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Fusion Orchestra - Skeleton In Armour CD (album) cover


Fusion Orchestra


Heavy Prog

3.69 | 50 ratings

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3 stars Fusion Orchestra came from London, formed in 1969 by three friends, guitarists Colin Dawson and Stan Land along with drummer Dave Bell.First rehearsals were carried out with session bassist Dave Wheeler, before Mick Sluman became their regular bassist.Several gigs at colleges and festivals later Sluman would leave his place to Dave Cowell in 1971, while they would recruit in a surprising move teenage female singer Jill Saward, who would bring along her talents on keyboards and flute.They signed a contract with the small Mother Records label, but no seeing their sound transformed into a studio album, they opt out and found a home on EMI Records.By the time they had become a live beast, playing at well-known clubs and having built a strong fame in the Greater London area.In November 1973 Fusion Orchestra's debut would be released under the title ''Skeleton in armour''.

The album contained mostly long tracks of jazzy Psych/Progressive Rock and if you could imagine the energy of MARSUPILAMI, the aggressive parts of BABE RUTH and the haunting atmosphere of CATAPILLA, you are in a good way.Fusion Orchestra proposed what exactly their name was brought up for, a tight and furious mix of old, psychedelic moods with frenetic, jazzy interplays in a progressive amalgam with loose parts, powerful instrumental battles and high-speed gears.They played fast-paced music with passion, changing directions with comfort and combining harmonica solos, edgy guitar playing, folky flutes and nervous piano lines in the same track.They were lucky to have an extremely technical and relentless rhythm section, which often covered Land's and Dawson's talents with its extremely skillful playing.Talking about the long tracks, it's very surprising that the band played almost constantly in an up-tempo mood with speedy grooves, interesting breaks and great female vocals by Saward, who occasionally offered some nice piano textures and good flute drives between the dual guitar attacks of the album, basically performed in a style crossing Rock and Jazz Music.Moreover this quintet delivered some laid-back movements, often with a light Classical nature, between the frenetic instrumental passages and even performed in a typical straightforward Rock style at moments to reach a wider audience and remain faithful to its roots.

Internal conflicts, the lack of a secure contract and line-up changes led to Fusion Orchestra's dissolution in mid-70's.Dave Cowell was replaced on bass by Paul Jennings in 1973 and the band also expanded the line-up with the addition of Martin Slavinec (aka Martin Lee) on keyboards.Lee would quit soon and he was followed by Land, a departure after which the band never fully recovered.By 1975 the only founding member left was Dave Bell.The farewell concert of Fusion Orchestra took place in Birmingham, on 4 May 1975.Saward would later become a member of the Jazz-Funk act Shakatak.

Interesting jazzy Progressive Rock with numerous psychedelic overtones, showered with energy, dynamics and endless breaks.Great and strongly recommended stuff...3.5 stars.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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