EMBRYO - Opal

Although Embryo are one of Germany's most famous bands it has taken me this long to actually get around to hearing them. I don't really know why this is - perhaps I was a bit put off by the fact that as they were quite popular in the UK I thought the music would be too mainstream. This is in fact far from the truth, as they are purveyors of what seems to be Germany's favourite style of music - progressive jazz-rock. Many of the members came from a jazz background, and yet their debut album, which came out in 1970, was actually a mixture of jazz, soul, blues, and rock - unlike many of their later efforts. The rock part was provided by ex-pat guitarist John Kelly, although his crashing riffs would not be heard again after this album. The title track is heavy progressive rock, while the more jazzy 'You Don't Know What's Happening' is a showcase for Edgar Hofmann's electric violin, as are 'Revolution' and 'Glockenspiel' for his sax playing. 'Call' is the Mal Waldron tune, and 'You Better Have Some Fun' is a great jazz-flavoured rock track to end the album on a high.
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