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Placebo - Ball Of Eyes (1971)



Marc Moulin - keyboards, synthesizers
Nick Fissette - trumpet
Richard Rousselet - trumpet, other horns
Alex Scorier - saxes, flute
Frans Van Dijk - trombone
Johnny Dover - bass clarinet, saxophone, flute
Francis Weyer - guitars bass
Nick Kletchkovski - bass
Freddy Rottier - drums, percussions

Placebo was basically the first effort of Belgian Jazz-Rock legend Marc Moulin (later a member of Cos and Aksak Maboul) to create and present his own arrangements under a personal project to the public.The started around 1969/1970 from Waterloo and recorded the first album ''Ball of eyes'' in 1971, released on CBS Records

The first album of Placebo was a real shock in Belgium, and nobody was really prepared for it. All that had come about before was a few proto-prog groups such as Waterloo, Wallace Collection (actually a pop outfit) and a few others. So 71 saw Arkham (who never released an album per se) and Placebo (Lagger Blues Machine was to follow the year after). Leader Marc Moulin was already a veteran by the time of this album, but this was his first project.

The sound on this album oscillates between Bitches Brew and Nucleus's debut on one side and Chicago Transit Authority on the other. If there are some really superb tracks on this album, it is also somewhat uneven with some rather surprising (and clumsy) covers of Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes, but clearly the highlights are the self-penned tracks. From the superb Aria with an infectious groove greatly underlined by Moulin's electric piano, to Planes with its superb semi-free jazz intro and impeccable crescendo, and Humpty Dumpty's haunting slow pace, this album is a slap in the face to most historians not knowing of this group. Showbiz Suite being another highlight, it is clear that Moulin was a bandleader in the jazz style, providing a
great platform for the other musicians - the four-man horn section is plenty of frontman - so he stays content of providing the solid base (rarely taking the spotlight to himself at this point), but he is the chief composer and pulls of some real stunts in making his role quite interesting.

This album was released on the historical jazz CBS label and unfortunately there has never been a CD re-issue from them, but exists from Brit label Counterpoint a compilation that really takes the best tracks available on this Lp. (source)

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