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BACK DOOR

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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Back Door biography
British jazz-rock trio founded in 1971 by Colin Hodgkinson (bass) , Ron Aspery (sax) and Tony Hicks (dr).

Still in 1969 Colin Hodgkinson and Ron Aspery both played in Eric Delaney's band on summer season at the Winter Gardens in Bournemouth. In the afternoons, when the theatre was empty, they played as duo for themselves (recording this sessions on tape recorder). After summer season, they moved to London, working at a Mecca ballroom at night. Colin joined Alexis Corner's band.

Trying to have more time for own project, they moved to Redcar (where for a first time they started to work as house band in Starlight club),and worked on the Back Door project during the day. After trying a couple of drummers, Tony Hicks joined the band.

In that line up they recorded first demos and sent them to all major record companies. All of them returned back, no company was interested in band without guitarist and keyboard player. Next year they we playing a regular Tuesday night gig at the Lion Inn, on Blakey Ridge, North Yorkshire. Brian Jones, landlord, who loved the band, put money for their first album to release.

They released a few hundred copies pressed by RCA, but sold only few of them locally. Then they found a way to the NME offices in London. The album received a really great review from Charles Shaar Murray, and things start to move faster.

The band was invited to play alongside Return To Forever at Ronnie Scott's club for three weeks. After that they received some offers from record companies and signed with Warner Brothers. WB re-released their debut album, and in 1974 they recorded second album in New York. Album is produced by Cream producer Felix Pappalardi and contains some Hodgkinson vocals. Third album contains new member, keyboardist Dave MacRae.

During four years they released four albums and toured USA and Europe, but received limited commercial success. In 1976 they decided to disband the band. Ron Aspery started successful career as session musician. Tony Hicks played in many different bands, then moved to Australia. Colin Hodgkinson went to New Your to work with Ian Hammer.

In 1986 the band reunited for short tour and recorded some material in small studio in Sussex ( but the album wasn't released).

In 2003 the band reunited once again (in original line-up) and recorded new album (with 6 re-workings of old songs and 13 new songs).The band played the few shows after, but Aspery left because of...
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Back Door  -  Back Door/8Th Street Nites/Another Fine MessBack Door - Back Door/8Th Street Nites/Another Fine Mess
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BACK DOOR discography


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

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

3.64 | 26 ratings
Back Door
1972
2.78 | 17 ratings
8th Street Nites
1973
3.75 | 8 ratings
Another Fine Mess
1975
4.00 | 5 ratings
Activate
1976
4.00 | 7 ratings
Askin' The Way
2003

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

BACK DOOR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.08 | 3 ratings
The Human Bed
2002

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

BACK DOOR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Back Door by BACK DOOR album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.64 | 26 ratings

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Back Door
Back Door Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by mickcoxinha

4 stars This album was somewhat of a good surprise for me. I am not very much fan of traditional jazz, so I was somewhat afraid that an album by a trio, with limited instrumentation and short songs would not fit to my tastes of more complex Jazz Rock and Fusion.

However, this trio impressed me. Playing mostly energetic songs with inventive bass lines and great sax soloing, Back Door's debut captured my attention in a way I didn't expect. There are no bad or boring songs, and despite most of them having the same instrumentation, they are not all similar. Highlights for me are: Lieutenant Loose, a song that is played only by Hodgkinson on bass, but the bass lines are so good that you don't even care that there is only one instrument; Turning Point, which has a captivating bass melody along with the sax lines; and Human Bed, that is a calm song with soothing flute melody. As for the energetic songs, I'd highlight Slivadiv and Jive Grind, with have the best interplay by the trio, with every member doing great things with their own instruments.

4 stars, since it is a very inventive album, featuring great Jazz Rock music even by those who are not very much fan of Jazz.

 8th Street Nites by BACK DOOR album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.78 | 17 ratings

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8th Street Nites
Back Door Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars A copy of ''Back door'' reached the headquarters of the NME newspaper, reviewed by Charles Shaar Murray, eventually increasing the fame of the group.A three-week event, opening for Chick Corea at Ronnie Scott's club in London, was another step towards popularity for Back Door, who were reeached then by several labels, eventually securing a contract with Warner Bros.They recorded their sophomore work ''8th street nites'' at Electric Lady Sound Studios in New York during June of 73', helped in a few tracks by former Cream producer Felix Pappalardi, and the album was released the same year.

It contains twelve very short tracks, for the first time some of them feature the vocals of Colin Hodgkinson, while three of them are cover songs by early Afro-American Blues guitarists Robert Johnson and Huddie Ledbetter.Definitely all three of these cuts are extremely outdated with a 50's style and a sound between Blues and Soul, totally out of the trio's repertoire.The majority of the album walks on Jazz and Jazz Rock paths with touches of Orchestral Music, led by the desire of Aspery to deliver either smooth or frenetic sax parts, the full-chord performance of Hodgkinson on bass and the jazzy drumming of Tony Hicks.Sadly few tracks offer the nice performance of Aspery on flutes, as these seem to be the more interesting ones, like the melodic and calm ''Forget Me Daisy'' or the bluesy but innovative ''It's Nice When It's Up'' with its diverse instrumental sound.The music lacks energy for the most of its length with too stretched low tempo passages, while the few more upbeat tracks show Back Door at their best with extremely tight solos and grooves.The improvised moments are also quite many, not helping the average listener to follow the album's concept.

Yet another album by Back Door that today sounds a bit out of fashion.A slight improvement over their debut, but their overall uneven sound makes ''8th street nites'' a recommended work only for Jazz and Jazz Rock maniacs...2.5 stars.

 The Human Bed by BACK DOOR album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
4.08 | 3 ratings

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The Human Bed
Back Door Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

4 stars For any connoisseur of quality Jazz-Rock/Blues.

Normally, I don't go anywhere near compilations, but this one is a rare exception. Partly because no-one bothered with even a barefoot rating. To date, the entire Back Door discography attracted two (2!) reviews, which is quite disappointing.

Another reason is that their music is not easy to get into and a compilation may assist in raising more interest. The song selection is quite good, although my preference remains for the original works.

I declare severe bias for this band and especially for Colin Hodgkinson, who remains one of the finest bass players UK has ever produced. All musicians here are excellent and the addition of Dave MacRae of IAN CARR'S NUCLEUS fame is a pleasant surprise.

This album was originally issued in 1974, containing short pieces - which is typical for the band, anyway. Admittedly, the style varies between Jazz-Rock, Blues, R&B, Avant-Prog and even some Free-Jazz. It doesn't imply a lack of direction, rather the opposite as it showcases the degree of comfort with many styles, instead.

Hodgkinson's approach to his Fender bass is an absolute highlight for me. He plays (and sings) with great confidence, often doing chord sequences with ease. That alone is worthy of attention. Frankly, Back Door is his vehicle, after all. The quirky saxes are not so easy to absorb at first and often represent the Avant-Jazz component. Nevertheless, the musicianship is great, but more of an acquired taste - even for Yours Truly.

The Human Bed is perhaps my least favourite of the band's discography, but it still commands due attention.

 Back Door by BACK DOOR album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.64 | 26 ratings

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Back Door
Back Door Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars UK Jazz-Rock trio, formed in 1971 in North Yorkshire by bassist Colin Hodgkinson and keyboardist/flute-sax player Ron Aspery, who both have been known each other since playing in Eric Delaney's Showband.Third member was drummer Tony Hicks.Hard to find any record labels interested, the trio recorded and mixed their 14-track self-titled debut alone, eventually about 1000 copies were preseed by RCA, distributed around the local area.

These jazz buddies were definitely talented back in 1972, when the album was published.Lots of improvisational parts with good performances, divided into 14 very short Jazz-Rock tunes.Especially the performance of Hodgkinson on electric bass is at moments really intricate.Aspery performs mostly with his sax, a mix of melodic parts and hardcore jazzy abstract playing.A few tracks though include some very mellow flute passages with an evident folkish vibe.Other times the sound closes to Brass Rock, when Aspery decided to deliver series of delicate sax tunes.However the problem of being a trio reflects on their music.The sound is very dry and dated at times and compared to multi-membered Jazz/Fusion acts of the time with a much more diverse sound Back Door seems to lose by a mile.And while the individual performances seem to be decent enough, the whole mix of the trio is not always conveincing.Additionally the majority of tracks relies heavily on the bass/sax/drums combination, making the album rather one-dimensional.

I think the music of Back Door on their debut would have been fun to watch live and even the album might have been a good entry back in early-70's, but today it sounds quite sterile and monotonous.Even so, Jazz-Rock fanatics will find a good dose of enjoyment on this one but they will be propably the only ones to fully appreciate it.

 Back Door by BACK DOOR album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.64 | 26 ratings

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Back Door
Back Door Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Back Door were an extremely highly regarded band in North East England back in the seventies, with two of the band members coming from my home town of Middlesbrough. Their early seventies shows at The Lion Inn, a remote pub with nothing else for miles around on Blakey Ridge on the North York Moors were the stuff of legend. In fact the cover of this, their first album has a picture of the jazz trio stood outside that venue. Sadly, because I was too young and the fact that I didn't discover them until 1976, I never had the opportunity to attend any of these shows.

For a trio of just bass, drums and sax Back Door make plenty of noise and play highly energetic jazz rock. The sound is filled out by bassist Colin Hodgkinson's busy style who often and unusually plays chords. He, along with drummer Tony Hicks lay the foundations for Ron Aspery's wild and inventive sax excursions.

The totally instrumental 12 compositions are all fairly short in length and the diversity of the material ranging from the frantic Catcote Rag to its preceding track, the more mellow Human Bed where Aspery switches to flute show a range and scope many would think not possible with such limited use of instrumentation. The standard of playing is excellent. They're all primarily jazz musicians, but play with a rock sensibility giving their music plenty of fire and each is given a turn to shine. Often the main theme of the tune will feature unison bass and sax until Aspery goes off on some wild excursion. Not surprisingly Aspery takes most of the lead on sax throughout but Hicks, who is never less than stunning gets his turn with a fantastic performance on closing track Back Door. Hodgkinson, who incidently played with Whitesnake for a while in the early eighties gets his turn with the solo bass piece of Lieutenant Loose but his lively style of mixing individual notes with chords always puts him upfront anyway.

It's been a long time since I heard any of Back Door's other albums, this being the only one currently in my collection, but what I do remember is that as good as some of their music was, it never captured the raw excitement that's present on this stunning debut which is likely to appeal to jazz and rock fans in equal measure.

Thanks to easy money for the artist addition.

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