Rediscoveries of Lost Gems- Heaven

Heaven- Brass Rock 1
[CBS, 1971]

This album is another perfect example of why we should never judge a book by its cover. A cursory glance at the cover would likely lead you to believe that the music contained on this mysterious platter is either of the psychedelic folk or soft rock variety. The title is a bit misleading as well, as we have come to expect that anything with "brass rock" in the title could be written off as another Chicago rip-off. I'm here to tell you that you won't be able to properly prepare yourself for what you are about to hear. Just sit back, relax and get ready for a crack band of stellar musicians to hit you over the head with a heavy dose of unbridled enthusiasm and jazz-rock bravado.

The first track, "Things I Should've Been," starts the proceedings off with a bang as the guttural scream from the lead singer leads right into the first astonishing riff on the record. After this, the song really only lets up for a brief sax solo in the middle that gives way to a heady stew of guitar, horns and drums that eventually returns to the opening guitar riff.   Next, is the prog-inflected jam, "This Time Tomorrow," with it's amazing drum breakdowns and extended guitar solos that never wear out their welcome. The musicianship on this track is so mind-blowing that words can't do it justice.  While "Never Say Die" is more straightforward than the previous two tracks, it still features in the pocket drumming and blazing leads. I would have to say that "Come Back" is the most overtly prog song on the record, even though it juxtaposes flutes and horns with the breakneck intensity of classic prog. There is a part at the end of this song where there is a start and stop dynamic between the guitars and horns that is utterly sublime. As for the second half of the record, "Song for Chaos" contains so many tempo changes it will literally make your head spin, "Morning Coffee" captures a laid-back Sunday morning vibe, the opening drum break from "Number Two" is a sample waiting to happen and the epic Got to Get Away starts out unassumingly before it explodes into a frenetic blast of energy with an ear-splitting wah-wah solo laid on top of what sounds like a full conga line.

While there are brass horns on virtually every track, they are not the focal point. This record is really something special, an unexpected holy grail of progressive jazz rock that is truly a rediscovery of a lost gem!

I would love to hear what you think of this record, so drop me a line in the comments!



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