The Viola Crayola — Music: Breathing of Statues
(Radioactive RRCD093, 1974/2005, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2007-03-01OK, so Music: Breathing of Statues is an artsy, pretentious title, and more than a little odd. One of the odd things about it is that the music on the album is not really pretentious at all, unless you’re completely prejudiced against musicians who really know their way around their instruments. There is a hint of the kind of complexity associated with Berklee grads, but there’s enough improvisation to avoid sounding like over-rehearsed wankery. This is a fusionesque guitar trio and the Viola in the band’s name belongs to two of the members, Tony and Ron Viola (guitar and drums respectively). Bill Jolly handles the bass. Tony Viola’s guitar is the dominant factor, and he’s got a very interesting style, at times reminding me of Jimi Hendrix, Larry Coryell, early John McLaughlin, and even Frank Zappa, Fred Frith, or Henry Kaiser. When he breaks out the wah-wah, the Hendrix connection pops up, especially as he every once in a while drops in a heavy rock riff to punctuate the general jazzy feel. And not to neglect the others, the drums combine rock and jazz seamlessly, and the bass handles both solid bottom and tasty flourishes. Apparently Tony died shortly after the album was released, which is the only reasonable explanation for his status as an unknown. That and the fact that this remarkable record was released on a tiny independent label that wasn’t able to bring it to the attention of anyone who could have done something with it.
Related artist(s): The Viola Crayola
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more