Sweet Smoke
Just A Poke


5.0
classic

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
October 24th, 2012 | 41 replies | 4,584 views


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 'Just A Poke' is one of the many hidden gems in Progressive rock and Jazz Fusion, but it is nonetheless a stellar effort among both genres.

Like typical Progressive rock, the music of Just A Poke seems to flow along its own current. The musicians take us through vast dimensions of sounds and melodies, using their instruments to create moments so mystifying and entrancing that we hardly even notice time passing us by. We're so lost within the spaces of our own mind, completely surrendering all of our focus to the music's spellbinding allure. Progressive rock is all about taking the listener through a journey, and it doesn't matter how long the journey is, as long as the destination is worth the trip. And the voyage that Just A Poke invites us along, is a rather unforgettable one.

The first part of our journey begins with "Baby Night", which exhibits so many twists and turns that it constantly keeps us guessing as to where Sweet Smoke will end up taking us next. Now, as elaborate as the structure of the song may be, its music is rather tamed for a Progressive rock song. There are no elongated flaunts of instrumental complexity or abstract passages that simply exist for the sake of experimentation, it's just a long jam to see how far these musicians can take the music at hand. "Baby Night" opens with a very beauteous flute solo that is just such an exquisite sound for the senses. It's very calming and inviting, setting up the perfect setting for the other instruments to join in and expand upon the melody. The singing is utterly marvelous on this piece, so sensual and delicate which further augments the mellow vibe. After the initial introduction, we find Sweet Smoke heading into a very jazzy section as the music begins to elevate into a more vigorous display. There is a very lively melodic groove on this section, and its particularly exuded by guitarists Marvin Kaminovitz and Steve Rosenstein, and bassist Andy Dershin. We can really see the guitar work favoring the usage of agressive funky rhythms, and it's an intriguing characteristic because it foreshadows the eminent impact that Funk music would have on several Jazz Fusion artists during the mid 1970's. And as we arrive to the final moments of "Baby Night", the songs breaks into a brief rendition of a lyrical passage from The Doors' "The Soft Parade". Then, just as we struggle to comprehend what exactly is going on in this song, Sweet Smoke regress back into another instrumental segment. An abrupt moment of spontaneity before cycling back to the melodic theme in its finale.

"Silly Sally" is a much more rambunctious and dynamic piece when compared to "Baby Night". Right from the beginning, Sweet Smoke enter into the jam and deploy a much more Jazz influenced style. This is also the first time in the album that we hear tenor saxophonist, Michael Paris. The vocals are just as impactive as in "Baby Night", delivering a provocative falsetto tone that's just embellished with sexuality and prowess. The instrumental midsection of "Silly Sally" is also much more ostentatious. Like traditional Jazz Fusion, each instrument gets their chance in the spotlight. Boisterous percussion solos, intricate basslines, cosmic wah-wah flourishes from the guitars, and of course, some exuberant saxophone notes for seasoning- "Silly Sally" is a performance that really lives up to its Jazz roots. Along with other early pioneers like King Crimson, Sweet Smoke can honestly be considered one of the first few Progressive rock artists that intimately embraced Jazz Fusion. The two genres have always had an obvious correlation within their characteristics, but here we really get to see the two coalesce in a much more profound way. Just A Poke is not just an entertaining album, but a cult classic in progressive music. A defining template that helped direct music, to not exactly new territories, but certainly ventures into mildly explored directions. This is a must hear for all fans of Progressive rock and Jazz Fusion, as it will be sure to keep you at the edge of your seat until the final second.



Recent reviews by this author
Trioscapes Digital Dream SequenceBroken Bells After The Disco
Sound and Fury (FI) PulsacionJail Weddings Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion
Chick Corea The VigilPond (AUS) Hobo Rocket
user ratings (25)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2012


4421 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Listen to the full album here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qsgj0rFUOC4

Both songs are 16 1/2 minutes- the total being roughly 33 minutes, and if you love classic Prog rock (with Jazz Fusion leanings), This is DEFINITELY for you.

CaptainDooRight
October 24th 2012


29097 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

swee, gonna read tomm first thing

bout to sleepy sleepy

nitty nite good sir

Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2012


15997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

right, need a coffee and a smoke and I'll settle down to read this

Digging: Hominido - Estirpe Litica

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2012


20644 Comments


I need to hear this, sounds right up my alley.

Great job on the review as always, pos'd.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt

DarkSideOfLucca
October 24th 2012


3273 Comments


Never heard of these guys, but you got me interested. Brb gotta pos

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2012


15997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really liked it on first listen, feels at least a 4 anyway needs time to grow.
Great review as always posd hard (and 'rambunctious' is a great word haha)

YoYoMancuso
October 24th 2012


11080 Comments


just gave it a listen, really impressive. review was good as well, pos

CaptainDooRight
October 24th 2012


29097 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Progressive rock is all about taking the listener through a journey, and it doesn't matter how long the journey is, as long as the destination is worth the trip"

true dat maine, sweet rev. I've been really into ambient jazz/electronic lately and although this isn't exactly that I think I would def enjoy it cuz its all within the same realm. Loving that physc deep feeling as of late. Good job again, pos'd

CaptainDooRight
October 24th 2012


29097 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"using their instruments to create moments so mystifying and entrancing that we hardly even notice time passing us by"

this is so true, this is what music is all about bro, it's like an art being able to create music like that, that's prolly why I love that Rorcal - Helio album cuz its like a one song album that's well over an hour but it zones you so hard you just never want it to end. Loving ur insight in music bro.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2012


4421 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks everyone for the feedback, hope you like the album.

Thanks Captain. A little bit of pot and good music can go a long way with writing.

CaptainDooRight
October 24th 2012


29097 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

p/



freakfromdabeat
October 24th 2012


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This incredible album's all about the vibe - hard to grab with words, but you've nailed it really well. The flute that starts
Baby Night is indeed wonderful. Just not sure about the phrase "setting up the perfect setting". Consider it a minor (purely
subjective) comment on a great review.

Pos.

undertakerpt
October 24th 2012


1301 Comments


Sigh, wish i could still smoke weed, makes me have panic attacks now

Great review, I love prog and jazz fusion so ill check it

CaptainDooRight
October 24th 2012


29097 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ my brother says he's like that too or it makes him think too much

dam glad that never happened to me, i wish i could heal ya bro

undertakerpt
October 24th 2012


1301 Comments


Yeah, I think it's developing schizophrenia, just can't seem to chill out on it anymore.

But oh well, alcohol will have to do lol

Colliiiin
October 24th 2012


672 Comments


Holy shit, if you didn't review this I probably wouldn't have heard it. I'm only a little bit into it but dayum is this good, it's got a fat King Crimson vibe to it.

Digging: toe - For Long Tomorrow

CaptainDooRight
October 24th 2012


29097 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

s'all good undertaker, just take care of yourself bro, that's all that matters

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2012


4421 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah I've heard a lot of people who say pot makes them very edgy and anxious, I had a friend who said she just couldnt handle it, though she was prone to anxiety attacks from time to time. But yeah, like Captain said, take care of yourself, man.

undertakerpt
October 25th 2012


1301 Comments


Thanks guys, don't worry about me though, burying bodies mixed with pot never was a pleasant experience anyway!

Ethics
October 25th 2012


4112 Comments


Definitely going to listen to this, awesome review - love your insight on music as Captain has already said. Weed for me is kind of the same, pretty much just think way too hard on stuff get like existentialist views on everything lol but it's more of confirmation on instinct than anxiety attacks or schizophrenia now. However, I used to get all of that stuff extremely badly.

Just don't do it anymore, not for me.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy