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Tonton Macoute (1971)

Brytyjska grupa Tonton Macoute nazwę swa nie wiedzieć czemu przyjęła od miana jakim określano haitańskie oddziały milicji będącej na usługach brutalnego dyktatora Francoisa Duvaliera. Muzyka ich jednak z brutalnością nie ma absolutnie nic wspólnego. Wydana w 1971 roku nakładem wydawnictwa Neon płyta, to bardzo przyjemne oraz przede wszystkim udane połączenie wczesnego rocka progresywnego z jazzem, pełnym świetnych improwizacji zagranych miedzy innymi na flecie, saksofonie czy fortepianie.

Paul French - acoustic & electric pianos, organ, vibes, vocals
Chris Gavin - bass, acoustic & electric guitars
Dave Knowles - alto & tenor saxes, flute, clarinet, vocals
Nigel Reveler - drums, percussion

Tonton Macoute - Flying South in Winter, taken off their self-titled debut, and only, album, released in 1971. Tonton Macoute were one of the best bands to be released on RCA's sadly shortlived progressive Neon label, alongside the likes of Spring, Indian Summer and Dando Shaft, all of who's albums are quite collectable today. Musically in the progressive jazz/rock genre, Tonton Macoute's roots go back to 1968 when drummer Nigel Reveler and vocalist/keyboard player Paul French answered a "musicians wanted" advert in Melody Maker. They joined up with guitarist/bassist Chris Gavin and woodwind player Dave Knowles and were initially signed to Vertigo Records, but relocated to RCA when most of Vertigo's staff members moved to RCA. Their excellent debut album was released shortly afterwards ( in May of 1971), but the band folded a while later, as did the Neon label. Tonton Macoute were one of the finest examples of British jazz/rock, and it's a shame that they didn't go any further. Paul French went on to feature with Voyager in the late seventies/early eighties. (dinosaurdays)

Tonton Macoute's self-titled album was yet another fine progressive album released on the Neon-label. The band played progressive rock where the main influences clearly were jazz and blues. Most of the songs on the record are lengthy and complex, and none of them sounds similar to each other. The opener "Just Like a Stone" is dominated by flute and el-piano and has a quite relaxed and laidback feel. "Don't Make Me Cry" is jazzy, early 70's prog as good as it gets. Lots of cool organ riffs with extended flute/sax/vibe solos. "Flying South in Winter" is an excellent and atmospheric flute-driven instrumental and one of the best tracks on the album. Side 2 opens with the simple but utterly beautiful melodic "Dreams". It features a tasty arrangement, and the melody is simply just wonderful. "You Make My Jelly Roll" is a piano-driven, bluesy jazz-tune (or jazzy blues?). The two-part closing number "Natural High" is cleverly composed track with several good melodies, riffs and solos. Good stuff overall. (vintageprog)

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