SEPTEMBER — Zadnja Avantura (review)

SEPTEMBER — Zadnja Avantura album cover Album · 1976 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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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