Phase - Midnight Madness. 1979 USA

Phase is smoking fusion first, instrumental progressive rock second. A great mix of instrumental dexterity, with complex compositions and ferocious playing. RTF meets Kenso; or Iceberg meets Transit Express for a more obscure reference.

So let's get Ken's quick summary of the background first: "Phase was keyboardist's Regan Ryzuk's band and they were based out of Montville, NJ. Two years later Regan released it under the Fusion Quartet "Comprovisations" title. It's a very good album that I think will floor a lot of people and it deserves to be more widely known."

Now let's get some impressions of the music. Midwest Mike says: "Instrumental progressive jazz rock of the highest caliber. From the very start this album explodes out and doesn't leave you with much room to catch your breath! Top notch musicianship with fiery solos of bass, piano, Moog and electric guitar. Odd and complicated time meters with killer trade-offs as well as incredible unison sections. This sometimes reminds me of Iceberg, a bit of Return to Forever and the Italian band Nova (at their peak). As mesmerizing at it is amazing! I believe once this gets known it will become a future rarity. Highly recommended to jazz rock, fusion and progressive rock fans."


The AC was brought into the action as well. He picked one up immediately and had this response: "Killer album! Really complex and edgy for a private fusion LP of this sort, almost getting avant-progish at times. I think the fact that the keys player uses a regular piano rather than a Rhodes also lends to this impression. Guitar gets quite ferocious at times, too. Love the ultra-technical music geek notes on the back of the sleeve! Wonder whatever happened to these guys? They really were top-notch players."

Personal collection
LP: 1979 Red Mark
CD: 2013 Modulus


Phase's one album pretty much escaped everyone's radar until Midwest Mike discovered it a couple of years ago. His discovery lead directly to the CD reissue, as well as our entry into the CDRWL. The 1981 second press has a different cover, band name and title (Fusion Quartet - Comprovisations). Ken reissued the CD with the preferable original cover, in exact detail similar to how the Japanese do it. The booklet contains unique liner notes from the participants from the original recording, plus the ultra-technical music geek notes from the LP (as the AC so appropriately put it). A superb reissue, that all fans of progressive fusion should look into.

Yuji Imamura & Air - s/t. 1977 Japan

Two side long tracks clearly influenced by the deep funk groove of mid 70s Miles Davis albums like Dark Magus, Agharta, and Pangaea. No trumpet, but the saxophone is instead treated to sound similar. Much more flute and spaced out than classic Miles, but still plenty of wah wah guitar and dual percussion to get down with. A few jazzers from Japan were highly influenced by Miles Davis, and percussionist Imamura is one of the finest emulators I've heard to date. Good album.

Personal collection
CD: 2013 Sony / Three Blind Mice

The 2001 CD had become nigh impossible to find (believe me here, I was looking for it for about 4 years). So I was quite enthused to see a repress, this time in the mini-LP format. The cover is a standard single sleeve, so no real need for the upgrade if you already have the original CD.

Takeshi Inomata & Sound Limited - Sounds of Sound L.T.D. 1970 Japan

Nice bit of psych exploitation from Japanese jazz group. Beautiful flute/Hammond driven soundtrack styled pieces ('Theme-Mustache', 'Monster', 'Lullaby for Yuh' (haha, yea that's the spelling), 'Theme') are offset unexpectedly by the one 7 minute freakout on here: 'Scotland Scene', with its massive fuzz bass and psychotic electric guitar leads. Not near as insane (or frankly as sublime) as the 1971 followup "Innocent Canon", but this album is a heck of a lot of fun. Pick it up if you see it.

Personal collection
CD: 2013 P-Vine

CD comes in a fine mini-LP sleeve.

Joe O'Donnell - Gaodhal's Vision. 1977 Ireland

Joe O'Donnell's debut is a much unheralded album, but it's quite good. All instrumental fusion driven by O'Donnell's e...