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Harris, Don "Sugar Cane": Sugar Cane's Got the Blues (remaster)

Here's another awesome remaster of a fusion classic from the folks at SPV/MPS/MVD, a live set recorded at the Berlin Rock Festival in 1971 from hotshot electric violinist Don 'Sugar Cane' Harris and his band, which consisted of guitarists Volker Kriegel & Terje Rypdal, former Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt, bassist Neville Whitehead, and keyboard player Wolfgang Dauner. Four long, extended tracks, each one featuring ripping violin, tasty guitar licks, wild rhythms, and funky keyboards. The uptempo vamp of "Liz Pineapple Wonderful" kicks things off in funky fusion fashion, a near 11-minute jam that is a great vehicle for Harris' electrified excursions, as well as some splendid soloing from Kriegel. Not to be outdone are the tricky rhythms coming from Wyatt's drum kit, showing what a master drummer he really is. Some brief vocals from Harris are interspersed on this one, but mostly it's a red hot bluesy fusion jam. "Sugar Cane's Got The Blues" is a more majestic piece, hints of classical, jazz, blues, and prog, somewhat in the vein of Jean Luc Ponty or Mahavishnu Orchestra, complete with soaring violin, a wild, fleet fingered solo from Kriegel, and some classy piano lines from Dauner. Classic jazz can be heard on Horace Silver's "Song For My Father", a great rendition of a landmark song, Harris and Rypdal really laying down some wonderful melodic solos, while the band dips into some funky r&b on the closing ripper "Where's My Sunshine".

This is a really fun release full of impressive chops, yet the atmosphere is kind of loose as the players really lock into a groove and feed off each other in extended arrangements. Can't go wrong with the energetic electric violin of Harris, who truly is a monumental player, and he's got quite the cast of musicians supporting him here. Of course, since this is an early 70's recording, it has that certain sound that all vintage fusion nuts love. The remaster comes in a nice gatefold mini-lp sleeve, with a booklet full of photos and liner notes. Nice job all around.

Track Listing
1. Liz Pineapple Wonderful (10:31)
2. Sugar Cane's Got The Blues (15:22)
3. Song For My Father (10:53)
4. Where s My Sunshine (12:44)

Added: August 20th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 2234
Language: english

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