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Monday, March 5, 2012

Major Surgery, England *** REISSUED ***

Major Surgery - First Cut. 1977 Next.

*** Reissued  by Proper Music, July 2013 ***

Here's another major rarity sent in by The AC. In doing some research while listening to the album, I noticed it was showing up on some big time collector's want lists.

From my point of view, there is a big difference between fusion and jazz rock. Fusion, as typified by bands like Return to Forever or Weather Report, is instrumental rock music played by jazz guys. It would almost seem the perfect marriage of the two genres: Virtuoso players tackling the meatier rock angst and sounds. But like any genre, there are some albums with depth and others that are pretty transparent. Jazz rock, on the other hand, is usually a jazz album with rock instrumentation sprinkled throughout. Fusion was more of a mid to late 1970s thing. Jazz rock was more typical at the turn of the 1970 decade, when the creativity of rock was capturing the imagination of jazzers tiring of the same ole, same ole. Major Surgery is a great example of jazz rock, and very much a sound out of vogue for 1977.

The AC offers: "Jazz-rock rarity from this largely unknown unit, led by saxophonist Don Weller. He and drummer Tony Marsh would go on to become fairly well-known figures in the UK jazz scene, but of perhaps greater interest to prog fans is that the guitar here is handled by Jimmy Roche, who once played with the great East of Eden. His playing here is in a sort of jumpy, Larry Coryell-esque style that I find highly appealing. This stuff is definitely coming from the jazzier end of the jazz-rock spectrum, and being sax-fronted and lacking any sort of keyboard presence, the obvious comparison to draw would be with Trevor Watts' Amalgam during their most fusion-oriented period (circa "Samana" and "Another Time"). However, this album definitely has a stronger rock element, and catches more of a groove. Very impressive musicianship throughout, with some complex twisting and turning pieces that will keep you on your toes. A pretty good one, but unfortunately quite hard to dig up these days."

What I've highlighted above, is absolutely why this album works on more than a jazz level. A very nice record that I wish I had on vinyl. I'm sure it would have that musty smell, the perfect aroma for the sounds within.

More info on the reissue here.

Priority: 2


esoterico said...

Looks very interesting, Tom. Like always, you seem to unearth little gems from all over the globe. It doesn't appear so expensive (or at least, until now). A Nice copy, on popsike, went for $30 or so, back last november.

Tristan Stefan said...

I think that what's missing from this record is a keyboardist or even just pianist -- where's the fender rhodes that's such a hallmark of this style-- ? Anyone interested in my copy of this record -- please let me know -- ! Also, I would like to add that fusion and jazz-rock are for sure synonymous terms.

Jon Collcutt said...

the first cut has been re-released!!!



Tom said...

Thanks for letting me know!