In 1974 keyboard player Geoff Castle joined Latin fusion band PAZ and started a Sunday night residency at the Kensington pub in Holland Park, which ran for 8 years. The band, led by the late Dick Crouch, who wrote most of the material, built a huge following and in 1976 recorded the first of many BBC broadcasts. The band’s first album “Kandeen Love Song”, issued on Spotlite Records in 1977, quickly became popular on the club scene.
The first side was recoreded in 1976, when Brian Smith was the main melodist, playing soprano & tenor saxes and some flute. By 1977 when the three beautiful tracks on the second side were made, Ray Warleigh had taken over on soprano & tenor saxes, but on this album concentrates on piccolo in superb fashion.
Stay awhile on that second side. On it you will hear the title track, a long leisurely rhapsodic piece heavily featuring the flute. Should you marvel at the length of Ray Warleigh's lines, as he elegantly spins improvisations, then that's because he is using cyclic breathing - in through the nose and out through the mouth at the same time, to sustain the phrasing - just like Roland Kirk. Incidentally, the theme of Kandeen Love Song is thousands of years old, a tune which so seized Dick Crouch when BBC producer Angela Bond sang it to him that he added the chords.
Another unique point about this album: Ron Matthewson , probably recognised as the leader on his instrument in Britain, plays bass guitar with Paz , wheras he usually uses string bass. It could well be the first time he's ever been recorded playing bass guitar.
There's also a contrast between the first and second sides. Even though you'd rarely realise it, the 1977 tracks are played totally "free", but the good sense and feeling of the musicians disguises the fact almost completely.
Dick Crouch wrote Crotales (means "strings of bells") and The Bell Tree on the first side - on both of them there's glorious resonant bass from Matthewson. Solar Wind is the keyboardist's, Geoff Castle, who comes from the very rich background of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Graham Collier and Nucleus. Yours Is The Light is from Santana's repertoire, a most melodic and exhilarating version.
Listen to Warleigh's stratospheric piccolo on both The Buddha and Time Stood Still, two peices which show how relentlessly the band continue to move forward in ideas, execution and taste.
Brian Smith - soprano, flute; Geoff Castle - keyboards; Phil Lee - electric guitar; Ron Matthewson - bass guitar; Dick Crouch - Electravibe, percussion; Dave Sheen - drums; Simon Morton - congas
Recorded in London - Tuesday 18th May, 1976.
Ray Warleigh - piccolo, flute, alto flute; Geoff Castle - keyboards, synthesizer; Phil Lee - electric guitar; Ron Matthewson - bass guitar; Dave Sheen - drums; Chris Fletcher - congas; Dick Crouch & Simon Morton - percussion
Recorded in London - Saturday 25th June, 1977.
2) Solar Wind
3) The Bell Tree
4) Yours Is The Light
5) The Buddha
6) Time Stood Still
7) Kandeen Love Song