Guru Guru — 2000 Gurus
(Fünfundvierzig 112, 2000, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2001-03-01
I remember Guru Guru from back in the 70s, when I picked up one album on a whim. It was spacey, funky jazz rock done with a sense of humor (I don’t suppose you can be too serious with a name like Guru Guru). I know the band has been through many stylistic phases, but that’s the one I know. This newest CD is very much the modern outgrowth of that sound, taking percussive grooves and building world-inspired jams on top of them. Mani Neumeier’s drums and percussion are augmented by loops and samples; Peter Kühmstedt’s bass sets a funky agenda; guitars by Roland Schaeffer, Luigi Archetti, and guest Hans Reffert contribute infectious rhythms, creative solos, and interesting effects; Schaeffer also plays a variety of other instruments. Vocals, both spoken and sung, are often just coloration, rather than delineating primary melodies in what you’d call “songs.” On the whole, 2000 Gurus is a funky excursion into world beat fusion that probably shouldn’t work, coming as it does from a group of Europeans. But they approach the material with a mixture of respect and humor that somehow comes off extremely well, and should be highly listenable both for fans of space jam rock and world music. And the grooves are catchy enough to attract adventurous electronica adherents. Too bad they couldn’t put the interior illustration on the outside: it shows an elaborate stone temple (Angkor Wat, maybe) with the starship Enterprise cruising overhead. It sums up the style nicely, but I suppose it could lead to a lawsuit.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more