|Rare Jazz Fusion Gems from the Russian Vaults - 12" Vinyl Edition
E. Straume Jazz Combo "Ekstraversija"
Boomerang Band "Ornament"
Everyone that knows me would be surprised that I am putting out an 80's compilation knowing how deeply I am into 60's and 70's sound. Fortunately that 70's sound has been preserved in Russia till late 80's and here are a lot of examples. My favorite Russian tune ever "Ekstraversija" is the only one on this compilation actually recorded in 70's. All others are from the 80's and all are recorded in Russia and released on MELODIJA label. It was always difficult for me to point out my favorite tune but in this case I had no doubt. It was EKSTRAVERSIJA by EGIL STRAUME JAZZ COMBO. Strong latin rhythms, with amazing, pwerful M. Briezhkalns on drums. Nice main theme and brilliant solos especially by I. Birkans on flute. BOOMERANG is heading in a different direction that I would call deep spiritual fusion. DERVISH is where East meets West. DANCE OF THE BEES by DUSTAR BAND is a standard Fusion track where the main theme is coming and going and you just wait for to come again. ORNAMENT by BOOMERANG reminded me a lot of German 70's Fusion (in particular "Oncle Joe" by Catch Up) because of the specific rhythm pattern. It's for sure on top of my list. ENSEMBLE ORLAN is presented here with BASHKIR VILLAGE'S BLUES. Another deep spiritual fusion track with excellent production. Full of nice little patterns and passages. Samples galore. EXPECTATION by A. RJABOV & SYNTHESYS could be the odd one out. It is the most Jazzy track on this compilation and probably the best version of Jimmy Giuffre's tune. MARINA GRANOVSKAJA's track PERPETUM MOBILE sounds like a solid and funkier version of some Bob James tune. Let's say like B. J. remastered by Nuyorican Soul. Maybe not that solid but it is still very good.!!
JAZZWISE (May 2001. page 59) Duncan Heining
"...The Russian CD has very little wrong with it. The final track Marina Granovskaja's 'Perpetum Mobile' is really ersatz fusion and the Alexander Rjabov & Ensemble Synthesys version of Jimmy Guiffre's 'Expectation' is cruelly too short. The rest is really very attractive from the Straume Jazz Combo's Blakey-ish 'Ekstraversija' to Dustar Band's Weather Report influenced 'Dance Of The Bees'. There are two tracks from the excellent Boomerang Band with definite influences from Miles, Hancock and Charlie Lloyd. But the best performance here is Ensemble Orlan's 'Bakshirs Village's Blues'. The most obvious reference here is Joe Zawinul but I'm also reminded of some of Andy Sheppard's work..."