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JARKA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Spain


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Jarka biography
Jarka was the early 70's Spanish band of keyboardist Jordi Sabates. He plays piano, electric piano and organ, backed by bass and drums . Playing with a strong jazz sensibility, Jarka also differed from their Spanish contemporaries in the noticeable lack of any influence from Spanish culture or folk music. They released just two albums in early seventies, which were re-released in 1992 both on one CD.

The music on Ortodoxia is predominantly in a jazz-fusion style reminiscent, perhaps, of Soft Machine or other early 70s European jazz-rock groups. Sabates' definitely carries the group with his deft playing, laying down some tasty jazz licks on the piano as well as occasionally turning to the organ or electric piano for more of a fusion approach. The primarily acoustic bass playing of Alfonso de Lucas is also quite impressive, showing a strong familiarity and versatility with the jazz idiom. With these two players coming from an obviously solid jazz background, the drumming, although quite tasteful and inventive, seems a little out of place with its more rock influenced styling, perhaps reminiscent of Robert Wyatt. The album overall is rather average; there is some good playing and some nice moments, but nothing that really stands out as spectacular.

The 2nd album adds some guests, but the overall sound is still firmly on the keyboards with rhythm section. Some parts are quite jazzy, while others sound like early progressive rock mixed with a sort a Canterbury jazz/rock sound. Expanded to a four piece, with the addition of a guitarist as well as a new drummer, the album is a significant improvement over their first. Sabates' playing really shines here, and it is obvious that he could have held his own in any of Miles' line-ups. His style is probably most reminiscent of Herbie Hancock; somewhat impressionistic with a keen sense of chordal colors. His chops work best on the piano, but he also knows how to make his Fender Rhodes growl and bite, and there is some fine playing featuring that classic jazz electric piano sound as well. The guitar, present on maybe half the tunes, is also excellent, and may remind some of a slightly less aggressive John McLaughlin in his Miles Davis days.

If you are a fan of 60s/70s jazz, this CD is probably worth getting for the latter half of it.

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Buy JARKA Music


OrtodoxiaOrtodoxia
PICAP 2011
Audio CD$15.94
$12.00 (used)
Morgue O BereniceMorgue O Berenice
PICAP 2011
Audio CD$15.94
$40.06 (used)
morgue o bernenice LPmorgue o bernenice LP
WAH WAH RECORDS SOUND
Vinyl$25.00 (used)
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JARKA discography


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

2.57 | 6 ratings
Ortodoxia
1971
2.41 | 6 ratings
Morgue O Berenice
1972

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

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

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Ortodoxia / Morgue O Berenice
1992

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

JARKA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ortodoxia  by JARKA album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.57 | 6 ratings

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Ortodoxia
Jarka Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Jarka were a short-lived Catalan band from Barcelona,recording between 1971 and 1975.They were formed by keyboardist Jordi Sabates after the demise of jazz-rockers Om.Sabates was supported by Alfonso de Lucas on bass,Danny Somoza on guitars and Pan Y regaliz'es drummer Pedro Van Eeckout.They released their debut ''Ortodoxia'' in 1971,as a result of Sabates most productive period.

The album opens with ''Osceli Rescaldat'',a number alternating between Blues and Jazz-Rock with interesting guitars,while the follower ''Popiada'' is in a more straight jazz vein with Sabates shining in some delightful piano passages.On ''Resposta'' Sabates performs alone in a light piano-based jazz number,but then the album gets too much into straight jazz with the rather long ''Sube la silla roja'',full of piano,bass and drum solos.''L.I.A.I'' is a decent slow Psychedelic-Jazz piece with haunting,organ and piano.Things will not change with ''Noche de Pez'',mainly a personal jazzy bass performance by De Lucas with the other members just supporting.''Retorna'' will add a different view on music by Sabates,performing on his piano and organ and twisting from Classical to Jazz music all the time.''No Estes Cohibido'' is a mediocre slow number of piano-driven instrumental Jazz with again some light Classical tendencies,while on the closing self-titled piece Jarka sound again as a band despite the jazzy piano and guitar solos,the sound is rich and the band is tight.

Unfortunately this album stands more as an example of individual performances rather than a full band performing due to the heavy soloing throughout.''Ortodoxia'' has little to offer to fans of well-structured demanding and progressive composing and heads only to dedicated fans of Jazz/Jazz-Rock...2.5 stars.

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 Morgue O Berenice  by JARKA album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.41 | 6 ratings

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Morgue O Berenice
Jarka Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

2 stars My late father was a butcher, but you don't need to be a butcher's boy to recognise mince. I don't mean to savage an album that professional musicians have invested with their blood, sweat and snotters, but by the same token I don't want to see other ProgArchives members spending their hard-earned on a pile of poop. ''Morgue O Berenice'' isn't that bad of course, but it is a serious candidate for a single star rating.

Maybe it's all just a bit too creative or cerebral for me to appreciate fully. I'm all for some improvisational spirit but way too much of this album lacks form and rhythmic structure for my liking. I don't know if this is what passes for free jazz but I find it irritating and tracks like the aptly named ''Esquizofrenia'' would have me on the verge of a nervous breakdown if I had to listen to them too often.

There are a few moments that elevate the album to the level of mediocrity, mainly the tracks that feature Danny Somoza's mellow guitar tones such as the cool vibe of ''Moyenne Girl''. Main man Jordi Sabates relies on his acoustic piano for the most part although he switches to Fender Rhodes on the impressionistic ''Occidente'' with good effect.

Overall though, this is a major disappointment in comparison to Jarka's first album ''Ortodoxia''. I mean, jeezo Jarka, what in tarnation is going on with ''Woody's Rag''? A banjo-led foot-tapper alongside avant-jazz, incongruous or what! The public has largely overlooked this album, but the truth is they're missing hee-haw.

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 Ortodoxia  by JARKA album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.57 | 6 ratings

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Ortodoxia
Jarka Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

3 stars Ortodoxia is the title of Spanish jazz-rock ensemble Jarka's 1971 debut. Jarka is led by keys man Jordi Sabates, with the main focus being on his piano playing. A cohesive rhythm section completes the trio and forms a solid basis for his solos. The nine-track set list is an eclectic mix of styles, although the emphasis is on the acoustic jazz idiom.

Track 1, Osceli Rescaldat, is quite bluesy and features an infectious melody with a boozy midtempo groove. The electric guitar of guest musician Danny Somoza features prominently on this and the final track, making these two the most rock oriented cuts on the album. Sabates's pivotal organ, playing sustained chords, carries the fairly simple guitar melody along nicely. Around midway saxophone joins in with the guitar and we get a brief unison passage, before the sax brings it home. Great start to the album.

The next track, Popiada, is more urgent but equally catchy. Jordi's fingers glide over the piano keys supported on a bed of upright bass and rock-inspired drums. Resposta is very impressionistic in nature, featuring a sparse arrangement and airy themes. Piano trills, clean guitar and intermittent bass create feelings of space and repose. Track 4, Sube La Silla Roja, is another fast paced track and is one of the main highlights on the album. The piano lopes along on a swinging rhythm that includes probably the best drumming of the set. This is the longest piece on the album at 6.28, so there's even room for short drum and bass solos.

L.I.A.I is another ambient piece, featuring eerie saxophone along with splashing cymbals and subterranean drums. Noche De Pez consists of a speedy rhythm of hi-hat semiquavers and upright bass, with piano and guitar chiming in occasionally. Track 7, Retorna, is a contrapuntal dialogue between piano and organ. The melody is bright and cheeky, with it bouncing and winding continually between the two keyboards to good effect. The penultimate No Estes Cohibido is played at a relaxed tempo, with lilting piano and West Coast-inspired guitar. The album closer and title track is a real surprise, featuring dissonant, distorted guitar in the mould of Robert Fripp.

This is a fine album that deserves to be given some attention. It contains some excellent compositions that strike a good balance between acoustic jazz and electric rock. As such I feel this album would work well as an introduction to jazz for those wanting to test its waters for the first time.

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 Morgue O Berenice  by JARKA album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.41 | 6 ratings

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Morgue O Berenice
Jarka Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Salviaal

3 stars This obscure Spanish album has very little to do with prog rock really, or even jazz rock. It has much more in common with Herbie Hancock's solo albums from the 60's as well as Miles' Bitches Brew period. Probably the strongest link to rock is the use of fender rhodes, which is still overshadowed by the more frequent acoustic piano. Guitar tone is always jazzy clean, never distorted, think of MacLaughlin's playing on the late 60s Miles Davis albums. There is some good interplay going on in here, but the compositions are not the strongest. There are not really any tunes one will remember and sing in the shower. Very interesting is the last track, "Woody's Rag", which sees the band attempting to play straightforward bluegrass, and while it's quite enjoyable, they are obviously more at home at jazz. If you are a big fan of "Bitches Brew" or "In a Silent Way", then you might enjoy this one as well!

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