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AVIATOR

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Aviator biography
AVIATOR was founded in 1978 by Jack Lancaster (saxophone, flute, lyricon, synthesizer) and Mick Rogers (guitar & lead vocals) with the copilotes Clive Bunker (drums) and John G. Perry (bass & vocals). All four musicians already had an impressive background in different bands. Jack Lancaster had played with: BLODWYN PIG, the MICK ABRAHAMS BAND and the SOUL SEARCHERS, Mick Rogers with: MANFRED MANN'S EARTHBAND, Clive Bunker with: JETHRO TULL, BLODWYN PIG and STEVE HILLAGE, John G. Perry with: CARAVAN and QUANTUM JUMP. They played a mixture of straightforward Rock songs alternating with instrumental Jazz-Rock passages reminiscing COLOSSEUM and BLODWYN PIG, Jack Lancaster gave the band a typical sound with the lyricon and soprano saxophone. The weak point was Mick Rogers's vocals.

In early 1979 AVIATOR released their first record named "Aviator" on Harvest/Electrola, coproduced by the band and Robin Lumley from BRAND-X. All tracks were cosigned by the band. The tracks are all different ranging from straightforward Rock to Jazz-Rock and Pop. They went then on a European Tour as a support act for Steve HILLAGE and in the summer of 1979 they did some festivals and venues in Germany, where they did also a public broadcast for the famous WDR radio in Cologne. The tape of the show proves what an excellent live band they had been. On stage they showed their talent, especially in the longer instrumental passages. After the tour Jack Lancaster left the band. The remaining trio recorded their second and last record "Turbulence", released in 1980, with the help of Vivienne McAuliffe, Carol Stocker and Betsy Cook on background vocals. Again all tracks but one, a Dylan cover "get your rocks off", were cosigned by the band. It is still a good record, more straightforward Rock, but less interesting without the sound of Lancaster's sax-playing. All four musicians played together again on Lancaster's 1981 Solo Record "Skinningrove Bay". The first record "Aviator" is highly recommended.

: : : Martin "alucard" Horst, FRANCE : : :

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AviatorAviator
Import
Escape Music 1997
Audio CD$19.44
$19.95 (used)
TurbulenceTurbulence
United States Dist 2015
Audio CD$11.18
$11.92 (used)
Head In The Clouds, Hands In The Dirt [LP]Head In The Clouds, Hands In The Dirt [LP]
No Sleep Records 2014
Vinyl$8.54
$20.00 (used)
The AviatorThe Aviator
Extra tracks · Import
Wonderful Music of 2005
Audio CD$11.57
$5.02 (used)
The Aviator by Aviator (2005-02-08)The Aviator by Aviator (2005-02-08)
Wonderful Music of
Audio CD$49.54
aviator LPaviator LP
EMI AMERICA
Vinyl$10.00 (used)
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AVIATOR discography


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

3.39 | 18 ratings
Aviator
1979
3.33 | 14 ratings
Turbulence
1980

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

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AVIATOR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Aviator by AVIATOR album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.39 | 18 ratings

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Aviator
Aviator Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars Goodness me, I have been trying to get a CD copy of this lost piece of prog glory for such a while now (30 years by last account), my vinyl becoming a sandbox of gritty snap, crackle and pop pebbles. The story of Aviator is a classic scenario of a hugely talented band that wilted under the anti-prog stance of the late 70s, pounded mercilessly into oblivion by a media frenzy dominated by punk and new wave bands. Mick Rogers is , in my humble opinion, the most underrated guitarist in Progland, his contributions to Manfred Mann's Erath Band are stuff of legends (check out his sulfurous axe solos on "Visionary Mountain", "Martha's Madman", "Solar Fire", "Father of Night/Father of Day" and many more) , former Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker is outright legendary , while John G. Perry is , perhaps the most underrated bass player ever, a fretless stylist of great repute (Gordon Giltrap, Anthony Phillips, Caravan and Quantum Jump , plus two magical solo albums). Throw in Jack Lancaster of Blodwyn Pig and Colosseum on sax and lyricon and you have the makings of a prog super group. The artwork on this debut 1979 album (ooh, bad year for prog!) is still among my all-time faves, being an SR-71 Blackbird aficionado. All great ingredients except for the poor timing, this album basically went nowhere, as the demands of the market were clearly anti-prog, which meant more commercial constraints that artists had to follow (ELP, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Gentle Giant and many more were guilty of such outside pressures) and ultimately wound up being counterproductive in every single way.

The set list is comprised of 3 distinct attitudes, the dashingly progressive jewels such as the magnificent "Keep Your Heart Right", the brooding "Country Morning" (sounding a lot like Italian prog/fusion band Nova) and its companion "Morning Journey". These are absolute prog classics that still stand the test of time and are entirely worthy of attention.

Then there are the outright rockers like the exuberant "Silver Needles" and its extended instrumental platform, "Greed" and the brash "Cleveland Ohio" (great loopy synthesizer riff) which veer near Spooky Tooth/Foreigner- like territory, but graced by some monstrous guitar playing.

And finally the poppy in-betweens such as the rambling and jagged opener "Your Loving Is My Home", "Evil Eye" , "Time Traveller" , all positive ear-candy but far from progressive , outside of a few twists and turns that keep things interesting.

Obviously, Aviator is more of a footnote than a sheer prog accomplishment but its scarcity make it a valuable addition to a progressive rock collection.

3.5 Supersonic jets

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 Turbulence by AVIATOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.33 | 14 ratings

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Turbulence
Aviator Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Second album of this forgotten band, named Turbulence released in 1980and aswell their swansong is almost the same with the predecesor. Same manner of composing , same progressive rock aproach, near to mainstrem but with good moments I might say. All the musicians stood still face the previous work minus Jack Lancaster froom sax. Well , with the bras arrangements mius, the album sounds even more on rock side, with some progressive moments here and there. The sax was given a great atmosphere on first album and definetly a more progressive aproach, this time, the album in tinged with more edged rock not far from MMEB , Glorified magnified era but of course minus blistering Mann's keybords, at least is how I see this album. The keyboards are missing here, but as a whole the album is a good one again. Pieces like title track - Turbulence , Fallen star or Strange worlds are excellent examples of great musicianship and inventive moments, the instrumental passages are awesome here. From mellow to more edged progressive rock, the musicians did a good work, again Roger's voice and guitar is good, nothing really brilliant but enjoyble most of the time. It took me more then 3 years to find this album, for sure more unknown and more hard to find then first one, but after all I found it and I' glad I have it like the first one. So, another 3 stars for Aviator, one of the bands that for some reasons never made it worldwide even, their live shows were very exciting and had excellent instrumental passages that shows a thier true talent. Good album after all.

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 Aviator by AVIATOR album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.39 | 18 ratings

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Aviator
Aviator Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Aviataor can be considered as a super grup of the late '70's. All 4 musicians had allready an impressive background in bands like Manfred Mann's Earh Band, Jethro Tull, Caravan, Quantum Jump. Each musician had their own style and aproach and is clear that the album in the end sounds good, but very pale in contrast with their talent . On drums is famous early JT drumer Clive Bunker, on vocals and guitar is Mick Rogers from Manfred Mann's Earth Band (the most famous years of the band), on bass from John G. Perry from Caravan and Quantum Jump fame and on sax and other brass arrangements Jack Lancaster from the blues rock band Blodwyn Pig. So, a line up hard to beat, but the music is quite unintristing in places and very mainstrem progressive rock aproach. Even the progressive rock featured here is kinda easy to listen, some moments are very good like on Morning Journey or Silver Needles, great pieces that shows how great is Mick Rogers both on vocals and guitar in the '70's. So, a pleasent album as a whole, nothing over the top here, still I like very much Rogers voice, I've always did , MMEB with him is excellent, here did a good job, less intristing then on MMEB works but still good. I also like the guitar on some pieces, for ex the end of the last piece Morning Journey is absolute superb. So 3 stars for this discrete band who never made it in progressive rock filed, even the musicians were among the best of golden era of prog.

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 Turbulence by AVIATOR album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.33 | 14 ratings

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Turbulence
Aviator Eclectic Prog

Review by Progbear
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Definitely a much harder to find album than its predecessor, but it proves worth the search. Lancaster had left prior to the recording of this album, leaving Aviator a guitar/bass/drums trio. Musically, it's anything but your typical power-trio album. In fact, it's in the same basic jazz-tinged prog-rock style as the first Aviator album. Only minus the sax. There's even some synth here and there, some of it patently Perry's pedals, but the spacey effects at the beginning of "Strange Worlds" suggest something more. Perhaps a guitar synth? It's possible, what with all that woodwind synth all over their previous album.

The short songs aren't as strong this time round (I admit I balked a bit when I first heard "Way Of The World"), but the album improves quickly, with some excellent exploratory tracks taking you to bold new places that most guitar/based/drums configurations never dared to go. "Fallen Star" and "Strange Worlds" are both superb, but it's the title song, with it's dynamite 7/4 rhythm, that most appeals to me from this one. A worthy follow-up on their great debut disc.

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 Aviator by AVIATOR album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.39 | 18 ratings

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Aviator
Aviator Eclectic Prog

Review by Progbear
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another unexpected delight, one I found at the Goodwill, of all places!

Something of a second-string supergroup (comprised of Mick Rogers from the original line-up of Manfred Mann's Earth Band, John G. Perry from Caravan and Quantum Jump, Clive Bunker of Jethro Tull and Jack Lancaster of Blodwyn Pig), Aviator began life as a quartet of guitar, bass, sax and drums. You'll surely note the presence of synths here, they were all played by Lancaster not on keyboards, but on his Computone Wind Synthesizer Driver, which I'm sure must have been trailblazing.

I'd never heard anyone talking about this release before I bought my cheapie vinyl copy. Imagine my great surprise to learn it was actually quite good. "Keep Your Heart Right" is a strong, brooding, atmospheric number. The high-energy "Silver Needles" is perhaps my favourite tune on the album, brimming over with exciting riffage. The slow-burn "Country Morning" and another atmospheric piece, "Morning Journey", are other apexes.

The shorter songs are worthwhile as well. "Cleveland Ohio", with it's unforgettable synth hook, and the surging rocker "Greed" are personal favourites.

So, four great, proven musicians making excellent music. What's not to like? It's not on CD, but the vinyl is dirt cheap and not at all hard to find if you're diligent. A superb bargain-bin staple.

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 Aviator by AVIATOR album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.39 | 18 ratings

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Aviator
Aviator Eclectic Prog

Review by greenback
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This is a decent & accessible pop fusion rock album, although there is nothing really outstanding here. The music is made of electric guitar sometimes quite hard rock, many surprisingly good saxophones parts, drums and bass. The album is pretty unequal: there are many better parts than other ones. The keyboards are VERY rare on this album. The singer has a good voice. This is a rather disappointing supergroup, because we expect more from them due to their impressive backgrounds.

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 Aviator by AVIATOR album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.39 | 18 ratings

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Aviator
Aviator Eclectic Prog

Review by wizzo

5 stars A hard to find album, not yet released on CD, by some great musicians. Mick Rogers is known for his work in Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Clive Bunker played drums in Jethro Tull a million years ago and was later in Blodwyn Pig with Jack Lancaster. And last but not least the great John G. Perry from Caravan. A bunch of really great musucians coming together for, in my opinion, a great album. The songs varies in style a lot but ties together by the sound. You can find three very good 3 minute pop songs (Evil Eye, Time Traveller, Greed) some funky rock (Cleveland Ohio, Your Loving Is My Home), and the longer prog numbers (Keep Your Heart Right -one of the best songs I know-, Silver Needles, Country Morning and Morning Journey).

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