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Volaré - Memoirs CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.66 | 17 ratings

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4 stars American Canterbury--two words which don't hang out much

Volare is the now-defunct project from Athens Georgia, a real hotbed of the Canterbury sub-genre of progressive rock. Kidding aside, "Memoirs" is not a typical studio CD release but more of a retrospective. It contains eight tracks, the first five of which comprised the band's cassette tape debut release recorded in the summer of 1995. So it acts as a CD reissue of their maiden cassette tape recording with three extra tracks recorded from 1997-1999. In the same period their first proper full length CD release was recorded and released by The Laser's Edge label, it was called "The Uncertainty Principle" and was quite well received by critics. "Memoirs" is a very nice historical release which fills in the edges of the brief career of Volare. It is another labor of love from Geoff Logsdon, the founder of Zarathustra Records and Pleasant Green Records, who as a prog lover has rescued and assembled important projects from the likes of Surprise, Rascal Reporters, Still, Almost Always, and Volare.

The five main tracks of "Memoirs" were recorded live as a 4-piece group with cello and saxophone overdubbed later. This is a jazz-rock instrumental band said to recall great Canterbury acts like National Health, Gilgamesh, and Hatfield and the North, but with their own unique style. They have a warm and laid-back vibe, neither too dry in the jazzy sense and yet they avoid some of the silliness that you might get from Zappa or Gong. The sound is born of a wide variety of keyboards textures and a nice tight rhythm section. The electric guitar is prominent of course but another color of this band comes from a generous helping of acoustic guitar. The cello and sax come in at various points as the dressing, the cello being a particularly organic and refreshing component. Volare compositions sound highly influenced by the joy of improvisation, they are earnest and engaging, an instrumental rock that doesn't forget about melodies. The results are very satisfying and I'm not sure why this band didn't catch on---in fact they really should consider making another album. This is good stuff which brings to mind the Italian band D.F.A. who are currently quite successful peddling a not-so-different product. Let's go Volare!

"Volaré's quirky and melodic prog rock shows strong Canterbury inspirations, including Hatfield and Happy the Man, in addition to slight jazz fusion and symphonic rock influences. Skillful dynamics range widely in intensity, sinuous odd meter passages groove, and textures from acoustic and electric guitars and a wide palette of synthesizers flesh out the sound." -Scott Andrews of all about Jazz

While the sound of the debut cassette tracks is well below today's standards of production, they are not bad and certainly very listenable for me. The three later tracks have improved sound quality. I would recommend any fan of fusion or Canterbury check out the welcoming jams of this under-the-radar American band.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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