French keyboardist Cyrille 'Clearlight' Verdeaux's 1974 issued Clearlight Symphony is purportedly a venerated gem by many progressive rock enthusiasts. Here, the artist celebrates the 40th anniversary of the initial release with a new venture, featuring the original cast of GONG band-mates, Steve Hillage (guitar), Tim Blake (synth, Theremin) and Didier Malherbe (reeds). Verdeaux asked the trio to reunite for this new symphonic impressionist rock project. Prominent prog artists such as Paul Sears (drums) of The Muffins and other notables lend their faculties on an album that offers a transparent and rather symmetrical fusion of classical music and rock, outlined with impressionism, paintings and inspiration gleaned from classical masters, Satie, Debussy and Ravel.
Verdeaux's classical artistry emits a prismatic aura, and as you get deeper into the programlargely consisting of flourishing symphonic worksa consortium of striking melodies blossom. Malherbe's flute work on "Time is Monet," rides above strings, synths and Craig Fry's regal violin phrasings, propelled with a blast of fresh air that signals the wit and whimsy of Britain's fabled 1970s Canterbury scene. Moreover, the band reshapes the momentum into a warmhearted environ, hued with a stunning melody propagated by Verdeaux's cascading notes. But the following piece "Pissarro King," casts a conspicuous deviation amid Hillage's resonating licks and a pulsating rock groove, dappled by Blake's spurting synth lines. Other works contain overlapping electronics effects, eddying thematic developments, thriving prog-classical buildups and memorable hooks. Hence, Verdeaux's translucent unification of classical music and rock is a gratifying listening experience, augmented with harmonious accord and the artists' scintillating interplay.
Track Listing: Renoir En Couleur; Time Is Monet; Pissarro King; Degas De La Marine; Van Gogh 3rd Ear; Gauguin Dans L’Autre; Lautrec Too Loose; Monet Time Duet.
Personnel: Cyrille Verdeaux: piano, synthesizers; Didier Malherbe: wind instruments; Craig Fry: violin; Vincent Thomas Penny: guitars; Paul Sears: drums, percussion; Linda Cushma: bass; Chris Kovacks: synthesizers; Remy Tran: synthesizers; Steve Hillage: guitars; Tim Blake: XILs synth, Theremin; Neil Bettencourt: drums; Don Falcone: tubular bells; Christophe Kovax: lead synthesizer; Remy Tran: cosmic synthesizer.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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