Saturday, March 16, 2024

Sun - Sun (1971-72 australia, impressive prog jazz blues brass rock, 2023 double disc digipak remaster and expanded)

The sole album by Sydney-based jazz rock band SUN, Sun 1972, is a feast for the ears. It has been a much sought after lost gem, now reissued on remastered CD for the first time since the original album release in October 1972. The musicianship is excellent, the songs are engaging and the icing on the cake comes with Renée Geyer’s gorgeous and emotive vocals.

Renée was 18 years old when the band recorded the album, and it’s immediately obvious that she already possessed a distinctive and powerful voice at such an early stage of her career. She had yet to assert herself fully as a stage performer but we can overlook that for now. She was able to handle the jazz mode of the music on her way to establishing her enduring reputation as the Queen of Australian funk and soul. R.I.P. Renée Geyer.

Rehearsal Tapes (1971-1972) issued on the ETT Imprint label. SUN existed between 1971 and 1974, with the core membership comprising Keith Shadwick (sax, flute), Henry Correy (bass), Garry Norwell (drums) and George Alamanza (electric piano). The group’s roots extended back to 1968 and blues band Spoonful (aka Spoonful of Soul), from Wollongong, NSW. By 1971, arch jazz enthusiast Keith Shadwick was steering the band in a more exploratory, adventurous avant-garde direction.

They covered material by the likes of jazz legends Nat Adderley, Pharoah Sanders, John Coltrane and Max Roach, earning a reputation as Australia’s No. 1 jazz rock band. Members came and went, with Renée Geyer joining mid-1971. The group’s manager, jazz entrepreneur Horst Liepolt lined up a recording deal with RCA Records and with Liepolt producing SUN cut their debut album at Copperfield Studios, Ultimo. By that stage, the musicians were writing their own material, ranging from the jazz-rag stylings of ‘Silver Dollar Rag’, the lofty free-form jazz of ‘No Cherries for Henry’ to the rocky ‘I Really Want to Know’ and ‘Vendetta’. A standout is the progressively inclined yet laid-back ‘Message’. Here Renée sings in her most emotive, low and smoky tones, offset by delicate flute lines and haunting, echo-laden guitar work. 

The Bonus Material was captured and preserved on reel-to-reel tape by Ian Shadwick, Keith’s brother. They add a new dimension to the group’s recorded legacy, highlighting Renée’s astonishing singing technique and the sheer dedication and musical depth of the band’s craft. Highlights include an early arrangement of ‘The Message’, a jamming eight-minute version of Nils Lofgren’s ‘Try’, ‘When I Reach Out for Your Hand’, ‘S.S.’, ‘Sea of Tranquility’, ‘You are Only a Shadow’, ‘Darkside of Destruction’ and ‘Largesse’ all of which present moments of brilliance.
Disc 1  Sun 1972
1. Silver Dollar Rag (George Almanza) - 2:10
2. Message (Chris Sonnenberg) - 6:10
3. No Cherries For Henry (Renee Geyer, Keith Shadwick, Henry Correy, Garry Norwell, George            Alamanza, Chris Sonnenberg) - 9:10
4. S.S. (Keith Shadwick) - 6:47
5. I Really Want To Know (Ian Smith) - 4:05
6. Largesse (George Almanza,  Henry Correy, Keith Shadwick) - 3:17
7. 3 1/2 (Keith Shadwick) - 6:32
8. Vendetta (George Almanza) - 6:20
9. Not The Time Now (Keith Shadwick) - 3:38
Disc 2 The Rehearsal Tapes Tapes (1971-72)
1. Silver Dollar Rag (George Almanza) - 2:36
2. The Message (Chris Sonnenberg) - 5:50
3. When I Reach Out For Your Hand (Renee Geyer, Keith Shadwick, Henry Correy, Garry             Norwell, George Alamanza, Chris Sonnenberg) - 7:44
4. Blue Sun (Renee Geyer, Keith Shadwick, Henry Correy, Garry Norwell, George Alamanza,         Chris Sonnenberg) - 18:16
5. Sea Of Tranquility (Renee Geyer, Keith Shadwick, Henry Correy, Garry Norwell, George     Alamanza, Chris Sonnenberg) - 3:04
6. Try (Nils Lofgren) - 8:14
7. You Are Only A Shadow (Renee Geyer, Keith Shadwick, Henry Correy, Garry Norwell, George        Alamanza, Chris Sonnenberg) - 3:21
8. S.S. (Chris Sonnenberg, Keith Shadwick) - 7:11
9. Darkside Of Destruction (Renee Geyer, Keith Shadwick, Henry Correy, Garry Norwell, George       Alamanza, Chris Sonnenberg) - 3:34
10.Three 1/2 (Keith Shadwick) - 6:24
11.I Really Want To Know (Ian Smith) - 3:25
12.Largesse (George Almanza,  Henry Correy, Keith Shadwick) - 3:17
13.Message (Chris Sonnenberg) - 5:11
Track #13 GTK live session, April 1972

The Sun
*Renee Geyer - Lead Vocals
*Keith Shadwick - Tenor, Alto, Soprano Saxophones, Flute, Clarinet
*Henry Correy - Bass
*Garry Norwell - Drums
*George Alamanza - Electric Piano
*Chris Sonnenberg - Lead Guitar