CD REVIEW – Red Bazar

New product? Well, yes and no. This is a re-recording with Peter Jones (Camel / Tiger Moth Tales). You may remember IQ did this kind of thing once – Seven Stories into (Ninety) Eight. Anyone remember that instrumental blowout? I digress.

For anyone who may not know, Red Bazar formed in 2007 as an instrumental trio featuring Andy Wilson on guitar, Paul Comerie on drums and Mick Wilson on bass and keyboards. In 2008 they released their first album ‘Connections’. Following on from the success of their first album, their second album ‘Differential Being’ was released in 2010. The following year the band performed live, honing their skills and in 2013 released a three track EP ‘After The Ice Storm’ with wider use of keyboards, leading them to enlist full time keyboardist Gary Marsh. More recently they’ve joined forces with the rather well known Peter Jones, both supporting him live, and also having Pete on their 2016 album ‘Tales from the Bookcase’ and their 2019 album ‘Things As They Appear’, gaining more visibility. Anyone there like I was for their excellent performance for the good old CRS back in the day? November 2020 saw the release of a live DVD filmed at the album launch of ‘Things As They Appear’ at the Borderij in the Netherlands. So, whilst we await new music, let’s reminisce…..

From the first second on, this re-release hits you full on. Basic, meaty but agile instrumental parts mix with technically adept guitar solos. A crisp, impulsive bass and supple drumming sit perfectly. All of this is contained in a blend of jazz-fusion and symph-rock arrangements that touch retro or neo-prog areas. For a reference, anyone remember Steve Adams (Camera Obscura)?

There’s no Pete Jones voice which is sort of a shame, but not a shame, as that would have been a re-write not a re-recording. But this is a re-play, a review of their original instrumental album of entertaining music, one which shows how talented the guys were even back in their initial days. As a result, Jones doesn’t dominate with his keyboards but makes his presence felt, and the album retains its guitar-heaviness and guitar cleverness. Not just lightning-fast solos and robust riffing, but even the gentler kind, such as the arabesque acoustic guitar in Bass Tardo.

That said, the odd keyboard flourish adds nicely – lovely electric piano touches in The Meet, and Ride On A Wing is a light touch of a jazz mid-tempo uplifting piano -led ballad that mixes nicely with other bombastic or more directly hard-hitting album tracks – such asafore-mentioned Bass Tardo, for example.

Fallen Tears has a nice growing intensity, a journey of a song that leaves us wanting more despite its 8 minute length. Walk The Milestone also impresses throughout it’s nine minutes, some nice rhythms and time signatures progressing underneath crunchy and crisp guitar lines, opportunity for understated keys prior to a synth bass and drum break/solo taking them eventually back towards a technically compact jazz-fusion workout to close.

The album ends with the title track. A 14 minute behemoth with a definite neo-prog feel at times. Keys play some lead melodies over crunching guitars, the acoustic shades add texture, soaring lead guitar lines provide uplift. Midway through the track, there’s a reflective section that ironically sounds like it could be part of their later albums (City and the Stars or Queen of the Night perhaps) before a delightfully intense upward climb and close.

I reckon anyone who has the aforementioned Adams, Combination Head, Neil Campbell, Dave Foster or even Steve Rothery’s solo stuff in their collection will be taken by this. Numerous highlights on an album of clever dynamics and a balanced mixture of strong composition, joyful musicianship and technical ability. A good job well done lads – you connected with me for definite!

Tracklisting

  1. The Meet
  2. Regards To…
  3. Ride On A Wing
  4. Bass Tardo
  5. Fallen Tears
  6. Walk The Milestone
  7. Connection

Band Links
www.redbazar.co.uk
https://www.whiteknightshop2.co.uk/store/Red-Bazar-Connections-featuring-PETER-JONES-TMT-p246069191

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