Exposé Online banner

Burnin Red Ivanhoe — BRI
(Sony Music 88837 03102, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-01-11

BRI Cover artOne of the most, if not the most important Danish rock band of the late 60s and early 70s, Burnin Red Ivanhoe released three acclaimed albums between 1969 and 1971, split up in 1972, and then immediately got back together to tour and record one more album. Then in 1973 bandleader and saxophonist Karsten Vogel joined forces with other members, as well as ex-members of Hurdy Gurdy and Coronarias Dans to form the fusion supergroup Secret Oyster, who released four albums between ’73 and ’77, but still in 1974 Burnin Red Ivanhoe reunited to record another album, and have been together off and on, recording and touring ever since. BRI is the band’s latest effort, their ninth album overall, and while Vogel (sax, bass clarinet, keyboards) and Kim Menzer (flute, trumpet, accordion, didgeridoo, harmonica and vocals) are the only members that date back to the 1972 period, four recent members round out the lineup as a six-piece, including Assi Roar (bass, vocals) and Klaus Memzer (drums) who were featured on the band’s previous 1998 album Lack of Light. BRI launches with a powerful rocker “Tiden Om Tiden” featuring Jens Runge on vocals with soprano and tenor saxes and harmonica all in play for the duration. Throughout the disc’s eight vocal cuts, lyrics are exclusively in Danish, leaving a couple instrumentals to break things up at key points. None of these is melodically stronger than “M 144,” a venue for brisk flute, sax and guitar soloing over a Saga-like groove. A gentle introspective jazzy piece is served up in “Café Blåhat,” with guest singer Morten Benjamin’s scratchy vox carrying the moment, closing with some great sax soloing by Vogel. Old bandmate Ole Fick joins the new crew on violin for some avant-garde experimentation in “Ironman Ivanhoe,” leading directly into “Natlig Rejse,” one of the album’s strongest rockers with some twisted and tortured sounding vocals giving way to some great soloing on harmonica and soprano sax. A funky jazz-rocker like “Sig Det” offers a brilliant cross section of all Burnin Red Ivanhoe has to offer, recalling some of the steps that Steely Dan might have taken in the Katy Lied period. Runge takes the lead vocal on rocker “Alting Var Bedre,” and also pulls off a memorable guitar solo while he’s not singing. The track also features guest Anne Etard in a great violin – harmonica duel that closes the track. There’s a lot of variety across the ten pieces here, making it nearly impossible to describe in general terms, but that said, BRI is an outstanding release, beginning to end.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Karsten Vogel, Burnin Red Ivanhoe

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Djam Karet - Collaborator – Finally, the wait is over. Three years after the awe-inspiring double release of Burning the Hard City and Suspension & Displacement, America's premier progressive ensemble have returned, but...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues