Pete York

Extension 345

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The Pete York Percussion Band was not so much a stable outfit as the name drummer York used for various aggregations he helmed in the early '70s, playing with musicians who were available at the time. Extension 345 is a live recording of a London gig, probably from 1974; the otherwise highly detailed liner notes aren't quite specific about the date. On this occasion, the band also included Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord; Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice; guitarist Ray Fenwick and bassist Charlie McCracken, who'd just played with York in a reunited version of the Spencer Davis Group in the early '70s; and the five-piece band Yipee, which included a horn section. Like many one-offs of big groups with sterling individual credits, the music that resulted wasn't as interesting as the more deliberate and structured recordings of the famous bands in which they'd previously played. It's a nonetheless acceptable, though not thrilling, set of early-'70s rock with progressive, jazz, and R&B influences colliding all over the place. The instrumental "Points," for instance, almost gets into Traffic/Family/early King Crimson territory in its cerebral flits between pseudo-classical passages and busy jazz-rock chops, the tempo changing all the while. "Sombrero Sam" and "Moleshawk" almost sound like a progressive hard rock band getting into Brazilian jazz, and the yet jazzier 17-minute "Extension 345" is built around an extensive drum duel between York and Paice. The covers of "Satisfaction," "Jailhouse Rock," and "Gimme Some Lovin'," however, come off as the filler of a temporary ensemble that really hadn't worked up sufficient material to fill up a strong album. The sound quality's decent, though, and the 12-page booklet has a lot of information about the juncture of York's career in which he was leading the Pete York Percussion Band.

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