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Jazz Rock/Fusion • Germany

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Snowball biography
Snowball was a German based jazz-rock band consisting of British, German and US musicians. The founding members were Curt Cress (drums Ex-Passport), Dave King (Bass, Ex-Embryo), Kristian Schultze (Keyboards, Ex-Passport) and Roye Albrighton (guitar and vocals Ex ?Nektar). The band played a funk oriented progressive jazz-rock similar to Passport, with a rockier edge. The first record Defroster was released in 1978. Albrighton left after the first record and the band was joined by new members Frank Diez on guitar, Eddie Taylor on sax und vocals and Reginald Worthy replaced Dave King on bass. This quintet recorded Cold Heat released in 1979 with a more blues oriented sound. The third and last soul oriented record Follow the white line released in 1980 was judged by critics as more commercial. The band split in December 1981.

===Martin Horst ===

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SNOWBALL discography

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

3.71 | 15 ratings
2.52 | 12 ratings
Cold Heat
3.43 | 7 ratings
Follow the White Line

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

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

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

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cold Heat by SNOWBALL album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.52 | 12 ratings

Cold Heat
Snowball Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by aglasshouse

2 stars Groovy? Yes. Jazz? Debatable.

Cold Heat is the last album from the Snowball supergroup formed by several wonderful musicians from other bands, like Embryo, Passport, and Nektar. They showed wonderful promise on their first effort, Defroster in '77, although not exactly as prolific as the albums from the bands the members originated from it was not that bad. Now 1977 was already approaching the fringe for the 80's invasion, so that band was to either take the neo-prog revitalization path, or fall, like so many others, down the rabbit hole of the upcoming decade's pop music.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and Snowball took the path that would come to be so utterly beaten that it would become an annoyance. Their second album, Cold Heat, was released in 1979, the dawn of a new era. This time the band really makes themselves seem like a bunch of oxymorons.

Cold Heat turns out to be a balancing act of occasional jazz bursts and cheesy disco-funk that more often than lot swings to the latter. Vocalist Eddie Taylor embodies the archetypal swagger that would become more and more popular as the 80's progressed, almost like a Maurice White without the lovable factor. The few moments where the band breaks into anything remotely jazz-like it's immediately swept away with a sonic cheese onslaught, making for music nothing short of a dishonest. Schultz and Gebauer occasionally throw in echoing buzzes and other effects that does nothing to help the mood. I actually commend Taylor on sax; he's not bad- but he isn't made for jazz. His latin- infused dance style aged extremely poorly and I would go so far as to say that if he was placed in any other kind of musical environment he wouldn't flourish nearly as easily.

So as a verdict: I suggest you either take a look at Snowball's debut or the bands these obviously talented musicians came from. You'll definitely get a bigger bang for your buck.

 Defroster by SNOWBALL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.71 | 15 ratings

Snowball Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by presdoug

4 stars Snowball were a fairly short-lived, German-based, jazz-rock band formed in 1977, recording their debut album "Defroster" in a Munich studio in November of that year, and releasing it in 1978. The band at this time consisted of two ex-members of Passport, drummer Curt Cress, and keyboardist the late Kristian Schultze, ex-Nektar guitarist/vocalist Roye Albrighton, and ex-Embryo bassist Dave King. It is a shame that this overlooked group was under the radar for a lot of people, as this record exhibits a very special musical synergy and chemistry, that unfortunately would not last with subsequent records.

Not as jazz based as Passport, and not as hard rocking as Nektar could be, Snowball create a very accessible sound with no one influence predominating the music. There is a rock element, a funk one at times, and some jazzier moments making for a very likable music. There are four tracks with vocals, all done by Albrighton in a very nice way, Hold On, which is sort of philosophical, Devil's Demons, taunting the listener with "Devil's Demons, never reason", Backfire, about a night of whiskey, and being "laid out on the table", and Paradise, about a bird.

The other cuts are instrumental, Tender Storm, Country Dawn, Lilli Henry, Defroster, and Shade, full of some very tasteful playing by the band, not super frenetic fusion, really, but more laid back, almost atmospheric in places. Shade, the album's closing number, features Kristian Schultze's keys to the fore in some wonderful playing, a nice way to end things.

Alas, the things that contributed to Defroster being such a great record were to fall apart by next year's album "Cold Heat", with Albrighton and King leaving, and the sound of Snowball becoming more conventional, and much less appealing. Despite it's obscure status in general, Defroster is an album that has stood the test of time for me, and i continue to get quite a bit out of listening to it every time i do. Four stars.

Thanks to alucard for the artist addition.

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