Wednesday, October 4, 2017

ARCHIMEDES BADKAR – Tre (MNW, 1977)

International relevance: ***
Instrumental

Ranked #11 on the blog's Top 25 list

A stellar act operating in the most open-minded area of the 70's jazz scene, with core member and percussionist Per Tjernberg (also known as Per Cussion) bringing strong afro influences to the table, thus making Archimedes Badkar an exhilirating ingredient of the progg movement.

Debuting in 1973 with the ridiculously rare self-released ”Rumpstek” 33/3 rpm single, they soon hooked up with flagship label MNW. Their first album for MNW was the magnificent ”Badrock för barn i alla åldrar” in 1975, followed by ”II” in 1976, finishing off their quartet of albums in 1979 with ”Bado Kidogo”, a joint venture with Tanzanians Afro 70. However, my personal favourite is ”Tre”, (”three” in English), an exuberant blend of afro rhythms, Balkan and Indian touches, and jazz. No wonder, as the line-up includes excellent sax player Christer Bothén (later to front the similarly styled Bolon Bata) and multifaceted drum wizard Bengt Berger.

With such prominent players and such a broad palette of musical traditions to choose from, ”Tre” just can't get boring even if it tried. It opens with the hard blowing jazz of ”Badidoom”, moves on to the soft-spoken ”Bhajan”, then by way of ”Världens liv” and ”Akombah” to the tender ”Slum” before heading for the lilting sounds of the mbira in ”Tumpianomusik” (”thumb piano music”), then bursting into the extatic three part suite ”Pharaoh/El Legend/Marrakech” where Bothén gets his chance to show off his free jazz credentials with versatile trumpeter and sometime Iskra member Tommy Adolfsson breathing down his neck, and then makes its way through the playful ”Desert Band” before closing the show with the reflective ”Tziaveri”.

Archimedes Badkar were never an orthodox band but they always paid respect to the traditions that offered source material to their eclectic and ever so captivating mix. All their albums are high carat nuggets, but this is their special musical brew at its most potent. ”Tre” stands out as one of the most inspiring and impressive achievements of the entire progg era.

Unfortunately, "Tre" is conspicuously underrepresented on Youtube, with, for instance, the jazziest tracks unavailable, but the three excerpts below will hopefully give you an idea of the album's delightfulness.

Akombah
Tumpianomusik
Desert Band

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