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Brian Auger - Befour (with the Trinity) CD (album) cover

BEFOUR (WITH THE TRINITY)

Brian Auger

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.87 | 35 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!!

Third and (fittingly) last album for Trinity, Befour often gets poor reviews, but it is very much undeserved. Yes so Julie is gone, but that's no reason to shoot it, because this album has a bunch of pearls and the quartet (a rather definitive Thacker-Ambrose-Boyle-Auger attack) shines on quite a few places. Engineered by Eddie Offord (Yes's CTTE), the album got an uninventive flowery artwork, but it came with minimum three covers, depending on the country of release.

Starting on the exciting Sly Stone track, I Want To Take You Higher, Trinity indeed does just that, it enchants us, even if Afro-Americans would claim a "whitification" of the track, but they'd have to applaud drummer Thacker's brilliant performance. Pavane is a Gabriel Faure rework, which you'd never guess it's from Faure, because the arrangements make the track barely recognizable, but what an achievement for Brian and the boys. Just as enchanting is the Traffic cover of No Place To Live, which is absolutely flawlessly interpreted, with Gary Boyle not trying to Winwood-ify his singing and our Ogre soaring like an eagle aboard his Hammond flying saucer.

Opening up the flipside is another beauty is the Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage cover, where all four members go beyond their roles and allow other drummers (five in total) and bassists (2 in total) to groove to this 9-mins+ corker. An absolute delight, recorded in one shot, this is a pure performance. Albinoni's Adagio piece is one of the most recorded and covered classic piece, but Brian and the boys almost get away with it, without being too cheesy, which in that dimension alone is already a success. The closing Just Me is the only Trinity original and it compares favourably with all of the covers, no matter how prestigious they are. Brian obviously was quite inspired when he wrote this one for his own glory, and it works wonders.

Befour comes with two bonus tracks, one of which is an alternate take on Pavane, to which Brian added mellotron strings in 83 (neither useful nor glaringly noticeable) and the other is a peculiar flute thing recorded live mid-70 in Germany. No matter how impressive the playing might be, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

An amazing album where Brian's troupe show excellent prog aptitude at rearranging all types of music and manage to come out on top every time. In some ways, this might be Ogre's most prog album in his entire discography, Oblivion Express included.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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