Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

23

Van der Graaf Generator: Do Not Disturb

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
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 Jackson—an integral component of their sound—after 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.

Title: Do Not Disturb | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Esoteric Antenna

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb

Esoteric Antenna
2016

buy
Van der Graaf Generator: Merlin Atmos (Deluxe Edition)

Van der Graaf...

Esoteric Antenna
2015

buy
Van Der Graaf Generator: A Grounding in Numbers

Van Der Graaf...

Esoteric Recordings
2011

buy
A Grounding in Numbers

A Grounding in Numbers

Esoteric Recordings
2011

buy
Real Time

Real Time

Fie! Records
2007

buy
Present

Present

Charisma/Virgin Records UK
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Vilddjur CD/LP/Track Review
Vilddjur
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Lines in Sand CD/LP/Track Review
Lines in Sand
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It CD/LP/Track Review
Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2018
Read The Brave CD/LP/Track Review
The Brave
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read "Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music" CD/LP/Track Review Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music
by Chris May
Published: November 25, 2018
Read "Helix" CD/LP/Track Review Helix
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 4, 2018
Read "My Favorite Things (1960-1969)" CD/LP/Track Review My Favorite Things (1960-1969)
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 31, 2018
Read "No One Ever Tells You" CD/LP/Track Review No One Ever Tells You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 15, 2018
Read "Living Being II - Night Walker" CD/LP/Track Review Living Being II - Night Walker
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 13, 2018
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 1, 2018