Ralf Nowy Group – Escalation (1974)

FrontCover1RALF NOWY, in the school report a “four” in music, became a technical draftsman. In 1958 he founded his own rock’n’roll band. In 1960 he passed the entrance examinations for the engineering school and the conservatory, but decided to study (bassoon and composition) at the conservatory. In 1961 he played flute in a modern jazz trio. In 1964, after completing her studies, NOWY moved through Germany as a dance musician. In 1968 he was saddled as a program designer and production manager at Saarländischer Rundfunk. In 1971 he became independent as a arranger and worked in the following years for all sorts of pop singers: Udo Jürgens, Ireen Sheer, Isabell Domin, Peter Horton, Joy Fleming and Su Kramer.
Those musicians with whom RALF NOWY moved to the Trixi studio in Munich in mid-1973 to record his first LP “Lucifer’s Dream” formed the starting point for the future RALF NOWY GROUP: the guitarist PAUL VINCENT, a graduate of the humanistic grammar school in the groups Missus Beastly, Hallelujah Baby and Doldinger’s Motherhood. Also the bassist PAUL UNWIN attended high school in England, besides he played bass since his 14th year. Before he came to Germany in 1962, he belonged to an estimated ten English groups.
The Icelander THOR BALDURSON attended after high school the Music Academy (subjects: theory and composition). After performing for a long time with a folksong group, he played for three years in Sweden, until he finally came in 1973 in the Federal Republic.
VICTOR BEHRENS sailed to the lake from the age of 16 to 19, then enrolled at the Stern Conservatory. After a six-year detour to dance music, he became a studio musician.
KEITH FORSEY belonged to the English group Spectrum, came to Germany in 1970 and played here with Amon Düül II, Goldfinger and 18K Gold.

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In mid-1974, the RALF NOWY GROUP recorded the second album, again mainly with Nowy compositions. A production that was offered as a “ravishingly rocking classic” (press release) and reviewed the sound of SOUNDS: “The Ralf Nowy Group recalls Middle and Far Eastern sounds, sacred singing, rock, jazz, classical music, serious contemporary music and electronics However, when trying to merge individual styles with each other, at times quite a musical offside. ”
The Ralf Nowy Group gave several concerts alone or as an accompaniment to the singer Joy Fleming concerts, including in the NDR workshop. (Günter Ehnert + Detlef Kinsler)

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Flautist/saxophonist Ralf Nowy (born 1940) had a long and honourable career as frontman, session player, arranger and producer, working with Giorgio Moroder in the latter’s pre-disco era. To my knowledge, 1974’s Escalation (credited to merely Nowy) was his second solo album, eschewing his debut, the previous year’s Lucifer’s Dream’s krautrock grooves for his natural home, fusion, although the album contains a good helping of progressive stylings. The five short tracks on side one switch between jazz (opener Blue Silver, News From the Chicken Farm), a Latin/hard rock hybrid (Manomolela), massed flute jazz (Sixteen Flutes) and off-kilter blues rock (I’d Rather Sell My Life, Than My Guitar), but the album’s centrepiece is its side-long title track, a jazz/classical/rock tour de force, not devoid of humour: note the guitarist’s Glenn Miller quote towards the end. I think it’s safe to say that you’ve probably never heard anything quite like this before; its component parts are nothing new, but their combination produces a unique piece, although I’ll admit it might be slightly overlong.

Thor Baldursson plays Mellotron, with choirs (including a nice solo sequence), alongside real voices on the title track, although I suspect that all the flutes on, er, Sixteen Flutes are real. I don’t believe this is on CD, but now it’s turned up on download sites, make the effort to track it down; you’ll thank me when you hear Escalation itself. Maybe….. (johnkatsmc5.blogspot.com)

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Personnel:
Thor Baldurson (piano, harpsichord, synthesizer, mellotron, vocals )
Viktor Behrens (trumpet)
Keith Forsey (drums, percussion, vocals)
Martin Harrison (drums, vocals)
Sylvester Levay (piano, harpsichord)
Ralf Nowy (saxophone, flute. kalimba, zither, percussion, vocals)
Gary Unwin (bass)
Paul Vincent (guitar, vocals)
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Franz Deuber Group (strings)
RalfNowy3Tracklist::
01. Blue Silver (Levay(Nowy)) 2.57
02. Manomolela (Vincent-Gunia/Nowy) 3.19
03. News From The Chicken Farm (Vincent-Gunia/Nowy) 3.30
04. Sixteen Flutes (Nowy) 3.31
05. I’d Rather Sell My Life Than My Guitar (Vincent-Gunia) 5.02
06. Escalation (Nowy) 17.44

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