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Jasper - Liberation (1969)

Mało znany zespół brytyjski, założony w 1967 roku w Londynie pod nazwą Union Blues. Niedługo potem, po niewielkich roszadach personalnych grupa zmienia nazwę na Jasper. Dodatkowo, co wyszło im zdecydowanie na korzyść, muzycy postanowili poszerzyć swoje dotychczasowe brzmienie, proponując od tej pory pomysłową i urozmaiconą mieszankę psychodelii i blues rocka. W trakcie krótkiej działalności zarejestrowali tylko jeden album "Liberation" (1969), zawierający kilka utworów zasługujących z całą pewnością na uwagę. Wkrótce po nagraniu płyty zespół rozpadł się a wszyscy członkowie podążyli nowymi scieżkami nie rezygnując z muzyki.

Jasper were five young men who were individually excellent musicians and collectively, a very tight group. Their standard of musicianship was extremely high. They fit into no particular sector of music. They covered rock, free form and various other combinations of music styles. There is vigour, excitement and youth in their music - (the average age of the group was only twenty). Steven Radford was their very strong lead guitarist who also plays fine acoustic guitar. Nick Payn was excellent on flute, vocals and harmonica. Alan Feldman was their very skilled pianist, organist and harpsichordist, while Jon Taylor (bass) and Brian Greenwood (drums) provided rhythm and a strong foundation for the rest of the group.

Sheffield guitarist Steve Radford came down to London two years earlier and formed the band by a combination of introductions through friends and classified adverts in the Melody Maker. The line-up of himself, bass guitarist Jon Taylor, vocalist and harmonica player Nick Payn and drummer Paul Doherty called themselves the Union Blues. Paul quit soon after the formation due to pressure from his girlfriend about their nights out. Consequently, he was replaced by Brian "Chico" Greenwood.

As the 60's drifted towards the 70's, the blues boom was thought to be over. The boys decided to expand their sound by recruiting a new keyboard player. Alan Feldman got the job partly on the strength of his playing and partly because his chosen instrument was the Farfisa, which was small enough to fir into the tour bus - Anything larger would have necessitated buying a van which, they could not afford. In keeping with the spirit of the times, the boys then decided to change their name in order to distance themselves from the unfashionable blues. It was Jon Taylor who renamed them Jasper.

Spark Records were keen to move the band away from the blues and encouraged them to become more experimental - although at the time, nobody knew how to achieve that. Producer Peter Eden (aka Alvin Springtime) had no more idea what they wanted than they did.

By the time their album 'Liberation; came out, it was too late - Jasper had split up. They had been lured away from the band by other lucrative offers totally unaware they had recorded a timeless classic. Jon Taylor moved to New York where he ran his own Rot record label. Steve Radford played in blues clubs in Los Angeles. Alan Feldman joined 'Sniff 'n' the Tears and in the mid nineties worked with jazz vocalist Noel McCalla a did Nick Payn who for the last 25 years worked a freelance hom player. Chico Greenwood provided drumming services for a whole range of talents but went on to combing backing bluegrass star Paul Candy with running a hotel on the North Devon Coast. (digitalpressure)

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