Samla Mammas Manna - Måltid (73) - 9/10
Sanders, Pharoah - Karma - 8/10
Santana, Carlos & Coltrane, Alice - Illuminations (74) - 8/10
Something inbetween progressive rock and high-quality jazz with major ethnic influences. Starting out with someone saying "Oooooooooooommmmmm", this record has something of a buddhist/Indian feel, and is pleasant. Santana's guitar, Coltrane's harp, piano, soprano saxophone, upright bass, Indian instruments and a violin, viola and cello orchestra try successfully to create a peaceful atmosphere. Cooperation between instruments is given higher priority than solos. A good comparison is the German band Popol Vuh, but Illuminations has a richer sound. There aren't any drums or percussion except some drums and Indian percussion on the track "Angel of Sunlight", where the music eventually turns into more well-known jazz territories with guitar, saxophone and keyboard solos without interesting melodies but with power. Most of the record is superb in my ears. However, the string orchestra sometimes sounds indefinably cheesy, as in a Hollywood movie. The title-track exemplifies this, but don't expect it to ruin the fun. Breakfast music.
Semiramis - Dedicato a Frazz (73) - 8/10
This record is considered to be one of the best from Italy, and for good reason. The style is very original. It sounds a bit like "circus music", with frequent use of heavy guitars and lush keyboards. Moreover, the music is quite pacey, driven forward by brilliant drum playing. As often is the case for Italian progressive, the music is quite varied, and some parts, often the ones dominated by synth or acoustic guitar, are no more than OK. Other parts, however, are extraordinarily beautiful and make this a must-have. Semiramis are at their best when they turn energetic and disharmonious. An example is the first track, starting out with some wonderful crazy vibraphone and ditto vocals, but continuing with some in my opinion quite uninspired and far from brilliant synth parts.