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release (already available on previous CD version) and alternative single version of title song, extensive booklet, unpublished photos and new sleevenote.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.

1 comment:

  1. here you can download Best of Jazz Q 1977-81, out-of-print CD in mp3