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ARSENAL

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Russia


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Arsenal biography
ARSENAL, pioneers of jazz-rock in the Soviet Union, is a creature of Alexey (often spelled like Alexei) Kozlov (b. 1935), professional architect and self-taught saxophonist and composer. He played jazz since the 50s, had deep knowledge of its different styles, was a member of numerous bands, participated in jazz festivals in the USSR and abroad (Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary) and up to the 70s he had a good reputation in jazz circles. But as open-minded musician he was (and still is) always interested in different music styles. Listening to the music of bands like CHICAGO, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, BLOOD, SWEET AND TEARS, PINK FLOYD, KING CRIMSON, ELP and others gave him the idea to go in new direction and form a band, capable of playing the fusion of these styles.

According to Alexey Kozlov, he wanted to create a band of virtuosi, who can swing, improvise, have the "feel of the blues" and appreciate different music styles. It was not so easy to find musicians for new band. Most of experienced jazzmen were skeptical about rock and did not consider it serious music. Rock music in the Soviet Union was then in embryonic state and almost totally in underground, even the word "rock" was associated with hostile Western influences. Official equivalent of rock music existed in the form of so-called vocal-instrumental ensembles - professional groups, singing "songs of Soviet composers", without any rebellious spirit, specific to rock. Underground rock musicians were enthusiastic, but they were not able to play complex pieces, many of them even could not read music. The solution came mainly in the face of young Moscow Conservatory and Gnesin's Institute students, whose interests were not restricted by classical music only.

The band was called ARSENAL (there is a play of words - "ars" means "art" in Latin - and, additionally, it was in some way inspired by famous British football team). First ARSENAL rehearsal took place on November, 12, 1973. Initial line-up consisted of 4 singers and brass section, standard rock instruments were used as well. The band began to perform excerpts from Webber - Rice rock-opera "Jesus Christ Superstar", compositions of CHICAGO, BLOOD, SWEET AND TEARS, TOWER OF POWER and music written by Alexey Kozlov - and, obviously, became in the underground. Some records of that era were published only in 2005 on "Underground Arsenal" CD. Ensemble gave occasional concerts (without being paid for them, because it was against the law to g...
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Buy ARSENAL Music


Oyebo SoulOyebo Soul
Kriztal Records 2004
Audio CD$12.98
$0.01 (used)
OutsidesOutsides
Koch Records 2007
Audio CD$9.19
$129.54 (used)
Armored ChoirArmored Choir
Regency Records
Audio CD$69.95 (used)
Arsenal Fc: Highbury Anthems 18 Gooner ClassArsenal Fc: Highbury Anthems 18 Gooner Class
Import
Gaffer 2004
Audio CD$67.00
$17.06 (used)
Factory Smog Is a Sign of ProgressFactory Smog Is a Sign of Progress
Touch & Go Records 1994
Audio CD$20.00
$8.71 (used)
LotukLotuk
Import
Phantom Sound & Vision 2008
Audio CD$16.00 (used)
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ARSENAL shows & tickets


  • Arsenal at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels on 30 May 2015
  • Arsenal at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels on 31 May 2015
  • Vestrock 2015 on 5 Jun 2015
  • Couleur Café 2015 on 3 Jul 2015
  • Masters@rock on 28 Aug 2015

ARSENAL discography


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

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

3.46 | 11 ratings
Arsenal
1979
3.34 | 13 ratings
Своими руками / Created With Our Own Hands
1982
3.14 | 10 ratings
Второе дыхание / Second Wind
1985
3.00 | 4 ratings
Пульс 3 / Pulse 3
1986
3.80 | 5 ratings
Arsenal-5
1991
3.80 | 5 ratings
Arsenal-6
1991
4.00 | 2 ratings
Седьмое воплощение / The Seventh Incarnation
2004
3.00 | 1 ratings
Связь времён / The Link of Times
2010
3.50 | 2 ratings
Примирение / Reconciliation
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Поток сознания / Mindstream
2013

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

4.50 | 2 ratings
Live at the Forte Club
2000
4.50 | 2 ratings
Линии жизни / Life Lines
2003
4.50 | 2 ratings
В эфире / On Air
2005

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

5.00 | 2 ratings
30 лет. Опалённые временем / 30 Years Anniversary Concert. Time Scorched
2005

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

4.50 | 2 ratings
Неизвестный Арсенал / Unknown Arsenal
1994
4.00 | 3 ratings
Опалённые временем... - I / Scorched By Time... - I
1998
4.50 | 2 ratings
Опалённые временем... - II / Scorched By Time... - II
1998
4.50 | 2 ratings
Опалённые временем... - III / Scorched By Time... - III
1998
4.50 | 2 ratings
Опалённые временем... - IV / Scorched By Time... - IV
1998
4.00 | 1 ratings
Избранное / Masterworks
2001
4.00 | 2 ratings
Подпольный Арсенал / Underground Arsenal
2005
5.00 | 2 ratings
Алексей Козлов и ансамбль Арсенал / Alexey Kozlov and Arsenal Ensemble
2005
5.00 | 1 ratings
Живая вода / Living Water
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Алексей Козлов - Посвящения / Alexey Kozlov - Dedications
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
'13. Избранные произведения / '13. Selected Works
2013

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

ARSENAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Второе дыхание / Second Wind by ARSENAL album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.14 | 10 ratings

BUY
Второе дыхание / Second Wind
Arsenal Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 1985 Arsenal return with their third studio effort, the album ''Second wind''.Compared to the previous line-up Kozlov had retained much of the former musicians and expanded his supporting armour with two new keyboardists, Alexander Beliaev and Andrey Vinogradov, as well as pianist Michail Alperin.Needless to mention that Melodyia was again the distributing label.

Arsenal had become masters on mixing ethereal Fusion instrumentals with a bit more fascinating and challenging offerings and the result is an atmosphere rarely seen, where Lounge Jazz textures with melodic saxes and discreet synthesizers are met with dense and intricate moves on guitar and keyboards, which can only be found in progressive groups.Of course the band still shows a strong sense of melody with Kozlov's emotional sax tunes in the forefront, offering themes inspired both by Jazz and Classical Music, and a nice supporting team of keyboards, electric piano and electric guitars backing him up.But the album will often sink into a more complex mood with CAMEL and FOCUS underlines, the guitars become more pronounced, the keyboard work alternates between light electric piano and sharper synthesizers and then come Kozlov's turn for a more emphatic sax performance.And then there is some touch of humour and joy in the process, like on ''Funky-Charleston'' and the overall vintage style of funky and 30's-flavored tunes and the following ''Provincial tango'' with the Latin-spiced touches and the surprising use of an accordion.I am quite surprised by the instrumental diversity of this classic Russian combo, while Jazz seems to be the main source of inspiration, there is so much going one here to simplify the music as Jazz-Fusion.Symphonic keyboards, ethnic tunes and even beats of Electronic Music pop up here and there.

While not flawless or masterful, ''Second wind'' is definitely a winner among Fusion releases of the mid-80's, keeping the spirit of adventurous music up high.Recommended to all fans of jazzy Prog Rock or instrumental Fusion...3.5 stars.

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 Arsenal by ARSENAL album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.46 | 11 ratings

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Arsenal
Arsenal Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Suedevanshoe

4 stars "A Dangerous Game", the leadoff track from Arsenal's 1979 debut, would not sound out of place as an outtake on an Al Kooper-led Blood Sweat and Tears album. In fact, the Blood Sweat and Tears-Chicago-Chase-James William Guercio effect pervades the album. For fans, that's a great thing. "Suite in F Flat Major" and "An Ivory Tower" are long, extended horn led forays into jazzrock that are truly exciting listens. "An Ivory Tower" is a dynamic highlight. The funky keyboard textures that begin the song give way to moody, desolate sections before exploding at the conclusion.

In all, a worthy addition to the jazzrock-fusion canon - the fact they are Russian is an interesting side note.

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 Своими руками / Created With Our Own Hands by ARSENAL album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.34 | 13 ratings

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Своими руками / Created With Our Own Hands
Arsenal Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Three year forward and Alexey Kozlov with his Arsenal group released a second album on Melodyia, entitled ''Created with their own hands''.According to Kozlov the correct title should be ''Created with our own hands'', but it was misprinted on the front cover.No matter its right name, the album was the first of Arsenal to be released in the States as ''...With our own hands'' on East Wind Records.The same title appears in the 2005 CD reissue by Arsenal School of Managers.From his crew from the debut only guitarist Vitali Rozenberg appears in this second effort, but Kozlov has a great warmed up bench of instrumentalists, incuding two drummers, two bassist and even four keyboardists.

The opening ''Mystery'' kicks off with an elegant acoustic crescendo by Victor Zintchuk, having a slight Spanish feel, before tormenting into a frenetic Space/Fusion style with ecstatic keyboards by V. Gorsky and a generally very furious instrumental approach.The following ''Dedication to Mahavishnu'' has some things in common with the beautiful atmospheres created by the pioneers of Jazz/Fusion, musically though it stands closer to the RETURN TO FOREVER school of Fusion, including spacey background synthesizers, complex/funky bass lines, jazzy electric guitar solos and plenty of electric piano exercises.''Light on the Way'' follows more or less the same vein , just being a little bit more tropical, with breezy synthesizers and acoustic guitars and a good sitar solo in the middle.''Suite in F Minor'' shows the strong connections of Kozlov with Classical Music.The ethereal opening piano prelude and the supporting synths meet Kozlov's melodic sax lines to lead the composition in a fresh and melodic Fusion style with symphonic keyboards next to an improvised sax solo.Soon Arsenal will find again their way into a more synth-drenched Fusion style, typical sound of the age, with long, stretched solos and Kozlov's sax always in evidence.

In a questionable move, the CD reissue contains four already released tracks by Arsenal, all contained in the next few regular releases of the band.However all are very good with nice melodic moves, technical synth textures, FOCUS/CAMEL-like jazzy guitars and even some evident Classical inspirations, closer to the style of their debut, and are definitely recommended.

''Created with their own hands'' is a certain twist by Arsenal towards more Fusion realms.The composing level remains very high, though the lack of an evident progressive direction make this less worthy than their very good debut.Still parts of its instrumental madness, especially the first and last track, are amazing and this is a pretty good reason to purchase the album.Warmly recommended.

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 Arsenal by ARSENAL album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.46 | 11 ratings

BUY
Arsenal
Arsenal Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The Arsenal Jazz Rock Ensemble was an idea of famous Russian sax player Alexey Kozlov.The band started in 1973 in Moscow and soon became very popular in the jazz community,despite they were permitted to perform legal concerts not before 1976.Their eponymous debut was recorded in 1977 in Riga,but not released before 1979 by Melodyia label.

Arsenal weren't just another Jazz Rock band,they incorporated many progressive elements in their compositions and were certainly a daring act.Four tracks and more than forty minutes of good proggy jazz music guarantee a pleasant listening.The opener ''Опасная игра'' is a weird trippy mix of Jazz,Horn Rock and GONG-like free soloing with also some Classical references and good organ.The tremendous follower ''Дерево'' is halfway a CAMEL/GENTLE GIANT blend of melody with supporting dynamic interplays before the symphonic trombones start to battle with Kozlov's sax solos.''Сюита ля бемоль мажор'' is another good track,piano-driven energetic Jazz before Kozlov's sax introduction leads to the classical-inspired vocal-led rest of the song wityh lots of trombones and a steady rhythm section.''Башня из слоновой кости'' has an intense FOCUS-like atmosphere,a nice mix of Jazz and Classical music surrounded by a massive wind instrument attack and with guitarist Vitali Rozenberg performing in the style of Jan Akermann.

Notice that the production is very good and this makes ''Arsenal'' even more attractive as a listening.This is one of the good examples of ex-Soviet proggy Jazz Rock with evident Classical tendencies and deserves some more fame for sure...3.5 stars.

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