Launching and feasting

40th Anniversary edition of Kuře v hodinkách album by Flamengo (already available for download at Supraphonline) will be launched on February 28th at Prague restaurant, named after this legendary album - Kuře v hodinkách at Seifertova street. There will be appropriate live act for the evening: Kulhánek-Holeček-Razím-Kowacz quartet.

This group went together last year, when extraordinary talented singer and multiinstrumentalist Jan Holeček asked his Enregit bandmate and Flamengo veteran bass player Vladimír "Guma" Kulhánek (who played in Krausberry, T4, Jan Kořínek & Groove, and other bands since his departure from Mišík's Etc...) to form blues rock line-up for one-off concert in Germany with renowned jazz / rock drummer Pavel Razím and Red Baron Band guitar player Paul Kowacz. Quartet then decided to continue in playing their original cover versions of various classic songs from repertoire of Buddy Guy, Beatles, Cream, CCR, Elvis Presley, Rolling Stones, Edgar Winter and others.

By the way, Red Baron Band changed his line-up radically during last year's autumn: gone are bass guitarist, organ player, and lead singer Monika Infernalis (who is still active with her other band Andezit). All three were replaced by Jan Holeček, who made first two albums with the band and works also with Paul Kowacz & 3 Band. Holeček is now handling lead vocals, bass guitar and vintage keyboards (hammond organ, moog & mellotron) in RBB. They are reviving some songs from early days and working on new material as well. In between, they compiled material from their four albums for two volumes of Anthology, released as free download on their website and also did some new video clips to old favourites. Other Red Baron Band players and founding members are Paul Kowacz (guitar and vocals) and Radek "Miner" Horník (drums). Their next concert, a birthday concert, will take place at Kuře v hodinkách again on March 7th.

Another launch evening is planned at Futurum Music Bar on February 29. NTS Trio will be celebrating release of concert DVD Permanente Live with guests: visual artist Dominika Divá and singer / speaker Michael Kyselka. NTS is comprsied of keyboard player Michal Nejtek (a succesful composer of contemporary classical music and member of electric Limbo or Face Of The Bass), double bass player Petr Tichý and drummer Štěpán Smetáček. All three are also using samples and electronics to process their own sound and / or signal of their bandmates in live performance. NTS were honoured with independent music prize Tais Awards for their second album Permanente Frustration, released last year in vinyl form and as free download.


Anniversaries & opinions

February 24th will see release of 4oth Anniversary edition of Kuře v hodinkách (aka Chicken in the Clock), the one and only album of great Czech group FLAMENGO. The band existed from 1966 to 1972, line-up which recorded this masterpiece between October 1971 and March 1972 get together around 1970 with arrival of singer Vladimír Mišík, sax and flute player Jan Kubík and bass guitarist Vladimír "Guma" Kulhánek. Earlie members were guitarist Pavel Fořt, organ player Ivan Khunt (he also sings solo in one song) and drummer Jaroslav "Erno" Šedivý. All of them contributed to songwriting. They were playing the songs live with peudo-English lyrics first. Thanks to producer Hynek Žalčík, they have opportunity to record new music on album for Supraphon (one of two only official record companies in Czech, controlled by communist government) and to enrich the songs with Czech words, penned by prominent poet Josef Kainar
Flamengo 1972: Mišík, Kulhánek, Khunt, Šedivý, Fořt, Kubík
Kainar, who was great admirer of jazz and rock music, did his best, despite that he was ill and died before the album was finished. He provided timeless lyrics, experessing various approaches of term "Time", of Live, Love and Wandering. Words for the Stále dál (On and on) song were penned by Hynek Žalčík. Few guests was involved in recording, including additional saxes and vibraphone by renowned jazz master Karel Velebný. In sound, music of this album is very similiar to British Colosseum (who were playing at Internatinal Jazz Festival Praha in 1969 and Flamengo members were also familiar with Colosseum Live double album), Jan Kubík's expressive flute sometimes remind Jethro Tull. 
There is general consensus among music critics and lovers that Kuře v hodinkách is best album of Czech rock music ever. It was released in very limited edition and for subscribers of so-called Grammophone Club only, and was not reissued until 1990, as Jan Kubík, Erno Šedivý and Ivan Khunt emigrated from communist Czechoslovakia during 70's, when "normalisation" after 1968 went into full flow and situation for performing rock bands was very unfriendly. And sadly enough, Flamengo disbanded due to same reasons around the time when album was released. New reissue will include 2 songs from earlier single release (already available on previous CD version) and alternative single version of title song, extensive booklet, unpublished photos and new sleevenote.

So where the paths of Flamengo musicians led then? Drummer Erno Šedivý and organ player Ivan Khunt (this time as vocalist only) joined forces with ex-Framus Five guitar player Luboš Andršt in new band Energit - their early hard rock period is documented by six demo recordings, released as bonus on CD reissue of two later, instrumental jazz-rock oriented albums (Energit and Piknik, Indies Happy Trails 2oo8). After Khunt and Šedivý departed (and left for America via Scandinavia), Andršt and bass guitar player Vladimír Padrůněk were joined in Energit by Flamengo singer Vladimír Mišík for short time, before Mišík started his own successful career. In fact, few Flamengo members are playing on some songs from Mišík's eponymous debut album (Supraphon 1976), as it was recorded before he formed his backing band Etc... In this group Mišík in 80's reunited with bass player Vladimír Kulhánek, who stayed in Etc... for more than 10 years. 
In between, Kulhánek with sax & flute player Jan Kubík formed jazz-rock unit Bohemia, a kind of supergroup with singer and keyboard player Lešek Semelka (out of The Blue Effect, or M.Efekt as they were named during "normalisation" time, when English names of rock groups seemed dangerous for "culture wathers"), future guitar hero Michal Pavlíček, drummer Pavel Trnavský and second keyboard player Jan Hála. Bohemia's only album Zrnko písku (Grain of Sand, Panton 1978) is another gem of Czech music and was reissued on CD with 6 single bonus tracks (Supraphon 2008, two vocal songs from singles are sadly omitting from reissue). Before and after Bohemia Kulhánek earn his living as player in some pop / jazz / theatre backing bands, in Peter Lipa & Luboš Andršt Blues Band, and in mid 80's he reunited with Michal Pavlíček in rock / fusion project Stromboli. 

Jan Kubík left Czechoslovakia after disbanding of Bohemia and is now living and playing jazz occasionaly in Austria. Guitarist Pavel Fořt after the end of Flamengo soon became member of backing band for most famous and widely populal Czech singer Karel Gott. In parallel, he was leader and arranger for studio-based group Labyrint, which worked a.o. with C&K Vocal sextet, most memorably on their first album Generace (Suprahon 1977, with assistance of 2 fellow Flamengo members Kulhánek and Kubík), where you can find excellent renditions of two songs from Kuře v hodinkách. Export Engish version of this album was issued earlier in 1976 as Generation
Erno Šedivý was active as a musician in United States and worked a.o. with Jello Biafra, who released album of Erno's band Life After Life on his Alternative Tentacles label in 1997. Around the turn of the century, both Erno Šedivý and Ivan Khunt were back in "free" Czech Republic. While first became extremely active on Prague scene, other stayed mostly in retirement and died early 2oo5.
March 1st 2oo6 saw concert in Prague Roxy club, composed as Memorial for Ivan Khunt, Vladimír Padrůněk (1952-1991) and Hynek Žalčík (1949-2oo5). Living Flamengo members except Mišík were joined by Jan Holeček (ex-Freeway Jam and Red Baron Band, will tell more about his recent activities later) on vocals, flute and hammond organ and performed most of Kuře v hodinkách album. Other act of the Evening was re-united Energit with Erno Šedivý on drums, Guma Kulhánek on bass and again Jan Holeček on vocals and keyboards. Energit continues playing until present day and will be part of Vladimír Padrůněk In Memoriam concert at Palác Akropolis on February 21, with guest singer Vladimír Mišík. Other band appearing at phenomenal bass player's 60th birthday memorial will be Jazz Q, where Padrůněk spent most of 70's - in fact he was migrating between this fusion group and Mišík's Etc..., which he co-founded with singer. In early 80's Padrůněk was not active on music scene due to serious illnes, his last stint with hard rock band Dux (1985-1987) is documented on Vladimír Padrůněk In Memoriam album (Panton 1992).

It is appropriate to tell here about new Supraphon web shop named Supraphonline, where you can buy most of their available catalogue in mp3 (320 kbps) or looseless Flac format, and they are making available many rarities for download now. Comparing to, say, eMusic, this shop is not yet very smart...  For example: to wiev all available Jazz Q albums (3 of them with Vladimír Padrůněk), you have to look for Jazz Q, Jazz Q Praha and Jazz Q Martina Kratochvíla. If you cannot handle Czech or cannot pay in Czk (no PayPal option there), you have rather go to eMusic or iTunes or Amazon (phew, they are not yet offering Flac..), where Supraphon has to be distributed, or check Supraphon website in English. In any case, do not expect that you can find every title on every distribution partner's shop ;-)
From previous year, Supraphon is also distributing catalogue of jazz label Animal Music...

And more - visit pages of dAdA ACTa international project, where huge number of artists express their opinions towards so-called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, and where you can freely download 4CD compilation, for which every artist contributed original track.

And some jazz concerts - Sean Noonan's Brewed By Noon on February 23rd at Jazz Time, more at Jazz Meets World website. Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra on February 22 and 23, and trio of Venezuelan pianist Louis Perdomo, Ravi Coltrane's bandmate on Monday 27th at Jazz Dock. See also 2o12 programme of AghaRTA Prague Jazz Festival with first concert on March 6th or really exciting line up on JazzFest Brno 2o12 (second half of April). Howgh.


February snows & bluenights

A number of interesting concerts is coming to happen in Prague. On Thursday, February 9, impro-series wakushoppu is continuing at Café v lese. As always the will be two units this evening - K!amm + Jorge Boehringer and Lovci lebek. During concert will be launched CD compilation of recordings from previous wakushoppu evenings, comprised of collective improvisations occuring at each concert's finale. CD is released as supplement with new issue of HiS Voice magazine. Concert starts around 8 as is, as always, for free.

Different kind of music you can hear the same Thursday at Lucerna Music Bar from 9pm as part of Prague International Bluenight series. American BLACK STONE RAiDERS is stellar trio of guitarist and singer Jean Paul Bourelly (once with Miles Davis), bass guitarist Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones) and drummer Will Calhoun (Living Colour, Head/Fake, etc). You can expect mix of rock, funk, jazz and jungle, as well as spirit of Jimi Hendrix. Trio starts in Prague whole string of their Czech concerts, ending Feb 15 in Plzeň. In Lucerna bar, there will be support duo of Zdeněk Bína (guitar & vocals, ex-123 min) and Jan Urbanec (bass guitar).

On Friday, February 10, at Jazz Dock will be launched new album Daily Specials by renowned American guitarist Steve Walsh. Recording was made with Czech musicians Jan Kořínek (hammond organ), Tomáš Liška (double bass) and Daniel Šoltis (drums) and is this year's first release of Animal Music label. From earlier Jazz Dock concerts, Wednesday's Bucinatores Sextet night show is recommended.

On Saturday, February 11th, at Café Potrvá is continuing new unique project Band+1, bringing mostly unheard combinations of working jazz units with exclusive guest. This time it will be Oswald and the Orbits (Cyrille Oswald - saxes, etc, David Dorůžka - guitar and Daniel Šoltis - drums, in fact 3/4 of Cyrille's Czech quartet from The Wrong Present album) plus Oskar Török (of Vertigo and Sato-San To, a.o.) on trumpet.

Speaking about VERTiGO (formerly Veritgo Quintet), on February 15th they are starting their 10th anniversary tour with two dates in France. In Prague, there will be two concerts: an intimate evening in Rybanaruby on February 20 and bigger event at KC Vltavská on 21. After their latest, fourth and extraordinary album Metamorphosis (Animal Music 2o11), Vertigo was honored with independent music prize Tais Awards.



Have you heard of a time that will help get it together again?
Have you heard of the word that will stop us going wrong?
Well, the time is near and the word you'll hear
When you get things in perspective.
Spread the news and help the word go round.

There's a time and the time is now and it's right for me,
It's right for me, and the time is now.
There's a word and the word is love and it's right for me,
It's right for me, and the word is love.

Jon Anderson / David Foster, 1970

Songs long like a smoke 
Songs fast as an arrow

I like songs
I'm lucky I can sing
Though many others sing better

I know every castle here
Every palace in the neighbourhood
my songs are entered by
Both the common man and the king

I like songs
And when my voice allow me
I will sing today's story
On and on

And who do not trust it
Lets he wander the world's edge

Love is a paradise
It has tousand of secret doors
As told in the ancient tale

Love is a shield
Sweet honey and living water
Which I would like to drink

May belongs to love
When the feel and the honour and the devotion will join
Then love becomes the paradise

Love is a paradise
And the one who sings about it here
Knows the ancient tale

May belongs to love
When the feel and the honour and the devotion will join
Then love becomes the paradise

Svatopluk Havelka / Pavel Kopta, 1978