Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don Burrows - "The Tasman Connection" (1976)


Don Burrows
and his partner George Golla get down to business with three New Zealand musicians in Burrow's most "electric" studio album, named for the Tasman Sea which separates Australia and New Zealand. Although his liner notes propose this as a cross-cultural collaboration, it's more of a disparate group of musicians pushing their individual influences through on different tracks. Some nice bits of fusion, some good easy, some bad easy - a mixed bag that's worth a listen, and quite different from "The Jazz Sound of ..." album - as you'd expect ten years on.

Whereas you can retrospectively draw some musical throughlines from New Zealand albums that involve the indigenous Māori people - particularly through funk, reggae, dub, soul and hip-hop (see my Johnny Rocco Band post) - other New Zealand musicians/composers of the time, rather like their Australian counterparts, don't tend to have a common regional sound or set of styles - though there's some good jazz from New Zealand, check this post.

Too much Fosters? : L-R Don Burrows; Frank Gibson Jr.; Julian Lee; Andy Brown, George Golla.

From memory I saw a version of this band live - I was 14 and playing guitar in metal bands, and my mother used to take me to jazz concerts to try and gently enact some sort of conversion. It didn't work at the time - I went funk then punk instead - but here I am posting the album more than thirty years later. Congratulations mom.

Burrows had been experimenting with electronic attachments across a few albums, and here he's often using harmonic-doubling, wah-wah and some distortion on some of his woodwinds, particularly the clarinet that you hear in "Twilight Zone" and at the start of "The Tasman Connection"(video at top)

Guitarist George Golla seems to have been listening to some CTI-era George Benson, but he's using a seven-string guitar so clearly is one up on George B :) Actually, I should stop being mean to George, he released his solo album "Easy Feelings" in 1976 which contained one decent track called "The Dancers", which was sampled by DJ Shadow at some stage (but wasn't everyone?)

"The Dancers" (excerpt) - George Golla
DOWNLOAD TRACK (not in album download)

Back to the album ... On keyboards and horns we have Julian Lee, a blind man who had a substantial career as an arranger and musician. He was George Shearing's primary arranger for much of the 1960s on albums like "New Look!" and "Deep Velvet". He did string arrangements on a few albums by Gene Harris and the Three Sounds, including "Beautiful Friendship" from 1965, as well as a few albums by Gerry Mulligan.

"Judo" excerpt

With that background, Lee is something of an easy listening force here melodically, and contributes three compositions which range from pleasant soul-jazz ("Judo") to übercheese ("Get Into it" and "Long White Cloud") The Māori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, most commonly translated as "land of the long white cloud". In recent years Lee has moved to Australia, and has won several awards for his music education programs for blind children.

In contrast, drummer Frank Gibson Jr is more of a fusion figure - the year before this, he led a group called Dr Tree on a self-titled album that Reza pointed us to in one of the recent recommendation posts here (someone's subsequently posted a better version at the Prog Not Frog forum). That album began with a short track called "The Twilight Zone" which is here expanded in a six minute version built around Gibson's rolling Elvin Jones-ish scatter drums, and is the best thing going here.

"Twilight Zone" excerpt

Frank Gibson moved to the UK soon after this recording, initially working with some jazz and fusion groups like Paz and Morrissey-Mullen, then moving into pop and art-rock circles with Rick Wakeman, Leo Sayer and others. Back in New Zealand he frequently collaborated with Andy Brown, the bass player from here, on projects like their Space Case band.

Anyway hope you enjoy this one, vinyl rips/posts take a while to do so keep the comments a comin' thanks ...

Don Burrows - clarinet, electric clarinet, flute, alto flute, B-flat school flute, percussionGeorge Golla - seven string electric guitarJulian Lee - electric piano, electric organ, flugel horn, trumpetAndy Brown - bass, electric bassFrank Gibson Jr. - drums, percussionTRACKLIST
01. The Tasman Connection (4:52) - Don Burrows
02. Blues Crossover (5:06) - George Golla
03. Don't Contact Us (5:41) - Don Burrows
04. Remember When (4:50) - George Golla
05. Judo (5:36) - Julian Lee
06. Get Into It (2:30) - Julian Lee
07. Long White Cloud (6:11) - Julian Lee
08. In A Mellow Tone (8:34) - Duke Ellington
09. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (2:58) - Billy Taylor
10. Twilight Zone (5:58) - Frank Gibson Jr.

Cherry Pie CPF 1026
Album concept and direction - Don Burrows
Recorded at Stebbing Studios, New Zealand
Additional recording, mixing and post-production at EMI Studio, Sydney Australia.
Engineer - Martin Benge
Production - Graeme Rule
Design concept and graphics - Brian Crowther
Cover notes - Don Burrows
Cover photo by Stephen Cooney
Many thanks to Julian Lee for his inspiration, interest and support.

#1 : Don Burrows - "The Jazz Sound of the Don Burrows Quartet" (1966)
#2 : Don Burrows - "The Tasman Connection" (1976)
#3 : John Sangster - "Australia and All That Jazz - Vol. 1" (1971)

Vinyl rip by Simon666
Other blogs linked to in this post are : Prog Not Frog, Music Peace & Love to the World, My Jazz World and Aussie Funk.
Please thank these other folks if you visit and download from their blogs

Download : WAV - MP3


Reza said...

More class posts , thanks simon , looking forward to giving this a listen :)

Josiah said...

thnx man i love this blog its opening me to a-lot good music

Unknown said...

Burrows again, thank you for this sharing, then we presented today's match instead. Congraturation, Socceroos :)

Reza said...

While were on an Austarlian theme not sure if you have this one simon but if anyone does pleeese if possible post :)

JaxR said...

Great stuff. Thank you!

Jazzjet said...

Another interesting post and one that opens up some new avenues of listening to me. Thanks for your efforts.

Hanimex 3000 said...

Thanks Simon, NZ music doesn't often show up in France... nice album overall.

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

@ EG - I missed the match, was playing keyboards with headphones on instead :) Well always next time for you guys!

@ Reza - sorry no, never see that one around unfortunately ...

Solomon said...

Thank you.

pollux said...

What a pleasure to listen to these excerpts, so next step ... Thanks !!

Robert said...

thanks Simon!!
that is a treat for a lot of people,me included.
Can't even imagine how hard you work on your posts and again thanks for your enthusiasm and generosity!!

the jazzman said...

Thanks. Just now getting into Burrows.

Visionless said...

Thanks again Simon, needed an departure from the norm and that Twilight Zone track will do just the trick.

hops said...

simon, been meaning to leave comments for days, needed to create an account. everything here is quality. thanks for the work. used to go see don burrows at soup plus when i was a kid. peace

Simon666 said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting guys, makes it worthwhile to know people are there :)

alphabet said...

Thanks!!! This is one of my favorite blogs

Simon666 said...

Added a link within the post to the album "Paz is Back" by Paz, which features drummer Frank Gibson :

Simon666 said...

Hi folks – more of these musicians in a new post of John Sangster – “Australia and all that Jazz – Vol 1” (1971), come check it out ☺

Anonymous said...

Kia Ora,

i have a weekly jazz show here in New Zealand and know Frank Gibson well. This is a "carzy" LP - thanks heaps.

Munnnnnph said...

loving this sound. thanks

Simon666 said...

Glad you're enjoying it Munnnnnph :)

Jontowel said...

interesting music, a bit too abstract for me but beautiful nonetheless. thx for sharing

Anonymous said...

Rather valuable piece

RL said...

Thanks man, I've been wanting to hear this for a while. Also downloaded Sangster's 'Australia And All That Jazz' from this blog a while ago which has subsequently become pretty much my favorite Oz jazz release. Appreciate your work.

Musicfreak said...

Whoa, good stuff! I like the eclectic voicings between the winds,brass and reeds!

J Reid said...

thank you

jazztap said...


Anonymous said...

I never thought I'd see a full on review of this album! Well done. this album set me on the jazz fusion path, at tender age of 5. now, I'm 39 and I still dust it off. Met up with Don a few years ago and got him to sign the vinyl, and when I told him how it was thef irst sounds that made me excited, we both nearly cried.

Anonymous said...


JazzHoppa said...

thx for this one

Simon666 said...

You're welcome JazzHoppa, glad you're enjoying it. Thanks also Jontowel, RL, Musicfreak, J Reid, jazztap and anonymous for comments :)