Blue Rondo à la Turk (band)

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Blue Rondo à la Turk
Origin United Kingdom
Genres Pop, Latin jazz
Years active 1981–1984[1]
Labels Virgin; Diable Noir
Associated acts Matt Bianco
Past members Mark Reilly
Chris Sullivan
Moses Mount Bassie
Mick "Lloyd" Bynoe
Art Collins
Geraldo d'Arbilly
Kito Poncioni
Christos Tolera
Tholo Peter Tsegona
Daniel White

Blue Rondo à la Turk was an early 1980s British musical ensemble, whose music featured elements of salsa, pop and cool jazz. The group placed two songs on the UK charts (1981's "Me and Mr. Sanchez", and 1982's "Klactoveesedstein"), but is perhaps better known in retrospect for launching the careers of several players who went on to form the sophisticated jazz/Latin/samba/pop group Matt Bianco.

History[edit]

Origin and early success (1981-1982)[edit]

Blue Rondo à la Turk was a floating collective of jazz and salsa oriented musicians, more-or-less led by singer/lyricist Chris Sullivan, whose stated goal for the band was "to bring back show biz".[2] Sullivan co-wrote most of the band's original material; he also painted the distinctive cubist art that adorned most of the band's releases.

For the earliest singles (1981's "Me and Mr. Sanchez", and 1982's "Klactoveesedstein"), the group was a six-piece: Sullivan, Christos Tolera (vocals), Mark Reilly (guitars), Mike Lloyd Bynoe a.k.a. "Choco Mick" (drums and timbales), Kito Poncioni (bass) and Geraldo D'Arbilly (percussion). All had assorted co-writing credits on the band's material, with Sullivan, Poncioni and Reilly being the most frequent contributors. Pete Wingfield produced "Me and Mr. Sanchez", which entered the UK Singles Chart on 14 November 1981, peaking at number 40. "Me and Mr. Sanchez" was also number one in Brazil for three months and was the theme tune for the 1982 World Cup.

The band's follow-up single "Klactoveesedstein" was produced by Kevin Godley & Lol Creme, and entered the chart on 13 March 1982, reaching number 50.[3]

The group added Moses Mount Bassie (saxophone) as a member for their third single, "The Heavens Are Crying", written by the band with Clive Langer. This track was produced by Langer and Alan Winstanley, and failed to chart. The fourth single, recorded with the same line-up, was called "Carioca", and featured a co-writing credit for soon-to-be-official member Daniel White. Produced by Mike Chapman, this single also failed to chart.

Blue Rondo à la Turk's debut album, Chewing the Fat, was released in 1982 and included all four of their singles released to that time. Added to the line up for the album, officially swelling the group to a ten-piece, were Art Collins (saxophone), Tholo Peter Tsegona (trumpet), and Daniel White (keyboards). Chewing the Fat appeared on the UK Albums Chart, entering the chart on 6 November 1982 where it remained in the chart for two weeks.[4]

Line-up changes, second album, and dissolution (1983-1984)[edit]

Following the release of the debut album and its minimal chart success, Blue Rondo à la Turk fractured, with Reilly, Poncioni and White exiting to found the soon-to-be-chartbound group Matt Bianco.[5] Collins, Tsegona, Mount Bassie and Bynoe also dropped out around this time, leaving the group a trio: vocalists Sullivan and Tolera, and percussonist D'Arbilly.

The slimmed down group also slimmed down their name to simply Blue Rondo, and issued two non-charting singles: "Slipping Into Daylight" (1983), and "Masked Moods" (1984). Both were written by Sullivan with outside collaborators, and produced by Steve Brown.

Both singles were included on the Blue Rondo album Bees Knees and Chicken Elbows, which was released in 1984 -- by which time the band had already broken up.[1]

Post-Blue Rondo activity[edit]

  • After leaving Blue Rondo, Mark Reilly and Danny White were both members of Matt Bianco, who had numerous hits on the UK charts in the mid-1980s. White later left Matt Bianco, and became a songwriter/producer for Basia, who also had chart success in the 1980s and 90s.
  • Kito Poncioni was also briefly a member of Matt Bianco, but left the group before they recorded their first album. He did however, co-write one of their hits, "Half A Minute".
  • During Blue Rondo's lifespan, Geraldo D'Arbilly also appeared as a session percussionist on albums by Madness and Fun Boy Three. Shortly after the group's final break up, he appeared on albums by Chas Jankel and the all-star charity single "Starvation/Tam Tam Pour L'Ethiopie". D'Arbilly subsequently moved to Brazil, where he works as a percussionist, producer and performer.
  • After the success of Matt Bianco, Virgin Records issued the 1986 compilation Too Soon To Come, credited to "Blue Rondo à la Turk Featuring Mark Reilly & Danny White". The compilation featured all 6 Blue Rondo UK singles (even the ones that Reilly and/or White didn't play on), as well as assorted album tracks. The release was only made available on LP, and to date, no material by Blue Rondo à la Turk has been issued on CD.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Biography by William Ruhlmann". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Blue Rondo a la Turk". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 66. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ Rice, Tim; Rice, Jonathan; Gambaccini, Paul (1990), Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums, Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness World Records and Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-398-8 
  5. ^ Colin Larkin (1995), The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2nd ed.), Guinness Publishing, p. 2750, ISBN 978-1-56159-176-3