Bruce and Vlady ‘The Reality’ (Vampi Soul) 3/5

bruce-and-vladyThis virtually unknown album, released in Sweden in its original vinyl format in 1970, would have remained in obscurity but for the considerable efforts of Vampi Soul and it is an unlikely duet album between a Polish drummer, Wladyslaw Jagrello aka Vlady and American Hammond organist Bruce Powell that actually sold some 20,000 copies at the time, but never contained any kind of hit. There are elements of prog-rock (Cream being an influence), blues and funkier jazz all thrown in. Illinois born Powell was plying his trade in Las Vegas in the late 1960s when a chance encounter with Swedish big band leader and trumpeter Ernie Englund led to some work in Scandinavia. Vlady and Powell met up while both expatriates in Sweden and the result of the collaboration is contained within. An uptempo opener, ‘Reality (Pt.1)’ features fine driving drumming and some Santanaesque guitar licks with a relentless bass line pumped out on Hammond organ pedal. Overall, the moody organ combined with monologue makes for a more esoteric listening experience and this will appeal to those who are in search of something a little different. The nearest thing one can find to a soul-jazz number is the twelve-minute ‘Prince Vlady (Pt. 1)’ and there is some lengthy Hammond organ soloing here. The album hints at Les McCann and Eddie Harris in parts and similarly cuts across stylistic boundaries.

Tim Stenhouse