Combo FH – Jogurt až jindy
from 7 inch EP “Mini Jazz Klub č. 11” a.k.a. “Kopytem různě”, 1977 , Panton 330415
produced by František Horáček
original 1977 EP sleeve
Combo FH, originally known as Combo Franty Hromady (Franta Hromada Combo), appeared on the Czech amateur jazz scene in 1974. The members were young students aged twenty and their music sounded fresh and humorous, not always following the usual jazz-rock conventions of that era. Combo FH was conceived and lead by keyboard player, composer and Frank Zappa admirer Daniel Fikejz, son of the well known Czech pop lyricist Jiřina Fikejzová. The original line-up included Bořivoj Suchý on saxophone, Milan Sládek on bassoon, Oldřich Svoboda on flute, the bass player Peter Hájek, Richard Mader and Jaroslav Hönig on guitars and the drummer Vít Ondráček. Franta Hromada never was a real member of the combo though, most likely due to his physical non-existence…
Combo FH debuted on wax in 1977 with an instrumental three-track EP, the release no. 11 from the Panton Mini Jazz Klub series. Panton was, besides Supraphon, the “other” Czech record label, starting in 1967 until the early 1990s with focus on less commercial releases. With the Mini Jazz Klub series on 7 inch records Panton tried to document – within their possibilities – the active Czech jazz scene from 1976 until the mid 1980s while covering all possible facets of the genre; get ready for more Mini Jazz Klub examples here on the Funky Czech-In blog, like Jana Koubková’s Hot Breath (no. 23) or the legendary Luděk Hulan’s Jazz Sanatorium (no. 2).
After Fikejz’ reggae excursion on another 7″ featuring the vocal group Yo Yo Band (obviously the very first Czech reggae record ever), in 1980 Combo FH recorded their ultimate scurrilous album Věci (Things), which even came to distribution in Western Europe, becoming at that time one of the very few Czechoslovak jazz/rock records known to at least some music collectors in front of the Iron Curtain. Thanks to their rather unobtrusive look and apolitical message the group was permitted to appear on Czech TV a couple of times. They were also the first Czech group to experiment with laser weapo…, er, lighshow on stage. Through the 1980s Fikejz continued to record sporadically as Combo FH with ever changing personal line-ups. However, he dropped the jazz entirely, switching to a more “commercial” vocal new-wave-pop and initially adopting slight ska influences, documented on a few single sides. He then released the synth laden second Combo FH album Situace na střeše (A Situation On The Rooftop) in 1985, which actually was a pretty good pop record. But one year later Fikejz disbanded the group for good, concentrating on his work as a scenic music composer.
Jogurt až jindy (A Yoghurt Not Until Another Time) is the b-side track from the first EP and one of the rather “conventional” Fikejz compositions from their weird 1970s repertoire. After a bluesy prelude (edited out from this MP3) it takes off with a fast modal fusion groove full of funky Fender Rhodes riffs, blubbering synths and Caravan-alike slide guitar and soprano sax melodies leading into a straight guitar solo, followed by a moody intermezzo borrowing from medieval music. For the last one and a half minutes the group slows down to a melancholic jazz-rock tune and a brief epilog repeats the prelude blues theme as a duet for double bass and a whistler with background noises of someone crumpling a snack wrapping paper (hence the yoghurt reference in the song title).
As far as I can tell, none of the Combo FH recordings have been reissued on CD yet. A few not-so-cheap vinyl records are usually available online, e.g. via gemm.com, or they appear on eBay occasionally. This particular EP is now also for sale here or there. Much cheaper copies can be found in second hand stores in the Czech Republic, of course.