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FERMÁTA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Slovakia


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Fermáta picture
Fermáta biography
Founded in Bratislava, Slovakia in 1972 - Hiatus from 1985-1991 and then irregularly - Reformed in 1999

FERMÁTA formed from the association of guitarist Frantisek Griglak (ex-COLLEGIUM MUSICUM and PRUDY) and keyboardist Thomas Berka. Apparently their brand of instrumental jazz-rock was at best approved, at worst tolerated by the Communist regime as they released all their albums on the state apparatchik label Opus. Indeed, their music has been compared to Spain's Iceberg or Holland's Finch, but this writer wouldn't hesitate to talk of Mahavishnu Orchestra as well, at least for their first few albums.

Both Griglak and Berka would be the mainstays of an otherwise often-changing line-up, even if Karol Olah held the drum stool from their third album until the mid-80's at least. Right from their first album, FERMATA posessed some quality western instruments like Gibson, Fender, Rickenbacker and the full array of keyboards except the Mellotron and the Moog, which might be a bit surprising for a band that was under scrutiny of the closed-borders regime. Their music slowly degraded to a synthesized rock of "Ad Libitum" in the mid-80's. Apparently still alive today, the group still releases the odd album.

!!!!!!!! Bio written by Hugues Chantraine, Belgium !!!!!!

See also: WiKi

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FERMÁTA discography


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

4.13 | 91 ratings
Fermáta
1975
3.93 | 81 ratings
Pieseň Z Hôľ
1976
4.14 | 138 ratings
Huascaran
1977
3.88 | 65 ratings
Dunajská Legenda
1980
3.75 | 46 ratings
Biela Planéta
1981
3.80 | 41 ratings
Generation
1981
3.85 | 37 ratings
Ad Libitum
1984
3.92 | 26 ratings
Simile ...
1991
3.00 | 16 ratings
Real Time
1994
3.70 | 26 ratings
Fermáta X
1999
3.48 | 18 ratings
Fero Griglák & Fermata: Next
2005
3.17 | 10 ratings
Blumental Blues
2019

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

3.76 | 13 ratings
Live V Klube Za Zrkadlom
2007

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

4.50 | 10 ratings
Live V Klube Za Zrkadlom
2007

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

4.29 | 12 ratings
Fermáta / Pieseň Z Hôľ
1997
4.50 | 10 ratings
Fermáta/Piese; z hô318
2009
4.55 | 11 ratings
Huascaran/Dunajská legenda
2009
4.30 | 10 ratings
Biela planéta/Generation
2009
3.56 | 9 ratings
Ad Libitum/Simile...
2009

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

FERMÁTA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Generation by FERMÁTA album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.80 | 41 ratings

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Generation
Fermáta Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Releasing already their third 80's album in 1981and what an inspired effort it is. Playing is enthusiastic, tracks are longer and yet not more complex. There are contemporary fusion traces with simplified drums and modern synths but also enough for the 70's fusion fans . Fermata pleases listeners with yet another Latin fusion workout "Vina del Mar" with excellent rhythm section and jazz-rock playing. What a dynamic track in the vein of Mahavishnu! "Kalamita" is no less dynamic although starting as a meditative piece. "Gastronomicke radosti" has a pleasant oldies and rock'n'roll twist with excellent jazzy guitar. Should be a live favourite to play. The last "K.O." with saxophone is a lengthy track, not well developed but well executed. Despite not being a concept album it has better and more inspired playing than "Biela planeta".
 Biela Planéta by FERMÁTA album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.75 | 46 ratings

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Biela Planéta
Fermáta Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Released just one year after the very good "Dunajska legenda", the album starts deceivingly poorly - devoid of progressive rock and fusion, it could be classified as virtuoso rock with quite straightforward rhythm section. "Magellan" is a shadow of previous Fermata complexity and power with mainly Berka throwing one or two wood branches into the fire. With "Amundsen", things start to look better, not in terms of intensity but sound development where keyboards and bass play adventurous modern fusion. After half the song, Fermata returns to the fiery 70's fusion with guitar soloing and even some Brian May-like sequence. "Polo" is a fantastic Latin-fusion workout with all 4 players very busy including the drummer who finally rolling up the sleeves. Great Berka provides solo but also some bass synths. Clearly his composition. Pity it is the shortest track and ends abruptly. "Da Gama" continues in the more 70's territory as does Humbold in a more accessible manner. "Livingstone" mainly builds on the irregular and dynamic shifts, kudos to Freso and Olah.

I'm quite captivated by Berka's composing and playing on this album, more than by the three others. 3.5 stars.

 Dunajská Legenda by FERMÁTA album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.88 | 65 ratings

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Dunajská Legenda
Fermáta Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars With two frontmen in the band and Freso joining on the bass guitar, the band had all potential to keep producing a winning streak of fusion albums. In the meantime, fusion music in general absorbed funk/disco and pop influences, it became more polished. Fermata stayed immune to those trends except that music is more streamlined without becoming more sophisticated. Thankfully, playing remaining fluid and ferocious at times. In particular, I like playing by Berka who not only provides great synth solos but is the main mood contributor. The first two pieces are the best ones on the album, IMO. "Wlkina" has a typical minor/major switch in the melody and dynamic groove. Berka using pitch to augment his solo and Griglak one of his most aggressive solos on the album. "Chotemir" starts with acoustic guitar opening followed by mellow keyboards that hint at a ballad especially when hearing a reflective motive. After warming up and crescendo strings, we get a symphonic prog with a moog-like sounding textures and emotional guitar. I hear Slavic folk music inspiration during a recurring motive. The composition end is full of fire stemming out of guitar and drums. "Witemir" is a piece of acoustic accessible rock augmented with fitting keyboard lines. "Unzat" is the best fusion/prog cross on the album and rich with ideas. "Trebiz" is a showcase for keyboards/drums but also hints at possible 80's/new-wave around the 4-minute mark. Dunajska Legenda offers pleasant listening and a number of creative ideas especially in playing.
 Huascaran by FERMÁTA album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.14 | 138 ratings

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Huascaran
Fermáta Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars "Huascaran" is arguably the most balanced Fermata album. It's not their most ferocious one but their compositional skills improved and the same goes for tasty composition development. Dedicated to the deadly expedition by a Czechoslovak mountaineering group of whom nobody survived the avalanche in the mountains. You wouldn't judge this by listening to the music apart from the last two minutes of the last track with nature sound and a slow heartbeat that could correspond to an end. New bass player emerged in the line-up - Laco Lucenic - untypical choice for a progressive bass player - but his handling his duties well although leaving soloing to the keyboards/guitar and rhythm decorations to the drums.

The first track is quite symphonic with moderate upbeat tempo and perfect keyboard layers (moog, synths, piano during the great acoustic exchange with cello). We have an emotional vocal part not far away from Argentinian folk- inspired prog bands at that time. Around 10:30 comes the first storm - a Latin-driven Santana meets McLaughlin before settling in a more funky rhythm and guitar/keyboards working in tandem.

"80000" starts on a sombre reflective Moog note transferring from steady fusion-friendly beat to a hard-rock territory reminding me of a "Blue Effect" style but escalating to a cymbal-heavy fusion with actually Lucenic' bass being one of the lead instruments.

The third track, "Solidarity" has the catchiest motive starting from the beginning and interesting prog drum pattern with mainly keyboard solos. Not much happening on the development side of the track, it's about exploring keyboard/guitar alongside the same rhythm.

"Huascaran II" is pretty intensive from the beginning disclosing its main motive at the early beginning. Important to highlight the slap bass playing well seconded by the Hohner Clavinet groove.

Highly recommended to any fan of instrumental prog and fusion.

 Pieseň Z Hôľ by FERMÁTA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.93 | 81 ratings

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Pieseň Z Hôľ
Fermáta Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars On the second Fermata album, a prog/fusion outfit from Slovakia, the band solidifies its sound. The music is less frantic and wild then on their debut (which I liked!) and the band also makes more uses of synthesizers. The production is more wide sounding and detailed. The eleven minute opening track has an up-tempo bass line and and some fierce playing on drums and guitar. Bass player Anton Jaro takes a step forward here in the mix with his thumping bass guitar sound. After that almost all pieces are rather pleasant but un-impressive fusion pieces. The first side is pleasant enough, but on the second side the dominance of the synth leads over the rather tame chords patterns and rhythms becomes a bit boring to be honest. The seven minute piece 'Priadky' is still quite versatile though, albeit without the much needed stand-out moments the album needs at this stage. Frantisek Griglák switches between guitar and synth and I don't think Fermata sounds that good without him spicing thinks up with his electric guitar. In contrast to their debut this album is mainly interesting for fans of fusion/jazz-rock, whereas the debut should appeal to eclectic prog fans as well.
 Fermáta by FERMÁTA album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.13 | 91 ratings

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Fermáta
Fermáta Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Lately the Eastern European label 'Opus' has been re-releasing some fine vinyls of classic prog fusion albums from behind the Iron Curtain. Fermáta's debut album is a fully formed symphonic prog fusion record in the vein of Mahavishnu and Finch. In their own region (Tjecho Slovakia) it could be compared to Leb I Sol, SBB and Blue Effect. Fermáta's debut is a particularly fierce tour the force of rockin' fusion vibes, greatly enhance by the added mystery of being such an unknown group in the West for so long. The music is obviously influenced by American fusion, yet it has its own way of thinking. Their compositions are quite dense and fast and it takes some time before you can swallow it hole, but boy is it worth getting to known this gem. The electric guitar of Frantisek Griglák is an obvious eyecatcher with his fast and fierce licks. Yet the band as a whole performs as a tight unit and the drums sound massive as well. The recording sound is surprisingly fine, the band its spark it really caught on tape here. The final track 'Perpetuum III' combines both the fierceness and the melodic skills of the band best in my opinion. A strong four star rating for this one.
 Blumental Blues by FERMÁTA album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.17 | 10 ratings

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Blumental Blues
Fermáta Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars The Jazz Rock/Fusion band Fermata has quite the interesting past. They were formed in 1973 in Slovakia by Frantisek Griglak (guitar) and Thomas Berka (keyboards). Their music was somehow accepted by the USSR government as their music was released on the government owned label Opus. The released albums quite regularly until around 1984, went on hiatus, then released another album in 1991. After that, albums were released quite sporadically. Their 12th full length studio album, "Blumental Blues" was released in October of 2019, 14 years after their previous album.

"Blumental Blues" sees the return of both Griglak and Berka. They are joined by Maxo Miklos on keys, Tamas Belicza on bass and Igor Teo Skovay on drums. The album is available on digital download (Spotify), CD and vinyl. There are 10 tracks on this album and it has a run-time of almost 44 minutes.

The album begins with "Booze Night" which quickly establishes a nice rock groove and which soon goes into a pattern of interchanging guitar and synth solos. The music is very western sounding, plenty of blues-induced improvisation, but with a moderately fast beat. "Ladies of Avlon" has a much more mellow and jazz based feel to it mostly generated from a chord progression played by the keys, and then some improvised soloing is played by more keys. The guitar comes in later, bringing in another level of intensity, but the music stays smoothly textured. The synths even bring in a brassy sound. "Blumental Blues" returns to the blues grooves, with a moderately slow beat. The guitar and organ pretty much present a nice, but mostly standard blues jam. There is a nice acoustic solo that comes in the middle which is a nice change of pace.

"The Pigeons of St. Florian" begins with a rhapsodic piano solo. The piano then establishes a foundation and the drums and synths soon join in. The guitar establishes a theme and trades back and forth with the synths doing some improv based on the theme, and the piano gets to a chance to add some atmosphere along with other keys. The synths bring in orchestral effects along with tonal percussion. After a return to the theme, the piano comes back in to finish it off. "Last Dance at the Firsnal Place" is a straightforward beat and is mostly played by keys and synths with guitar soloing coming in later. "The Cooper Cock" comes in with heavy guitars and thick synths which play the main melody together. Then they go off on their separate soloing sections. Again, it's pretty basic jazz/rock fusion with a strut (probably has to do with the chicken from the title?). "Pocta Marianovi" is a nice, little piano solo, expressive and lovely.

"Stupid Morning" begins with a soft synth and distant chimes. A pattern starts to boil underneath it all as synths play along. At about 2 minutes, the band kicks into gear bringing in a call and answer from the synth and guitar as the song solidifies. "Thje Breakfast at Stein" continues with the basic synth/guitar fusion. "First Morning Tram" adds some interesting changes in texture throughout, but is mostly along the same lines as the rest of the album. There seems to be more passion in the melodies here.

This album is pretty much straightforward jazz/rock fusion. There isn't a whole lot of progressiveness here, and the best tracks are the first 3, after which the music continues along at a mostly even pace. The music is pretty good, the production is great and it flows along quite well, but, again, it's pretty straightforward. There are no real surprises here at all. But if you like the basic jazz/rock formula, then this will work for you. It tends to sound a little too much alike to me after a few tracks. 3 stars.

 Live V Klube Za Zrkadlom by FERMÁTA album cover Live, 2007
3.76 | 13 ratings

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Live V Klube Za Zrkadlom
Fermáta Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

3 stars Ah well, just how do I put it? This is no "garage band", rather the opposite - and therein lies the disappointment. Highly skilled musicians just taking it too easy, to the point where boredom with this "underinspired" performance sets in early in the piece, commanding intermittent attention only.

The band's Jazz-Rock direction of earlier years is largely retired by this point, only to surface briefly - as if by accident. No, this is closer to doing Joe Satriani filler material and with that I have just about said all I felt compelled to share here.

What's been performed here is not bad at all and done rather well, except that it fails to excite as an end result. This is not bad work at all, just not good enough to qualify for another spin.

Rating it as 3 stars hurts, as this is not as weak as numerous 3 rated works (Good, but non- essential), but the reality is that this live performance fits that description. 3.5 and rounded down.

 Fero Griglák & Fermata: Next by FERMÁTA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.48 | 18 ratings

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Fero Griglák & Fermata: Next
Fermáta Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

4 stars This band's early albums had shown a strong John McLaughlin influence, but not to the point of plagiarism, more like a respect, instead. 30 years later they sound very much like a decent Joe Satriani effort. Now, that's not a bad thing in my books as I do admire Satriani's abilities.

Some jazzy elements remain, but this album is more Rock influenced. Starting with a hard rocking tune gives way to more relaxed, but still serious guitar slinging. Surprisingly, some orchestral elements are also added - albeit sparingly. The single vocal track is of some surprise, too and points towards Crossover territory I don't normally listen to (MoR Rock with almost accidental Prog bits), so I am at a loss to liken it with anything. Actually, it's not an annoying piece at all, but wouldn't be missed.

There are also references to more lyrical efforts heard on Steve Morse's solo albums. Considering the talents involved, it's not quite as original as it could have been, nevertheless it has room in my collection. At under 36 mins it's a bit disappointing, so it'll just scrape past a rating of 3.5.

 Pieseň Z Hôľ by FERMÁTA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.93 | 81 ratings

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Pieseň Z Hôľ
Fermáta Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

4 stars For many decades I was only familiar with the band's name, having only a faint idea of the music they may have played. Considering that they were active from behind the Iron Curtain, I didn't expect ever to hear a single note. As luck has it - quite unexpectedly - I came across some of their releases in recent times and what a pleasant surprise it was!

At first spin this album takes me back in time to the mid-70's when Jazz-Rock was in full bloom with almost complete disregard to mainstream commercial success. Spirited playing with no compromises laces this work from beginning to end. I must admit, at times it may come across as somewhat overambitious, but I won't hold it against the band persevering in trying circumstances.

Fast paced work, conjuring images of Gary Boyle's Isotope, also of John McLaughlin in early Mahavishnu. Even some Jerry Goodman-like violins are added. In the first tune the rather dull, repetitive bass has put me off a bit, but for the rest of the work the bass was excellent.

A great album that would fit neatly in any Jazz-Rock collection. 4.5 here and I am looking forward to hear more from this great band.

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

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