Gentle Giant — King Biscuit Flower Hour
(King Biscuit Flower Hour Records 70710-88035-2, 1975/1998, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1998-07-01Gentle Giant as a live touring band (1970-1980) were always in a period of transition and refinement. The group would craft a challenging album from the palette of musical ideas by Kerry Minnear and the Shulman Bros., arrange the heck out of them, then record them. When it came to live presentation though, the very same songs would undergo radical surgery by merging, and transforming into a complex piece of modern music unlike any other in rock and roll (save for possibly Zappa). The 35th album in the King Biscuit Flower Hour catalog captures the quintet in a hot bed of change live in early 1975 at the Academy of Music in New York City. Since the group had not yet recorded Free Hand (one of the core albums in their catalog), they can be heard creatively re-working material from Octopus (1972), In a Glass House (1973) and recent album, The Power and the Glory (1973). "So Sincere" is still one of the oddest and most aggressive pieces in the band’s repertoire featuring an intro of quirky cello and violin accompaniment with a Derek Shulman vocal; Gary Green mops up the track with a blistering blues guitar solo over a clavinet line that then transitions into a complete band participative percussion section. Exhaustive liner notes by John Bungey characterize the band near its zenith. Although the live album, Playing the Fool (live in 1976) is a more comprehensive package, this single disc is a welcome addition to peg the strengths of the band as they continued to advance and perfect their live instrumental dexterity unmatched in rock.
Related artist(s): Gentle Giant
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
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
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
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