Thursday, March 1, 2012

CD Reissue of the Month - "Caldera: Sky Islands"

CD Reissue of the Month
Caldera: "Sky Islands" (Capitol/EMI Music Japan) 1977/2011

One of the rarest items on the Jazz 9999 Forecast series, Caldera's "Sky Islands" is arguably the masterpiece recorded by the cult LA-based group led by the Argentinian keyboardist-arranger-composer Eduardo del Barrio (aka Eddie Del Barrio), better known for the songs he wrote for Earth Wind & Fire, including their mega-hit "Fantasy."

"Sky Islands" was the second of four excellent albums that Caldera recorded for Capitol between 1975 and 1979. Originally released in 1977, features the then-newcomer vocalist Dianne Reeves on the first two tracks (the radio-friendly title tune and the gorgeous "Ancient Source"), with the group line-up consisting of Eduardo del Barrio (acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, Moog, Roland & Oberheim Polyphonic synths), Jorge Strunz (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussion), Steve Tavaglione (flutes & saxophones), the late Carlos Vega (drums), Dean Cortez (electric bass), Hector Andrade (timbales, congas, percussion), and the Brazilian musician Mike "Baiano" Azevedo (congas, percussion), who wrote the last track, "Pescador."

The list of special guests includes keyboardist Larry Dunn, drummers Chester Thompson and Ralph Humphrey, flugelhorn master Ralph Rickert, percussionist Ray Armando (where are you now, Ray?) and a string section masterfully arranged & conducted by Eduardo's brother George Del Barrio. Fusion at its best!

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