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Best of: Lonely Bears

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, April 14, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Lonely Bears may be the best group you never heard of. Yet, the players in the band are well known within their musical domains. Each has accomplished numerous notable achievements in their respective careers. The music which they have created as The Lonely Bears is artistically innovative and stimulating to both mind and body.

In 1990, after having recorded the Grammy Award-winning album "Guitar Shop" with Jeff Beck, drummer Terry Bozzio and keyboardist Tony Hymas met in France to jam with guitarist Hugh Burns and sax player, Tony Coe. The results were three albums of boundary stretching improvisational music which encompassed styles ranging from fusion, folk, ethnic and world beat.

About the Artist

At the heart of this music is the remarkable percussion and drum work from Terry Bozzio. Having been named to "Modern Drummer" magazine's Hall Of Fame in 1997, Terry Bozzio continues to expand the boundaries of the traditional drum set drummer. From his 12 albums and many tours with Frank Zappa to his work with UK, the Brecker Brothers, and his innovative pop group Missing Persons, he has been involved in many wonderful musical experiences. Terry's melodic and compositional approach to the drums sets the tone for all of the Lonely Bears' recordings.

Tony Hymas is a composer and performer whose talents straddle the world of classical and popular music, best known in the US for his work with Jeff Beck and Terry Bozzio on the "Guitar Shop" album. Tony is recognized by many keyboard aficionados as a master of his instrument as well as a brilliant songwriter. His contributions to the Lonely Bears include virtuoso keyboard soloing, while his songs are melodically and rhythmically challenging.

Hugh Burns has been a major guitar figure on the European studio scene for some time. He has worked with major artists from Gerry Rafferty (the incredible guitar solo on "Baker Street") to Wham! and George Michael to Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. Known for his taste as well as his technical prowess, Hugh gets the important studio calls. But he felt the need to spend some time creating special music with special people and The Lonely Bears were the ultimate opportunity for him.

Tony Coe has a sax sound that is instantly identifiable and has been heard by millions of people around the world. Tony has performed with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Quincy Jones to George Harrison. Tony Coe was looking for a musical adventure as well when the Lonely Bears situation presented itself. Tony's vast repertoire of folk melodies and ethnic influences found their way into his sax and clarinet performances and help to give the Lonely Bears their impossible-to-pinpoint sound.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Kill King Rat
  2. Ma Grande Ourse
  3. From The Nacfa Mountains
  4. Oka
  5. March Past 29 145 749 B
  6. Si Tu Vois Ma Mere
  7. Sarte
  8. Our Red Sea
  9. Los Ultimos Dias
  10. Mozambique
  11. Quanah Parker
  12. Nana

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 14, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: April 14, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Pelican Sound
  • ASIN: B000006C99
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,999 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Hugh Burns does some killer guitar soloing on the DiMeola-esque "Kill King Rat" which starts off the cd. He has another midway through the cd on "March Past..." And the last 40 seconds of the cd fade out with a nice acoustic guitar outro from him. Other than that, there's nary a trace of this bear?

This is mostly a drums and saxophone album, which is great if that's what you're into; and Terry Bozzio and Tony Coe can certainly carry the load. Tony Hymas' keyboards are pretty noticeable too, though they serve more in the background and for "atmosphere" than with true soloing, which is fine too. I just don't get why they make such sparing use of Burns' guitar skills here. If nothing else, let him play the bass, because those duties are carried out by Hymas on the keyboards. Doesn't sound bad, but I LOVE bass guitar, and this music is just SCREAMING for some low-end fretless bass; let's perpetuate the image of a big fat growling bear here!

The music itself is unique. There are a lot of rhythmically-derived songs that have a "world jazz" feel to them - sort of an Andalusian or South American feel. I like this music, and I like the album fairly well overall. I just think they could have done better. And a note to other bands that are contemplating a "best of" album: fill the dang thing up! Why only give me 60 minutes of music here - was the other stuff not worthy?

Prepare yourself for some great drumming and sax playing, and you'll be happy with this.
Personally, I wanted a little bit more...

I value interesting music that is played and recorded well. This cd's rating was based on:
Music quality = 8.5/10; Performance = 8.8/10; Production = 8.5; CD length = 7/10
Overall score weighted on my proprietary scale = 8.2 ("3-1/2 stars")
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