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RED SQUARE GROOVE - Various Artists   CAT. NO: CS-05
Rare Jazz/Fusion Gems From Russian Vaults
£8.50 + VAT

£8.50 + VAT

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.!!
01 E.STRAUME JAZZ COMBO - Ekstraversija 
02 BOOMERANG BAND - Dervish  8'36
03 DUSTAR BAND - Dance Of The Bees LISTEN 8'07
04 BOOMERANG BAND - Ornament 7'11
ENSEMBLE ORLAN - Bashkir Village's Blues LISTEN 10'00
MARINA GRANOVSKAJA - Perpetum Mobile 5'38


 ECHOES magazine (April 2001, page 39) Elia Rulli
As Kerleta says in his liner notes, the '70s sound was preserved in Russia up until late '80s. Whether this is because of technology or aesthetic doesn't matter, no one's complaining. This is proof that jazz-fusion in a colder climate is just as hot. Kerleta's favourite track is Ekstraversija by E. Straume Jazz Combo, the one track here actually recorded in the '70s, but my choice has to be the Boomerang Band's wonderful Dervish, utilising congas, tablas, a droning upright bass and one hell of o piano groove. Gorgeous.

The Cold War is over -- and here's the reason why! These jazz funk gems were cut in the Soviet Union during the 80s -- but they've got a richness that's right up there with the excellent work coming out of Eastern Europe during the 70s, particularly the jazz funk and fusion sides cut in Poland and Czechoslovakia during the time. They represent a rich culture that hasn't really ever been tapped over here -- as all the sides were cut for the state-owned Melodiya label, and never issued strongly in the west -- and it's almost hard to believe that these tracks weren't recorded in a culture that was more open to influences from other jazz scenes. Most of the best tracks have kind of a funk spacey quality -- almost CTI-ish, but a bit more jamming.

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..." 

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