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DR. DOPO JAM

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Denmark


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Dr. Dopo Jam biography
This Danish band originated in Roskilde towards the ending of 1968 ? playing and utilizing a somewhat bizarre and sarcastic approach to both music making as well as stage antics. Kristian POMMER was the instigator of the group while at the same time handling keys, vocals and the guitar. Circling around crazy thematics and a wonderful sense of theatrics, POMMER handed over to Denmark what ZAPPA did to the English speaking world: fun music revolving around blues rock, jazz and psychedelia. Denmark was a hotbed for both psychedelic music as well as jazz, yet it was down to a couple of groups such as BURNIN RED IVANHO and SECRET OYSTER all of which were headed by saxophonist extraordinaire Karsten VOGEL ? and dear ol DR. DOPO JAM. Nobody would take the sporadic shifts, avant guarde tendencies and cut up experimentations as far as this band though.

Helping out in the original cast were Poul ?Skak? SNITKER on flute and trumpet, Lars RASMUSSEN on electric guitar, Sten UGLEBJERG on percussion and something as wonderfully zany as a washtub and last but not least Sten OLSEN wielding an earthy and infinitely bouncy bass.

In September 1969 the band went through some changes as UGLEBJERG was replaced with not one but two drummers in Niels ?Vejmand? CHRISTENSEN and Bent CLAUSEN. Olsen?s spot was handed over to a guy named Jesper HINDØ who was just as versatile as his predecessor. This edition of the band continued to experiment and build on the overt zany and eclectic sound ? only to yet again in 1972 rearrange the line up, now with the add on of trombone and saxophone. Kristian POMMER additionally handed over the vocal bits to singer Lars BISGÅRD.

Second outing Fat Dogs and Danishmen changed the overall expression of the band with a clearer and more orchestrated expression while at the same time holding onto the unique fire and quirky charm of the debut. On the sophomore though, they were infusing congas and a violin trio as well as the highly talented Wandy TWOREK as soloist.

DR. DOPO JAM dissolved in the month of May 1974 with most of the members continuing on different musical paths.

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DR. DOPO JAM discography


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DR. DOPO JAM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 24 ratings
Entree
1973
3.69 | 10 ratings
Fat Dogs & Danishmen
1974
3.00 | 2 ratings
Crusin´ At Midnite
1981

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DR. DOPO JAM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Crusin´ At Midnite by DR. DOPO JAM album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Crusin´ At Midnite
Dr. Dopo Jam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars The original formation of the DR DOPO JAM was formed by bandleader, composer, instrumentalist, vocalist and head honcho Kristian Pommer in Roskilde, Denmark not too far from Copenhagen back in 1968 under the guise of a Zappa-inspired psychedelic band but by the time the band (after many lineup changes) got to their debut "Entree" in 1973, it had become an eclectic mishmash of styles surrounded by big brass jazz-fusion and a goofy cabaret type of persona that emphasized not only an unpredictable and unrepeatable stylistic approach but ensured a healthy dose of whimsy that offered a glimpse of what would happen if the "Hot Rats" era of The Mothers of Invention had joined up with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band to cut a couple albums culminating in the wild extravaganza of their sophomore release "Fat Dogs And Dansihmen."

Due to the bloated nature of the band's lineup for their only two albums to be released in the 70s and a lack of commercial success, Pommer threw in the towel and moved on to form the funk rock band Tequila which in turn released a couple albums and then called it a day themselves. Instead of establishing a new band, Pommer decided to resurrect the days of DR DOPO JAM in 1981 but with a more time period friendly vibe with the release of the third album CRUISIN' AT MIDNITE. For this album, Pommer completely started from scratch and found two members from previous lineups and three completely new ones which made the totality of the band a mere eight members which by DR DOPO JAM standards was pretty low.

Right from the very first track "Midnite Cruiser," it's apparent that Pommer was going for a more mainstream sort of sound on CRUISIN' AT MIDNITE with a funk based groove and an early 80s sort of new wave feel. While the Zappa influences haven't been totally trampled upon, they have been tamed and the jazz-fusion and silliness extravaganzas had been set on chill mode for this one. The tracks are fairly straight forward boogie rock with an emphasis on exotic rhythms and heavy percussion zones. While the band had garnered the well deserved reputation as the most experimental of Danish bands, on this third release little of that would be apparent although there are scant moments of bizarre freakouts and progressive outbursts but for the most part this one is fairly tame and lackluster compared to the 70s offerings.

While the genre jumping still exists with Canterbury Scene type flute parts, jazz-fusion albeit on simmer as well as the occasional rockin' out segment, the music on CRUISIN" AT MIDNITE is fairly similar with a funky groove that wouldn't be out of the question on the dance floor. While DR DOPO JAM has remained elusive outside of their Danish homeland, this third offering is even more obscure as it is the far inferior product to have been unleashed under that moniker. While i wouldn't call this album a waste of time by any means, it lacks the creative vitality that the initial pair dished out in virtually every aspect. This one was actually quite unnecessary and if visual guides offer any assistance, the blandness of the cover art in comparison to the first two album's artier side is a perfect indicator what to expect sonically as well. Well, worth the listen but rather meh and forgettable.

 Fat Dogs & Danishmen by DR. DOPO JAM album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.69 | 10 ratings

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Fat Dogs & Danishmen
Dr. Dopo Jam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Continuing what they started on their debut album 'Entree,' the Danish musical whack job DR DOPO JAM released their second album FAT DOGS AND DANISHMEN in 1974 with founder, leader, main composer, singer and instrumentalist Kristian Pommer cranking out a whopping double album of crazy Zappa inspired material that took as many creative liberties as was humanly possible through the course of eleven bizarre tracks that dared to stuff in as many genres as possible without losing a beat.

Despite being Danish, DR DOPO JAM found a home on the German Zebra label which found prominent label mates like A.R. & Machines, Kin Ping Meh, Epitaph and Ougenweide. Even within this eclectic crowd Pommer's idiosyncratic band stood out like a sore thumb looking more towards the US music scene for inspiration rather than their neighbors to the south with a huge collective of musicians dishing out the ultimate display of humorous pastiches in a labyrinthine journey through a ridiculous amount of musical styles.

Once again, the Mothers of Invention provided the necessary ingredients for DR DOPO JAM to riff off of and do so quite well on their sophomore release. 'Entree' was primarily composed of one massively long track that sprawled on for 25 minutes with a few more tracks tacked onto the end but FAT DOGS AND DANISHMEN differs in that all the tracks are significantly shorter with only two extending past the eight minute mark and adopting the same mini-suite formula but even within the shorter tracks, genre skipping is quite the norm.

Anyone craving wildly new versions of Frank Zappa's early years will find lots to love here, especially in the period between 'Hot Rats' and 'Waka/Jawaka' with ample doses of utter ridiculousness and character changes that utilize the same wacky humor and spastic progressive instrumental outbursts. In addition to the album length being expanded, so too is the musical cast with 21 musicians and vocalists taking turns like a collective on different tracks.

When i say that FAT DOGS AND DANISHMEN likes to genre skip i really mean that these guys throw in everything including the kitchen sink. In just the first track 'Cowboy-Song' alone there is brass rock, Zappa-esque jazz-fusion, straight forward rock, spaghetti western, surf rock, progressive rock moments and soul funk all wrapped around an instantly addictive vocal melody. And then it delivers a nice rockin' guitar solo. The lyrics are hilarious and the band reminds me a bit of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in that department as well as Zappa.

The album just continues to bedazzle with nosedives into a mind-boggling diverse eclectic palette of moods and styles whether it be lounge jazz, Canterbury Scene prog, Paganini inspired violin antics with classical piano, gypsy folk, tango, classical, 60s pop vocal (as in Tom Jones), Santana-esque Latin jazz soul, mambo, big band, game show music and bossa nova just to name a few. Careful scrutiny will reveal even subtler intricacies. Less vibraphones this time around and more clavinet, piano, organ and heavy percussion.

Overall FATS DPGS AND DANISHMEN tends to be a split between progressive instrumental jams and silly shorter tracks that place more emphasis on the wacky humor. In many ways, it seems that DR DOPO JAM prognosticated the 80s era of Zappa with silly melodic tracks eschewing lengthy prog workouts in favor of a pure comedic delivery. However when the proggy parts let loose as on the title track, things get really proggy and heavy on the 'Hot Rats' fusion at its best however despite the obvious influences, DR DOPO JAM creates a unique tapestry that sounds like Zappa in a parallel universe.

FAT DOGS AND DANISHMEN lets loose way beyond the craziness dished out on 'Entree' a hundredfold. While on the debut, there was a lot more emphasis on the big brass bravado of the jazz-fusion, however on this one is more like a sampler pack of whatever whim and whimsey presented themselves at the moment, however this music never jettisons the melodic groove that ties it all together. DR DOPO JAM was literally the Mr Bungle of the early 70s and is an acquired taste to say the least, but personally i love this kind of musical freedom especially when done so well. This band was a true joy to discover despite not being perfectly executed.

 Entree by DR. DOPO JAM album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.98 | 24 ratings

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Entree
Dr. Dopo Jam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The 1970s produced a wealth of progressive rock bands on both sides of the Atlantic and while it may seem like only a few countries churned out the lion's share of the best known acts (yeah, talking about you England, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden), the fact is that even the smaller countries were getting in on the act. Denmark may not come to mind amidst a fertile progressive rock scene but nevertheless was home to a few well known acts such as Culpeper's Orchard, Secret Oyster, Alrune Rod and Ivanhoe. One less known band that emerged from Roskilde not to far from Copenhagen was the obscure rarity in the form of DR. DOPO JAM which hosted a large number of musicians and engaged in a very jazzy style of rock with an emphasis on a huge brass section that included trumpet, tenor sax, soprano sax alongside the flute, sort of like the Danish version of Chicago only infinitely more zany and adventurous.

Formed all the way back in 1968 by Kristian Pommer with the original moniker "Dr. Dopo & His Khana Bees," this strange band emulated many of the greats of the day with an extra emphasis on the goofy rock cabaret antics of Frank Zappa married with a rather schizoid meandering approach best carried out by Supersister. Accordingly the band's debut album ENTREE wends and winds through unpredictable passages that exhibit a very Mothers of Invention sort of humor and overall jocularity while hop, skipping and jumping all around musical genres in no predictable fashion. The band formed in the 60s therefore this eight piece band also exhibited a very 60s psychedelic hippie sound (reminds me a bit of Brainchild) as well with lengthy jamming sessions augmented by the progressive rock regalia of the day, therefore there are meanderings through Canterbury tinged jazz-rock pastiches as well as more festive runs through traditional Scandinavian sounds similar to Samla Mamas Manna Pastiche. There are even moments when the guitar parts and percussion emulate jump into Santana turf.

The band only released three albums in their career. This first one ENTREE in 1973, a sophomore release "Fat Dogs And Danishmen" in 1974 and then broke up. A couple members would reunite and release the 1981 album "Cruisin' At Midnite" under the DR. DOPO JAM band name and tried to regain the magic of these early days but was unsuccessful and retired the band for all time. Pommer, himself, would eventually create a funk rock band named Tequila but that funky beat presents itself on ENTREE which makes this album an easy listening experience despite the genre skipping antics. Like many unsuccessful bands of the day, DR DOPO JAM had many lineup changes as can be imagined with such a huge roster of musicians however despite its brevity, DR DOPO JAM cranked out some incredibly original music even within the fertile and creative times from whence it emerged.

While ENTREE may prove to erratic for many as it seems like it has no rhyme or reason to its labyrinthine layout, i have to say that despite this musical maze, these guys really played tight together with one seemingly endless melody after another never missing a beat and retaining a catchy jazzified melodic march throughout especially on the multi-suite 25 minute opener aptly titled "Opening.". Pommer's vocals often remind me of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown accompanied by the big brass of early Chicago laid out in a Supersister meets Zappa format. There are bursts of super progified time signature outbursts as well as luscious vibraphone runs. While schizoid in nature, ENTREE is never boring for a second and captures the adventurous zeitgeist of the early 70s to a T and certainly the most adventurous music i've heard to have emerged from Denmark from the period. One for the more adventurous prog addicts out there who don't mind an supreme serving of brass.

 Entree by DR. DOPO JAM album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.98 | 24 ratings

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Entree
Dr. Dopo Jam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm a little surprised that there's no written reviews for this one, especially since it has been re-issued on cd at least once since the original album came out in 1973. And I thought for sure that Guldbamsen would have been one of the people to review it since he's from Denmark as well, but to go even further I thought that this might be his favourite record to come out of his great country. Why? Well, it's very humerous, adventerous and filled with personality. Clearly Frank Zappa and possibly SUPERSISTER were influences as this is quite jazzy and Canterbury flavoured. Besides the usual instruments we also get violin, vibes, trumpet, sax, moog, piano, flute, trombone and congas from this rather large band of around ten people or so.

"Opening" is the insane 25 minute suite which is divided into eleven sections, and they throw everything but the kitchen sink at us. Many feel this suite is too "all over the place" and disjointed but this is a top three track for me. It's entertaining if nothing else but to my ears it works. It's catchy to start with bass, vibes, drums, flute and more as the vocals join in. Insanity follows with spoken words then it kicks back in to that catchy sound. Guitar to the fore after 2 1/2 minutes then a drum solo before 4 minutes. A change before 5 1/2 minutes as a beat and horns lead the way. A calm a minute later with percussion and strummed guitar. Flute joins in at 7 minutes. Another change before 9 minutes and this is my least favourite part of the album with the fast paced vocals and sound along with that repetitive guitar melody. Another calm follows after 10 minutes with bass, drums, vibes and a jazzy sound. Keys too followed by horns. Nice section as the vocals join in. l love the guitar sound before 12 minutes and the electric piano that follows. It picks up with vibes and more. This is catchy and fun as the vocals and horns also join in. Hilarious vocals 15 minutes in, too funny. It then kicks back in with bass, vibes and horns. They're jamming now. The flute plays over top around 19 minutes in. Some strange laughter then what sounds like clavinet kicks in. A catchy section arrives after 21 minutes. So much going on, so many intricate sounds. Impressive! Vocals are back late to end it.

"Samelam- Samelam" is another catchy piece with horns, drums, guitar and bass standing out instrumentally. The vocals will come and go and the organ comes in late. "Entrees" features plenty of vibes and horns in this instrumental. "Spring- Time- Summer- Theme" is an energetic jam full of vibes, piano, drums, horns and more. I like this better than the previous instrumental. Catchy stuff and a top three for me. "In The Morning" is my final top three, in fact it's my favourite song on here. This has to be influenced by CARAVAN, this sounds so much like a CARAVAN track it's not funny, so uplifting. Even the vocals remind me of that great band. There's a flute solo half way through. It sucks that it's only 2 minutes long though. "Desserts: Flower- Picking- Prelude" opens with piano, bass, horns, drums and more. It picks up before a minute as the flute joins in but the tempo will change often. It becomes more determined a minute later with horns over top. Lots of percussion here as well. The guitar comes in lighting it up but it stops before 6 minutes as we get another change. The tempo picks up here and we get silly vocal melodies and more. Piano and the sound of birds ends it.

What a talented band, and they certainly had a lot of great ideas. A Prog lover's delight in my opinion. A solid 4 stars.

Thanks to andy webb for the artist addition.

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