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SBB

Eclectic Prog • Poland


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SBB biography
SBB is one of the most important Polish bands of the seventies. This band, rightfully listed in the eclectic progressive genre, mainly plays a hybrid of symphonic prog, space/atmospheric prog and fusion.

The band originated from the early seventies, with their initial name being SILESIAN BLUES BAND. The band was formed by composer, keyboardist, bass-player and extravert vocalist Józef SKRZEK. Young, but skill-full guitar-player Antymos APOSTOLIS added his great solo's and drummer extraordinaire Jerzy PIOTROWSKi freely experimented with his recognizable fast fills and break-up rhythms.

In the end of '71, after a year full of gigs, the band started a fruitful cooperation with one of Polish most important musicians and song-writers: Czesław NIEMEN. For a year and a half the band NIEMEN toured in Poland, as well as in Europe. During this period SBB & NIEMEN recorded three critically acclaimed progressive records; "Marionetki" (1972), "Strange is This World" (1972) and "Ode to Venus" (1973). Czesław NIEMEN has his own page on the progarchives.

After this period SBB regrouped itself and changed its name in SZUKAJ - BURZ - BUDUJ (Search - Break - Build up). In 1974 their first album 'SBB' was recorded live. Though the album lacked cohesiveness (both piano ballads and very dirty experimental rock improvisation), it was a big hit in Poland and soon it ran out of stock. The record was sold on the black market for twice the price.

In 1975 SBB recorded its first studio album in the radio studios of Polish Radio 3. 'Nowy Horyzont' was a full-blown innovative and progressive recording that would set the course for the rest of their career. The political involvement in the lyrics of their studio-debut makes it a historical achievement, though it's recording doesn't stand the test of time very well. The band had some clear fusion influences (MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA is said to been a big influence), some spacey influences from bands like PINK FLOYD and some symphonic influences. The atmosphere of SBB's albums would however be a bit more abstract then those of their English colleagues. The drums of SBB stand out as very energetic and important for the band's intelligent atmospheres.

Late in 1975 SBB returned to the studio, resulting in their first swan-song ' Pamieç'. Three long songs, with full-blown and mature symphonic arrangements, vocal theatrics and long spacey/atmospheric passages. In 1977 SBB continued their eclectic prog style w...
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Iron Curtain/Memento Z Banalnym Tryptykiem: Special EditionIron Curtain/Memento Z Banalnym Tryptykiem: Special Edition
Special Edition
METAL MIND 2013
Audio CD$10.27
$18.87 (used)
Anthology 1974-2004Anthology 1974-2004
Box set · Import · Limited Edition
METAL MIN2 2009
Audio CD$159.97
$219.99 (used)
SBBSBB
METAL MIND 2012
Audio CD$10.21
$13.24 (used)
Budai Ifjusagi Park : Live '77Budai Ifjusagi Park : Live '77
Import · Remastered
Metal Mind Poland 2008
Audio CD$9.55
$11.92 (used)
Ze Slowem Biegne Do CiebieZe Slowem Biegne Do Ciebie
Import · Remastered
Metal Mind Poland 2008
Audio CD$10.06
$11.92 (used)
The RockThe Rock
Metal Mind 2008
Audio CD$8.20
$11.03 (used)
Wolanie O Brzek SzklaWolanie O Brzek Szkla
Import
Indie Europe/Zoom 2008
Audio CD$61.15
Memento z Banalnym TryptykiemMemento z Banalnym Tryptykiem
Import · Remastered
Metal Mind Poland 2008
Audio CD$23.39
$33.21 (used)
WelcomeWelcome
Import · Remastered
Metal Mind Poland 2008
Audio CD$20.26
$9.95 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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More places to buy SBB music online Buy SBB & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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SBB shows & tickets


  • SBB at Narodowe Centrum Polskiej Piosenki, Opole on 19 Sep 2014
  • SBB at Centrum Kultury w Lublinie, ul. Peowiaków 12, Lublin on 20 Sep 2014

SBB discography


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

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

3.77 | 122 ratings
Nowy Horyzont
1975
4.15 | 202 ratings
Pamięć
1975
4.19 | 152 ratings
Ze Słowem Biegnę Do Ciebie
1977
3.31 | 45 ratings
Jerzyk
1977
3.33 | 49 ratings
SBB (aka Amiga Album)
1978
3.84 | 101 ratings
Follow My Dream
1978
4.26 | 153 ratings
SBB (Wołanie O Brzęk Szkła aka Slovenian Girls)
1978
3.61 | 79 ratings
Welcome
1979
4.27 | 296 ratings
Memento Z Banalnym Tryptykiem
1980
2.87 | 35 ratings
Nastroje
2002
3.30 | 37 ratings
New Century
2005
3.64 | 66 ratings
The Rock
2007
3.55 | 52 ratings
Iron Curtain
2009
3.19 | 41 ratings
Blue Trance
2010
3.64 | 70 ratings
SBB
2012

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

3.53 | 73 ratings
SBB (1974)
1974
2.69 | 13 ratings
Live In America '94
1994
3.00 | 13 ratings
S.B.B. Live 1993
1994
3.78 | 18 ratings
Absolutely Live '98
1999
2.62 | 13 ratings
W filharmonii: akt 1
1999
2.71 | 14 ratings
W filharmonii: akt 2
1999
3.00 | 12 ratings
Good Bye ! SBB - Live In Concert
2000
4.60 | 63 ratings
Karlstad Live
2001
3.74 | 25 ratings
Budai Ifjusagi Park (24 &29.11.1977 )
2001
2.91 | 11 ratings
Trio Live Tournee 2001
2002
3.92 | 25 ratings
Freedom - Live - Sopot '78
2002
3.83 | 23 ratings
22.10.1977, Gottingen, Alte Ziegelei
2004
3.00 | 4 ratings
Odlot - Live 2004
2005
4.14 | 7 ratings
Live in Spodek 2006
2006
4.20 | 25 ratings
Complete Tapes 1974
2007
4.72 | 9 ratings
Live In Marburg 1980. The Final Concert
2007
4.04 | 11 ratings
Roskilde 1978
2008
4.67 | 9 ratings
Live In Neckargemund 1978. From A Town Called N.
2008
4.82 | 8 ratings
Live In Köln 1979. In The Shadow Of The Dom
2009
4.18 | 8 ratings
Live In Opole 1974. Rock Przez CaŁy Rok
2009
4.79 | 10 ratings
Live In Frankfurt 1977. Follow My Music
2009
4.81 | 7 ratings
Live in Sopot 1978. Extended Freedom
2009
4.81 | 8 ratings
Live In Czechoslovakia 1980. Three Quarters
2009
5.00 | 2 ratings
Live In Opole 1976. A Late Night Recital
2010
4.00 | 5 ratings
Jazz nad Odrą 1975
2013

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

4.55 | 11 ratings
Szczesliwi z miasta N.
2004
4.29 | 8 ratings
Follow My Dream
2004
4.43 | 14 ratings
Live In Theatre 2005
2005
4.56 | 9 ratings
Live In 1979
2006
4.27 | 11 ratings
Four Decades
2007
4.51 | 8 ratings
Behind the Iron Curtain
2009

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

1.71 | 5 ratings
S.B.B. 2 & 3
1997
3.64 | 5 ratings
Gold
1998
4.30 | 33 ratings
Anthology 1974-2004
2004
3.81 | 27 ratings
Sikorki
2004
3.55 | 24 ratings
Wicher W Polu Dmie
2004
4.13 | 22 ratings
Lost Tapes Vol. 1 (Studio & Live Recordings 1974-1978)
2005
3.74 | 19 ratings
Lost Tapes, Vol.2 (Studio & Live Recordings 1971-1979)
2006
4.00 | 7 ratings
Malczewski
2009

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

2.79 | 5 ratings
The Golden Harp
2001

SBB Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Karlstad Live by SBB album cover Live, 2001
4.60 | 63 ratings

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Karlstad Live
SBB Eclectic Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

5 stars Shivers

Before I venture into the northern pastures of Scandinavia for my upcoming reviews, I'd like to make a short trip to Poland to highlight an album, I personally rank among the very best live albums ever made. I may even prefer it over King Crimson's The Great Deceiver, and part of the reason for this is the 'imminence' of this concert - the overpowering urge to play music you sense from the musicians involved.

Back when SBB started out as Czeslav Niemen's "backing band", and indeed all throughout their heyday, Poland was under a Communistic rule. Everything was under wraps and music should preferably consider itself with anything but the thriving reckless prog rock sneaking in from the decadent west. SBB, or Silesian Blues Band, were as a consequence basically outlaws during the first leg of their existence. In spite of this, they continued to play what they wanted - developing a distinct style of their own based around the close bond between the jazz and blues rock world. What came out at the other end though had both of these music styles completely bend out of shape, sounding like a fiery take on The Mahavishnu Orchestra teaming up with Gong, Secret Oyster and a couple of the more melodically inclined RPI acts of the day.

Coming from a country as iron-clouded as Poland, and then travelling across Europe to play gigs, must've felt like freedom. - I am talking about the very essence of the word here. The amount of artistic relief these guys suddenly felt is beyond immeasurable. The group said so themselves; they were overwhelmed with the freedom they experienced coming into Sweden in 1975. Anyway, you don't need to read any of this for you to understand - all you need to do is listen to this awe inspiring release.

There's an emotional power running through this recording equivalent to a couple of Hiroshima bombs - and then some! Main man Józef Skrzek actually instigates the gig by stating, in his slightly tainted English, that the show will be a special one "it will never repeat" as he so aptly puts it. Taking care of bass guitar, piano, moog, Hammond, synthesizers and vocals - he is a real poster child of music eclecticism. With only 3 band members, one could be lead into thinking that a live album like this could suffer from underdeveloped musical ideas and whatnot, but that is so far from being the case - it literally defies belief.

In many ways this Karlstad release features SBB in both a highly familiar dressing, and then quite the opposite. There's an exuberance here shrouding everything they do in a superman like zeitgeist. Add to that, guitarist Antymos Apostolis, who normally tends to reside in shadow, is right up front and fully in charge on this baby. It's a welcoming pleasure to hear him going all out. It really is. Whether the band is going through the more fusion based blues pieces, or they're just throwing out these incredibly fiery jams - he's always there. On SBB's studio albums you almost never get to hear that, and may I just add, what a damn shame, because this dude can cook! Boy does he ever cook on this album!

Last but not least, we find one of my drumming idols: Jerzy Piotrowski. Hell, he may just be my all- time favourite drummer. With his imaginative poly-rhythms and orgiastic tom usage, this guy is perhaps one of the rare percussionists out there who understands the subtle beauty of mixing insane complexity with improvisational power. He genuinely sounds like a mix between Billy Cobham and Area drummer extraordinaire Giulio Capiozzo - that is without ever losing his endearing melodic feel. I can listen to this man's drumming for days on end - he's got a natural understanding of the beat that you just can't learn. It feels like it emanates from the very pores of his skin. I bet his mom went to some proto-stomp classes, back when he was bobbing around inside her belly oven.

The entire Karlstad gig seems to float together as one unassuming fluid piece of music. The different tracks all weave together in a seemingly uncomplicated fashion. The opener, for instance, called Pretty Face - with all of it's speeding fusion vibes, ferocious beat and loud guitar screams, still manages to die down to a mere whisper with a soulful yearning organ, before slowly setting sails on the serene waters of Born To Die. With a frail and goosebumps inducing feel to it, the tune develops vocals - and you suddenly get to hear just how beautiful of a singer Skrzek really is. This bridging between the first two tracks makes the small hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. If I were a girl I'd probably find a comfortable place to sit down and cry happy tears for a week.

I find countless of these moments on Karlstad. Small odes to the rare glimpses in life that send shivers down your spine and makes your soul orgasm. I'd recommend this facet of sonic life to everybody with ears, yet we all seem to find these life invigorating jolts in different parts of the musical world. If you're into classic prog though, then this might just turn out to be the mistress of your life.

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 Memento Z Banalnym Tryptykiem by SBB album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.27 | 296 ratings

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Memento Z Banalnym Tryptykiem
SBB Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars SBB is one of the many wonderful bands that has been revealed to me through ProgArchives. I've picked up this, Pamiec and Slovenian Girls--this one on vinyl (!) I can never decide which of their albums I like the best. Probably Pamiec, but Memento has some incredible performances and shows the band playing very well as a collective.

1. "Moja Ziemio Wysniona" (8:29) is filled with extraordinary themes and riffs, all strung together like a . The subtle things on this song that catch my ear: rhythm guitar in the seventh and eighth minutes, the subtleties of the drums before that, the synth sound in the third minute, the Allman Brothers-like dueling guitars at the end. Cool song, if a bit dated. (9/10)

2. "Trojkat Radosci" (7:40) begins with 80 seconds of solo electric guitar--treated guitar a la PAT METHENY on New Chatauqua. The second section uses this treated guitar as support for a wonderful display of Spanish-influenced classical guitar playing--culminating in a gorgeous harmonized melody line 'chorus' at the three minute mark. A return to the before, at 4:29, a synth wash enters to set the stage for some electric guitar soloing. The TANGERINE DREAM-like synth work behind the bluesy ROY BUCHANAN-like guitar fire is awesome. Cool song. (or is it a suite with three parts?) (9/10)

3. "Strategia Pulsu" (3:23) has a sound and almost disco-influenced that is shows its age but could have come off a JAN AKKERMAN, LENNY WHITE or AL DiMEOLA album from the same period. Clavinet and harmonica are interesting touches. (8/10)

Side 2, song 1(4) "Memento z banalnym triptykiem" (20:28) begins with a mild pace with a bluesy FOCUS-like feel to it. At 2:10 all music drops away and a vocalist begins singing (in a foreign language I presume to be Polish). At first he is only accompanied by acoustic guitars and background synths. A strong vocal performance in the vein of the best of the Italians. The shift at the four minute mark is breathtaking in its emotional impact. Very delicate cymbol play is used to keep time while slide guitar, acoustic guitar and one single repeated keyboard chord sucks you in and keeps you locked there while the nylon-stringed guitar goes EARL KLUGH sh*t-crazy! Absolutely amazing! Very gradually the pace starts to pick up, prepping us for the end of this section, followed by a jovial almost bluegrass folk-section, with some more awesome guitar work--several, in different channels and levels. Hand clapping, choral "Na-nah, na-nahs," beer-hall piano and harmonica proceed to add to this very friendly, engaging section. At the 10 minute mark we are ushered out of the party barn and enticed into yet another theme house. It's like being at a Renaissance Faire: Each booth, stage or vendor offering his or her own slice of their world. By 11:45 a synthesizer is taking center stage before giving way to an organ's introduction to a moderately paced rock section with a little electric guitar solo. At 14:10 the music again drops away to make way for the vocalist to again tell his story. The use of vocal harmonies beginning at 15:10 is effective if a bit foreign for the unusual (to my ears) diatonic chordal structure of the harmonies. At 16:13 a delicate part starts to support the vocalist(s) sounding a lot like HARMONIUM's "Depuis l'automne" before an electric guitar blasts into center stage carrying the band with it into a classic blues-rock solo scene. Great, emotional playing--that reminds me of someone/some song of classic stature-- and then POOF! it's gone and the same finale of the classical music piece that opened the album (a Strauss waltz?) finishes the album. Awesome. Prog doesn't get much better than this, folks. (10/10)

I've got to give this one a full five stars, folks, cuz, as I said, Prog just doesn't get much better than this. this band worked hard to put these delicate, complex demanding songs together-- and their efforts paid off in that they have definitely put together one for the ages--something quite memorable and certainly not banal!

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 Behind the Iron Curtain by SBB album cover DVD/Video, 2009
4.51 | 8 ratings

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Behind the Iron Curtain
SBB Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

5 stars Truly exceptional!

After a string of mildly successful studio albums, the band returns to where they are best at - performing live. This well produced DVD is a nicely balanced combination of some recent tunes and earlier works.

Off to a bombastic start with majestically heavy keyboards followed by a melodic song from "Iron Curtain". This is followed by their signature tune "Odlot" where they truly rip into some spirited improvisations. Skrzek on distorted bass while Apostolis plays a couple of scorching solos on guitar. Jazzy scales that reminds of John Coltrane and a nod to Electric Miles while the whammy bar is just about to disintegrate. Just brilliant!

Rousing ovation by the audience prompts the band to maintain the pace on the following tunes before settling back to a more laid back approach - if only for a short breathing space. Alternating between some heavy, or melodic pieces, a drum solo and some more solid bass work leads even to an excellent blues before the band dons their "old clothes" again and concludes the show with - yet another - instrumental run.

It's hard to fathom how this trio are able to maintain such rich texture of sounds with no overdubs. Exceptional talent and commitment is on display here and best of all, they all seem to have tremendous fun in doing so. Multi-instrumentalist Skrzek keeps getting better while Apostolis constantly re-inventing his approach to the guitar. Seasoned veteran drummer Gabor Nemeth maintains absolute precision for nearly two hours with relative ease. Frankly, it couldn't get much better.

A long time follower of SBB, my preference has always been for their improvised works. Nevertheless, the combination of different pieces here blend well together and makes me a very happy "customer". Highly recommended, nothing short of a masterpiece in Prog.

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 Iron Curtain by SBB album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.55 | 52 ratings

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Iron Curtain
SBB Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

4 stars It should have been a concept album in full!

The first few songs evoke memories, emotions that relate frighteningly well to the album title. Later however, that content drops away, leaving the listener with tunes - some of which are very good - but emotionally don't convey the subject anymore.

I don't speak Polish, but Skrzek's voice is just superb here and needs no translation. Fact is that if one hasn't experienced the bleakness, the despair and hopelessness, the quiet resignation people were subjected to living behind the Iron Curtain, one may have an idea, but not an understanding .The depth of suppression, humiliation and collective depression administered by the invaders and their local servants.

No, it wasn't quite as bad as in fanatic North Korea today, but a knee in your jaw, a rifle butt in your solar plexus, or in your back - for no good reason - was never far away. I was born into that and raised under such circumstances until I bolted, risking life and limb. In parts, this album tears up old wounds, memories that I've left behind a long time ago. Back then, quality music was hard to come by. SBB were a shining beacon in Eastern Europe in delivering a sense of relief.

A sound of a cattle wagon starts the album. A wagon that may have taken my grandfather - whom I never had the chance to know - to the Siberian Gulags, never to return. The tune, the voice conveys a feeling like coming up for air after near suffocation. Almost in disbelief that such move was ever possible. Musically, I feel that it would have suited a closing track, a nice outro instead.

On the second track, marching boots raise the hair on my back - yet again - giving way to bombastic church organs and heartfelt whining guitars, almost a requiem for the innocent victims. It touches me deeply almost beyond words. ..

The next piece comes across as a sense of relief. Can we really sleep now without a threat of further disturbance? Is this for real? Can we rely on it? Simple and nice.

Track four represents a weird, almost bizarre and yet very enjoyable groove, not far from electric Miles (Davis). At this point "Iron Curtain becomes an album without the heavy emotional content maintained. Still great music.

Then, we explore Pat Metheny territory with a pleasing grunt, the man himself has rarely afforded us. Most of the remaining tracks are more lively. As it often happens, the two bonus tracks are probably the best on this album, too.

I am sorry to say that freedom appears to have made the band somewhat complacent when their current works are compared with under the oppression. Nevertheless, it's still a great band, one that still delivers some pleasing tunes, but the flame and determination have faded somewhat. Perhaps it's time for a more contemplative healing process?

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 New Century by SBB album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.30 | 37 ratings

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New Century
SBB Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

3 stars Mellow, reflective and confusing.

At this point SBB have largely left their former symphonic approach behind with only minute reminders of that still lingering around. I can't help, but to observe that the change seems to coincide with the departure of original drummer Jerzy Piotrowsky. I am not sure if he had that much influence on the band, suffice to say that he was exceptionally good on the skins.

Ever since the band seem to have lost a vital element - and that legendary powerful drive. Practically we are left with a duo engaging the services of skilled drummers. Drummers who never really blended with, or become creatively essential part of the band, resulting in a change of style and dynamics.

Paul Wertico is a fantastic drummer, but I only know that because I listen to Pat Metheny. His work with SBB remains precise, but average. The band has lost their former identity and haven't replaced it with a new and definite style. The odd nod towards Jazz-Rock is welcome, but not a dominant feature.

Typically, as all of their albums "New Century "too contains some fine compositions, passages hidden amongst less exiting material. Emotive ballads next to spoken words that are more suited as "colouring" on a Techno/Psychedelic piece. A Folk-like song that shepherds would sing in the fields, some nice melodies and a bit of stretching out form the bulk of this album.

If you are familiar with SBB then this package would represent another installment and somewhat enjoyable listening of their more recent (lack of) direction. In all sincerity, I enjoy bits here and there but if I didn't know the band, my first spin of the album would be the last.

It's not at all horrible, but rather confusing work - yet again.

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 The Rock by SBB album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.64 | 66 ratings

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The Rock
SBB Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

3 stars Could do with some Vitamin B, perhaps?

Working my way through the band's studio discography, I can hardly wait to get to the more satisfying live releases. But first things first and then - hopefully - time for a massive helping of "dessert".

"The Rock" is another hybrid of mismathing styles, the band has become prone to in recent years. Largely enjoyable, but rather fragmented.

Starting off with a big bang, a heavy riff that would to justice to Black Sabbath, followed by a pleasant Rock ballad. Then the band remembers of their origins and does a nice instrumental run - for a change. So far so good.

Then another reasonable Rock ballad before a painfully melancholic noodling that sounds like Bob Dylan on sedatives. Back to another ballad territory and by this point the wailing, whining guitar prevalent throughout the album reaches the threshold of irritation.

Arabic.Balkan inspired singing then culminates in an enjoyable Moog run before yet another ballad accompanied by organ and more wailing guitar. With different orchestration this piece could have been turned into a memorable one.

"Zug A Zene" is a straight Rock tune with a catchy chorus line where Tamas SOMLO is guesting on vocals. SOMLO was part of early OMEGA, then a circus performer before joining LOCOMOTIV GT on sax, bass, vocals and occasional stilt walking on stage. He has a unique, powerful and truly exceptional voice, unfortunately he didn't make good use of that here.

The bonus tracks are just a bit of lightweight fooling around. Indeed, the entire album represents of just having some fun and perhaps not meant to be taken too seriously? It doesn't really go beyond 3 star category - if at all.

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 Blue Trance by SBB album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.19 | 41 ratings

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Blue Trance
SBB Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

4 stars Diverse, or directionless? Big question.

At this point the band bears little semblance to the approach that made them famous nearly four decades earlier. It's fair to say that as musicians they've matured considerably The style however has changed quite markedly/. Not for the worse, only different.

What's on offer here is an absolute mixed bag of goodies - and a bit of an eye opener. Starting with a pleasant, organ driven symphonic piece, followed by an almost mediaeval track is in stark contrast with the title track. "Blue Trance" is like ZZ Top doing Arena Rock. Not bad at all, but the point is?

Then, we get to some tracks in the Jazz-Rock vein, reminiscent of Pat Metheny's approach. This is where Skrzek delivers his most refined keyboard runs in living memory. Fluid, yet relaxed improvisations rarely encountered before.

Apostolis also excels on guitar, focusing on sound in place of speed. These (incl. the bonus tracks) are the highlights of the album. Drummer, Gabor Nemeth, who is a seasoned musician of the Hungarian Rock scene complements the works with ease. More of a hired hand than a devotee of SBB's music, he plays with extreme precision.

This album is full of surprises, some of which are very welcome. Curiously, the excellent bonus tracks lift the game for me. Without them I would have had to round my rating down by one point.

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 SBB by SBB album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.64 | 70 ratings

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SBB
SBB Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

3 stars This album represents a challenge for me.

There is nothing really wrong with what's on offer here, except - in comparison with the band's earlier works, I find it rather boring. To the point that if I took a "blindfold test", I would have stopped the CD half-way through - if not before.

But it's SBB, a band I am very fond of, so I persevered. My biggest challenge here is to identify much substance in this work. The band is tired, devoid of inspiration of 40 years earlier that have made them darlings of the Prog scene. They still play well, but the fire is long gone, they are out of ammunition.

Nothing is absolute filler material here, but equally nothing much stands out, either. Closer to New-Age soundscapes than to Eclectic Prog. A bit of laid-back groove here and there, some meandering runs on the keys, a whiff of soft Jazz, some noodlings. In places the guitar reminds of early Gilmour psychedelic licks resembling a slide guitar.

I am at a loss as what made them to release this material? There are bits that could have been developed into "something" in due course, other parts are just completely forgettable.

With much regret, I have to say that based of this album I would have never developed further interest in the band. A bit of just fooling around in the studio is rather sub-standard and I am having difficulties with calling it good. Best to be left alone.

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 Lost Tapes Vol. 1 (Studio & Live Recordings 1974-1978) by SBB album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
4.13 | 22 ratings

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Lost Tapes Vol. 1 (Studio & Live Recordings 1974-1978)
SBB Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

5 stars "Lost Tapes"? They certainly are!

A keen collector of SBB's works, I've never been able to obtain this set of 9 CDs as a whole package. I have four individual CD's only that form part of this release. (Chances are that Periferic Records in Hungary may have the odd copy left.)

Anyway, what I have on hand warrants a comment and a very positive one, too! These tracks are not leftovers, filler material pieces, but a combination great tunes. Either performed in concert, or broadcast on Polish Radio only without being released on vinyl back then. This is not a compilation, but individual performances in their own right.

Holidaying in Poland in my youth I've heard SBB for the first time on Polish Radio. The band has raised my interest immediately as the music was bursting with energy and a progressive quality that wasn't common in Eastern Europe then. Suffice to say, some of those tracks are featured here, while others were made available on different releases.

Here we find the band in full flight, eager to impress - as the title of CD 1 "Impresja" implies. They were already seasoned performers by this time that only recently became a band on their own. If you know their early live performances then you know what to expect here. Brilliant fireworks, guitar, keyboard duels, practically squeezing out every possible sound of their limited gear.

Some of the tunes may sound familiar as they formed the foundation of future releases, but the band are not known about playing a tune twice in an identical way, Those pieces still come across with freshness, along with never before released material.

The four CDs I have showcase SBB at their best and on that basis I have to give this release the highest mark. Worth tracking down.

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 Nastroje by SBB album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.87 | 35 ratings

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Nastroje
SBB Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

2 stars Sadly, this is a rather forgettable release.

This legendary band have always excelled at being original and innovative. Their spirited live performances display exceptional intensity. In the studio they focus on more lyrical pieces that often contain spacey arrangements, but generally in a more laid-back way.

"Nastroje" finds the band returning to the scene after a few years break. Judging by what's on offer here, they haven't matured during that time. Rather it seems that they've almost completely lost their former essence. The album is a collection of largely insignificant pieces.

New drummer, Paul Wertico (Pat Metheny Group) doesn't really lift the game here. A very capable musician, his contribution here is nothing more than just keeping the beat .Even his drum solo is just a boring filler piece.

The first interesting tune is track 6, that sounds much like a Pat Metheny number! Finally, "Don't Look Back" is perhaps the first and last tune (what an ironic title!) that does justice to the band. A really nice, slightly jazzy and endearing melody with great Moog and guitar runs, but the last two minutes of sounds of rolling waves, background chatter are totally needless.

Well, they should have "Looked Back" as only two decent tunes on a whole album is rather poor showing. I have to agree with "snobb" on the rating of 2.5, but I will have to round it down, instead of up. Pretty sad.

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