Jazz Related Rock / Fusion • Slovenia
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Although not strictly a Slovenian band, September were the brainchild of guitarist and singer Janez Bončina, who had already made a name for himself with rock bands Mladi levi and Srce. September was a different monster, which brought us a fusion of jazz, rock, blues and soul. Zadnja Avantura is still considered as one of the prime examples of Yugoslavian progressive rock, with a tremendous vocalist at the very peak of his creative powers.

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SEPTEMBER Zadnja Avantura album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Zadnja Avantura
Fusion 1976
SEPTEMBER Domovina Moja album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Domovina Moja
Jazz Related Rock 1979

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SEPTEMBER The Best Of September album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
The Best Of September
Fusion 2003

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SEPTEMBER The Best Of September

Boxset / Compilation · 2003 · Fusion
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"The Best of September" is very useful single-disc combination of the band's only two studio albums - "Zadnja avantura" (1976) and "Domovina moja" (1979).

They are presented here in their entirety (although not in a chronological album order!), with one exception - instead of the track "Kanin" from "Zadnja avantura", here you can find a 7" single-only song "Luduj s nama".

So, if you are not a picky collector who wants to have original LP issues, this CD is for you, of course if you are into a sort of "lite" style of fusion these guys perform in a confident and instrumentally very competent way.

In the meantime, PGP RTS issued in 2008 a remastered CD version of "Zadnja avantura" album including 3 bonus tracks, so if you prefer their stronger, more progressive Mahavishnu-like classic fusion sound with electric violin (which is largely absent from "Domovina moja" album) you may want to opt for this PGP release instead. Otherwise, "The Best of September" is highly recommended CD issue presenting this good but short-lived group of excellent musicians.

SEPTEMBER Domovina Moja

Album · 1979 · Jazz Related Rock
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The sophomore effort of SEPTEMBER and their swan song LP "Domovina moja" (Eng. "My Homeland") was recorded in the USA, Florida in spring 1978 following several personnel changes.

The end of 1977 saw the departure of Petar Ugrin, Charlie Novak and Ratko Divjak, with new members coming in to replace them: Marjan Malikovic-guitar, Jadran Ogrin-bass and Nelfi Depanger-drums. This album introduced a somewhat simpler and more accessible music closer to classic rock form, having a full-time guitarist instead of the departed violin/trumpet player.

American-style harmony vocalization is also stressed, which was logically influenced by the studio production of their hosts in Florida studios. That said, it is still a strong and perfectly produced fusion/crossover work, albeit with some unnecessary excursions into mainstream, like the pointless and ineffective guitar solo in the opener "Summer Winds" and quite boring, too extended piece "Have To Say Goodby".

Most songs were written by Asanovic and Boncina, who acted as a perfect songwriting team. These happened to be major hit on this album that enjoyed considerable popularity across Yugoslavia radio-stations: "I'll Come Back To You", "Lady" and the title track. If you wonder could jazz-rock sound "commercial", here is the answer - Yes! You can call it "lounge music", but I would say - "perfectionism and professionalism". You can cite influences from Herbie Hancock, STEELY DAN, DOOBIE BROTHERS, CRUSADERS, even early CHICAGO and you will not mistake. In another context however, this was the peak of progressive and jazz rock era, just a year before New Wave explosion in Yugoslavia (particularly in Slovenia), which brought to front some new names, faces and ideas.

"Florida" is a nice diary taken from their trip to America and I can feel in the lyrics the excitement and adventure of the musicians coming with red passports from a socialist country to America for the first time - to the land of music where "it all started".

But probably the best moment on the album is a straight rock song "Kolo" with some excellent guitar work of Malikovic, celebrating the life of musicians in the chorus - "our only true love was music". This track was another huge hit and it is still wondering why the band decided to stop working in late 1979, after such a great album at the peak of their popularity. Nevertheless, this fine work is well worth checking out and can be safely recommended to all jazz, fusion and rock fans.

SEPTEMBER Zadnja Avantura

Album · 1976 · Fusion
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SEPTEMBER grew out of the short-lived super-group project JUGOSLOVENSKA POP SELEKCIJA in September 1975, whose members included Tihomir Pop Asanovic-organ, Janez Boncina-vocals, guitar, Braco Doblekar-percussion, congas and Ratko Divjak- drums. Charlie Novak on bass and academically educated musician Pero Ugrin on electric violin and trumpet joined soon for the recording of the first album, ironically titled "Zadnja avantura" (Eng. "The Last Adventure").

The album was recorded in February 1976 in Ljubljana and released shortly afterward but passed largely unnoticed on the Yugoslav market. This is in fact a pure gem of Yugoslav fusion that lacked popularity simply because there was no single hit song on it that would draw attention of the wider public. That said, this album is probably the first complete fusion release in ex- Yugoslavia that did not rely on the blues/R'n'B/hard rock basis, going instead further into jazzy exploration in a vein of MAHAVISHNU ORCHASTRA or RETURN TO FOREVER.

Ugrin's electric violin has a dominant role in the album and influence from Stephane Grapelli or Jean Luc Ponty is obvious, which only adds a merit to it. The rhythm section is firm and playful in a jazz manner while Asanovic gives important keyboards layers, especially his traditional Hammond sound. Boncina plays guitar, which is not much present, but in those few moments it fits nicely into compositions. The sound is uniform throughout the album without any particular song standing out, so there is a sense of a skillfully developed album concept.

"Zivot nema pravila" ("No Rules In Life") is perhaps too similar to TIME's famous booze ballad "Kralj alkohol" but not so as to accuse them of plagiarism. It is rather natural because Boncina and TIME leader Dado Topic collaborated together on many occassions, which is evident here in a repeated performance of their co-authorship of "Ostavi trag" ("Leave The Trail"). That song was previously included in Asanovic solo album "Majko Zemljo" in 1974, but instead of female vocal, here the male choir sings the intro before Boncina jumps in. The title track carries a good drums/percussion solo, and "Kanin" is sung in Slovene language (Boncina's mother tongue).

"Zadnja avantura" was brave and adventurous work which ranks among the most accomplished ex-Yugoslavian jazz-rock music of the 1970s that is unjustly covered with dust and obscured. Jazz-rock enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to go for it if lucky enough to find this rare LP on the market. This album should be a part of any self-respecting fusion collection.

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