Wednesday, July 10, 2013
AMALGAM (Trevor Watts) – Mad (LP-1977)
Label: Syntohn – VR 20.020
Format: Vinyl, LP; Country: Netherlands - Released: 1977
Style: Free Jazz, Jazz-Rock
Recorded live in 1977 and released without a cover.
All compositions PRS / MCPS
Producer By – Trevor Taylor
New Cover Designe by ART&JAZZ Studio Salvarica
Artwork and Complete Design by VITKO - 2013
The original vinyl was realized without a cover, and I specifically for this occasion I made a suitable cover. I hope you like it.
Featuring Trevor Watts on saxes, Willem Kuhne on electric piano, Colin McKenzie on bass and Liam Genockey on drums. Recorded live in 1977. This is the fifth Amalgam album (Syntohn – VR 20.020) and each one has been a different and distinctive gem. Amalgam was saxist Trevor Watts' ever-evolving band both during and after he left the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. Amalgam had first an acoustic period with bassists Jeff Clyne or Barry Guy and guests like Keith Tippett. Their electric period featured the same rhythm team of Colin Mackenzie on electric bass and Liam Genockey on drums with different electric guitarists Dave Cole, Steve Layton and even Keith Rowe from AMM. 'Mad' seems to be the one Amalgam album with an electric piano, Willem Kuhne, replacing the electric guitar. When Trevor left SME, he moved more into the (cosmic) groove. Hence, the electric version of Amalgam always had a great groove in the center of whatever they did. Although you can tell that this vinyl from 1977, the sound is still just right. The rhythm team has a consistent, joyous, somewhat funky vibe which is both in-the-pocket and mutating at the same time. Trevor does a fabulous job of riding the groove and soloing with infectious glee on top. "Jive" is fast and furious tune that approaches that over-the-top fusion intensity level. With the rhythm team slamming hard, Trevor spins cascading lines of notes as if he is running a race or being pursued some monster about to swallow him whole. Mr. Kuhne also takes a smokin' solo, giving Trevor a run for his money, as does bassist Colin Mackenzie. . The second side of the album, consists of the two-part "Berlin Wall" and "Mad". On "Berlin Wall," Trevor almost sounds like a horse as he solos (whinnies) on top of another slower yet still celebratory groove. Drummer, Liam Genockey, was also a member of Trevor's next band, the Moire Music Society which included African musicians as well. Listening to this creative groove wonder, I can hear the connection between Amalgam and MMS. I dig the way the sax and piano are always interconnected, soloing and working their way around one another seamlessly. Amalgam is/are a powerful quartet that must've really been a joy to witness live, too bad we can't just jump into a time machine and check them out live. In the meantime, this vinyl will have to do.
_ By BRUCE LEE GALLANTER
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