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Jack Bruce - Monkjack CD (album) cover


Jack Bruce


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.96 | 8 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars According to his own memories the album Somethin Els (1993) was JACK BRUCE's return to health. To celebrate his 50th birthday he gave a series of concerts in Cologne, which resulted as the live double album Cities of the Heart. His next studio album was unique in his output as it features only his voice and piano plus Bernie Worrell's Hammond B3 organ. To some listeners this may not sound so appealing, but I think it all works amazingly well. From the prog world for example PETER HAMMILL and ANTHONY PHILLIPS have done similar efforts, and JUKKA GUSTAVSON's Bluesion (1992) comes pretty close too. Among singer-songwriters and jazz vocalists it's perhaps not so unusual to make a "vocals & keyboards only" album. Bruce is a jazz oriented singer-songwriter, so it's not a big surprise that he handles this department so naturally.

Monkjack's strength is definitely in the excellent songs full of depth and emotion. No doubt many of them would sound great with a band setting too, but their characters go perfectly hand in hand with the arrangement. My least fave track is probably the instrumental 'Know One Blues' which isn't bad at all. 'Weird of Hermiston' originates from Bruce's debut Songs For A Tailor (1969) and 'Folk Song' from Harmony Row (1971). The latter is very beautiful, slow and introspective song. Other highlights - I indeed seem to prefer the most emotional ones - include 'David's Harp' and 'Laughing on Music Street'.

Here and there blues flavour comes audible, slightly gospel too. All in all this album doesn't fall into a specific musical genre. It's a very introspective collection of fine songs that are backed by piano and Hammond only. The playing is not trying to be the thing itself, even if the singing leaves pleanty of room for instrumental moments. Recommended!

Matti | 4/5 |


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