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“The Lonely Bears” were an early 90’s rock/fusion super-group consisting of all world drummer Terry Bozzio, legendary reedman Tony Coe, noteworthy session guitarist Hugh Burns and the multi-talented keyboardist Tony Hymas. Previously available as imports on “Pelican Sound Recordings”, America based progressive rock label “Magna Carta” has recently reissued the three studio recordings, plus a “Best Of” compilation. And while The Bears Are Running may not be quite as prolific as their first and second efforts, the music and often vivacious interplay is perhaps miles ahead of what many of their contemporaries were producing during that specific time frame.
The musicians meld British folk with cyclic themes on the compositions titled, “From The Nacfa Mountains” and “Hopping Down In Kent” led by saxophonist Tony Coe’s pronounced and at times majestic lyricism whereas, drummer Terry Bozzio enhances the already expansive demeanor with his impossibly complex - polyrhythmic style of attack! While the piece dubbed “No Picnic” features Tony Hymas’ abstract synth lines, upbeat themes and crushing impact.
Highlights on the seventeen-minute, “Looking For Maquah” include Coe’s ferocious sax work, Bozzio’s quadruple time pulse, Hymas’ tantalizing yet simply stated motifs and Burn’s slashing licks. The piece titled “Running Bears” is fairly indistinguishable despite the climactic evolvement and bouncy motifs as some of these compositions signify little more than extended workouts. However, “The Lonely Bears” prevailed as an exciting and altogether invigorating outfit while “Magna Carta” has performed a good deed by re-releasing their recordings. - Without a doubt, this band resides within the upper echelon of the prog-fusion scheme of things.
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Tony Hymas; Keyboards: Terry Bozzio; Drums: Tony Coe; Saxophones: Hugh Burns; Guitar.
Track listing: 1) Ma Grande Ourse 2) From The Nacfa Mountains 3) Eastbourne 1907 4) Happy Go Lucky Loco 5) No Picnic 6) I Listen To You Dreaming 7) More Than A Thousand Hours 8) Looking For Maquah 9) Joik 10) Spiderwoman 11) Running Bears 12) Hopping Down In Kent 13) Los Ultimos Dias
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.