Jadis - Alive Outside

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Jadismusic
Catalog Number: JAD 006
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:57:00

I remember it vividly. Growing up with the prog icons from the seventies I dropped out of appreciating prog once bands such as Marillion, Twelfth Night, Pendragon and IQ started delevering a kind of music which was far too predictable for my ears. The fact that the Internet [as we know it] was not yet invented also meant that a lot of great music was totally unknown for a long time because it was unavailable [to others] in most parts of the world. The Internet and the CD format have changed all that and today one can listen to as much music as s/he'd like to because you can lay your hands on everything!

When, after a long period of inactivity, I started to get back into prog some ten years ago, one of the first "new" releases that I received was More Than Meets The Eye by Jadis. Although still a long way from my favourite seventies vintage symphonic rock, I was pleasantly surprised by it and the album has remained one of my all-time favourites over the years. Logically, I remain a little dissapointed when, after all these years, More Than Meets The Eye still remains the best Jadis moment to date. Especially with the arrival of bass player Steve Hunt, which had Jadis turn towards a more funky experience, whilst the compositions no longer had the same maturity we expected from the band. Even when Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery took the band under his wings things didn't get better and we could even speak of a decline. So it was a pleasant surprise when bassist John Jowitt left Arena to become a full-time Jadis member again. Also, keyboard player Mike Torr was replaced by Martin Orford, meaning that Jadis was its "old" self again on the latest Understand album.

Five years ago live recordings were made that have since been released As Daylight Fades (1998). Again the influence of Steve Hunt is so massive that he takes drummer Stephen Christey on his way, resulting in a Jadis sound that has become less transparent, less pure Jadis as we know and love it. A new spring, a new sound and Jadis is back in form, witnessed by the many recent concerts. So time for a resurrection and a new live statement. Recorded live on July 14th 2001 during the much rumoured garden gig in Hamsphire, England this new selection of live favourites comes to you courtesy of the best Jadis line-up ever. Certainly aimed to support their latest studio statement, no fewer than five tracks from Understand are performed here, supplemented by two tracks from More Than Meets The Eye and a further two tracks from Somersault. Two covers finish up this album, but more about that later. It strikes me how close to Yes the music of "Wonderful World" sounds. It's also remarkable how the band is playing at ease here, which of course the music benefits from. Christey clearly is the kind of drummer who follows the bass player and with the quality of John Jowitt next to him, of course Stephen can't do anything wrong. Congratulations also to the nearly fifth member of the band: producer Rob Aubrey.

The advantage of this line-up is also the vocal polyphonics, where the full sound of Gary Chandler and the higher pitched Martin Orford complement each other perfectly. Let us also not forget Gary's magical guitar playing! Listen to that guitar solo during "Counting All The Seconds' and wipe away the dribble from your mouth! During "Batstein" I can't help thinking that Orford is pressing the wrong keys because even after listening to the same passage over and over again I still feel that way. Maybe that's what they call "originality"? For some time now Gary Chandler and Martin Orford have been performing together in a nearly "unplugged" fashion. They have tried to find appropriate cover versions in order to highlight their respective skills. Crowded House's "Weather With You" is a perfect song, which in the version offered here, featuring the complete line-up, gets even closer to the original. The perfect illustration that you have to be very "lucky" in this business, as Jadis simply is Crowded House here! Although now and again one can notice some Gilmour influences in Gary's guitar playing, it is rather a surprise when the band performs "Comfortably Numb." Orford tries to duplicate the atmosphere in a subtle way and manages nicely. This "icing on the cake" is certainly something which is appreciated by the public and the upteenth proof that Jadis is capable enough to tackle any genre whatsoever. Now all they have to do is get some brand new ideas together so they can deliver another superb new studio album.

Understand (5:20) / Where In The World (6:10) / Racing Sideways (4:29) / Wonderful World (8:05) / Alive Inside (4:40) / Counting All The Seconds (6:13) / Batstein (6:18) / Holding Your Breath (6:08) / Weather With You (2:55) / Hear Us (3:59) / Comfortably Numb (6:36)

Gary Chandler - guitars, vocals
Martin Orford - keyboards, backing vocals
John Jowit - bass, backing vocals
Stephen Christey - drums

More Than Meets The Eye (1992)
Once Upon A Time (EP) (1993)
Across The Water (1994)
No Sacrifice (EP) (1994)
Once Or Twice (EP) 1996)
Somersault (1997)
As Daylight Fades (1998)
Understand (2000)
Medium Rare (2001)
Alive Outside (2001)
Fanatic (2003)
More Than Meets The Eye -Special Edition (2005)
Photoplay (2006)
See Right Through You (2012)
No Fear Of Looking Down (2016)
More Than Meets The Eye - 25th Anniversary Edition (2017)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: February 23rd 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.jadismusic.com
Hits: 796
Language: english


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