Guru Guru — 2000 Gurus
(Fünfundvierzig 112, 2000, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2001-03-01
I remember Guru Guru from back in the 70s, when I picked up one album on a whim. It was spacey, funky jazz rock done with a sense of humor (I don’t suppose you can be too serious with a name like Guru Guru). I know the band has been through many stylistic phases, but that’s the one I know. This newest CD is very much the modern outgrowth of that sound, taking percussive grooves and building world-inspired jams on top of them. Mani Neumeier’s drums and percussion are augmented by loops and samples; Peter Kühmstedt’s bass sets a funky agenda; guitars by Roland Schaeffer, Luigi Archetti, and guest Hans Reffert contribute infectious rhythms, creative solos, and interesting effects; Schaeffer also plays a variety of other instruments. Vocals, both spoken and sung, are often just coloration, rather than delineating primary melodies in what you’d call “songs.” On the whole, 2000 Gurus is a funky excursion into world beat fusion that probably shouldn’t work, coming as it does from a group of Europeans. But they approach the material with a mixture of respect and humor that somehow comes off extremely well, and should be highly listenable both for fans of space jam rock and world music. And the grooves are catchy enough to attract adventurous electronica adherents. Too bad they couldn’t put the interior illustration on the outside: it shows an elaborate stone temple (Angkor Wat, maybe) with the starship Enterprise cruising overhead. It sums up the style nicely, but I suppose it could lead to a lawsuit.
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more