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viernes, 2 de octubre de 2015

Brand X - Unorthodox Behaviour (1976)


Artista: Brand X
Álbum: Unorthodox Behaviour
Año: 1976
Género: Jazz Rock / Fusión
Duración: 40:49
Nacionalidad: Inglaterra


Lista de Temas:
1. Nucear Burn
2. Euthanasia Waltz

3. Born Ugly
4. Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria
5. Unorthodox Behaviour
6. Running of Three
7. Touch Wood

Alineación:
- John Goodsall / Guitarras acústica y eléctrica
- Robin Lumley / Teclados, piano Fender Rhodes, Moog

- Percy Jones / Bajo fretless Fender, marimba, bajo acústico
- Phil Collins / Batería, vibráfono


La prueba contundente de que Phil Collins no solo es un gran baterista sino que sabe tocar jazz, se llama Brand X. Muy pop, nos parece siempre Collins, a la sombra de ya saben quién; en México le decíamos fresa. No Jacquet Required o, peor aún, Face Value, eran evidencia del agotamiento del rock progresivo. Pero es que muchos nos negamos a entender que Collins era un músico de groove, no de progresivo. Un día, por los 90, me regalaron un boleto para un concierto de Phil Collins en la ciudad de México. Yo no lo hubiera comprado pero, regalado hasta puñaladas, dicen, y fui, y me quedé sorprendido del poderoso showman y complejo artista que vi. Bueno, pues Brand X es la banda que prueba que Collins es un baterista de jazz.

No participó en todos los discos, los compromisos con Genesis, del que ahora era frontman, le impidieron quedarse en Brand X, con presencias esporádicas entre 77 y 82, pero este Unorthodox Behaviour es suyo. Brand X se formó con músicos de sesión haciendo jams en los estudios, siendo sus dos presencias permanentes el guitarrista John Goodsall y el bajista Percy Jones, hasta 99 cuando salieron sus últimas producciones, en este album debut
con los teclados de Robin Lumley. Jones tiene un virtuosismo en bajo fretless que recuerda a Pastorius, es muy funk y muy complejo a la vez, y todo en este disco parece estar dictado por los juegos del bajista. Collins se adapta con una creatividad sorprendente y la guitarra de Goodsall tiene momentos brillantes. El teclado a veces se siente muy acoplado, a veces no, pero aquí hay un tremendo momento del jazz rock, en la onda fusión caracterizada por Weather Report, pero venido desde Inglaterra.

"Nuclear Burn", la rola que abre este discazo de 1976 es una selva de bajo y batería. Percy Jones arranca con un fraseo de bajo en tiempo tan complicado que solo se puede seguir el groove, no se puede contar. Y de repente una batería que alcanza niveles a la Christian Vander, Collins, baterista de jazz, hace crecer el groove para un buen riff de guitarra. Si "Nuclear Burn" basta para demostrar la originalidad de la banda, el segundo golpe ayuda: "Euthanasia Waltz" es una delicia cadenciosa con unos brakes sorprendentes. En la misma tonalidad que la anterior, estás a punto de aburrirte y cambia, multiplicando el vals (fue uno de sus hits). Más adelante, en "Running Three" vuelven a esos grooves rápidos soportados por el bajo con un riff progresivo en voces paralelas de guitarra y teclado. El tema tiene al final unos "trades", esos intercambios que se hacen dejando compases en solos de batería en los que se siente más rockero el beat. En otros momentos la banda se transforma, con Jones en la marimba o en el contrabajo; también Goodsall toca acústico por ahí, su guitarra es la protagonista del breve tema de cierre, "Touch Wood".

Unorthodox Behaviour es un gran disco de jazz rock, músicos virtuosos y creativos, técnicamente impecables, tocando una música con mucha energía y soltura. Phil Collins es un poderoso baterista de jazz. Vamos a seguir a Brand X año por año durante los cinco discos de estudio que sacaron, y un concierto en vivo oficial. Es un minifestival de Brand X.




Referencias:


Blind Dog - El Gramófono:

El primer contacto que tuve con este disco (y con la banda en general) fue cuando revisando algún vinilo nuevo para comprar vi que tocaba Phil Collins. Típico de aquellos años a fines de los ‘70 donde, a falta de fuentes de información, uno llegaba a otras músicas y otros estilos un tanto a ciegas viendo los músicos que tocaban como en este caso, donde uno se decía “Ah, si toca Phil Collins de Genesis entonces debe estar bueno”.
La historia nos cuenta que Collins –que en los pocos ratos libres que le permitía su grupo se dedicaba a ser músico de sesión- se conectó con Percy Jones, John Goodsall y Robin Lumley durante sus colaboraciones para Brian Eno, Eddie Howell y Jack Lancaster. El cuarteto pronto formó Brand X, una banda de jazz fusión que aunó la poderosa base rítmica de Collins y el excepcional bajista fretless Percy Jones (que algún día será reconocido como lo que es, uno de los mas grandes y creativos de su instrumento) con las melodías atmosféricas de Goodsall y Lumley.
Unorthodox Behaviour fue el discazo debut de la banda que prepara el escenario para lo que vendría después: Una música que navega en el mismo territorio sonoro que Weather Report, la Mahavishnu Orchestra y similares, marcada por los estilos distintivos de los miembros individuales. Las temas –cuya autoría es de toda la banda-, revelan sin embargo dos facciones en el trabajo, con Jones y Collins a cargo de las partes más enérgicas y Goodsall y Lumley manejando los pasajes líricos. Cuando Jones y Collins toman la iniciativa, como en en el tema de apertura "Nuclear Burn" y partes de "Unorthodox Behaviour" y "Running on Three”, la música toma un rumbo frenético, casi matemático. Goodsall y Lumley generalmente proveen un estado de ánimo mas calmo y volado, el tono que predomina en temas como "Euthanasia Waltz" y "Touch Wood”. Un término medio entre estas dos facetas lo encontraremos reflejado en los funky "Born Ugly"y  "Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria”,  verdaderas fusiones de jazz y rock. Sin un instrumento solista dominante –gran mérito en una banda formada por verdaderos virtuosos- el disco nos brinda una amplia variedad de estilos conformando una identidad absolutamente propia y escapando a cada momento de los clichés del género fusión.
Un auténtico highlight de un grupo casi de culto por estas pampas.
ProgJect - sputnik music:
Review Summary: If Genesis were Phil Collins' wife, Brand X is his mistress.

The famous jazz trumpeter Miles Davis was the forerunner of jazz fusion in the late 60s, by incorporating an electric piano and later an electric guitar in its alignment. Jazz fusion was thus born, and it is still in excellent health today, thanks to the genre’s big names in the 70s. Al Di Meola and Chick Corea (Return to Forever), John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra) and Jean-Luc Ponty have really paved the way for that hybrid genre, but there is also a British band that stood out, especially because of the quality of their compositions: Brand X. At first, the group had only intended to practice together for the sake of practicing, performing jams based on instrumental jazz rock improvisations with complex time signatures. Noting that this great flow of talent fostered a good chemistry, things turned into a side project, and resulted in an original band, unique and prolific, producing several albums and completing several tours. The music of Brand X is midway between an inspired prog rock and electric jazz, and they get the best of both camps. The talent of each was placed at the service of the talent of others. This is the exact definition of teamwork. On top of that, it’s obvious they had fun playing together. It's also important to mention that all their albums were recorded in a single take.

Following their first two successful albums Unorthodox Behaviour and Moroccan Roll, the line-up continually shifted, due to the members’ respective commitments. For example, drummer Phil Collins was needed in Genesis, who were rallying around the recording of their first post-Gabriel album A Trick of the Tail. He would return from time to time to lend a hand to Brand X sporadically. Collins once said humorously that Genesis was his wife, and Brand X his mistress, before which he could show off and expose at will. He liked the freedom of performance and improvisation in a so-called 'controlled free-form', compared to the rigidities, constraints, obligation set to the rigor imposed by Genesis. While most jazz rock acts focus on the jazz side, Brand X are rooted more in rock, also showing a huge penchant for funk, as seen in the title track and Born Ugly, where there is an inspired Rhodes line. Collins and guitarist John Goodsall (Atomic Rooster, Bill Bruford) are regulars to progressive rock. The keyboardist Rod Lumley (David Bowie) is a versatile session musician, and fretless bass expert Percy Jones (Soft Machine) is the most jazz oriented musician. His high calibre will make some fans say that Brand X IS Percy Jones.

Inspired by Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin, all the riffs, arrangements and frenetic solos of Goodsall lend themselves well to the rhythm section that sets the tone in each song. He also excels in the atmospheric passages, and wherever he appears to support. For Euthanasia Waltz for example, Goodsall uses a classical guitar. It sounds laid back, cool, but mostly technically irresistible. Rod Lumley performs a subtle and skilful keyboard solo in the song, which is reminiscent to some Al Di Meola in Elegant Gypsy era. Lumley alternates between atmospheric synthesizer, obscure sounds passages and electric piano of high quality that complement the brilliant performances of Goodsall. The steadfast, the energetic rhythm section is the driving force of Brand X. Powerful, inspiring and impressive as that provided by Billy Cobham and Rick Laird from Mahavishnu Orchestra. And that's saying something. Those who thought that Phil Collins has got the best of himself in Genesis, just listen to the first song Nuclear Burn, and be amazed. The album is a journey of pleasant surprises. Collins plays with the verve and the power of Billy Cobham, and it's obvious that he listened to his solo album Spectrum.

Collins has a strong colleague in Percy Jones, who is one of the best bassists of all time. From his fat liquid sound, his rollercoaster of sliding notes, harmonics, pops, muted percussive sounds, and his ability to dance at the very edge of dissonance, his unconventional interpretations of what a bass line could be all add up to a style you will see with no other. As for the veterans Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clark (Chick Corea) and the modern virtuoso Victor Wooten (The Flecktones), their instruments find new textures seemingly at will.

Like any progressive rock sub-genre, the jazz fusion is often overlooked because of his pomposity and adventurous predominates the more conventional and melodic structures. Even if Brand X flirt with some quirky instrumentals and 'controlled free-form', they could hardly be more melodic, and it contributes to its charm. Their music is still actual and timeless. If you do not like Brand X, you do not like jazz fusion. The best way to describe them would be to look at Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra and King Crimson (with Bruford), but with much more humour and irreverence. Brand X would be a model for a lot of other jazz-rockers to come.

If during the 80's, the Dark Ages were almost fatal for progressive rock, jazz fusion has transcended time, and is still in very good health. The music of Brand X is very influential in both the world of progressive rock and jazz fusion, increasing the interest of the listener even more. Don’t be surprised if every time you listen to their music, you discover new details you never perceived before. It's a part of the Brand X experiment.
Wikipedia:
Unorthodox Behaviour is the first album by British jazz fusion group Brand X. It peaked at 191 on The Billboard 200 in 1976, the same year it was released.

This album combines jazz fusion with some elements of progressive rock, influenced by their drummer Phil Collins, shows extensive use of improvisation in the extended pieces, which is common in both genres of music. The melody is mainly supported by guitar and bass, most notably on the opening track. Collins' drum work is very fast and rhythmic and shows a difference in his style from his main band Genesis. Tracks like "Nuclear Burn" and "Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria" are often cited as a showcase for his drum work.

AllMusic Review by Dave Connolly:
Phil Collins' seemingly endless well of energy afforded him two careers: one as the drummer/vocalist in Genesis, and a second as a prolific session musician. It was in this second scenario that Collins hooked up with Percy Jones, John Goodsall, and Robin Lumley during sessions for Brian Eno, Eddie Howell, and Jack Lancaster. The quartet soon formed Brand X, a fusion jazz band that matched the prodigious rhythms of Collins and fretless bassist Jones with the atmospheric melodies of Goodsall and Lumley. Unorthodox Behaviour sets the stage for what would follow: music that plies the same sonic territory as Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the like, punctuated by the distinctive styles of individual members. The songs, though credited to the band, reveal two factions at work, with Jones and Collins teaming for percussive sections and Goodsall and Lumley handling the lyrical passages. When Jones and Collins take the lead, as on the opening "Nuclear Burn" and sections of "Unorthodox Behaviour" and "Running on Three," the music takes a frenetic, mathematical tack. Goodsall and Lumley generally provide the mood, the dominant trait on "Euthanasia Waltz" and "Touch Wood." Middle ground is found on the funky "Born Ugly" and "Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria," true fusions of rock and jazz. Unorthodox Behaviour samples a variety of styles: from melodic to energetic, ethereal to mathematical. Without a standout soloist like John McLaughlin or Wayne Shorter, Brand X does run the risk of sounding like a generic fusion jazz outfit, but their compositional skills pick up the slack nicely. Those interested in the band may do well to start with this album, although their next three records are just as good in terms of quality.

cduniverse:

UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOR is a fitting description of the oeuvre of the British instrumental group Brand X. Featuring complex time signatures, adventurous arrangements, and experimental sounds, the group was England's answer to the much-maligned American fusion genre. This incarnation of the band is best known for featuring drummer Phil Collins of Genesis and later pop fame.

The music of Brand X borrows more from prog rock than jazz, although there's plenty of room for improvisation within the group's extended arrangements. Collins drives the band mercilessly throughout tracks like the opening firestorm "Nuclear Burn" and the rocking "Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria." John Goodsall's guitar is the primary melodic element in most works, alternately snaking mesmerizing solo lines and jumping around intricate off-kilter themes on the mysterious "Euthanasia Waltz" or the bizarre title track. Bassist Percy Jones and keyboard player Robin Lumley add the most unusual colors; Lumley, with his myriad of now-vintage keyboard sounds, and Jones with his signature fretless burps and glissandos.

Sean Trane - Progarchives:

While Genesis was in a delicate phase, looking for a new frontman and its guitarist was releasing his first solo album (Acolyte), Phil was patiently waiting in the wings and became involved in this project, composed of absolute then-unknown, if it wasn't for maybe Goodsall, whom had a stint with Atomic Rooster. Phil Collins' participation in Brand X will actually play a role in Genesis, since his dabblings into JR/F will guide his choice into hiring both Chester Thompson (Zappa, Weather report) and a tad latter Daryl Struemer (Jean Luc Ponty's group). Obviously when listening to Phil drum works on BX and comparing it with Genesis material, it's quite clear that Phil listened and impregnated himself of Billy Cobham's Spectrum album.

Out of the mists of a post-modern world in Nuclear Burn, rises a guitar that has obviously been influenced by Carlos McLaughlin and the rest of the formation slowly rises from the ashes to become an instant success. Outstanding stuff. The first few seconds of Euthanasia Waltz are again reminiscent of Caravanserai, but Goodsall's acoustic strumming saves it and allow Lumley's Rhodes and Jones' ultra bass to shine. The following track's name the ultra-funky Born Ugly cannot possibly be talking about itself because it is one of the best electric piano-led funk-fusion pieces, courtesy of Lumley's Rhodes, but Goodsall's guitar does more than its share. It could've been an RTF track on their No Mystery album, Lumley's piano style certainly aiming at Corea's, while Jones's usual Jaco-esque game is replaced by a Stanley Clarke slapping play. Out of the deep vinyl groove, comes Euphoric Hysteria, which hesitates between Mahavishnu and Santana, before deciding neither with Lumley's disputable synth sound. The title track is slowly emerging a clock-like rhythm and a rounded bass and the two spend their time twisting about your eardrums and diddle with your sanity, slowly deconstructing its propos. Not exactly a winner, but it shows another facet of the group for albums to come. Running Of Three returns to the influence of Carlos McL and if it wasn't needlessly "flamboyant", you could imagine yourself on my jazz-rock reference Caravanserai. The short and soft Touch Wood is a calm ending to a fiery album: a fitting outro.

A classic fusion album of the times but the real interest is that, as opposed to contemporary groups such as Return To Forever, Spiro Gyra, Weather Report or even JL Ponty, this had a definitely English twist to it and it was a welcome change (just like the post-Allen Gong jazz-rock albums are) but this is not really Canterbury-style either although some people have done that amalgam. IMHO, however, the better times for this sort of music had already passed along with the 1st generation groups such as Mahavishnu, Miles Davis, Nucleus, Soft Machine, Mwandishi, etc.... But this one is definitely a gem.

The Owl - progarchives
A very promising debut from what started as a means for several London-based session musicians and one Phil Collins to blow off some creative steam. "Nuclear Burn" fires off the first salvo of insane tempos,intricate drumming and dense sonic atmospheres. My only complaint about this tune is that it needed more melodic development at the start, other than that a real barnburner. "Euthenasia Waltz" by stark contrast offers upa funky 6/8 groove and labguid acoustic guitar by Goodsall with Percy Jones stuttering madly underneath. "Born Ugly" kicks up the funk factor even more as Percy unleashes delightfully slithery fretless bass lines and the band gives it all they got. "Smacks of Euphoric Hysteria" is my favorite cut, with a great serpentine melody line from Goodsall and a cool Mahavishnu Orch.-esque arpeggiated ending with all kinds of cool spooky percussion noises (water gongs I believe). The title cut however doesn't really stick with me, very low key and not very memorable. HOwever, the lull is shattered by "Running ON Three" where everyone fires phrases back and forth and stays together at ridiculous speeds. The closer is the short "Touch Wood" featuring a rare appearance by Percy on acoustic bass and a gust spot by saxophonist Jack Lancaster. Not a bad closer but not a real strong one either. The next album > Moroccan Roll" would go light years further but this was certainly a great start all told.

greenback - progarchives

This is the best of the Brand X's albums. Phil Collins (Mister 1976) is at his best, and when one says that he was one of the best drummers in the WORLD, the ultimate reference is on this VERY record! It contains outstanding impossible drums parts, especially on "Nuclear burn" and "Running of trees"! If you think Collins' best drums work is on Selling England by the pound, then you would easily change your mind at the listen of Unorthodox behaviour. If you said it is on Trick of the tail, then I think you would love the record here. At the same level & intensity as on "Los Endos", Collins here literally flies over everybody's heads. 1976 is the year of Phil Collins, no doubt!

Now let's talk about the album: it contains an absolutely mind blowing, ultra fast, loud and sophisticated Wal-like bass. The music is dangerously loaded and fast! There are some complex acoustic guitars (Touch wood), free style jazzy keyboards, tons of Fender Rhodes and gross electric guitar sounds without distortion: I do not like very much the guitar sound and the solos, despite the technical performance of the musician is outstanding: the rythmic guitar is better. There are some excellent xylophone parts ("Unorthodox behaviour"), and some surprisingly good piano notes ("Touch wood", "Born ugly"). This is an excellent fusion album. EXTREMELY RECOMMENDED!

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