If Danish rock begins with Burnin' Red Ivanhoe, a band that featured composer and all-around musician Karsten Vogel, Secret Oyster was Denmark's first supergroup. With keyboardist Kenneth Knudsen from the Danish band Coronarias Dans and guitarist Claus Bøhling from Hurdy Gurdy, Vogel launched Secret Oyster to explore jazz fusion realms for the three composers. Signing to CBS, the band released their self-titled first album in 1973, that gained a US release as Furtive Pearl on the Peter's International Cosmos imprint. Outwardly jazzy, with plenty of soloing, the core to Oyster was its driving rhythm section—here with bassist Mads Vinding and drummer Bo Thrige Andersen. As the track "Public Oyster" demonstrated, when the band hit a groove, they turned up the rock quotient to ride it hard. Their second album, Sea Son, also saw US release on the Cosmos imprint, in late 1974. Jess Staehr, from Burnin' Red Ivanhoe, joined on bass, while Ole Streenberg, previously in Coronarias Dans, joined on drums. The short "Oyster Jungle" opens with all the pieces in place: punchy bass, crisp drumming, electric piano, Moog, sax and a bright riff—fusion, European-style. "Mind Movie" rides along a simple motif and features some stellar guitar work from Bøhling, while "Pajamamafia" gets a little funky in the middle. "Black Mist" opens the second side with a heavy riff, but steps up to some jazzy fusion, courtesy of Vogel's sax. A string quartet augments the electric piano and guitar of the somber "Painforest." But "Paella" rides Staehr's bass line into Gong-like territory; and just like the dish, it's a mixture of everything great the band could deliver. The band toured Europe and the UK, including an opening slot for Captain Beefheart. Their next album, Vidunderlige Kælling, was a soundtrack to a ballet by Flemming Flint and saw release in 1975; while a final album, Straight To the Krankenhaus, saw the band move to more predictable fusion territory.
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Taken from The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock, here is an Album of the Week to enjoy and discuss.
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