Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

230

Neil Ardley: Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
The last twelve months or so have been a giddying reissue bonanza for fans of British jazz from the '60s and '70s. A feast following a famine, of course, as most of the reissued music, much of it now on CD for first time, has been unavailable for over twenty years. That axis of key innovators and soloists from the era which was Neil Ardley/Michael Gibbs/Ian Carr/Don Rendell has been particularly well represented, with seminal albums resurfacing on Universal's Impressed strand and the independent reissue specialists BGO (Beat Goes On) and Ace Records.

So far, only the crème de la crème of Britjazz from the period has been made available again, with every resurfacing album more or less essential listening, and Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows is foursquare in that category. It sounds as fresh, as inventive and as exciting today as it must have done back in '76, first time 'round.

Rainbows was the third album in a trilogy recorded by composer/bandleader Neil Ardley which started with '69's Greek Variations, reissued last year on Impressed, and continuing with '71's A Symphony Of Amaranths, rumoured to be up for reissue later this spring. In each of these albums, within different contexts, Ardley was concerned with, as he put it, "integrating the warmth and individual feeling of improvised music with the formal beauty of composition to the benefit of both." The context for Greek Variations was a series of variations on a Greek folk song, while for Amaranths it was settings of poems by Yeats, Joyce, and others.

For Rainbows Ardley nodded back to Greek Variations, this time developing the suite from the basic five note pelog scale used in Balinese music. It was also the album in which he first explored proto-electronic music—there are three, count 'em, synthesisists here—which became a key interest of his in the late '70s/early '80s.

The suite's seven movements, ranging in mood from the gentle and pastoral to the fiery and urgent, are seriously enjoyable through-compositions in their own right, and also the settings for a series of glistening solos from Ian Carr, Brian Smith, Dave Macrae, Geoff Castle, Paul Buckmaster, Barbara Thompson, Tony Coe, Ken Shaw, and Bob Bertles—with Buckmaster's electric cello on "Rainbow Three," Thompson's soprano on "Four," and Coe's clarinet on "Five" approaching the sublime.

With pin-sharp 24-bit remastering, and a solid twelve-page booklet which includes Ardley's original liner notes and an appreciation of his life and work (he died young, just over a year ago) by Barbara Thompson, Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows lives up to every myth that developed around it during its wilderness years. A landmark album in British jazz.


Track Listing: Prologue/Rainbow One; Rainbow Two; Rainbow Three; Rainbow Four; Rainbow Five; Rainbow Six; Rainbow Seven/Epilogue.

Personnel: Neil Ardley, director, synthesiser; Bob Bertles, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Paul Buckmaster, acoustic and electric cello; Ian Carr, trumpet, flugelhorn; Geoff Castle, electric piano, synthesiser; Tony Coe, tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Dave Macrae, electric piano, synthesiser; Roger Sellers, drums; Ken Shaw, guitar; Brian Smith, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, alto flute; Roger Sutton, bass guitar, electric bass; Barbara Thompson, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Trevor Tomkins, percussion, vibraphone. Stan Sulzman replaces Barbara Thompson on "Rainbow Two." John Taylor replaces Dave Macrae on "Rainbow Six" and "Rainbow Seven."

Title: Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Dusk Fire

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "RFK Stadium 1989 Box" CD/LP/Track Review RFK Stadium 1989 Box
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Falando Docemente" CD/LP/Track Review Falando Docemente
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 13, 2017
Read "Reclamation" CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017
Read "Collage of Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Collage of Moments
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Radio Luboyna" CD/LP/Track Review Radio Luboyna
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Pletter På Solen" CD/LP/Track Review Pletter På Solen
by Nick Davies
Published: June 30, 2017