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JAN SCHELHAAS

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Jan Schelhaas biography
Born on the 11th March, 1948 in Liverpool UK, Jan Schelhaas has a wide and varied career, having played both in Caravan and Camel over the years. His music can be described as a perfect blend between the two bands and his talent on keyboards makes him highly regarded as a musician. His main contributions to Camel were for the, I Can See Your House From Here and Nude albums as well as some live Camel releases. In terms of Caravan, he was influential on the excellent Better By Far album in 1977 , the belated Cool Water release from 1995 and The Unauthorised Breakfast Item in 2004. He was also a member of the group Thin Lizzy in the early 70's and again between 1980 and 1985.

In 2008 he released the solo album, Dark Ships, under the Esoteric record label and the music has all the ingredients of a Camel/Caravan hybrid sound with a popular edge to the music ably supported by his keyboard work and production skills. Jan Schelhaas has in recent years turned down requests to rejoin Caravan but contributors to his solo work include Doug Boyle and Jimmy Hastings both from Caravan

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Dark ShipsDark Ships
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Esoteric 2008
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2.98 | 6 ratings
Dark Ships
2008

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JAN SCHELHAAS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dark Ships by SCHELHAAS, JAN album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.98 | 6 ratings

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Dark Ships
Jan Schelhaas Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars True blue

Keyboard player Jan Schelhaas is mostly known from being a member of Caravan in the mid to late 70's and then Camel in the late 70's to early 80's. Like other reviewers have pointed out, this first (and to date only) solo album of his can fairly be described as a fusion of Caravan and Camel. It has that distinct "whimsical" Canterbury feel characteristic of Caravan which also infected Camel when members of Caravan migrated to Camel in the mid 70's. Other members of Caravan even contribute to this album including Jimmy Hastings on flute and saxophone. However, Schelhaas is very accurately placed in the Crossover Prog category as the music present here is a very streamlined and laid back take on the Caravan style. Bands like The Moody Blues and Alan Parsons Projects are equally accurate comparisons. The track True Blue even reminds a bit of The Beach Boys!

Overall, Dark Ships features a pleasant set of songs. The mood is mostly relaxed and the music has a soft feel and generally slow tempo. I enjoy listening to it, but it hardly takes me by storm. The highlight is the opening title track which features very nice guitar work.

Good, but hardly essential

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 Dark Ships by SCHELHAAS, JAN album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.98 | 6 ratings

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Dark Ships
Jan Schelhaas Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars I'm the one who suggested Jan Schelhaas for inclusion on PA, so reviewing this album is quite a duty for me.

I was digging in the various CAMEL lineups to see if anybody had released anything new and I have found this album. The opener and title track is for me the best of the album. I can hear echoes of CARAVAN in the vocals, the electronic ambients of the late PETER BARDENS and a generic Canterbury flavour. Good guitar solos and a captivating melody with light jazz moments.

"Red Sky At Morning" wants to be evocative. A soft keyboard base with "seagulls" and Hastings flute above. Two minutes reminding of "Breathless". This track fades into "Sails In The Sun", a song in a CARAVAN late 70s style.

Keyboards again for "True Blue". If I forget the vocals and think to the instrumental part only, it makes me think to Nude. The seagull of the second track appears here for a short while, too.

Things are better with "Holy Voices". The musical line of this song is non-trivial even though it's very melodic. It's one of the album's highlights. The central section is something that will appeal CAMEL and CARAVAN fans.

"Nothing On Earth" is a mellow song good for a drink after dinner in a quiet environment. This is one of the characteristics of this album and it's true for "Goin' To Shangai", too. The sounds used by CARAVAN, and sometimes by CAMEL in the 70s where still a bit acid. Replacing them with the mellow keyboards and a better production has caused it to sound too chill-out.

"The Voyage of Doby Mick" is almost identical to the previous song, melodic and chill-out with a tone of Caravan in the vocals. "Silent Solos" seems to be another version of the same song. I think a shorter album would have been better. However this last one is good enough.

"Dolphins and Oceans" is a terrible title. After all this chill-out a title like this is scaring. Taking alone this song is not bad, like the others, but all this "sugar" can cause a diabetes.

"Soon Be Dreaming" interrupts this sequence of "honey and sugar" with a jazzy piano piece. Unfortunately too short. Ususal seashore at the end.

"The Coast of Peru (Away Santiago)" is an interesting song even if in the mood of the previous "oceanic songs". Let's just say that Santiago is not in Peru, I think. But there's a lot of towns called Santiago in South America so I could be wrong.

A two minutes closer and the album is gone.

Have I been right in suggesting Jan Schelhaas ? I think yes in general, but this addition didn't bring any masterpiece to the PA.

3 stars to the career

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 Dark Ships by SCHELHAAS, JAN album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.98 | 6 ratings

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Dark Ships
Jan Schelhaas Crossover Prog

Review by Chris S
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Released in 2008, Dark Ships comprises of mainly Caravan members in the line up as in Doug Boyle on guitar. A very accomplished player too. Jimmy Hastings on flute and Sax and of course Schelhaas lending vocals, keyboards and general mixing and production. The music is very much a pastiche of Camel and Caravan and laid back with a popular influence not disimilar to some of Alan Parson Project's material. The title track " Dark Ships" has great keyboards from Schelhaas and catchy vocals with some great guitar riffs. " Nothing On earth" is a lovely languid tune where the vocals get really high almost sounding like Pye Hastings at times. Naturally the album is going to have the canterbury feel and overall it is quite a laid back piece of work. " Soon Be Dreaming" is a great piano driven ballad of a song with interesting backdrop sound effects. If you know both bands referenced you will like this work as well as other artists like John.G.Perry. Good stuff!

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Thanks to chris s for the artist addition.

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