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Dezo Ursiny - Provisorium CD (album) cover


Dezo Ursiny

Crossover Prog

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4 stars Christmas time 5 Ursiny´s first suite, a moody piece, where he is backed (as on the whole record), by the flawless bass/drums tandem of the Czech group Flamengo. A dark number, the track begins with a Hammond organ, although overall, Ursiny´s guitar is the dominating. His voice is very melodramtic,with a jazzy flavour. fiting for the overal mood of the track. One of the best moments is the first appearance of the dark riff (right after the lines because of understanding nothing, he cried). The rhytm section is great as well, with pulsating bass lines and fine, minimalistic drumming. Ursiny´s first guitar solo is very well constructed, beginning with an acoustic guitar and following with electric. Jaroslav Filip gets a fine solo as well, using both the piano as wellas Hammond organ. One of the other most beatuful themes is the jazziest one, that appears for the first time around the fiftth minute and it gets played throughout the song by various instruments taking lead (guitar, oboe...). Looking for the place to spend next summer 3 The track sounds very close (both in melody and atmosphere) to the slower parts of Christmas time. Ursiny´s singing is very jazzy, and he pulls a great subtle jazziesque guitar solo as well, but overall the melody is rather weak and the song does not sound all that inspired, but rather monotonous in places, with a rather patchy chorus, especially when compared to Christmas time. Apple tree in winter 5 A perfect ballad, based on the piano playing of Filip and Ursiny´s singing. His performance is very captivating, especially the contrast between the soft, chansonesque verses and the dramatic chorus, augmented by the presence of brass. I have found 2.5 A jazzy track, beeing mostly the showcase for the tightness of the band and the drumming of Jaroslav Šedivý, who even gets a good, but non -efective drum solo, ass it does not add nothing to the mood of the track. The chorus is quieter and slower than the rest of the track, and overall the weakest passage, with a weak melody and sappy backing vocals.

Overal: 4 STARS


A fine record, but the Slovak albums are much more unique in sound and approach, as this one sounds very much like prog by an English band, with similarities to early King Crimson.

Report this review (#131387)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars In 1970 the band Provisorium broke up, but they already had a recording contract with Supraphon so Ursiny's manager decided to get half of the already disbanded Flamengo to back up Ursiny and his long time collaborator Jaro Filip. This album's vision sure was quite ambitious at the time it was recorded (1972), and we have one lengthy piece taking up the first side of the original vynil. Only the seed of Ursiny's later more original work is heard here. The album's sound straddles the line between English influences, especially early King Crimson and perhaps early VDGG, Ursiny's original approach to songwriting, with slight influences from dated 60s "bigbeat" music. Now, the songwriting on "Provisorium" was already quite accomplished although nowhere near his more mature work of the late 70s and early 80s. The performance on the album is not the best, as it sometimes sounds that it was recorded in haste, as if the ex-Flamengo members didn't have enough time to properly rehearse the material with direction from Ursiny. Furthermore there are some very outdated production/arranging methods used here. There is a section of the first track that's completely drenched with reverb, and the backing vocals sometimes sound like the Beach Boys or 60s BeeGees, which wasn't exactly novel in 1972.

"Christmas Summer" is an epic in the typical early 70s fashion, to be compared with "In the Court of the Crimson King" or "A Plague of Light Keepers" in that it doesn't rely on virtuostic showcase (a la "Tarkus"), but rather emotional delivery and mood changes. The main stylistic feature to tie this album to KC is Ursiny's voice, who already has a similar natural timbre to Greg Lake, but he obviously also tries to copy his vibrato and delivery. Another highlight from the album is the ballad "Apple Tree In Winter" a very pleasant slow tune with a melody that is similar to known jazz standards. The other two tunes are a bit weaker but still not bad. "I Have Found" is a very energetic song propelled by the drummer Jaroslav Sedivý, although he also also plays a tedious solo towards the end, but well, drum solos were popular in those days. Altogether this is a very good addition to any prog collection, especially for those interested to hear an "eastern" twist on that classic British sound. This was really the only album by this artist to have that English aesthetic to it, so it's very unique.

Report this review (#131425)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An important part of the ex-Czechoslovak rock scene,Dezo Ursiny was born in Bratislava in 1947.He was a member of the Beatles-esque beat group The Beatmen in mid-60's,but refused to follow the band in West Germany,when the rest of the members were after some more commercial success.He was also to be found on the Cream-influenced The Soulmen,who had only an EP released back in 1968.He then collaborated with keyboardist Jaro Filip on the group Provisorium in 1970,but the band performed only a few shows.However they managed to sign a recording contract before this and the album was evetually recorded with the help of Flamengo members Vladimír Kulhánek and Jaroslav Sedivy,released in 1973 on Supraphon as ''Dezo Ursiny and Provisorium''.

Surprisingly for a Slovak album,''Provisorium'' was entirely sung in English,containing only four tracks.Side A is dedicated to the sidelong 19-min. epic ''Christmas time'',a complicated track with evident Jazz and Blues influences all the way,even with a touch of Avant-Garde music, characterized by the distinctive voice of Ursiny.The complex passages with the psychedelic interplays and the individual soloing indicate the straight links with the progressive movement.Piano,organ and jazzy guitars are always on the front with the Flamengo rhythm section supporting well,while the track requires plenty of listenings to be fully appreciated.

Side B opens with ''Looking for the place to spend next summer'',again influenced by British Psych/Jazz-Rock with complicated breaks throughout and some flutes to be heard wrapped under Filip's light piano and organ and Ursiny's smooth jazzy playing.On ''Apple tree in winter'' it is hard to recognize this is a Slovak musician performing.Very smooth straight Blues with Filip's piano on the front and Ursiny's non-accented clear vocals,the track also features an orchestrated section with strings,but sounds rather dated for today's standards.''I have found'' is more on the straight rock side of Prog music with hard guitar soloing,fast piano passages and great vocals by Ursiny,but the needless ending drum solo marks a black hole for the track.

Noone denies this album was quite a daring step for a communist society back then.''Provisorium'' has its moments,especially on the sidelong track,it has a great historical importance,but no more than that.Recommended warmly to fans of Progressive Rock,who don't mind some Jazz and Blues references thrown in.

Report this review (#537387)
Posted Thursday, September 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Dezo was an influencial musician back in the early days of Czech Rock music. This is his first solo album released in 1973 and he has the FLAMENGO rhythm section playing on it which is a big plus. Vocals are in English surprisingly and are okay. For me they aren't good or bad although I know if this was an all instrumental album i'd like it better.

"Christmas Time" is the side long opening track. It's fairly laid back early on with chunky bass. Vocals a minute in. It picks up before 2 1/2 minutes but it's brief as the tempo continues to shift throughout. Vocals to the fore around 9 minutes in but again they're brief. Organ after 10 1/2 minutes then it settles back. It picks back up with guitar then the vocals take over and they are hit and miss for me.

"Looking For The Place To Spend Next Summer" opens with the sound of cars whizzing by as acoustic guitar and piano take over. Vocals then lead as the organ joins in, then it settles again. "Apple Tree In Winter" opens with piano and vocals. This sounds like MUSE doing a ballad. "I Have Found" is another vocal track. Drums lead after 4 minutes when the vocals stop but they are back late.

This didn't do a lot for me but it is proggy and an important part of the Czech music scene.

Report this review (#757511)
Posted Thursday, May 24, 2012 | Review Permalink

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