℗ 1997 Outer Music OM 1004
Recorded before the release of the Brand X debut Unorthodox Behavior, these 1975-1976 recordings represent the earliest known preservations of the group's beginnings. These are quality recordings that include previously unavailable material. The shining talent and genius of this, the most important of Brit jazz-fusion groups, comes through brightly. Brand X has long been a "musicians' band" where the fretwork of John Goodsall, percussion of Phil Collins, keyboard techniques of Robert Lumley, and bass of Percy Jones inspire others to greater attainment. Still, no music degree is required to appreciate this invigorating, unforgettable music that still sounds remarkably fresh and forward thinking. Over 50 minutes of stunning exploration is contained in the original quintet's six never-before-heard songs. Even after 20 years, Brand X remains in its incipient form the final word in guitar-based progress jazz-rock. — Tom Schulte.