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You can't have a serious conversation about the infancy of progressive rock without citing Van der Graff Generator (VdGG) as one of the genre's driving forces amid its influence back in the '70s and beyond. They may not have been as widely known or sold as many records as King Crimson, Yes or Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but VdGG's singular imprint stands tall amongst the upper echelon of bands that sparked a re-imagination of the tried and true, namely conventional rock.
The classic quartet lineup regrouped in 2005 but, following the departure of David Jacksonan integral component of their soundafter a 2006 tour, the remaining members decided to continue without the stylistic saxophonist/flautist. And the trio surges onward, with Peter Hammill's trademark vocalizations, spanning hallowed expressionism, brashly emotive sentiment and sublime melodicism. And, of course, drummer Guy Evans and keyboardist/bassist Hugh Banton consummate the trio's collective DNA. VdGG can also be thought of as a band that propagates "a state of mind," which is a factor that weighs heavily on this outing.
Do Not Disturb purveys a "fine art" sensibility, ingrained with Hammill's melancholic verse and flair for the dramatic, as the band executes forceful and weighty prog motifs while showing restraint via melodic overtones. Toss in some regal choruses and changeable story lines and it stacks up to be a pleasurable listening experience from top to bottom. For example, "Room 1210" is framed on an ostinato keys groove, sparked by Hammill's majestic piano clusters and harmonious vocals alternating with somber connotations. However, "(Oh No! I Must Have Said) Yes" is launched by Banton's jazzy bass lines and Hammill's quirky singing, contrasted by a blustery prog sequence towards closeout.
The plot thickens with the breezy and tuneful ballad "Brought to Book," complete with odd-metered progressions and poignant interludes with a bit of oomph in spots, and is a piece that shifts in and out of various time signatures. Ultimately, it's a strong effort from this time-honored unit that possesses a sound and stylistic component like no other. The musicians transmit a sense of ownership, and haven't lost their touch after all these years.
Track Listing: Aloft; Alfa Berlina; Room 1210; Forever Falling; Shikata Ga Nai; (Oh No! I Must
Have Said) Yes; Brought to Book; Almost the Words; Go.
Personnel: Hugh Banton: organs, keyboards, bass, accordion & glockenspiel; Guy Evans:
drums, percussion; Peter Hammill: vocals, pianos & guitars.
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!