Exposé Online banner

Ptarmigan — Ptarmigan
(Groovedigger GDR33, 1974/1999, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2000-10-01

Ptarmigan Cover artWell, here’s a lost gem from a bygone era! Ptarmigan was a relatively short-lived Canadian acoustic group. The core of the band consisted of singer and recorder player Glen Dias and twelve-string guitarist Monte Nordstom joined by subtle percussion and not a lot else. The music is an unusual hippie acoustic jazz folk rock blend full of nature imagery and West Coast atmosphere, with a bit of Middle Eastern flavor for accent. No wonder they caught the attention of flutist Paul Horn (the jazz experimentalist who made a name for himself recording solo flute inside the Taj Mahal), who produced Ptarmigan’s long-lost album. Most of the album is taken up by multipart songs like “The Island” (referring to their home on Vancouver Island) and “A Hymn to the Ocean and a Great Northern Lake.” It was recorded 1972-73 and not released until 1974 on Canada’s Columbia label, by which time Dias and Nordstrom had disbanded the partnership. The music is hard to describe, and somehow manages to be both timeless and very much a reflection of its times. This reissue also features a 16-page book with a detailed history of Ptarmigan and some bonus material recorded in 1978 by former members of the group.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 20, 1999 releases, 1974 recordings

Related artist(s): Ptarmigan

Latest news

2020-02-18
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

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


Previously in Exposé...

Sky Cries Mary - Here and Now - Live 2005 – For those of you familiar with this Seattle band, you will remember that they disbanded after their 1999 release Seeds to pursue different musical ideas. For example, their female vocalist Anisa...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues