Eclectic Prog • France

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Jean-Paul Prat biography

Jean-Paul Prat is a multi-instrumentalist and composer born in Grenoble, France on 27/9/1953. He began his musical path early on due to his mother's love of music. At the age of 9 he began taking private classical piano lessons. At age 14 he had already learned to play guitar by himself and then the drums by age 15.
He would then be enthusiastic about English rock groups - The Beatles, The Moody Blues, and also with RnB bands for their rhythmic virtues and their use of brass instruments (which was presumably an influence for him for his recordings later on, as can be heard on Masal). At the age of 15, in 1968, he formed with a friend of his a dance orchestra. Prat was playing then the guitar and doing the vocals. As they expanded, he took on playing the organ and later on at the age of 18 switched to drumming and singing. This was an octet that was called Blackbirds, which played then-contemporary music. 18 years old, Prat decided then to study percussion at the conservatoire, but had gotten tired from it soon enough to return to playing music. This period finds him being thrilled with Chicago and Deep Purple.

His next step would be starting to compose by himself in 1971, something that was driven by listening to Magma's unique music. He wanted to form a band that would perform those compositions, and asked some of his fellow dance orchestra friends.
Joining him on his band in 1973, were his brother Richard Heritier on saxophone, Michel D'angelo on guitar and bass, Denis Borras on bass all of whom came from their previous dance orchestra. To complete this lineup, Prat recruited Georges Rolland on saxophone and Alain Tourral on piano. The chosen name for the band was Masal - Hebrew for luck, fortune or chance (and not as the booklet mistakenly says, it is not "star" which is Kochav).
The music of Masal at that time is described in the cd booklet like this: "Jean-Paul led the new band, handling vocals and wrote the bulk of the band's material in a frenetic vein akin to that popularised by MAGMA. propelled by drums and bass, accentuated by riffs from the brass instruments that exchanged solo roles with the keyboards."

The band suffered from a changing lineup. August 1973 sees the departure of guitarist Michel D'angelo, but he is not replaced as Prat is content with the band switching to a brass dominated lineup without guitar. Denis Borras decided to be the band's lighting technician and quit his playing. N...
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Musea Parellèle 2013
Audio CD$10.98
Musea 1982
Audio CD$17.84
$14.99 (used)
Musea Parallele/Musea 2012
Audio CD$17.51
Musea Parallèle/Musea 2013
Audio CD$17.50

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JEAN-PAUL PRAT discography

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JEAN-PAUL PRAT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.14 | 22 ratings
3.71 | 7 ratings
Galgal (Masal)
3.00 | 1 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
3.09 | 11 ratings
Viens des Quatre Vents (Masal)

JEAN-PAUL PRAT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Masal by PRAT, JEAN-PAUL album cover Studio Album, 1982
4.14 | 22 ratings

Jean-Paul Prat Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars French composer, drummer and keyboardist Jean-Paul Prat was born in 1953 in Louhans and was the founder of the Masal group back in early-70's.Masal had a great live activity, opening for bands such as Magma, Gong and Soft Machine, playing a Zeuhl-influenced Prog Rock, but disbanded in 1976.For some years Prat was found in the line-up of different bands, even relocating in Germany for some time, but in early-80's he had the chance to recollect Masal with both old and new bandmates.He recorded an album in July 82' at Studio Venus in Longueville, which saw the light over a year later on the tiny Stand-By Records and had a limited distribution.

The album was credited to Jean-Paul Prat's name, though it was actually a collective effort by the new Masal core, including no less than 11 musicians.Although the band was inspired by MAGMA's music back in the 70's, there is little Zeuhl influence on ''Masal''.In fact the music has much more to do with the personal works of Finnish composers such as PEKKA POHJOLA, JUKKA GUSTAVSON or ANSSI TIKANMAKI, a jazzy-inspired Progressive Rock with lots of variations and different movements.''Masal'' consists of a very long eponymous suite, clocking at 42 minutes, split in two parts on the original issue due to the limited capacity of vinyl pressings.The music is simply outstanding and far from the aesthetics of the age.Superb, orchestral and uncommercial Prog/Jazz Rock, performed like a long symphony and highlighted by a grandiose section of wind instruments and the notable guitar work of the three guitarists appearing on the album.''Masal'' passes through many dramatic textures with impressive guitar moves outbattled by masterful trumpet and sax solos, while these are often interrupted by several smoother moments with Classical-, Jazz- and a bit of Folk-influenced themes (incuding some fantastic, dreamy flute parts) with a clam but still quite impressive atmosphere.There are also plenty of complicated, heavy breaks with a KING CRIMSON-guided adventurous approach.Piano and synthesizers are used with perfection, offering measured moments of a unique mood, usually combined with the great guitar parts.The result is an unbelievably tight long piece of music with a unique atmosphere of its own, a milestone of the instrumental Prog music of the 80's.

A decade later the album was re-issued by Musea on CD, offering this piece of music in its entirety without the break of the vinyl issue.This edition contains also five unreleased tracks performed by Masal after the release of their debut, originally contained in cassette only releases.The line-up of the group was now significantly reduced, but most of the tracks feature the performances of guitarists Alain Escure and Carlo Grassi along with sax player Richard Heritier, all of them had participated on the debut album of the group.All of them follow a similar style with Masal's sole 80's release with excellent, refined and jazzy Progressive Rock with dominant work on saxes and trumpets, soaring guitar washes and some very atmospheric synthesizers.Maybe the music at moments is less dramatic and more optimistic, but the unique talent of Prat composing skills is still there to offer another few excellent tracks.

No doubt, this album is a must-have for all fans of instrumental Progressive Rock and even more for anyone deep into Symphonic/Jazz Rock.The vinyl issue would be an excellent purchase, the CD-bonus track edition would be an even better.Nevertheless, this is an amazing piece of music.Highly recommended.


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 Masal by PRAT, JEAN-PAUL album cover Studio Album, 1982
4.14 | 22 ratings

Jean-Paul Prat Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Jean-Paul Prat is a very talented Frenchman who seems to be able to play any instrument he gets his hands on given some time to figure it out. He'll be the lead guitarist in one band and the keyboard player in another. He's also been the lead vocalist. On this particular album he's on the drum-kit. In his late teens he was a big fan of DEEP PURPLE and CHICAGO but his biggest inspiration was MAGMA. He would not only meet Christian Vander but he and his 14 piece band who are featured on the 42 minute track here called "Masal" would open for MAGMA on one of their tours. Once you hear this track you'll catch that Zeuhl connection pretty quickly. In fact most sites have this album listed under the Zeuhl genre.The remaining songs on here are bonus tracks and from later in his career with a smaller band and they aren't Zeuhl but more Jazz flavoured. I like how the Wayside site calls this album a Big Band Zeuhl record. Now I must admit i'm not into orchestral music because I don't like hearing 10 violinists and 10 sax players and 10 whatever instruments playing the same notes that create a "big sound". No thankyou ! You can keep your Classical music, but fortunately this doesn't degenerate too much into that. It does enough though for me to keep it at 4 stars lets put it that way.

"Masal" starts off with those deep, dark sounding bass lines as it builds. How good do these drums sound ! Horns kick in around 2 1/2 minutes. Love that growly bass. A calm after 5 minutes then it starts to build with piano, then drums, then bass. So good.The guitar is screaming at one point after 8 minutes. A change a minute later as it picks up and horns come to the fore. Amazing sound 11 1/2 minutes in then it settles back.Guitar then horns return before it settles again before 16 minutes. Drums and horns start to build then it settles again before 18 1/2 minutes and again before 21 minutes and after 23 1/2 minutes. Each time it builds after the calm. Drums pound away 25 minutes in. It settles a minute later. A beat with flute come in. A calm at 28 1/2 minutes then we get laughter as it kicks back in. Horns are prominant.Piano and chunky bass before 32 minutes as drums impress as usual.The guitar joins in and rips it up. A calm 34 1/2 minutes in. Relaxed guitar 38 minutes in. It picks up 39 1/2 minutes in then settles back with vocal melodies and piano. It's building again.What a killer track that is.Definitely a 4.5 star album. A Prog lover's delight.

Most feel the bonus tracks are just as good as the title track but I don't,well not quite anyway. "Maran Atha- Selah" is though. Piano, bass and drums build and this sounds really good. Horns before 1 1/2 minutes then guitar. A change after 5 1/2 minutes as it turns dark and the tempo slows down some. Another change before 12 minutes as it calms right down with piano. It kicks back in after 13 minutes but settles back again quickly. It kicks back in one more time at 15 minutes to end it. "Messangers De Notre-Dame" is very good as well with that good beat along with piano and horns. "Valse Funebre" isn't as good but I still like it. "Origines-Seconde Partie" fortunately is under 4 minutes because I don't like it at all. It's all about choirs and vocals like being in church really.

So 4.5 for the original album that is one long track released in 1982.The bonus tracks are impressive except for the last one in my opinion. So yes don't even hesitate to get this if you like adventerous music with lots of horns and a Zeuhl flavour.


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 Masal by PRAT, JEAN-PAUL album cover Studio Album, 1982
4.14 | 22 ratings

Jean-Paul Prat Eclectic Prog

Review by progadicto

5 stars It's hard to find albums that really freeze the soul with a powerful, beautiful and an almost perfect musical proposal. But 1982 Jean Paul Prat "Masal" reach the goal with a superb masterpiece hard to define because the eccelctic mixture of genres and styles that build this magical album.

"Masal" is a 40+ minutes epic where the listener slides from one style to another: zeuhl, jazz- rock, symphonic prog, folk and many other gives form to an impressive piece that reminds som of the best Mike Oldfield moments but try to imagine that picture including the complete cast of Magma (including cathartical chorus), some Yes sections, delicate drops of avant garde, some jazzy passages and furious epical sequences... Not bad, eh? Well, Prat make that possible just in this long, excentric, exciting suite which, IMHO, it has to be one of the best prog songs ever.

But there is more. The so called second part of this album has four songs between 4 and 15 minutes long. All of them are great too: exquisite arrangements, fluid changes from one genre to another and atmospherical sections. "Maran Atha-Seláh" is closer to jazz-rock but also to the jazzy-zeuhl experiments such as Eider Stellaire. "Messagers de Norte-Dame" repeats the jazzy formula but flirting with the avant garde a la Tiemko. The dark "Vals Funebre" is a nostalgic and sad piece leaded by piano and sax and at the end, appears the tribal "Origines", a floating piece with an awsome but simple work on chorus...

A missing piece into the prog rock history. It deserves more attention from the fans and music lovers in general because is a wonderful piece of music which has in it all the elements that define prog music... 5* without any hesitation...


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