Mike McLatchey 15-October-2002 Octember Variations

Like many of the formative 70s fusion groups from the USA, Volker Kriegel slicked and funked out his jazz rock sound into accessibility by his 1977 release Octember Variations. Opening with the aptly-titled "Funk You Very Much," enter boppy rhythms, horn sections and a fusion feel strongly reminiscent of post-Head Hunters Herbie Hancock. However, not all of this album is so similarly inclined, and throughout its diverse duration, it ventures closer to Pat Metheny realms or, occasionally, late 70s Return to Forever. And very rarely, Kriegel will turn a composition where the guitar/keyboard chord sequences remind me of the type of interplay Phil Miller and Dave Stewart achieved with Hatfield & The North. That's not to say this approaches progressive rock, quite the contrary, but that the occasional musical structures bely the type of straight ahead funk jamming one could expect from a late 70s fusion album. While this is by no means Kriegel's finest work, it still has plenty of nice playing, particularly in the guitar and keys area. 70s fusion fans need only apply here.

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