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24 Sep 2016

Johnny Almond Music Machine ‎ “Patent Pending” 1969 UK Jazz Rock,Funk

Johnny Almond Music Machine ‎ “Patent Pending” 1969 UK Jazz Rock,Funk..recommended
ESOTERIC RECORDINGS are pleased to announce the release of a newly remastered edition of the classic debut album bythe acclaimed saxophonist and woodwind player Johnny Almond.“Patent Pending” was the first album by the Johnny Almond Music machine and was issued on Decca’s “Progressive” imprint Deram in 1969. The album was one ofthe finest Jazz Rock albums of the era, by a band featuring Geoff Condon ( Trumpet, Flugel Horn), Johnny Wiggins (Piano, Organ), Jimmy Crawford (Electric Guitar), Steve Hammond (Guitars), Roger Sutton (Bass) and future Yes member Alan White (Drums).Johnny Almond first came to prominence through his work with John Mayall, Zoot Money, Alan Price and ChickenShack, before he formed his own group in 1969. A truly original album, “Patent Pending” showcased Almond’sprowess as a composer and outstanding multiinstrumentalist, with him also playing Organ, Mellotron andVibes in addition to a variety of Woodwind instruments.This Esoteric Recordings reissue has been remastered from the original Deram master tapes and includes a bookletwhich fully restores the original album artwork and a new essay. …… 

Multi-instrumentalist / composer Johnny Almond was one of the most versatile and in-demand players on the British scene in the late 1960s. A member of the Alan Price Set, he also led a septet of young up-and-coming musicians called Johnny Almond Music Machine, which recorded two albums of which this is the first. Soon after recording this album Almond joined the new version of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, which recorded the revolutionary “The Turning Point” album. In that group he met guitarist Jon Mark, with whom he formed one of the best British Jazz-Rock groups – Mark-Almond. Bass player Roger Sutton (ex-Brian Auger’s Trinity), who plays on this album, was also a founding member of Mark-Almond and would later be e member of Riff Raff and Nucleus. Another player, the drummer Alan White, would later join the legendary Yes. This album is a splendid example of early Jazz-Rock, with strong Rhythm & Blues influences. Almond plays tenor, alto and baritone saxophones, flute, alto flute, organ, vibes, mellotron and bass clarinet – surely deserving the “music machine” nickname. His virtuosity (my favorite being his flute playing) is obvious. He also composed all but one of the eight tunes included here. Overall this is an excellent album and a great trip down the memory lane. Wholeheartedly recommended! ….. 

John Almond (also sometimes referred to as Johnny Almond) was a ubiquitous figure on the British blues-rock scene of the ‘60s, playing with the likes of Alan Price and John Mayall before partnering up with multi-instrumentalist Jon Mark in the Mark-Almond Band. 

Born in Enfield, Middlesex, in 1946, Almond displayed an interest in music from an early age, helped by the fact that his father was a drummer – although percussion was only one of the categories of instrument on which he started to learn. He was also quick to learn from his father’s collection of records, which included a lot of '40s jazz by the likes of Benny Goodman and Woody Herman. Alto saxophone became his first instrument, but he also became proficient on tenor sax and eventually achieved professional mastery on seven others, including various keyboard instruments and the vibraphone. 

He had turned professional before finishing high school and played in various groups as a teenager, including a big band under the direction of Wally Johnson. His late teens coincided with the British beat boom, but Almond was working with sounds and instruments far removed from what was sweeping popular music out of Liverpool and Manchester. Rather, he led a jazz combo of his own for a time and played with a group called Tony Knight’s Chess Men before he found an extended berth, lasting a couple of years in a relatively prominent young outfit, Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band. Following Money’s breakup of the band (to join Eric Burdon’s psychedelic-era Animals), he joined the Alan Price Set, and then signed on to John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in June of 1969. By the end of the year, with the encouragement of producer Mike Vernon, he had cut his first solo album, Patent Pending, credited to the Johnny Almond Music Machine, on which he played a half-dozen instruments. A year later came his second solo album, Hollywood Blues, also credited to the Johnny Almond Music Machine. 

His biggest success came, however, when he joined up with his fellow Bluesbreaker alumnus, arranger/multi-instrumentalist Jon Mark to form the Mark-Almond Band, which lasted for most of the '70s (with a breakup in the middle) and generated a lot of great press and reviews, even if they didn’t sell huge numbers of records after the early part of the decade. Since the late '70s, Almond has worked primarily as a session musician, but his name recognition is such that his 1969-1970 solo albums have found an audience on compact disc in the 21st century, at least in Japan and Europe. 

A stone groover from British multi-instrumentalist Johnny Almond – stepping out here on a range of instruments that includes tenor, alto, flute, organ, vibes, and mellotron! Like Almond’s other session from the time, the set’s got a tightly arranged groove that feels a lot like some of the best funky soundtrack work of the late 60s – an approach that has the larger band vamping in a mix of electric and acoustic instrumentation, while Almond soars out on expressive solos that nicely shift with the feel of each track! A few numbers take on a slightly exotic feel that we really love – using heavy percussion and a bit of effects to emphasize the groove – and a good part of the credit for the strength of the album should go to drummer Alan White, who’s really cutting it up nicely here! Titles include a version of Yusef Lateef’s “Before Dawn”, plus the original numbers “Tales Of Junior”, “Solar Level”, “Voodoo Forest”, “Pequeno Novo”, and “To RK”, a great tribute to Roland Kirk! (Dusty Groove)… 

Reviewed by Nathan Ford 

Originally released on Deram in 1969, this first release by Johnny Almond’s Music Machine is now startlingly rare in its original form, and surprisingly, this new Esoteric reissue seems to be only its second reissue since 1969. 

This is surprising given Almond’s pedigree. By 1969 Almond had already been a member of Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band (he only left when Zoot folded the band in order to join Eric Burdon’s recently psychedelicised Animals), the Alan Price Set, and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. And after the two Music Machine albums, he formed Mark Almond with Jon Mark (whom he’d played with in the Bluesbreakers). All bands with a certain amount of collector’s cache, so this must be absolute garbage to have been left untouched until now, right? Guess again. 

“The Johnny Almond Music Machine” is an excellent, diverse album that epitomises the adventurous spirit of the 1969 underground, featuring a crack young band, with a teenaged (future Yes) Alan White tearing it up on drums. Almond himself plays a ridiculous numbre of different instruments on here - Sax (Tenor, Alto & Baritone), Flute, Alto Flute, Organ, Vibraphone, Mellotron and Bass Clarinet. 

Almond’s R&B, jazz, and blues roots aren’t forgotten, but the funk levels are amped up considerably on the numbers that vamp on this theme. Check out “Solar Level” and Junior Parker tribute “Tales of Junior”, which are particularly beaty and brassy. 

In keeping with the spirit of the times though (not to mention the label), there’s a strong progressive and post-psychedelic element to a number of these tracks too, and these are the tracks that are most likely to capture the imagination of readers of this rag. “Voodoo Forest” will be familiar to many readers from its appearance on Decca’s bargain-bin staple “World of Progressive Rock” compilation, and its moody atmospherics are indeed one of the highlights here for those of an adventurous mindset, but it’s not alone. “Reversed for Two Horns” is a startling, explorative duet between Almond and trumpeter Geoff Condon, who was apparently flu-ridden during this session. If so it certainly explains the feverish, hallucinatory levels this track often reaches. And opener, “Ensign” is a beaty jazz funker which would have been ideal for soundtracking a UK crime film of the time, were it not for it’s face-melting psychedelic conclusion. …… 

Johnny Almond - Sax, Flutes, Organ, Vibraphone 
Steve Hammond - Guitars 
Roger Sutton - Bass, Claves 
Alan White - Drums, Congas, Cowbell, Percussion 
Jimmy Crawford - Electric Guitar 
Johnny Wiggins - Piano, Organ 
Geoff Condon - Trumpet, Flugelhorn 

Before Dawn 
Voodoo Forest 
Solar Level 
To R.K. 
Reversed For Two Horns 
Pequeno Nova 
Tales Of Junior 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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