Masal is a jazz-rock band performing the compositions of the French musician Jean Paul Prat. This kind of music has existed since the seventies and the Zeuhl lovers will certainly remember the album Masal which was a true classic recorded in 1982 under the name of Jean Paul Prat. For me, all this information from Musea was new. And I guess for regular readers of Background Magazine it is a surprise as well.
Although I am not a true jazz lover, I heard some influences from bands like: Brand X, Soft Machine and Magma. So let’s go back to their second CD Galgal. I wasn’t impressed by the first three tracks Banzaï and Galgal I and II. They all have the same nervous piano intro, followed by several unstructured sax and guitar solos. Also, the fourth track Intergalactic Tango is quite predictable although slightly better. At least I could clap a kind of rhythm with my hands. In the middle of the track the rhythms change but ending in a cacophony of jumping notes. The Prelude Et Fantaisie Espagnois begins slowly with a classical piano overture. It reminded me of a piano student doing some practical exercises, so not very exciting I must confess.
Last, longest and their best track-Talitha Coumi -is a combination of the music of Count Basie with the flugelhorn solos of Chuck Mangioni. In the middle, there is a short nice guitar solo, but is quickly followed by the jazzy piano and sax solos.
Final judgement: Just too few good moments, too much nervous piano playing and not varied enough to produce a good result.
* Cor Smeets (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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