ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


John Greaves - 2018 - "Life Size"

(50:10; Manticore)


John Greaves needs little in the way of introduction, given he was a founder member of Henry Cow with Fred Frith and Lindsay Cooper, before providing bass in bands such National Health and Love Of Life Orchestra. He played with Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt, Mike Oldfield, Michael Nyman, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Carla Bley and Michael Mantler and others. Now living in Paris, In recent years he has produced albums for the French classical label Harmonia Mundi, while his songwriting partnership with Slapp Happy’s Peter Blegvad is renowned. On this album he provides vocals, sometimes solo and at others with one of three different female singers, Valerie Gabail, Annie Barbazza and Himiko Paganotti, moving between French, English and Italian. They are joined Olivier Mellano and Jakko Jakksyk (from King Crimson) on guitars, Vincent Courtois on cello, Zeena Parkins on harp, Matthieu Rabate on drums. This is an album out of time, timeless, yet somehow looking back at least fifty years, possibly sixty. The orchestration is sublime, and in many ways, it feels that the advent of rock and roll has yet to take place, and we are back in the immediate post war when singers really were, and songs were immaculately layered and constructed. Anyone searching for avant-garde jazz and progressive rock are going to come away empty handed indeed as this is music and feelings for another style altogether. Although there is more depth and presence (along some incredible fretless bass), I kept being reminded of Charles Aznavour yet with more baritone and emotion. The perfect end to the day, this is an album quite unlike anything else I have heard recently and all the better for it.

Progtector: June 2019

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John Greaves Manticore


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