Although variety is a hallmark of Vinyl Connection, the heart of the matter is a love of all things progressive.
Inspired by a posting of the fourth Greenslade album on a fb group, I found myself diving down a 1975 rabbit hole. It was great fun, with progressive jazz-rock being a wobbly kind of through-line.
The covers are as excellent as the music, so I thought I’d share an annotated playlist.
What is better than one great keyboard player? Two, of course. Dave Greenslade was in Colosseum before forming his own progressive band. Singer Dave Lawson also played synthesisers, making the outfit’s records a delight for those enthused by machines that go squelch and wooo in the night. The fantasy cover art is by Patrick Woodroffe.
After keyboard player Jan Hammer departed the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1973, he made an enjoyable album with former Mahavishnu colleague Jerry Goodman and an absolutely brilliant one with guitarist John Abercrombie (Timeless). Then he recorded his first solo record, the one above. Naturally enough it is keyboard orientated, with lots of interesting synth tones and some inventive compositions, all in the progressive fusion zone. His live album with Jeff Beck (1977) featured music from this LP as well as Beck pieces from Blow By Blow. It’s a ripper, if you like live albums.
Klaus Doldinger was a prominent sax player/band leader in the German jazz/progressive scene. This is his band’s fifth studio album, full of great playing and wonderful progressive jazz-rock compositions, partly due to the unusual inclusion of synths. The Magritte-inspired design is by Wandrey’s Studio, and continues an ‘eyes’ theme begun on the second record.
This is post-pixie jazz-rock Gong, where the band was led by drummer/percussionist Pierre Moerlen. I love this album for its musicianship and slightly eccentric songs. The cover has appeared before, as part of the ‘Dune‘ series, which spawned two cover art posts. (The second of which is here).
OK, the album is, in fact, from 1972. But the rabbit-hole / Alice / caterpillar connection was too tempting and it’s a wonderful album cover. Illustration by John Gorham. In some ways this is the most satisfying Curved Air album; the last studio recording with Francis Monkman.