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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Heavy Joker, Denmark






Heavy Joker - s/t. 1976 Polydor
Heavy Joker - Caesar's Palace. 1978 Mercury.

Earlier this year, I'd heard "Caesar's Palace" for the first time. I quickly dismissed it as an all too typical fusion album of the era, describing it as thus: "Warm and slick, this smooth jazz album is similar to the American group Spyro Gyra. Presumably the first album is considerably better, but I haven't heard it." Midwest Mike pointed out to me that the first album was indeed much better, and so he sent me a CD-R to see if I agreed with him. Wow - what a difference! Opening with a Canterbury like sequence, I knew instantly he was to be right. The next couple of tracks would foreshadow the direction they would follow on "Caesar's Palace", with some slick playing and somewhat trite melodic interplay. But they close side 1 similar to how it began in superb fashion. This leads to the excellent side long track broken up into 4 movements, that recalls some of the finest Kraut fusion bands (Missus Beastly, Frob, Kraan, etc..) while still maintaining the Soft Machine/Nucleus approach of quirky sophistication. Overall, a very pleasant surprise.

Priority: 3

2 comments:

Rob said...

This group shared a member or two with Buki Yamaz, and also released at least one other LP as "Peter Klixbull & Heavy Joker" (Klixbull was apparently a figure on the Danish disco scene and had his own group). Max Leth Jr. left after the first LP, which probably explains the decline.

Another Danish group very much along these lines is Nana Banana, who released one self-titled LP on CBS in '77. Not bad.

Tom said...

Thanks Rob for the additional data!