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JESTER

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Jester biography
JESTER is a new British band settled in France, that performs an original medieval rock. Their line up includes flute and recorder, mandolin, vocals, guitar, bass and drums. The musicians took from the popular medieval roots in order to create a style that blends folk and rock, a little in the way of JETHRO TULL or GRYPHON.

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JESTER discography


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

2.33 | 2 ratings
Through A Weirdo's Eye
1994

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JESTER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Through A Weirdo's Eye by JESTER album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.33 | 2 ratings

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Through A Weirdo's Eye
Jester Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Very obscure 90's group, apparently they had a short career during the decade, when they decided to give it a shot via the progressive path.Jester came from South Africa and consisted of Phillip Norman on flutes, whistle and recorder, Paul Adjriou on mandolin, guitar and lead vocals, Raphael Bebenek on bass and Simon Fernie on drums.They recorded their sole album ''Through a weirdo's eye'' at Downtown Studios in Johannesburg and released it independently the same year.

The name of the band and the front cover of the album seems like we could have dealt with another Marillion clone, but the aforementioned instrumentation leaves little to imagination.This is very British-styled Folk Rock in the vein of JETHRO TULL with no keyboards at all, which is heavily based on flutes and acoustic strings with a strong amount of rock party going on.In fact they do remind of British band RED JASPER, combining energetic tunes with a folky edge with some more dreamy and bucolic moves, although the present of drums and bass is constant.Originality was an unknown work for Jester, their music contained tons of semi-loose flute solos in the vein of JETHRO TULL, while even the vocal tones have a strong IAN ANDERSON vibe.They seem to have composed this album out of passion for this kind of music, but the similarity between all tracks and the total absence of some personal ideas make it a bit tiring.The flute work is however quite nice and the atmosphere is always joyful and positive, still it seems a bit more diversity wouldn't hurt the overall production.Good balance between the instruments and a decent singer will satisfy fans of JETHRO TULL-esque Folk Rock.

First and last album by Jester.Far from convincing, even further from original, this would be a good acquirement for fans of British-styled Folk Rock and lovers of flute solos.

 Through A Weirdo's Eye by JESTER album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.33 | 2 ratings

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Through A Weirdo's Eye
Jester Prog Folk

Review by Dieselhead

3 stars Jester - Through A Weirdo's Eye.

I was brought up on a diet of early Marillion and hold 'Jesters' dear. Perhaps this is why I had high hopes for this album? Anyhow, I have to say that I was a little disappointed on first listening to this recording. The vocals, as I've gone on to say, sound too theatrical for my liking. Perhaps the singer, finding himself in a studio environment for the first time is just trying too hard? That said, there are certain numbers where the vocals sound better. But I have to say the singing is not helped by the lyrics which, at times, follow the songs far too closely. They should be doing the opposite to give the listener more to appreciate. Labelled Folk/Prog, this could easily pass as Folk/Rock considering the nature of some of the songs on offer here. It's heart is in the right place but there is definitely a feeling that these guys have come straight off the Folk circuit and brought a little of the stage with them.

1: The Sailor: A sometimes frantic number that starts with a bash and a crash and goes downhill from there. There are some gentler moments before the song gets going again but, for me at least, the vocals let it down. There's no doubting the musicianship as these guys can play but for me this is an odd song for an opener.

2: The second song is notable because of some good bass and flute. It's almost a two part song with these instruments coming to the fore in the middle before the singer becomes more prominent towards the end and gives it his all. You could be forgiven for thinking this is a lesser known Tull number! Second time around the vocals sound a little less theatrical but maybe that's just me? This is perhaps my favourite song from the album but only because I'm a Tull fan at heart.

3: Jester. This title track (?) starts with some haunting flute. Vocals are perhaps guilty of following the melody too closely, always a sign of an inexperienced lyric writer maybe? All in all this is a laid back number which attempts to conjure up images of the romantic Jester of old. To my mind it doesn't quite get there.

4: Confessions of a Crusader. As you would expect there's an Arabic flavour to this song as the flutist and singer do their best to evoke the sounds heard by nobles Knights abroad on the Crusades. It's a repetitive song in places as far as the lyrics are concerned with more haunting flute in the background. This is broken up by some harsh almost metal sounding guitar. There is some harmony singing here but it's not quite as harmonious as it could be...

5: La Chanson de Roland. Mandolin opener to this, the shortest song on the album coming in at two minutes fifty. All too short pleasant flute and singing here.

6: Hob Goblin. Best characterised as a lively and quirky number as befits its title with many tempo changes. Again the vocals/lyrics let it down in places for me but the up-tempo instrumental sections are suitably bouncy and work well (even with the odd shout thrown in :-)

7: Angel Song: I was expecting something a little lighter after seeing the word 'Angel' in the title of this number. What you end up with is an altogether heavier rock song with guitar prominent throughout this song (along with a basic sounding bass). The down and dirty style of vocals heard towards the end here do well to sound like the Angels heavenly foe himself, Old Nick.

8: Odin's Banquet. Another of the heavier songs that wouldn't be out of place on some rock albums. Some good prominent and leading flute through the middle of the song before it all comes to a sudden end.

9: Wind of Time. Starting out perhaps as the gentlest of all the songs, we are treated to some acoustic guitar on rhythm before the flute tempers it some. The song becomes more forceful after the initial phase but reverts to the more melodic in time. Lead guitar work is a bit basic towards the end and nothing to write home about but the flute is good and lively here. This is the longest song weighing in at eight minutes fifty three seconds.

10: Incredulous. On listening to this track I found little that was incredulous. I'll leave it at that except to say I like the flute.

11: Perhaps the heaviest track on the album. Full blown Folk/Rock to my ears and a song that is a bit out of place here.

12: Down the Valley. Again, a light melodic sounding song that sounded good to my ears. The lyrics evoke images of, well, what goes on down the valley and the whole song seems to flow with a gentle air about it. Even the vocals don't sound too bad. Maybe I've just got used to them?

Conclusion: Jester have produced an album that is probably as good as they could have done. Interesting in (small) places but largely mediocre which probably accounts for its lack of success. Were it not for the good flute playing I'd have given this a 2 start rating. As it is, I'll be kind and give it a 3.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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