on 3 May 2008
The Eleventh House probably made it difficult for themselves to attract a rock audience in the 1970's by including a trumpet player in their band. Most rock fans just weren't ready for it. For those prepared to open their ears this album introduced a band that were out to push the bounderies. It starts with the tight and frenetic Birdfingers, full of fleet solos all round, before settling down to a well paced set of tunes that provide lots of space to lay back and offer up some thoughtful soloing. The tracks tend to run at around five minute and are well structured, with solos that fit neatly into the arrangements. Randy Brecker's trumpet sounds beautiful here so it's a shame that so many found it a sticking point. Larry Coryell brought his Rock mastery to to the album though, producing some highly inventive solos that sound like nobody else on the scene and creates great melody, tension and drama with all the latest effects available to him. Keyboard player Mike Mandell knew just what was required in this setting, using piano and synth in fine fusion fashion throughout. And what can you say about Alphonse Mouzon on the drums? Funky, funky man! The production is typical of its time but don't let that distract you from the sound of a band making early strides into the world of rock dynamics with great flare, imagination and some of the best instrumental tunes laid down in the field of Jazz Rock. You can even hum them if you want.
on 6 December 2008
Jazz rock is a music category that often puts me off - it's often a licence for talented musicians to show off too much.
But this is is a classic jazz rock album that gets it just about right.
It has some great catchy tunes, a distinctive sound and is wonderfully played.
Guitarist Larry Coryell rocks and seduces, percussionist Alphonse Mouzon is real funky and trumpeter Randy Brecker swings and punches. It all sounds really 1970s New York. especially the keyboard work of Mike Mandel - so is a little dated, but it felt real fresh when it came out (I remember seeing them on the Old Grey Whistle Test and being blown away).
Most thrilling tracks are Badfingers and Yin, balanced by the beautiful Theme for A Dream.
Give it a go.