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Cloud Nineology

Ozone Quartet

℗ 2005 Flat Five Records FFR 4004

Ozone Quartet • 2005 • Cloud Nineology

Ozone Quartet was originally called Cloud Nine, and had to change their name due to trademark laws. So was born Ozone Quartet, and Cloud Nineology represents the period of 1992 to 1998 in the history of the band. If you are not familiar with the music of Ozone Quartet, these guys play a very majestic instrumental medley of progressive rock and jazz-fusion stylings, sort of like a marriage of Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, and the Dixie Dregs. The first four tunes on the CD were recorded in 1992, and see the early sound of the band as it was starting to take shape. As always, the band is led by the soaring violin work of Hollis Brown, and she is all over songs like "Fresh Blood" and "Flying in Circles" alongside the crunchy guitar work of Graham Fry, the nimble Chapman Stick grooves from Wayne Leechford, and the acrobatic drum work of Steve Smith. The guitar tone of Fry is thick and heavy on the songs from 1994 like "Surge" and "Stash", as he adds an almost metal edge to the decidely fusion feel that is given by Brown's violin flights. The band goes for a more rootsy jazz touch on "Lift", a real beautiful piece, and weave intricate guitar & violin lines on the slightly heavy and complex prog number "Freak of Nature". Cut to 1995 for the songs "Thief" , "Hypnosis", and "Grasshopper", three more songs later featured on the bands Fresh Blood album. Here, Ozone Quartet were really hitting their stride compositionally speaking as well as musically, as the songs are extremely melodic and full of many twists and turns. The addition of new drummer Fran Dyer also helped quite a bit, as his intricate style on "Thief" adds an almost ethnic feel to the music. "The Barbarian" of course is an ELP cover song that was to be featured on a tribute album that was never released. Here is where we see the appearance of new guitarist Kenny Thompson, who joined for the Nocturne album in 1999, and was later replaced by Jeremy Shaw. "The Barbarian" is an interesting tune for Ozone Quartet to record, as since they do not have a keyboard player, Brown, Leechford, and Thompson fill in the gaps where Keith Emerson added his arsenal. Cloud Nineology is a nice retrospective of the early years of Ozone Quartet, and would be a great place for those new to the band to start. Fans of the group will of couse need to add this to their collection while they wait patiently for a new recording from the band. — Sea of Tranquility.

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