Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Still Here!

If any of my faithful readers have been curious as to my whereabouts the last few weeks, I want to assure you that Soundological is still here and let you know this hiatus has been due to a variety of reasons. Although you may be well aware of the technical difficulties I encountered not long ago, other events were transpiring in the background and I was waiting to see how they would play out. It's not often an over-zealous and under-educated record label executive threatens to close down Soundological and since it was implied that my behaviour would have a direct effect on other bloggers, I chose to lay low and see what happened. As expected, nothing.

In case you're interested in the nitty-gritty details of the issue, I am publishing the full and complete correspondence between myself and a certain James Hardge, Jr. (who claims to be the owner of the Black Jazz Records catalogue) for your edutainment. Note that the emails are unedited (except for a few URLs which have been truncated) and appear exactly as written by both parties for maximum comedy value.


from James H
reply-to James H
to soundological@gmail.com
date Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 1:45 PM
subject Black Jazz
mailed-by earthlink.net
signed-by earthlink.net

Please remove the links and art work to Black Jazz Catalog
there is a guy how is linked to you El Goog Ja. Has the black Jazz
catalog and mp3 links up to its site. Tell him to remove the art
work from the site and the links. Im contacting Googles piracy dept
about this problem also. Thanks James Hardge CEO Black Jazz 5510 452 5299


from Cheeba
to James H
date Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 5:51 PM
subject Re: Black Jazz
mailed-by gmail.com

Dear Mr. Hardge,

I would like to say "thank you" for your correspondence but unfortunately I am taken somewhat aback by your aggressive tone and lack of politesse. However, I do find it very encouraging that you would at least attempt to contact a blogger directly to air your concerns so I will do my utmost to assist you in resolving your complaint as best I can.

To whit, I have no Black Jazz links on my site: I host no Black Jazz label material (neither artwork nor music) nor do I have direct links to same (i.e., download links or artwork links) ergo I have no material to remove from my blog and must consider your complaint against me, as well as your ensuing demands pertaining to same, null, void and entirely without merit. If I have overlooked something, please reply and list the blog post(s) containing Black Jazz material on soundological.blogspot.com then I will gladly comply and immediately remove/amend them accordingly. Failing receipt of such information from you, I will consider the issue closed. Any further communication directing me to take action of any sort on behalf of Black Jazz records without first naming the offending material would then be met with the appropriate legal response from my advocate in the form of a cease & desist order.

Pursuant to that point, please bear in mind I am not responsible for material that does not originate on my blog. I do not personally know El Goog Ja nor do I have a method of communicating with him other than in the form of blog comments. I will not "tell" him (or anyone else) anything on your behalf, let alone direct him to take action of any shape or form regarding his personal blog. I will not request his link (or anyone else's) to my site be removed at your behest. Most importantly, I do not police others' Intellectual Property rights unless they provide a PO# allowing me to bill my time for same at the rate of $500 CDN per hour or portion thereof. Furthermore, I will not remove my link to El Goog Ja's blog either since it is not Black Jazz's IP and I technically link only to his RSS feed, not the Black Jazz catalogue on his site.

Please feel free to exercise your right to contact Google's "piracy" department, that is why they exist. However, I would suggest you continue your respectable attempts to contact bloggers directly regarding misuse of your IP as you will generally find them an agreeable bunch - even more so if you employ a polite and respectful tone in your communication with them. This would ultimately be to your advantage since sending a DMCA complaint to Google's Blogger service will mean the post is removed altogether thus reducing the visibility of the Black Jazz brand and its products. Dealing with the blog author(s) directly will usually mean that only a download link is removed or (even more advantageous to you) replaced by a link to somewhere a reader may obtain the material directly from the record company (unfortunately your www.blackjazz.com domain has expired so this is not really an option at present).


Cheeba @ Soundological


from James H
reply-to James H
to Cheeba
date Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 10:27 AM
subject Black Jazz
mailed-by earthlink.net
signed-by earthlink.net

Remove all links pretaining to Black Jazz from you site. My website being down has nothing to do with you and your blog associates putting up free mp3's and my album covers up. It is straight up piracy. I like your site but your site is doing the same thing to other record companies,in which I am in contact with. It does not matter rather they are albums or in print or out of print you have no right to put art work and mp3's of record companies up without their consent don't believe me I will prove it within 5 working days. And let you and your crew explain it to Google and the record companies. You opened an can of worms,I was being nice. But if you think you can put up a blog of free music,, rather they are from lps's converted to mp'3s then you are out of your mine.

You think my tone is bad wait until you here Google & the Record Companies tone. Im drafting up certiefied lettes & emailing Google Blogs pircacy Meadia Fire, Rapid Share etc. What's so funny you believe you have the right to put up copy right art work and the logo and the music for free. And when the record comapany ask you to take it down you get affended that the comany is trying to stop you from taking food out of their childrens mouth by giving free music. If itunes pulled that the record comapnies will shut them down!!!!!!!!

It's always on hard headed blogger like you that will piss one record company off,that will spearhead a movemnet that will effect all the other music blogs. So you be the judge take the music and the links down within 4 days and contact all of your bloggers and have them remove black jazz logos and likeness. If not then I will spearhead a movement to remove blogs that have no right to put free music up via rapidshare and media fire etc....

No need to respond my staff will monitor your site and other to see if the changes took place.

James Hardge CEO Black Jazz Records 510 452 5299

P.S I no alot of the Artist on your site. And they are not happy your are giving a way the music. You bloggers believe because the album is out of print or our you riped it from a lp you have rights. Why don't you rip the ablum and keep for yourself. No one else.


from James H
reply-to James H
to Cheeba
date Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 11:05 AM
subject Black Jazz
mailed-by earthlink.net
signed-by earthlink.net

Okay let me get this straight you have the approval from ECM and EMI IMPULSE FLYINGDUTCHMAN etc.... to put their copy written album art up and the mp3's

Oh I get it you justify it by saying it's out of print or you ripped it from the lp's so that not piracy. And to ge paid you just put a paypal Donate buttom up. That way your not selling nothing. Okay Im contacting these record comanines today. As well as rapid share Media fire etc... and google blog pircacy dept. And see if you are playing by the millineum copy right act. James Hardge Black Jazz Records 510 452 5299 I will personaly shut your blog down within 5 days. I live in the bay area google is 5 miles from where i live. I told you, you onpened a can a worms messing with Black Jazz.


from Cheeba
to James H
date Sat, Feb 14, 2009 at 5:11 PM
subject Re: Black Jazz
mailed-by gmail.com

OK let me get this straight: you're willing to sign a sworn statement that you own or legally represent the copyrights to EMI, IMPULSE, FLYING DUTCHMAN, etc. material under penalty of perjury, notwithstanding the fact that Black Jazz is not a registered member of the RIAA? You go right ahead and do so Mr. Hardge. I, and my advocate, will be eagerly awaiting your next step and will respond accordingly.

Just so you know, here's some info you'll need:
To file a notice of infringement with us, you must provide a written communication (by fax or regular mail -- not by email, except by prior agreement) that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights. Indeed, in a recent case, a company that sent an infringement notification seeking removal of online materials that were protected by the fair use doctrine was ordered to pay such costs and attorneys fees. The company agreed to pay over $100,000. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.

To expedite our ability to process your request, please use the following format (including section numbers):

1.Identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon. This post must include identification of the specific posts, as opposed to entire sites. Posts must be referenced by the permalink of the post. For example, "The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on http://example.com/test/2006_01_01.html#2106.

5. Include the following statement: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."

Plus, some other info you might find useful should you proceed with any legal action:
General Information About the Copyright Notice

In investigating the copyright status of works first published before January 1, 1978, the most important thing to look for is the notice of copyright. As a general rule under the previous law, copyright protection was lost permanently if the notice was omitted from the first authorized published edition of a work or if it appeared in the wrong form or position. The form and position of the copyright notice for various types of works were specified in the copyright statute. Some courts were liberal in overlooking relatively minor departures from the statutory requirements, but a basic failure to comply with the notice provisions forfeited copyright protection and put the work into the public domain in this country.

Absence of Copyright Notice

For works first published before 1978, the complete absence of a copyright notice from a published copy generally indicates that the work is not protected by copyright. For works first published before March 1, 1989, the copyright notice is mandatory, but omission could have been cured by registration before or within 5 years of publication and by adding the notice to copies published in the United States after discovery of the omission. Some works may contain a notice, others may not. The absence of a notice in works published on or after March 1, 1989, does not necessarily indicate that the work is in the public domain.

Sound Recordings • Reproductions of sound recordings usually contain two different types of creative works: the underlying musical, dramatic, or literary work that is being performed or read and the fixation of the actual sounds embodying the performance or reading. For protection of the underlying musical or literary work embodied in a recording, it is not necessary that a copyright notice covering this material appear on the phonograph records or tapes on which the recording is reproduced. As noted above, a special notice is required for protection of the recording of a series of musical, spoken, or other sounds that were fixed on or after February 15, 1972. Sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are not eligible for federal copyright protection. The Sound Recording Act of 1971, the present copyright law, and the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988 cannot be applied or be construed to provide any retroactive protection for sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972. Such works, however, may be protected by various state laws or doctrines of common law.

My guess is you've probably seen that the original sound recordings of Black Jazz records were not affixed with a copyright notice.

I also found this highly educational:
In the early 1990s the label and its catalog were purchased by James Hardge. While only one new album by Doud Carn was released, the entire catalog was reissued on CD. While for a time the label maintained a website and purported to offer items for sale, there were numerous problems with customers not receiving their merchandise. Evidence of this can be found in complaints submitted to complaints.com, ripoffreport.com and other websites. As of January 2009, the Black Jazz website is no longer active.

www.ripoffreport.com complaint
www.complaints.com complaint
www.organissimo.org forum feedback
ebay feedback

Seems like your time and energy would be better spent elsewhere - like fulfilling orders for which you've taken funds or at least answering emails and phone calls asking why they have not been fulfilled. I'm pretty sure there are statutes regarding failure to do so. You might even want to expend some into updating your web presence or properly mastering your product:
my vinyl reissue was (fucking bizarrely) re-mastered from CD, and not just any CD, but one that skips; these skips happen twice on this album.

this album is oddly mastered from CD, which becomes apparent at one or two points in the playback.

Should I be so inclined to purchase more Black Jazz product in the future, I will spend the money on the original pressings or obtain digitally from P-Vine, who have exceptional quality control. It will be well worth the money I would have otherwise squandered on your apparently inferior product - if it actually arrived at all, which seems doubtful based on your recent eBay ratings and shuttered website. Since I spend upwards of $10K per year on hard copies of music (that's a conservative estimate and in line with what DJs, music journalists and record collectors expend - I happen to fall under all 3 categories for the past 15 years) the extra few dollars it may cost is of little consequence to me overall. This will also be my recommedation when I receive emails from my blog/newspaper readers, when I receive phone calls while DJing jazz on the radio or when people come up to me while I'm DJing at my jazz night asking where to buy Black Jazz material.

Please note I am terminating my personal correspondence with you effective immediately. You have been duly notified in good faith that I have no materials related to your alleged copyright and any further attempts to contact me regarding same constitutes harrassment. All further messages sent by you will remain unanswered and will be forwarded to my advocate for review. I also reserve the right to publish in whole or in part any correspondence addressed to me, past, present or future, as it is my property once received.

Good day, sir


from James H
reply-to James H
to soundological@gmail.com
date Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:21 PM
subject Black Jazz
mailed-by earthlink.net
signed-by earthlink.net

Wrong: I will forward your blog to the labels CEO's. Also if your not a member of the RIAA it gives bloggers & bootlegers the right to give your music away and steal your art work? Wow you are a Idiot. You don't own nothing on your site. A matter a fact the site is provided by google for free.

You don't have a leg to stand on. I cant beleive that some one who has no label is trying to justify a childish ass blog. You will be removed real easy. Google will do it watch. I told you 4 days.

PS. Why would someone put their collection up on a blog for free. I have 15,000 cds and 35,000 albums.
Now why would I started putting albums up that I bought when I was 8 yrs old on a blog for free. That shit is alot of work. Bloggers do that shit to jackoff and make themselves apart of the music in which they don't even own. Unbeleviable. It's not enough to enjoy your collection. You have to violate record companies album artwork & music. To feel good amoung another bloggers, unbeilveble. Why dont you start a legit real record label?. Oh I forgot that takes money, you love blogs.

Dont worry I will close your blog. I told you it's personal you think that you are within your right
I just want to prove to you. That you are not.


I said "good day, sir!"

Well, a total of 10 days has passed since this exchange and I watched and I waited as Mr. Hardge said to do and here's what I saw: no posts have been removed, no other requests to remove material have come my way and - whaddaya know - Soundological is still standing.

I'll leave it at that for now since making fun of this jerk is like shooting giant squid in a bucket.

BTW I don't have any objection to removing any copyrighted material if requested to do so by the copyright owners...although they will still have to eventually explain how the material available here, replicated in inferior quality, competes with their product. In fact, if they would claim that even their "digital download" revenue is threatened by material here, it would be a tacit admission that a vinyl rip is of superior quality than their crap mp3 and it wouldn't be worth spending money on in the first place.

Obviously, as a published journalist, radio/club DJ, and artist in my own right, the issue of intellectual property holds great interest for me. If you're also interested in your rights and how to fight greed-ridden corporations (or just plain assholes) who use copyright laws as a cudgel for censorship and mind control, here are a smattering of further resources for you to peruse:

Matt Mason, "The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Reinvented Capitalism" found here
Cory Doctorow, "Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future" found here
Lawrence Lessig, "Free Culture" found here
Duke University, "Bound By Law" comic book found here
Appropriation Art, "51st State" comic book found here

Appropriation Art
Creative Commons
Stanford Prof Lawrence Lessig's Blog
University of Ottawa Prof Michael Geist's Blog
Duke University's Center for the Study of Public Domain
University of Amsterdam's Institute for Information Law
Recording Industry vs. The People
Slashdot's Your Rights Online
US Copyright Office
Anarchist Librarians Web
RIAA Radar
Courtney Love's Piracy in the Music Business speech
How Music Royalties Work
RIAA/MPAA Make Edison's Mistakes at Boing Boing
Torrentfreak has the best coverage going of The Pirate Bay trial

Alrighty then! That's it for the first real rant here at Soundological. Believe me, there will likely be more in the future but for now S.I. will be gettin' back on track with the wax. Stay tuned the next day or two for some more out of print music that doesn't deserve to languish in limbo even though greedy assholes who have no way to actually capitalise on them may disagree.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Moe Koffman - Master Suite

Anitra's Last Dance

Master Suite

256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from GRT 9230-1041

Seems like somehow Moe got pretty popular 'round these parts...in three short days The Four Seasons has suddenly become the single-most downloaded file here at Soundological. Not sure if it's based on the strength of the preview track or if there was another factor involved but this kind of take rate is completely unprecedented. Perhaps it's just Moe's fans coming out of the woodwork or it's due to the original popularity of the album on its release? Whatever the reason, it's a good thing one of the few pre-prepped LPs I had ready is another Koffman/Riley collaboration: Master Suite.

It's the follow-up to The Four Seasons and completes MK's hat-trick of concept albums covering classical material in a jazz-fusion style. This time he departs from spotlighting a single composer and instead he spreads the flutey love around to a variety of well-known pieces from assorted classical masters. As you can see in the AMG review below, Moe doesn't really get much recognition from the music journos, mostly due to what could be called chronic run-of-the-mill "critic snootiness" but it must be said this is not as strong an outing as his Vivaldi reworking from the previous year. While Mr. Allan is a bit dismissive of the effort in toto, there's a lot of truth in his assessment of the familiar melodies' tendancy to over-shadow the proceedings.

If you had a chance to read the review of The Four Seasons in the previous post, you'll likely find it kind of ironic that most of the chastising it received for being a failed "prog" piece is actually more applicable in this intance. While there are some high points such as the waltz-time "Anitra's Dance," the softly hypnotic "Syrinx" and some of the stronger segments of "Suite Fantastique," there are also duds like "Cavern of the Mountain Trolls," an ill-conceived mish-mash of hackneyed progrock idioms
; "Theme from Orpheus," which sounds like a whiter shade of a pale Procol Harum; and "Morning Mist," which comes off as categorically cheesy because it just can't jettison the melodic baggage of the original composition.

In many cases, even the exceptional technical proficiency displayed by supporting regulars Riley, Bickert, Thomspon and Clarke aren't enough to elevate the tunes above a cheap gimmickery and the copious free-jazz flavoured breaks feel unduly tacked on as an afterthought. Where Four Seasons found some sweet grooves and explored the space within the symphonic structure, Master Suite is a disjointed effort that jumps from ubiquitous bits of the classical canon into either spastic improv or bombastic arena-rock and then back again with little apparent rhyme or reason. Thankfully Moe recognised a dead end and this release rightfully signals the cessation of his reliance on the classical-jazz-rock-fusion crutch he'd been leaning on for a few years and prompted him to explore more freeform avenues while staying grounded in his swing & hard bop roots.

AMG Review by Mark Allan
Unlike most 1970s fusion experiments, this one wedded jazz and some rock to classical. The problem is that the melodies inspired by Mozart, Grieg, Debussy, Berlioz, Bartok, and Gluck far outshine the jazz-rock middle sections by the Canadian flutist and his accompaniment. If this record was a real marriage, it would last six months.

Moe Koffman - Flute, Bass Flute, Piccolo
Doug Riley - Keyboards
Don Thompson - Acoustic & Electric Bass
Terry Clarke - Drums
Michael Craden - Percussion
Sandra Watts - Oboe
Ed Bickert - Guitar (1,4,8)
Terry Bush - Guitar (3,5,6,8)
D. Long - Rhythm Guitar (3)

1 Morning Mist
2 Anitra's Last Dance
3 Cavern of the Mountain Trolls
4 Intermezzo
5 The from Orpheus
6 Mozart's Ark
7 Syrinx
8 Suite Fantastique (Reveries/Witches Sabbath/March to the Scaffold)

Suiten your pot with Soundological HERE or HERE and if you're looking for mo' better Moe be sure to check out his discography post on SI as well.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Moe Koffman - The Four Seasons

Summer: Overture to Summer

MOE KOFFMAN The Four Seasons 1972

256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from GRT 9230-1022

Well, faithful readers, it seems the recent computer meltdown was much worse than previously thought. I plugged my old drives into the new computer amd on start-up they started clicking and actually smoking. I've had my share of crashes but never seen the breath of the the devil wafting forth from my precious data like that before. This means ALL my unprocessed rips & scans are history and there were about a dozen LPs worth of 'em. Also lost all the tracks I've worked on in the past 6 months and a shitload of music & video. It took out my pro sound card too, so I'm using an old SoundBlaster Live! I had laying around...alas, ripping new material is not an option at the moment. Now before you get all uppity about backup that's the problem: my mirror drive went too. Just another reason why this is a burn, both literally & figuratively. Thankfully, there's still a few albums left in my posting buffer and I've finally gotten a chance to do a couple write ups.

So, without further ado, here we go with our fourth installment of the Moe Koffman discography, the title of which coincidentally corresponds quite nicely with its place in the Moe posting sequence. If you haven't had a chance to check out the others, just click on the "can con" tag at the end of the post or type "koffman" into the search box, top left.

This double-LP set is pretty rare these days yet when it does pop up, it doesn't have that high a sticker price - anywhere from $5 to $20 depending on condition. If you ask me, this one's a gold mine of samples waiting to be used and if you like your classical fused with some funky floot, you'll probably enjoy the proceedings on the whole. Now, it ain't nowhere near the funkiness of Don Sebesky or Bob James' interpolations of classical themes but Doug Riley works out some good arrangements in addition to just killing it on the Hammond and Rhodes all the way through.

Unlike most of Koffman's albums there's a pretty thorough review available online so I've taken the liberty of posting the entire write up since excerpts don't exactly do justice to Christopher Currie's analysis of the record. Keep in mind that the review is being written with a prog-rock slant (it was first posted on a newsgroup devoted to Brit proggers Yes) and some of its sweeping statements should be taken with a grain of salt since it seems sometimes he's not sure whether to be ascerbic or apologetic...

Tentative Review by The Christopher Currie

When mainstream music critics chide the progressive scene for its adaptation/bastardization of classical music, ELP's Pictures At An Exhibition is a frequent talent. The ELP work, after all, is one of the few progressive-era work to tackle (in more sense than one, of course) an established classical piece over the space of an entire album. It's also not the highest quality work that ELP ever released, making it a doubly convenient target for typecasting the genre.

I have a feeling, however, that ELP might receive a bit less attention if more critics were aware of Moe Koffman's The Four Seasons.

A bit of background information may be in order ...

Moe Koffman is a veteran of Canada's jazz/classical scene. He had a hit single in the late 1950s entitled "Swinging Shepherd Blues", and has ventured forth into the world of pop-classical/pop-jazz recordings from time to time since then. He's also, by at least one reliable account, a first-class jerk, known for hounding various players out of the Toronto music scene on the basis of personal vendettas. As drafter of Toronto's "Phantom Of The Opera" orchestral lineup, Koffman is unquestionably a man of some authority, which may explain why he's able to release novelty works as awful as Back To Bach and remain a fixture in the industry. Though a skilled flutist, Koffman therefore falls into something of an "artistically suspect" category.

In 1972, Koffman (no doubt acting under the influence of Emerson's expanding popularity) decided to create a progressive rock version of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons", with string orchestra and rock band accompaniment. For sheer preposterousness, this two-record set at least matches ELP's Pictures, and quite possibly exceeds it. Unlike the ELP set, however, this album has languished in obscurity for several years, free of both the harsh gaze of anti-prog critics and skeptical acceptance from the genre's fans. While this isn't a fundamental loss for either, an increased awareness of its presence would at least add a little more perspective into such matters.

As one might expect from a work of this sort, the music toes a narrow gap between novelty status and serious performance. The composition itself is obviously solid [the official credits are obviously a different matter], the performances are reasonable enough for the circumstances, and there's enough real music going on (from a progressive standpoint, at least) to justify most of the album. On the other hand, the project as a whole is obviously terribly contrived. If the listener closes his/her eyes and pretends that Doug Riley is actually Keith Emerson, the music often stands on its own -- there are times, however, when this facade simply doesn't work. I would be reluctant to actually recommend this album, it's ratings notwithstanding [and it certainly wouldn't hold much appeal to Vivaldi enthusiasts, save perhaps as a novelty item]; still, there is something of a strange appeal to much of the music here.

The album begins, of course, with Koffman's adaptation of Vivaldi's most famous work, the "Overture To Spring". A completely over-the-top performance, this work perhaps outdoes anything even Emerson or Wakeman could have created with the track's basic material. Horrible lounge filler interacts with actual music; a Hammond Organ appears out of nowhere at point for obvious effect -- the entire track, in other words, sums up the ambivalent relationship between tastefulness and technical skill better than ELP could have hoped for.

Many listeners probably didn't make it as far as the second track, which is a bit of a shame -- most of the album isn't quite as "in your face" about its juxtaposition of styles. "Le Reveil" is actually a semi-reverential take on the original (featuring flute and electric piano) -- the pathos doesn't come through, but it works well enough otherwise. "Nature's Banquet" (based the final section of "Spring", of course) is a jazz improvisation on the original theme, with Koffman providing a centre for the piece amid a fairly good jam performance (though perhaps the drums are a bit too heavily in the spotlight).

The "Summer" section begins with "Overture To Summer", featuring a somewhat more restrained pop-classical mix than that which began the previous side -- competent enough as a work of music, its pop stylings appear rather superfluous. Next follows "Sunshower", a rather more proggish track including a truly derivative performance from Doug Riley -- the Emerson "influence" actually becomes rather disturbing, at some points in the song. Otherwise, this work is most notable for a reverential, pastoral mid-section, which somehow doesn't really work in this context. "The Calm" and "The Storm" are, of course, related works -- the former features flute, keyboards and aquatic sounds to a limited effect; the latter features yet another Emerson-esque adaptation of the same theme. Neither work, ultimately, is an album high point.

The "Autumn" section begins in a rather unsatisfying fashion. The opening section of "Harvest Festival" is rather dubious, featuring a contrived blues-rock direction of sorts; the track eventually improves, but not enough to entirely erase the taint of its introduction. "Sleep", featuring acoustic guitar in a prominent role, is actually a decent pop- classical fusion work (Riley's piano work is notable in this context as well). "Dance Of The Leaves", meanwhile, is another jam around the ordinary Vivaldian theme -- not perfect throughout, this still includes the high point of the side.

One suspects that Koffman was running out of ideas (or time) towards the end, given that the "Winter" section is somewhat shorter than the other sides of the work. The music, too, seems a bit innocuous in relation to the rest of the work. "Icicle Bells" features a decent introduction (lead by Koffman & Riley) but flounders somewhat on the jazz section which follows. "Snowflakes", a more thoroughly jazzified piece, also falls somewhat short of a higher status. It therefore falls to "Inverno Furioso" to conclude the album on a relatively stately basis -- this work is a traditional performance of the original version (obviously re-arranged, of course), apparently included to verify Koffman's diversity in such matters.

There can be little doubt that Koffman's The Four Seasons is an imitation of British progressive styles, performed by individuals not normally known for working in the genre. Still, one could easily find worse Koffman projects to explore.
As a curious detour in progressive music's development, this work has some value.

(originally posted to alt.music.yes on 28 Jan 1999)

Moe Koffman - Flute, Bass Flute, Piccolo
Doug Riley - Keyboards
Don Thompson - Acoustic & Electric Bass
Terry Clarke - Drums
Michael Craden - Percussion
Dick Smith - Percussion (1)
Bobby Edwards - Guitar
Terry Bush - Guitar (7)
Bill Richards - Violin
Maurice Solway - Violin
Isadore Desser - Violin
Victoria Polly - Violin
Adele Armin - Violin
Peter Schenkman - Cello
Dave Hetherington - Cello

1 - Spring: Overture to Spring (Allegro)
2 - Spring: Le Reveil (Largo)
3 - Spring: Nature's Banquet (Allegro)
4 - Summer: Overture to Summer (Allegro)
5 - Summer: Sunshower (Allegro)
6 - Summer: The Calm (Adagio)
7 - Summer: The Storm (Presto)
8 - Autumn: Harvest Festival (Allegro)
9 - Autumn: Sleep (Adagio)
10 - Autumn: Dance of the Leaves (Allegro)
11 - Winter: Icicle Bells (Allegro)
12 - Winter: Snowflakes (Largo)
13 - Winter: Invèrno Furioso (Allegro)

This one was c
ertified gold in Canada 1972 so it's surprising you don't run into it more often up here. Until you dig it up yourself, you can grab it from Soundological's treasure chest HERE or HERE.