Friday, August 1, 2008

Jasper van't Hof's Pork Pie featuring Charlie Mariano - "Transitory" CD

Another obscure and worthy fusion remastering/reissue from Promising Music (and, as with the Don 'Sugar Cane' Harris recording reviewed earlier, this one has deluxe packaging with extensive liner notes, photos, a gatefold sleeve, etc.), this 1974 incarnation of Pork Pie (led by Dutch keyboardist van't Hof) includes some impressive European jazz-sessioners.

And although the group is van't Hof's in name, the standout player (and most noticeable player in the recording) is American sax/flutist/nadaswarm player Charlie Mariano, who shines with a opulent Indian/Eastern air in 'Transitory (parts 1+2)'. Here, the group's jazz/rock roots give way to a more wide-open, worldly, and even spiritual path - and moving far beyond the expectations of listeners, I'd bet.

The meditational, atmospheric, and ambient sound of 'Transitory' falls away (too soon, to my ears) to reveal 'Angel Wings', which synthesizes the more structured 'band' sound with an exotic vibe, partly attributable to drummer Aldo Romano's Brazilian influences. 'Pudu Kkottai' is another strong track that melds an obviously Eastern spirituality with a more conventional Western fusion framework. 'Bassamba' sounds as it states - a spunky and upbeat number that again showcases both Mariano's freeform transcendent sound (I am reminded of Coltrane, really, though I do not profess to be any sort of jazz expert) and Romano's lively percussion. van't Hof's bouncy keys are also paramount here, rounding out the sound with some funky keyboard action.

Closing down this superior set is the 'March Of The Oil Sheiks', which seems to be a sort of fun and playful ending to the set, and lacks the serious meditational vibes that make this recording so immersive. All-in-all, a really listenable and oftentimes beautiful set of tunes from a(n unjustly) long-forgotten group of artists and visionaries. (Promising Music/SPV Germany)

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