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Laboratorium - Old School Fusion Live CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.17 | 5 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The class of '78, '82 and '96

Although Polish jazz/fusion band Laboratorium have been around since the early 1970's, this is the first time a visual record of them performing live has been made commercially available. Consequently this DVD, which runs to over 2 hours, offers a snapshot of three different eras in the band's existence. Around 40 minutes is dedicated to each of the years 1978, 1982 and 1996, each consisting of concert footage of the band.

The 1978 footage is of an excellent quality for the period, the band delivering an admirably tight performance. While the music of Laboratorium has a highly improvisational feel, it is evident from passages such as that featuring sax and guitar together, that every note has been carefully rehearsed. The content is predominantly instrumental, but Marek Stryszowski adds some vocalising to songs such as "Śniegowa Panienka" from the then forthcoming "Quasimodo" album. Such vocals are simply used as an additional instrument by the band.

The "Blue light pilot" concert was recorded in Cracow, Poland for a live album of that name released in 1982. Now at last we can hear and see the recording of the four tracks for that album. Musically, it is a case of more of the same, although by this time guitarist Paweł Ścierański has been replaced by Ryszard Styła and the drums stool has also rotated. The film of the gig appears to have been prepared for broadcast at the time, and includes interviews (in Polish with sub-titles) with band members. Watch out too for the awkward looking compare in the bow tie who occupies the stage prior to the encore.

We come relatively up to date for the third gig, the band's 25th Anniversary concert in 1996. Current and former members unite to form a seven man line up who play three tracks plus a reprise from their 1986 (and still most recent) studio album. Once again, interviews are interspersed through the performance, the programme including footage from the 1978 gig. The DVD is rounded off with a "Bonus video" of the 1978 line up performing "Late-coming" from the 1977 "Diver" album.

While jazz rock/fusion is not my genre of choice, this DVD must be an essential purchase for anyone with an interest in the history of this legendary Polish band. The package has obviously been put together with great care and affection, and the band themselves are clearly masters of their craft.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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