Getting it's first release and push in North America, thanks to the obscure label Inner Knot Records (and Lori Hehr PR), is guitarist, composer, and producer Jakko M. Jakszyk's wonderful fifth solo album from 2007 The Bruised Romantic Glee Club. Traditional progressive rock fans who know their prog history are familiar with Mr. Jakszk's superb resume. You can Google Jakko for his Wikipedia biography for sufficient info. Besides his accomplished solo work and production credentials, he has performed with Tom Robinson, Level 42, a revamped version of King Crimson, and the Zappa-ish (and nearly inaccessible) Kings of Oblivion. Most recently, Jakko has been noted for his work with 21st Century Schizoid Band, a King Crimson alumnus band. Considering his background, a thread emerges of classic progressive rock, and The Bruised Romantic Glee Club is a modern example of that tradition.
The Bruised Romantic Glee Club consists of two discs, and therefore two parts. Originally, intended by the author to be a mostly instrumental album, the work was transformed by a significant event: the death of Jakszyk's father. Of the 11 tracks on disc first, five are instrumental offerings. There's a vibrancy and creativity within all which display Jakszyk's immense talent for composition. But, also, they betray a certain melancholy, an intimate reflection, of those personal emotions from a sad event. Catley's Ashes exposes all this. For the lyric songs, When Peggy Came Home or When We Go Home, by example, show Jakko dovetailing his compositional execution with the poetic muse that assuages his loss into dynamic emotional songs. Part one of The Bruised Romantic Glee Club is quite remarkable and entertaining original material.
On the second disc, Jakko Jakszyk revisits the early music, progressive and otherwise, that had an influential impact on his own music. These peers are many including Soft Machine, King Crimson, and Henry Cow. These reinterpretations of early melodic progressive rock are both reflective of an historical era and delightful modern arrangements of the same. Jakszyk is my age, so I remember those days, bands, and influences: he honors their creative legacy. The most delightful numbers are the longest: Pictures of an Indian City and Islands (from the King Crimson album of the same name).
Some quick notes and observations with little or no order. The production is precise, clear, and spectecular. Flawless may be the best word. The saxophone within many songs on the first disc is beautiful; I'm a sucker for sax. Jakko is helped by friends and distinguished prog company throughout. A short list includes Robert Fripp, Mel Collins, Gavin Harrison, Hugh Hopper, Mark King, and Dave Stewart.
In short, The Bruised Romantic Glee Club is Jakko Jakszyk at his very best, and bordering on genius: This is creative and satisfying progressive rock beyond modern examples. The old school is made new here. Strongly recommended.
The Bruised Romantic Glee Club is Jakko Jakszyk at his very best, and bordering on genius: This is creative and satisfying progressive rock beyond modern examples. The old school is made new here. Strongly recommended.