there are still at times longer instrumental passages where the musicians stretch it out but the song structures and clichés weigh more and actually wear out the prog aspects, bringing the album closer to some kind of americanized pop music with nice vocal harmonies; in fact if you have the Japanese papersleeve release of this album, you'll find three bonus tracks taken from singles, two of them from 78 leaving no more doubt about the musical direction wished by the band! Last Flight is an unequal album showing a band on the way to desagregation; unfortunately for them, the audience didn't react to their change of style and they called it a day in 1980! Followed a long crossing of the desert that lasted until 2000, where a new album (Sun) was released, with only Khanh Mai and drummer Stéphan Caussarieu remaining from the original line-up.

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 Sun by TAI PHONG album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.76 | 18 ratings

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Sun
Tai Phong Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

2 stars So they're back. I quite liked their "Last Flight" album, but this time ? Well, it's no disaster, after all, we're not talking about life of 70s Symphonic Prog band in desperation of 80s, are we ? But it's not a big win either. But this was to be expected. Album released after so much time would either be killer, or big nothing. There is nothing Prog, it actually remind me more calm (without "power" element") version of Asia. Backed with Symphonic sound (strings), but songs are extremely simple. So even it can be nice, easy listening music, it's not strong stuff (on the contrary), so

2(+), for pleasant music, but not much more.

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 Windows by TAI PHONG album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.32 | 58 ratings

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Windows
Tai Phong Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars TAI PHONG's sophomore release shares surface commonality with their stunning debut but fails to connect as much on an emotional level. Perhaps the band members themselves were not quite as enthusiastic as they had been, or perhaps the album was just rushed out too quickly in an attempt to capitalize on their surprise success.

The opening cut "When it's the Season" is marked by nimbly inventive lead guitar work as well as some colourful acoustic splashes, and, while recognizable as Tai Phong, does cover new ground in a quasi-improvisational fashion. "St John's Avenue" is far closer to their standard "formula", with mellotron washes and high pitched vocal exercises, and, while it's quite lovely, it doesn't soar like, say, "Fields of Gold". The other long tracks are similarly impressive sounding, but ultimately, like bonus tracks from the earlier album, missing the compositional intellect to match their loveliness. However, those who prefer a little less structure might be more drawn to "Windows", as long as they are not expecting MAGMA! As far as the two short pieces that appear one per side, let's just say there was a long line of "Sister Jane" wannabes from Tai Phong.

Thru "Windows" we catch glimpses of earlier achievements, but, as with real windows, it's about the treatments and the clarity of the view. Still good for 3 stars, with variability depending on your own perspective.

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 Taï Phong  by TAI PHONG album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.61 | 66 ratings

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Taï Phong
Tai Phong Symphonic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars There are a few moments of brilliance on Tai Phong's debut, but they are greatly overshadowed by saccharine songs and so many unexceptional passages that listening to this album in full isn't exactly a wonderful experience. Honestly, I think the vocals are generally pretty terrible- they are imitative of early Geddy Lee, but in an inferior and annoying David Surkamp manner. The singing hurts my ears. The lead guitar playing is not the best I've ever heard, but it's definitely the best aspect of this album. The keyboard work and drumming have some highlights as well. Other than that, I am just not into this French debut.

"Going Away" The first track is an upbeat rocker with a bit of a Supertramp or Pavlov's Dog flair, with screeching vocals over gritty guitar and electric piano. The lead guitar soloing isn't too shabby, and I think the rhythm section works well underneath it, but it's certainly nothing spectacular.

"Sister Jane" The second song is a sappy, piano-based tune with whiny vocals. While it isn't terrible, it's not particularly good either, and definitely not remarkable in any fashion.

"Crest" Light organ and low, thudding bass opens this shortest track. It picks up some really good drumming and a pleasing electric guitar melody before an excellent synthesizer cuts through. This demonstrates what this album could have been, but sadly is not.

"For years and Years" Pleasant, jazzy guitar lightens up the mood over a nice bed of keyboard. The vocals are mercifully subdued and more harmonic; in fact, this piece almost sounds like oldies. The distant organ runs are a sweet touch. The second half is light piano with a syrupy sweet slide guitar. The final minute is a discordant jumble of instruments and notes- totally out of place and pretty poor on its own.

"Field of Gold" Falsetto vocals and piano give way to decent electric guitar and equally good singing. The music builds into a terrific wah guitar solo. Other than the first half of "Crest," this is the best the album has to offer.

"Out of the Night" The sound of thunder begins the final and longest song. An uninspired vocal melody over organ joins light percussion and guitar. The guitar solo is very good, and I like the way it fades quickly into beautiful piano. "Out of the Night" is overall a decent song, although like the rest of the album, doesn't amaze in the least, and is really more like wasted potential.

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 Last Flight by TAI PHONG album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.45 | 29 ratings

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Last Flight
Tai Phong Symphonic Prog

Review by progbaby

3 stars Tai Phong's last album before a long haitus (which they then did the excellent Sun album). This album is not as strong as it's predecessors (both masterpieces to my ears) but it still contains some excellent moments. The title track "Last Flight" is just as good/solid as anything they did on their previous albums and it makes this whole album worth having and is the reason for the 3 star rating. The song has Eela Craig "One Niter" like moments with melodies/harmonies that made 70's prog the classic era to my ears. That song alone is a "classic" to my ears and fortunately, it comprises 25% of the album which is a good thing :- ) The rest of the album is more in lines of what was on the AOR radio airwaves in 1979. What I mean to say is that the rest of the album is not horrible and the pop is "just mediocre and ok but nothing incredible". I get the feeling they had to do this album as a contractual obligation so they came into this album with one GREAT idea/song (The title track) just like the best of their previous 2 classics and had to somehow fill the rest of the album and may have written the remaining songs quickly with a shift towards radio airplay (think Giant for a Day maybe?).

As far as the one great title track, I wished it would not have ended as quickly as it did (with the quick fadeout just as things were really getting interesting). But it's still a great 10 minutes worth of listening.

Breaking the album apart:

The title track = ***** and great prog and takes up 25% of the album. The rest of the songs = **1/2

total = ***

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 Windows by TAI PHONG album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.32 | 58 ratings

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Windows
Tai Phong Symphonic Prog

Review by progbaby

5 stars I read the guidelines about the "******' ratings and I have examined my favorite types of albums over the years and I still believe this deserves the top rating. Warning: This is my personal preference though and I understand the lower ratings from others about this group/album. From 70's/80's prog France, one tends to think the likes Magma, Pulsar, Catharsis, Dun, Eskaton, etc... And those are all definitely great bands. And then you have band like Tai Phong which came upon me real late. As if to say, "Where has this band been during all my prog-searching years?". I'm a big fan of Eela Craig, Grobschnitt, Sahara, Barclay James Harvest, Nuevo Idea (aka, the "Mr E Jones" album) as well as the non-prog band CSNY. To me, Tai Phong is a blend of all 5 of the above mentioned bands in their style. Extremely melodic (without being sickeningly sweet), floating / airey / breezy keyboards (I hear similarities to Eela Craig's "One Nighter" album) / complex melodic interplay (aka, Sahara's "For all the clowns") and BJH/CSNY like vocal harmonies along with pastoral passages (aka, the last song on Mr. E Jones by Nuovo Idea). Yes, the singer has high pitched vocals at times but they're not a distraction.

All of the songs on this particular album sound quite good and way above average to my ears and together along with the 3 bonus tracks (great pop songs in the italian-prog-like tradition of New Trolls, etc..) make this quite album to have in the collection.

There is really nothing French-sounding about the album as it sounds more in the italian prog genre of the 70's and the british prog of the 70's.

There's not much more to say for me. If you like the above fore-mentioned bands, I can't see you not enjoying this album the way I have been.

The last song "The gulf of knowledge" is fantastic and one of the things I absolutely love about progressive rock. Time changes/melody changes and some melancholically mooving pieces towards the end (similar to my ears as the last 5 minutes in Grobschnitt's Rockpommels Land).

Nothing groundbreaking or original about this group/album. Just very damn enjoying/relaxing to listen to!!!

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 Last Flight by TAI PHONG album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.45 | 29 ratings

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Last Flight
Tai Phong Symphonic Prog

Review by guillaumeh

3 stars This album seems heavily underrated. I find it better than the second Taï Phong album because it is richer in melodies. The only low points are the side closers ("Sad Passion", "How do you do"), which are a little overlong pop songs, but I find that the melodies are still entertaining. "Thirteen space" is a fine piece of art rock, with a very memorable vocal melody in the intro, over a simple but pretty guitar riff; then it extends into a pleasant jazzy jam and a dreamsy conclusion. It seems to play the same role as "Circle" on the previous album. The rest of the album consists of the opener "End of an end" which I find melodically very good, again the intro is the hight point. I can say the same about "Last flight" whose intro is excellent, and then the "starship" part sung by JJ Goldman is great, but I could do without the falsetto part sung by Khanh Mai on the rest of the song. This "good intro/okay song" pattern disappears in the second long song of the album, "Farewell gig in amsterdam", which is my high point of the album despite its sometimes forced transitions. While the intro is excellent, its other parts, including the sax jamming in the end, are great and different from what Taï Phong offered us in the first two albums (as are the other jazzy moments on the album).

So my opinion is that it is the second Taï Phong album to hear after their self-titled debut. The overall production is weaker, but the compositions compensate this.

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 Windows by TAI PHONG album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.32 | 58 ratings

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Windows
Tai Phong Symphonic Prog

Review by raleks

4 stars I like especially (only :( ) energetic first track, very melodic Games and more compex St. John's avenue. Other songs (at the moment) I don't like as first three, but I've heard it only 15 times, so may be changes will come... :) Highlights for me (as usual) are melodies and vocal. The last one (as many people have written) is very high and, unlike Jon Anderson (with whom TP' singer is often compared), is non-falsetto and often strained in dramatic parts. So. Good album, but recommended for collection - thus - 4 stars :) PS Sorry for bad English. :(

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Thanks to Prog Lucky for the artist addition. and to Ivan_Melgar_M for the last updates

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