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The Lonely Bears

The Bears are Running

Review by Gary Hill

A new release in that it is only now being released in the US, this album has been available in Europe for quite some time. The Lonely Bears catalog is just now being released in America on the Magna Carta label. This disc features the jazzy fusion sorts of intstrumental pieces found on the other albums by this group, however, this one is more disonant and free form than some of the rest of the catalog.

The personnel on this album are Tony Hymas (Jeff Beck, Jack Bruce, Ian Anderson), Terry Bozzio (Bozzio, Levin, Stevens; Frank Zappa; UK), Hugh Burns (Gerry Rafferty, Steelers Wheel), and Tony Coe (Spencer Davis, Henry Mancini, Caravan).

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Ma Grande Ourse
Beginning with some rather spooky keyboard work, this song is a very short number, combining interesting drum work with sounds which seem very nature based, calling to mind thunder and animal cries.
From the Nacfa Mountains
The saxophone on this track gives forth a rather nice sort of African based texture. In fact the entire song seems to be a jazz rendering of a joyous African tribal tradition. This is very delightful and uplifting number.
Eastbourne 1907
Horns begin this one in a rather noisy and discordant fashion. The rhythm enters and begins moving in intriguing patterns. The overall effect of the piece, though, is barely controlled chaos and disonance. This one is quite a bit of disorder, with moments of beauty interspersed. It drops to a piano solo in a neo classical manner.
Happy Go Lucky Loco
A brief chaotic cut that is quite experimental, this one bursts into a solid jam for a time before returning to chaos.
No Picnic
Starting with percussion, that percussion quickly becomes the cement that holds the early segment's wanderings together. After a time, the composition explodes into an energetic and meandering jazz jam that is just a little out of control. The song eventually dissolves into sheer chaos.
I Listen to You Dreaming
Atmospheric strains begin this one and they continue building, almost as a surreal storm. The cut is quite a mellow one.
More Than A Thousand Years
Melodic and relaxing, this cut forms a nice contrast to the last few. It features some very good dramatic jazz wanderings that eventually give way to an evocative piano solo accompanied only by atmospheric strains. This one leads straight into "Looking For Maquah".
Looking For Maquah
Frantic drumming begins this piece of epic proportions. As the other instruments enter fully, they begin dancing lines around one another weaving a melody of barely controlled chaos. After a stop, the tune restarts in more modern and powerful textures. The piano work really takes the piece for a time, moving in free-form directions. Then it moves to a hard rocking guitar dominated segment, somewhat reminiscent of King Crimson. From there the piece again dissolves into disorder and begins rebuilding in almost playful tones. As saxophone takes the piece, it drops way back to near silence for a time, before building back up to frantic meandering again.
Joik
Highly melodic, this one is a soaring jam with a great groove. By far this is one of the best cuts on the disc.
Spider Woman
Sedate sax and percussion textures begin this one. It meanders in clow melodic patterns, running intriguing lines and building in atmospheric tones. The piece then becoms a percussion excursion for a time before moving int mysterious unexplored territory. This latter sectinon is considerably strong. The cut then drops to atmospheric modes to end.
Running Bears
With a rather funky bass line and unusual drum pattern, this cut is a fun number whose melody is quite catchy at times. It dissolves into a free from jam from time to time and dissolves into chaos at the end.
Hopping Down in Kent
A bouncy number, this one has a slight Celtic texture to it, and is just plain fun.
Los Ultimos Dias
Beginning with a rhythm section reminiscent of King Crimson, this piece eventually moves into some very good jazz stylings. At times the primary guiding force to this track is the saxophone, while at other times some quite pleasant piano work dominates.
 
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