Charlie Mariano: Thorn of a White Rose


Thorn of a White Rose


Charlie Mariano (saxes, reeds)


Helen 12 Trees (MPS 15483)

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Charlie Mariano (saxes, reeds), Jan Hammer (piano, Moog synthesizer), Jack Bruce (bass),

Zbigniew Seifert (violin), John Marshall (drums), Nippy Noya (percussion)


Composed by Jan Hammer


Recorded: Munich, Germany, May 1976


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

The record company MPS has come to our rescue by continuing to release a series of fusion and jazz classics out of Europe that were previously unavailable on CD. Charlie Mariano's Helen 12 Trees is one. Where has this album been all of my life? (I answer that question in my review of "Avoid the Year of the Monkey.")

"Thorn of a White Rose" was written by keyboardist Jan Hammer. Its introduction is not that different in style from his 1976 album Oh, Yeah? His melodies can be sneakily complicated but always catchy. The tune's midsection, however, becomes a blowing session. First up is Charlie Mariano. He takes every inch of advantage a Jan Hammer composition will allow him. The band gets down and funky in a Jan Hammer sort of way. Mariano yields to the incomparable violinist Zbigniew Seifert. He kicks some "White Thorn" ass. Later he and Mariano trade off on some long measures, sounding great together. Hammer finally takes his turn. He decides to quiet things down a bit with a reflective electric piano. But the riff-driven theme, which harbors a bit of dissension, soon returns in all its fusion glory. "Thorn of a White Rose" is yet another jazz-rock gem to be discovered on Helen 12 Trees. Let's hope MPS continues to unearth these long- forgotten but important fusion classics.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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