It’s 30 years since Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows was originally recorded. What a brilliant record it is and it’s about time it got a digital remastering.
Its quality has certainly stood the test of time as Dusk Fire have decided to re-issue it on CD. Now you’re not going to find me getting all trainspotterish about vinyl vs. CDs or slagging off the blurb about Neil Ardley being “forgotten” (not by Fly, see Celebrating The Life Of A Polymath) or whether Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows has been “lost”, but needless to say, it’s still incredibly powerful, emotive, loveable, a touch geeky and easily talked of as a masterpiece.
On the back of Gilles Peterson’s Jazz Britannia compilations and the follow up concerts and TV shows, Ardley’s work is definitely worth taking another look at. The orchestra is like an augmented Ian Carr’s Nucleus with Tony Coe, Barbara Thompson and Paul Buckmaster.
The suite was originally based on Balinese music (particularly ‘Rainbow Three’) but over the seven ‘rainbows’, it drifts in and out of jazz, jazz-funk, classical, prog-rock. The closing ‘Rainbow Seven’ meanders in an improvised way until it comes to a climax before the start of ‘The Epilogue’ — which returns to the opening theme of ‘The Prologue’; thus completing the circle. At least with the LP you had a break with turning it over, but with the CD, it’s endless hours on repeat. Carr (Trumpet/Flugelhorn) is magnificent and it’s oft quoted as one of his best performances.
I like to think that Ian Carr is at the root of my journalistic scribbles (Ed. so he’s to blame!) as I’m one of his many fans. More illustrious fans include Richard E, Nostalgia77, Natural Self, Simon S, all at 3hedz and many others. This month’s Jazzwise includes an interview with Ian on the release of his autobiography and there are plans for a film (which will feature the Nucleus gig at Cargo). If you’ve got Impressed 1 and or 2 with Gilles Peterson don’t expect the same here as it’s not a ‘hits’ album. That said, you’ll hear lots of what’s going in the contemporary world from broken beat, world, ethnic to IDM. Ardley was years ahead of his time and yet contemporary.
There have been lots of 30th Anniversary of punk celebrations this year already but this album is just as important. Nice to know that when it was released, Karl Dallas writing in the Melody Maker said, “This work is possibly the most significant piece of composition since Sgt. Pepper, Pet Sounds, Miles Ahead and Tubular Bells.” I’d say it was definitely miles ahead of three of those four, perhaps even all of them! Not only that, great sleeve notes and cover.
Thank you Mr. Ardley for your vision.
Reviewed: Neil Ardley – Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows (Gull) Cat. No. GULP 1018 LP / Reissue: Dusk Fire DUSKCD101 – 24bit 96 k/Hz digital remastering
- Conductor, Synthesizer – Neil Ardley
- Bass – Roger Sutton
- Cello – Paul Buckmaster
- Drums – Roger Sellers
- Guitar – Ken Shaw
- Percussion, Vibraphone – Trevor Tomkins
- Piano, Synthesizer – Dave MacRae Geoff Castle
- Producer – Paul Buckmaster
- Saxophones, Flute – Barbara Thompson, Bob Bertles, Brian Smith
- Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet – Tony Coe
- Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Ian Carr
Notes: Recorded at Morgan Studios, London, 1976. Commissioned by the Camden Festival with aid of funds provided by the Arts Council of Great Britian.
A2. Rainbow 1 (Saxophones, Flute – Stan Sulzmann)
A3. Rainbow 2
A4. Rainbow 3 (Soloist Paul Buckmaster)
A5. Rainbow 4
B1. Rainbow 5 (Soloist Tony Coe)
B2. Rainbow 6 (Electric Piano & Synthesizer – John Taylor)
B3. Rainbow 7 (Soloist Ken Shaw and Bob Bertles, Electric Piano & Synthesizer – John Taylor)
Kali Yuga – Solar Apple Quarktette (SAQ2) www.furtherout.co.uk
Unofficial Ian Carr website : www.geocities.com/icnucleus/