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AURORA CLARA_Transformation_COVER.jpg
(2019 - Youkali Music - Spain)

A superior Spanish all instrumental fusion group. With little effort, you the listener will instantly discover that from the first measure of this full throttle, stringent, elegant, multi-tier, fearless and knockout ensemble, that the whole package is overflowing with fanfare, bulk of skill, raw beauty, a state of awe, and what may very well be your new favorite jazz fusion album for the year. It is easy to site references of numerous decades of only the finest jazz rock outfits. Just know that this will take you on a towering trip from Jean Luc-Ponty, Transit Express, Jukka Tolonen, Allan Holdsworth, Nova, and more. Okay I could not resist a few references. Thanks to a guest spot by Jerry Goodman (Flock, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dixie Dregs, solo) for some of the influences.

Raul Mannola has a split second style that has the speed and fire of Holdsworth, but more liquid and extended like Steve Hackett (if he did jazz rock). It should be noted that Raul is a Finnish guitarist who formerly played flamenco style on acoustic, and actually put out an album back in 2002 titled 'Aurora Clara', under his band Raul Mannola Quintet. This is where the new band's name came from. He previously played with Jukka Tolonen as well, which shows up in the influences of this new album. Juan Carlos Aracil (flute) also brings forth the overall Jukka Tolonen ('Summer Games' and 'Crossection' - a compilation, are good choices to see this similar sound) flavors, and the rhythm section of Marco Anderson (who I reviewed on MAHATMOSPHERE 'Beautiful Dirt', and is the only one located in UK, verses Spain) on drums/percussion, with Nill Oliveira (bass), make short order of all the material, keeping tight as a blood filled tick, turn on a dime precision, and impressing anyone who is lucky enough to own this album. Stanislav Borisov (keyboards) adds the delicious center of the hurricane. Other guests include: Jerry Goodman - Violin (on 'Aktur') / Santiago Reyther Duvergel (congas & percussion on 'Song to John', 'Dancing in the Forest' and 'Agosto') / and Bandolero (cajon on 'Aktur'). These are some of the finest musicians on the planet.

In an all out onslaught of instrumental jazz fusion with ingredients from world, flamenco, eastern, rock, and blues from up on the highest mountain, Aurora Clara heap heavy doses of aviator crown achievement at the audience. Pungent with sweat induced exercises, at times you will marvel at the excellence of the musicians. With demanding parts, these guys cut across big wide head-ways, stay meticulous every second, and give a glittering performance of sharp and vibrant spitfire jazz infested music. All compositions are by Raul Mannola (sometimes reminding me of Corrado Rustici) who gives some biting slightly distorted speed demon techniques. What a line up, what a tremendous release, and what a thrill to hear and own the physical compact disc.

On 'At The End of The Day' (track #7) you are gifted with a peaceful acoustic gem, just before the last ( bonus track, only available on CD) version of 'Aktur' (this version features Vic Guadiana - famous guitarist and violinist). And one big ending it is. An all out jazz rock profuse exhibition of superior staircase to the stars presentation. It also includes an exceptional drum solo from Marco. 'Transformation' grants a circumference of fusion mostly lost in the mid 2000's, but you can buy this now. And it is from a present and very alive band. RECOMMENDED.

  ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 4 - 8 - 2020
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