Friday, September 17, 2010

The Fents - First Offense (1983)

Another big surprise for me, I came upon this (cheap!) copy of the Fents' first record at my favorite shop and, once again, I was intrigued by the artwork. What I thought might be another hard rock find turned out to be surprisingly excellent jazz fusion fronted by keyboardist Adam Holzman. Although I am usually not one to take enjoyment out of jazz fusion (don't get me started on Weather Report, for example), I listened to this record for the first time reluctantly, and then three more times because I found it to be so great. Maybe it's just because I'm a sucker for a synth, but I found that Holzman's keyboard work carried these radical syncopated compositions to the next level, while the more guitar driven tracks I liked a little less. I enjoyed the track "Four's a Crowd" in particular for that very reason; I thought his work there was reminiscent of other obscure synth artists like Roland Bocquet, if they had made jazz fusion anyway! Incidentally, and oddly enough, Holzman went onto play and tour with Miles Davis. Holzman is apparently still musically active, though I haven't a clue about the remainder of the band. Sadly, the guitarist, Ted Hall, passed away a couple years ago. This band put out a second album and that was it for them as far as I can tell. This record was released on Not Yachting Records; it was hilariously published by How Come You Don't Have a Singer? Publishing. You should listen to it more than four times.

Here comes the best part...

...this copy was signed by the band, although the signature on the left was the "new guy" at the time. Now if only this band wasn't so obscure!

1 comment:

eh said...

I was a friend of Ted Hall at the time their record was released. Adam Holzman's father is Jac Holzman, founder of the Elektra & Nonesuch record labels. This LP was recorded live to 2-track analog tape by one of Jac Holzman's former engineers. The Fents shopped their LP around to various major labels only to be rejected by every one. Rumor has it that one major label used The Fents' recording as a benchmark standard to judge other bands' submissions by but wouldn't sign them.