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Jig-a-Jig

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Album Review

Jig-A-Jig is a nine-track compilation from this wonderfully enthusiastic British band, spotlighting their jovial blend of folk-rock and jazz elements. With most of the material emerging from 1970's Snafu album, East of Eden's flighty, progressive atmosphere comes to life through the mixture of flute, saxophone, and, especially, electric violin. One of their most energetic numbers entitled "Nymphenburger" uses six violin tracks and four guitar tracks with some electric alto sax piled on top, entirely overdubbed with the result sounding beautifully clean, mainly because of the familiar "Rondo" theme, which was later made famous by the Nice. It's Ron Gaines' saxophone that gives "Ramadahn" its mesmerizing flow and tribal-like sound, while the fully instrumental "Jig-A-Jig" went to number seven on the U.K. charts in 1971, thanks to the cordial nature of the song's pop sound. The eight-plus minutes of "Gum Arabic" contrasts the airiness of the flute with the resonant chant of bagpipes, emerging as a truly eccentric piece of music, and "Confucius" focuses mainly on the guitar, causing the rhythms to stand out with a rockier tempo. East of Eden may not have gained the attention that the band was hoping for, even within the progressive rock ranks, but some of the members did go on to greener pastures. Drummer Geoff Britton went on to play in Paul McCartney's Wings for almost a year in 1974, and violin player Dave Arbus became a renowned session man, lending his craft to the Who's Who's Next album. Because East of Eden's material may be hard to come by, Jig-A-Jig stands as a brief but fit example of the band's progressive/folk collage.

Biography

Formed: 1967

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

East of Eden is a perfect illustration of the futility that England's Decca Records faced in cultivating progressive rock (apart from the Moody Blues). A critically acclaimed jazz-fusion band with a strong Eastern music influence, they were a natural for stardom during the late '60s; indeed, they might've taken the wind out of the sails of the Mahavishnu Orchestra very fast, but they never became more than a cult act in England, with a strong local following in London, especially on the underground...
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Jig-a-Jig, East of Eden
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