Komentář k původnímu albu Pantonu (pův.č. 8115 0170) z roku 1980:
Upon hearing Emil Viklický's Sweet Basil, a kind of aperitif for the rest of the Jazz á la Carte album, the famous piano virtuoso Emil Gilels was so attracted that he replayed the recording three times in succession and asked to be given the record to take it home. This episode confirmed that the Panton gramophone company had been fortunate in its 1975 decision to run a new and rather unusual series of 17-centimetre 45's under the name Mini Jazz Club. The reason for this recognition was that the growth of the number of interesting jazz ensembles in recent years has made it virtually impossible to expect that the opportunity to produce their own LP's could be made available to all of them. However, so as to have a permanent recording of the works and the performance of these - mainly young - performers. Panton offers them in the series at least the 13 minutes on Extended Play records.
From the thirty volumes published to date, we have prepared this selection of the most noteworthy recordings by modern chamber orchestras (the series naturally also features traditional jazz ensembles and big bands). Emil Viklický recorded the opening number. Sweet Basil, in 1976, on of his successful years, when he won two important international contests, the pianist event in Lyons, and the best jazz theme competition in Monaco. With his reputation thus established, he went straight to Boston to study on scholarship at the famous Berklee College of Music. Sweet Basil, carries clear imprints of the pianist's native Moravian folklore, which Viklický (born 1948) likes to employ in his compositions.
Czechoslovakia has an ample supply of high-grade jazz pianist, but the jazz singers situation is diametrally different. Jana Koubková (born 1944) has recently attracted special attention among the wider public; she works with many diferent ensembles, but her preference is for performances with her own team, Horký dech (Hot Breath), in which she employs her voice as a musical instrument, and creates a jazz atmosphere by a variety of means, including scat improvizations, excited whispering, and other concrete sounds.
Since its founding in 1974, the Combo FH amateur group have been introducing elements of undergraduate humour in the titles of the compositions as well as in the arrangements; for them, rock-influenced jazz is an opportunity to invent, to become playful, to have fun.
On the other hand, trumpeter Laco Deczi (born 1938) and guitar player Zdeněk Dvořák (born 1945) are experienced professionals and members of both the Prague Radio Dance Orchestra and the Prague Radio Jazz Orchestra; their occasional jamming in the pauses between recording sessions fashioned them into a promising two-member formation. Working systematically since 1978, this mini-ensemble has enabled the two soloists to apply, more easily that in a large orchestra, their individual concept of the jazz mainstream, which remains sufficiently modern without any diversions into harmonic anarchy.
Karel Velebný's SHQ, which exists since 1961, is actually one of the historic workshops of Czechoslovak modern jazz. In the course of the past years, many changes have taken place in the ensemble's cast and style, but Karel Velebný (born 1931) has consistently remained its guiding spririt. Vibraphone player, saxophonist, pianist, composer, arranger and jazz teacher, Velebný knows how to fuse any of his ensembles into a well-integrated whole, while offering all members enough scope for individual self-realization.
Martin Kratochvíl (born 1946), the leader of Jazz Q, is another Czechoslovak pianist to have won a scholarship to Boston's Berklee College. His Boston experience is reflected in the sound of the recordings which he has made since his return to Prague; Flint and Steel is one of them. Lately, Kratochvíl is discovering increasingly wide scope for writing film music with contemporary sound, which employs electric instruments to excellent effect.
A special treat in this selection from Czechoslovakia's contemporary jazz kitchen is (Sleep Well, Darling) by the bass player Luděk Hulan (born 1929), who met a tragic death in 1979, before his 50th birthday. In the course of his career he played with innumerable ensembles, including the Gustav Brom Orchestra, the pioneering Studio 5 modern combo, and in the last few years mostly with his cast Jazz Sanatorium LH. Hulan was not only a performer, but also a jazz apostle on the Czechoslovak jazz scene - and the motto of his Jazz Sanatorium was A Sound Soul through Joy of Music.
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