All posts by Angel Romero

Angel Romero has been writing about progressive music and world music for many years. Publications include Eurock (USA), Marquee (Japan), and Nuevas Músicas (Spain). He founded the websites progressiverockcentral.com and worldmusiccentral.org. Angel also produced Musica NA, a music show for TVE (Spain) featuring fusion, avant-garde, world music, new age and electronic artists.

Jeff Beck to Celebrate 50 Years as Performer in Los Angeles

Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck

British guitar legend Jeff Beck will celebrate his 50 year career as a musician on Wednesday, August 10, at 8:00 PM at the Hollywood Bowl. He will be joined by special guests Steven Tyler and Beth Hart + Buddy Guy.

One of the most widely respected guitarists in popular music, Beck is known for his eclectic mix of blues, funk, and jazz rock, as well as collaborations with countless luminaries. Acclaimed Chicago bluesman, Buddy Guy performs prior.

www.hollywoodbowl.com

Passionate Progressive Rock Archaeology

The Samurai of Prog – “Lost and Found” (Seacrest Oy, 2016)

Transnational progressive rock band The Samurai of Prog has a new double set titled “Lost and Found.” As the title indicates, the music on this recording includes rare pieces composed by early American progressive rock bands.

The music selection comes from various sources so each track has a very different personality. It feels more like a compilation than a cohesive progressive rock album.

Bassist Marco Bernard came up with the idea. He was curious about musical pieces by progressive rock bands that never made it to albums. He approached friends in several bands and received copies of demos and live recordings.

Disc 1 begins with “Preludin “, a fiddle-driven song by American band Pavlov’s Dog. It has classical music influences and features Pavlov’s Dog’s guitarist Steve Scorfina.

Track 2 is a short and delightful piano instrumental piece titled “Along the Way” performed by David Myers.

One of the best compositions in this 2-CD album is track 3, “Inception”, a 20-minute epic suite originally composed by American progressive rock band Lift. This piece begins with a dreamlike atmosphere and is followed by a Yes-inspired section that progresses into Selling England by the Pound-era Genesis influences. The most original and forward-looking sections in this track are the electric violin solos backed by electronics. Steve Unruh delivers outstanding work on vocals, violin and flute. Lift’s keyboardist and composer Chip Gramillion appears on keyboards, along with Glass Hammer guitarist Kamran Alan Shikoh.

The weakest point in this album is track 4, “She (who must be obeyed)”. I normally like Jon Davidson’s (Glass Hammer, Yes) vocals, but his high pitch vocals here and the sappy nature of this piece makes the song painful to hear.

Disc 1 ends with another great piece, this time from American band Cathedral, one of the finest of the 1970’s progressive bands from the USA. “Plight of the Swan” has Genesis and King Crimson influences, with majestic keyboard work and notable vocals by Unruh.

Disc 2 is a single mammoth piece, “The Demise”, clocking 57:18 minutes. This work was composed by an obscure band called Quill. It’s an ambitious fantasy piece broken into 36 parts, featuring Richard Maddocks as narrator and two vocalists, the fabulous Mark Trueack (Unitopia, United Progressive Fraternity) and Quill’s Keith Christian. Despite the ambitious nature, this piece features occasional memorable moments. Keith Christian’s voice has suffered the passage of time and it’s hard to follow the story.

The principal members of The Samurai of Prog are Finnish-Italian bassist Marco Bernard, Finnish drummer Kimmo Pörsti, who founded Mist Season; and American multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Steve Unruh of the prog jam band Resistor.

The lineup on “Lost and Found” includes Marco Bernard on bass; Steve Unruh on vocals, violin and flute; Kimmo Pörsti on drums and percussion; the late Stefan Renström on keyboards; David Myers on piano; Tom Doncourt on keyboards; Chip Gremillion on keyboards; Johan Öijen on electric and acoustic Guitars; Kamran Alan Shikoh on electric guitar; Jon Davison on vocals; Steve Scorfina on electric guitar; Keith Christian on vocals; Mark Trueack on vocals; Linus Kåse on saxophones; and Spanish piper Llorián García on electronic bagpipes.

The physical version comes with beautiful artwork by Ed Unitsky and thick booklet with photos, illustrations, credits and lyrics.

Buy Lost and Found

Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins to Perform at Roxy & Dukes

Mike_Keneally_NJ_2016

Innovative multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mike Keneally and Beer For Dolphins are set to perform at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen, New Jersey on Saturday, October 29, 2016. This concert also includes special guest Travis Larson Band and is produced by NJProghouse.

Mike Keneally (guitars, keyboards and vocas) has been playing with Joe Travers (drums) and Bryan Beller (bass) since 1993, when they were members of the Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa band Z. Throughout the 1990s, as Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins, they played frequently on the West Coast in support of Keneally’s solo albums hat., Boil That Dust Speck and Sluggo!

Even though Keneally has worked with countless brilliant musicians throughout his solo career, fans have long held a special appreciation for the high energy, humor, camaraderie and virtuosity of the Keneally/Beller/Travers triumvirate. Now finally, after more than two decades, this powerful trio version of MK/BFD is coming to states in the Midwest and Northeast of the US, and playing music covering the gamut of Keneally’s career, from those classic 1990s releases all the way up to the brand new Scambot 2.

Mike Keneally has played with Frank Zappa, Steve Vai and many others, in addition to his long-standing solo career. He and Bryan Beller currently play together in Joe Satriani’s band, and have toured extensively in the metal band Dethklok. Beller is also a member of the instrumental powerhouse The Aristocrats. Joe Travers, in addition to past drumming work with Zappa Plays Zappa and Duran Duran, has held the position of Vault administrator for the Zappa Family Trust since the 90s, exhuming unreleased Frank Zappa tapes for release to the public.

Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins will be touring with special guest Travis Larson Band. With six studio albums and two full-length DVDs, the award-winning TLB is firmly rooted as one of instrumental music’s premier acts, having worked on records with Steve Lukather (Toto), Victor Wooten (Bela Fleck), Dave LaRue (Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Dixie Dregs), Vinx (Sting, Herbie Hancock). Travis Larson Band will release a new album in 2016.

when: Saturday, October 29, 2016 | 2:00 p.m. show | 1:30 p.m.Doors
where: Roxy & Dukes, 745 Bound Brook Rd, Dunellen, NJ
Cost: Online Presale $27
Walk ups day of show $35 (Cash Only) Beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com

United Progressive Fraternity Working on New Album ‘Planetary Overload’

Australian progressive rock group United Progressive Fraternity (UPF) is currently working on a new double album. The band’s philosophy goes beyond music, promoting awareness for the environment and social justice.

UPF band leader, Mark ‘Truey’ Trueack, (co-founder of the band Unitopia) describes this double set as ‘the most communicated album ever made’.

The ambitious project unites a team of international artists, including Steve Unruh (Samurai of Prog), with whom Mark is closely working with, writing music and arrangements.

Taking its name from the book by Epidemiologist Tony McMichael, the album is divided into two parts; ‘Planetary Overload’ (Loss) and ‘Songs of Hope’ (Hope) and centers on the problems we are already beginning to face on a troubled planet as it reaches ‘overload’ to the point of no return, and how we can reverse the point of catastrophe before it’s too late.

Contributing to arrangements and ideas are the full time UPF members Tony Schumacher, Matt Williams, David Hopgood and Tim Irrgang.

The writing process of Planetary Overload will introduce other producers such as Gordo Bennett, Colin Tench, Joanne St Claire, Ben Craven, Owen Lealan, Richard Chew and Dale Nougher.

Special guests on the album include Jerry Marotta, Steve Hackett, Nick Magnus, Hasse Froberg, and Phil Naro , just to name a few at this point who are collaborating with Truey to record this concept album.

Climate scientist Dr. James Hansen will appear as narrator throughout the album.

The album is scheduled for release in early 2018.

In 2014, UPF released its debut album ‘Fall In Love With The World’.

Professor McMichael sadly passed away just months before the birth of Planetary Overload; the album is dedicated to him.

Swedish Progressive Rock Band Karmakanic Releases ‘Dot’ Teaser Video

Celebrated Swedish progressive rock band Karmakanic has announced the release of its 5th album titled ‘Dot.’ The album is scheduled for release on July 22nd, 2016.

Karmakanic was formed in 2002. The band returned in 2011 with the acclaimed recording ‘In a Perfect World.’

The current line-up includes Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings), Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen), Morgan Ågren (Casualties Of Cool, Frank Zappa, Steve Vai), Lalle Larsson (Agents Of Mercy), Nils Erikson, Krister Jonsson, Andy Bartosh and Ray Aichinger

Buy Dot

Unstatic by Manu Katché

Manu Katché – Unstatic (Anteprima Productions CD18021, 2016)

Unstatic is the new album by acclaimed French drummer and session man Manu Katche. Although the first track on Unstatic has a Cuban flavor, featuring three Latin American percussionists, most of the album is straight ahead modern jazz with funk, lounge and smooth jazz elements.

The three musicians that stand out on Unstatic are Katche, with his creative drums, the fabulous keyboardist Jim Watson who uses acoustic and electric piano, organ and synths; and virtuoso bassist Ellen Andrea Wang, who delights the listener with wonderful interplay with the keyboards and drums.

The lineup on Unstatic includes Manu Katché on drums; Ellen Andrea Wang on upright bass; Jim Watson on acoustic piano and keyboards; Tore Brunborg on saxophone; Luca Aquino on trumpet; Nils Landgren on trombone; and Abraham Rodriguez Mansfarroll, Joel Hierrezuelo Balart and Esteban Sotolongo Zapata on percussion.

Unstatic is a high quality recording with ear friendly contemporary jazz that should appeal to a wide audience.

Buy Unstatic in the Americas.

Audacious Armonite

Armonite – The Sun is New Each Day (independent, 2015)

Armonite is a great international collaboration between Italian keyboardist and composer Paolo Fosso and violinist Jacopo Bigi with British bassist Colin Edwin and Dutch drummer Jasper Barendregt.

The band’s sound is characterized by the electric violin of Jacopo Bigi who straddles the line between progressive rock, chamber music, jazz-rock fusion and occasional world music inclinations.

Paolo Fosso composes marvelous instrumental pieces where there is plenty of room for instrumental exploration and interaction.

The Sun is New Each Day showcases the talent of Armonite, one of the most audacious progressive rock bands in the European scene.

Paralyzed by Cyril

Cyril - Paralyzed
Cyril – Paralyzed

Cyril – Paralyzed (Progressive Promotion Records, 2016)

Paralyzed is the second album by German rock band. Although the album was released by Progressive Promotion Records, the majority of the album’s content is a mix of AOR melodic rock and hard rock. Multi-instrumentalist Marek Arnold adds some brief symphonic moments to the mix.

The lineup on Paralyzed includes Larry B. on vcals; Manuel Schmid on vocals; Marek Arnold on keyboards, saxophones and clarinet; Ralk Dietsch on guitars, mandolin, vocals; Clemens Litschko on drums and percussion; and Denis Strassburg on bass and programming. Guests: Susan Kammler on oboe, Herman Schade on viola, and Dan Stein on vocals.

A Beautiful Kaleidoscope of Electroacoustic Ambient and Tribal Sounds

Green Isac Orchestra – Green Isac Orchestra (Spotted Peccary, 2015)

Green Isac, a fabulous progressive electronic music duo from Norway, has expanded its project to a five-man ensemble called Green Isac Orchestra. Their new album Green Isac Orchestra presents an enthralling mix of electronic sounds with acoustic instruments.

There are mesmerizing, mysterious ambient music passages along with trance-like percussive segments, soaring space guitar, enchanting cello and distant melodies, as well as world music and cinematic elements.

The current lineup of Green Isac includes multi-instrumentalist Morten Lund and percussionist Andreas Eriksen along with the three new members: Frode Larsen on percussion; Tov Ramstad on electric cello and saw; and Jo Wang on piano, mellotron, therevox, and synthesizers. Elvind aarset appears on guitar.

Green Isac’s previous recordings include Passengers (2014), Etnotronica (2004), Groundrush (2001), Happy Endings (1997) and Strings & Pottery (1991).

Green Isac Orchestra is a beautifully composed album by one of the greatest progressive music acts in Scandinavia.

Buy Green Isac Orchestra