Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Profiles: Big Big Train

Big Big Train

Big Big Train is a British progressive rock band formed in Bournemouth in 1990. Until 2009, Big Big Train was active primarily as a studio project led by multi-instrumentalists Greg Spawton and Andy Poole.

In recent years, Big Big Train has built a substantial and passionate following for their music. Noted for their story-telling songs and progressive rock influences, their 2017 album, Grimspound, reached number one in the UK Official Rock Album Chart. After selling out a three gig residency at London’s Cadogan Hall in 2017, the band headlined the Night of the Prog festival at Loreley, Germany in 2018.

Big Big Train released the “Swan Hunter” single on July 13th, 2018. The single set includes a remix of the studio album version and a live performance of “Swan Hunter,” together with two previously unreleased tracks. Swan Hunter is an elegy for the shipbuilding communities of England’s north-east.

Vocalist David Longdon said: “Imagine being a child who grew up within this community, seeing these huge vessels grow daily until their launch. Imagine the relentless sound of machinery and construction workers. Your father most likely would have worked there and probably his father before him. It must have been almost impossible back then to imagine a time when this way of life would come to an end. This is what you knew and it defined you.”

Andy Poole left the band in 2018.

Big Big Train

Inspired by the 17th and 18th century custom of the Grand Tour, where young men and women traveled to broaden the mind, Big Big Train made an album of songs set in distant lands and beyond.
Grand Tour features nine new tracks which take listeners on an epic journey over land and sea and through time and space.

The 2019 line-up includes band founder Greg Spawton on bass, guitars and keyboards; Nick D’Virgilio on drums; Dave Gregory on guitars; Rachel Hall on violin and vocals; David Longdon on vocals, flute, keyboards and guitars; Danny Manners on keyboards and bass; and Rikard Sjöblom on keyboards and guitars. Robin Armstrong (guitars and keyboards) joins the band for live performances.

Discography:

From The River To The Sea (Least Peculiar Music, 1991)
The Infant Hercules (Least Peculiar Music, 1993)
Goodbye To The Age Of Steam (Giant Electric Pea, 1994)
English Boy Wonders (Giant Electric Pea, 1997)
Bard (Treefrog, 2002)
Gathering Speed (Treefrog, 2004)
The Difference Machine (English Electric Recordings, 2007)
The Underfall Yard (English Electric Recordings, 2009)
Far Skies Deep Time, EP (English Electric Recordings, 2010)
English Electric Part One (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea, 2012)
English Electric Part Two (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea, 2013)
Make Some Noise, EP (English Electric Recordings, 2013)
Wassail, EP (English Electric Recordings, 2015)
Folklore (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea, 2016)
A Stone’s Throw From The Line, live (English Electric Recordings, 2016)
The Second Brightest Star (English Electric Recordings, 2017)
Grimspound (English Electric Recordings/Giant Electric Pea, 2017)
Merchants Of Light, live (English Electric Recordings, 2018)
Grand Tour (English Electric Recordings, 2019)

Artist Profiles: Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren

Todd Rundgren was born June 22, 1948 in Philadelphia, USA. He began playing guitar as a teenager, going on to found and lead Nazz, a 1960’s psychedelic group. In 1969, he left the band to pursue a solo career, recording his debut album, Runt.

In 1972 he released a superb album titled Something/Anything? on which he played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts, and acted as his own producer. This propelled Todd to superstar status. It was followed by essential LPs such as “A Wizard, A True Star” and “The Hermit of Mink Hollow,” as well as singles “I Saw The Light, “Hello It’s Me,” “Can We Still Be Friends,” and “Bang The Drum.”

Todd Rundgren

Rundgren has performed a wide range of styles as a solo artist and as a member and leader of the band Utopia. With Utopia he released two progressive rock albums: Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (1974) and Ra (1977), and a solo progressive album as well, Initiation (1975).

He is known for his elaborate and often- unconventional music, extravagant stage outfits, and his later experiments with interactive entertainment. Rundgren also produced ground-breaking music videos, initiated forms of multimedia, and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies.

Todd Rundgren

After a thirty-year-plus pause, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia reformed to conduct a tour. Todd brought together Kasim Sulton (bass), Willie Wilcox (drums) and Gil Assayas (keyboards). A double live album titled Live At The Chicago Theatre was recorded in 2018.

Utopia – Todd Rundgren’s Utopia Live At The Chicago Theatre

Also in 2018, Rundgren’s long-awaited autobiography, The Individualist: digressions, dreams and dissertations, was released by Cleopatra Press. The book documents Rundgren’s life through his 50th birthday.

Discography:

Runt (Ampex Records, 1970)
Something/Anything? (Bearsville, 1972)
A Wizard, a True Star (Bearsville, 1973)
Todd (Bearsville, 1974)
Initiation (Bearsville, 1975)
Faithful (Bearsville, 1976)
Hermit of Mink Hollow (Bearsville, 1978)
Healing (Bearsville, 1981)
The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect (Bearsville, 1982)
A Cappella (Warner Bros. Records, 1985)
Nearly Human (Warner Bros. Records, 1989)
2nd Wind (Warner Bros. Records, 1991)
No World Order (1993)
The Individualist (1995)
With a Twist… (1997)
One Long Year (Artemis Records, 2000)
Liars (Sanctuary Records, 2004)
Arena (Cooking Vinyl, 2008)
Todd Rundgren’s Johnson (MPCA Records, 2011)
(re)Production (Gigatone, 2011)
State (Cherry Red, 2013)
Global (Esoteric Antenna, 2015)
White Knight (Cleopatra, 2017)

With Utopia

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia (Bearsville, 1974)
Another Live (Bearsville, 1975)
Ra (Bearsville, 1976)
Oops! Wrong Planet (Bearsville, 1977)
Adventures In Utopia (Bearsville, 1980)
Deface The Music (Bearsville, 19800
Swing to the Right (1982)
Utopia (Netword Records, 1982)
Oblivion (Passport Records, 1984)
P.O.V. (Passport Records, 1985)
Redux ’92: Live in Japan (BMG, 1992)
Live At Hammersmith Odeon ’75 (Shout! Factory, 2012)
Todd Rundgren’s Utopia Live At The Chicago Theatre (Purple Pyramid, 2019)

Artist Profiles: Alameda

Alameda

Andalusian rock band Alameda was born in Seville. The group fused flamenco and progressive rock, featuring two keyboardists, the Marinelli brothers.

The lineup included Rafael Marinelli on keyboards, Manuel Marinelli on keyboards, Manuel Rosa on bass, José (Pepe) Roca on guitar and vocals, and Luis Moreno on percussion.

Alameda released 4 albums during its first phase: Alameda (1979), Misterioso manantial (1980), Aire cálido de abril (1981), and Noche andaluza (1983). The group disbanded after Noche andaluza and re-formed in 1992 for a concert that took place during the World Expo 92 in Sevilla. Three albums were released in the 1990s: “Dunas” (1994), “Ilusiones” (1995) and the two-CD live set Concierto – 20 Aniversario (1999).

Original founders Pepe Roca and Rafael Marinelli kept the band alive, supported by session musicians and released “Calle arriba” in 2008.

Discography:

Alameda (Epic, 1979)
Misterioso manantial ( Epic, 1980)
Aire cálido de abril ( Epic, 1981)
Noche andaluza ( Epic, 1983)
Dunas (Horus, 1994)
Ilusiones (Horus, 1995)
Concierto – 20 Aniversario (Actual, 1999)

Artist Profiles: Guadalquivir

Guadalquivir

The seeds of Guadalquivir emerged from the idea of ​​Seville guitarists Andrés Olaegui and Luis Cobo “Manglis.” The two musicians coincided while serving together in the Spanish military as conscripts in Cerro Muriano (Córdoba).  While at basic camp in Cerro Muriano, they listened to Miles Davis, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and other cutting edge jazz fusion acts. In their spare time they started to exchange their ideas, experimenting with American blues and emergent jazz-rock.

Later, the two friends were transferred to the 14th Artillery Regiment based in Seville, assigned to the unit’s military band. Although they had known each other previously, a sincere friendship was born and since then the two musicians became inseparable friends. They came up with the idea of forming a powerful jazz-rock band with Andalusian roots.

In Seville, Andres and Luis formed a band called Manantial together with Willie and Tony de Trujillo, two American musicians who were great instrumentalists, had a studio and very good gear. These brothers had parents from Seville but were born and grew up in New York. Manantial also featured Puerto Rican David Rodríguez.

Manantial performed only two concerts and the most significant was a live performance on TVE’s show Popgrama, directed by Gonzalo García Pelayo, who was reporting about the Seville music scene in 1974.

After completing their military service, Manglis and Andrés Olaegui decided to relocate to Madrid with Manantial to try their luck, and after a month without achieving the objectives set for the group, Willie and Tony returned to Seville, and Manglis and Olaegui, decided to stay in Madrid to keep trying.

At that time, they frequented the Balboa Jazz Club, where they met and became friends with three highly influential musicians: flamenco jazz saxophonist Jorge Pardo, singer and drummer Pedro Ruy-Blas and percussionist José Antonio Galicia, who played at the club every day, and delved into what was the world of jazz in the capital of Spain.

One night in January 1978, José Valera, who was the first manager of the band Triana, talked to Luis Cobo “Manglis” at Club Raíces, in Madrid, where Manglis was playing. José proposed that Luis set up a group to participate in a festival with Andalusian rock bands that he was organizing with Triana as headliner. It was the opportunity Manglis and Andres had been waiting for.  They created the long-awaited dream band with original compositions. The two guitarists recruited Pedro Ontiveros (sax and flute), Larry Martín (drums) and Jaime Casado (bass).

I had just returned from playing in Ibiza and recently arrived from Munich where I had been invited to collaborate with German group Embryo and that’s how Guadalquivir was born,” said Manglis. “A month later we debuted in this festival before 7,000 people and from there everything was as fast as gunpowder.”

In February 1978, after twenty days of marathon ten-hour rehearsals, Guadalquivir debuted before 7,000 people at the Festival of Andalusian groups at the Móstoles Sports Center near Madrid, along with Triana, Iman – Caifato Independiente and Storm.

That same year, Spanish rock star Miguel Rios organized a large tour that was called La Noche Roja (The Red Night), with Triana as a headliner and featuring Guadalquivir as well.  The concerts attracted over 100,000 concertgoers and featured a state of the art PA system and laser show.

Guadalquivir – Guadalquivir

Guadalquivir signed with EMI Records and released its self-titled debut album “Guadalquivir” in 1978.  The color of the vinyl was green and became known by collectors as the green album. Guadalquivir became an essential act in Andalusian rock. They appeared at numerous festivals.

Guadalquivir – Camino del Concierto

In 1980 the band recorded its second LP, “Camino del Concierto.” (EMI, 1980). After finishing the tour to promote the second album, in 1981, Manglis left the group due to disagreements with some members of the band, and embarked on a solo career. He founded the band Manglis with which he recorded two albums; while at the same time Triana recruited him as guitarist, in 1981.

Guadalquivir, released a third LP Después del Silencio (After the Silence) in 1983) on the Caskabel label. By then, two of the founders, Manglis and Pedro Ontiveros had left. After various concerts and a tour of Poland, the group disbanded in 1984.

The compilation Guadalquivir, Todas sus Grabaciones en EMI included the two EMI recordings.

Nearly thirty years after Guadalquivir was founded, Manglis reorganized the band again with Andrés Olaegui and Pedro Ontiveros and reappeared at various festivals and tributes to Andalusian rock during 2006-2008.

Discography:

Guadalquivir (EMI, 1978)
Camino del Concierto (EMI, 1980)
Después del Silencio (Caskabel, 1983)
Guadalquivir, Todas sus Grabaciones en EMI (Rama Lama, 1999)

Artist Profiles: Rick Wakeman

Rick Wakeman

Richard Christopher Wakeman was born May 18, 1949 in Perivale, Middlesex, England. His interest in music manifested itself very early. From the age of seven on, he studied classical piano. At the age of 14, Wakeman joined a local band, Atlantic Blues. The same year, he left school to enroll in the Royal College of Music. He had intended to start a career as a concert pianist, but Wakeman was dismissed from the college after it became clear that he preferred playing in clubs to studying technique.

By his late teens, Wakeman was a well-known session man, playing on records by such diverse acts as Black Sabbath, Brotherhood of Man, and Edison Lighthouse. At the end of the 1960s, his name also began appearing on the credits of albums by artists such as Al Stewart and David Bowie. A set of sessions with a folk-rock band called the Strawbs led to his joining the group in 1970.

After two albums with the Strawbs, Wakeman joined Yes, a rock band that evolved into one of the pioneers of cutting edge progressive rock. Yes had attracted considerable attention with their first three albums. Wakeman played a key role in the final shape of the group’s fourth record, Fragile, creating a profound, swirling sound on an array of electric and acoustic pianos, synthesizers, and mellotron. Fragile was a hit, driven by the chart success of the single “Roundabout,” and Wakeman was suddenly elevated to star status.

Rick Wakeman – The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Yes’ next album, Close to the Edge, increased Wakeman’s audience and his appeal, for his instruments were heard almost continually on the record. During the making of Close to the Edge in 1972, Wakeman also recorded his first solo album, an instrumental work titled The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which comprised his musical interpretations of the lives and personalities of the said six royal spouses. Released early in 1973 on A&M Records, it performed well on the charts.

Yes’ next album, Close to the Edge, increased Wakeman’s audience and his appeal, for his instruments were heard almost continually on the record. During the making of Close to the Edge in 1972, Wakeman also recorded his first solo album, an instrumental work titled The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which comprised his musical interpretations of the lives and personalities of the said six royal spouses. Released early in 1973 on A&M Records, it performed well on the charts.

Cover of Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans, designed by Roger Dean

Public reception of Yes’ magnificent 1974 double album, Tales From Topographic Oceans, was mixed, and the British pop critics, who disliked and misunderstood progressive rock, were cruel in their attacks on the record. Wakeman left Yes before the album’s supporting tour. His new solo album, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, adapted from the writings of Jules Verne and featuring a rock band, narrator (David Hemmings), and full orchestral and choral accompaniment, was released to tremendous public response in both the United States and the UK, where it topped the charts.

Rick Wakeman

In 1975, Wakeman’s next album, The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, was given a grand-scale premiere at Wembley’s Empire Pool, although it also cost Wakeman a fortune to stage the event on ice. During this same period, Wakeman began working on film scores with the music for Ken Russell’s Lisztomania, which was a modest hit.

In 1977, Wakeman returned to Yes, with which he has continued recording and touring. His solo career continued on A&M into the end of the ’70s, with Criminal Record and Rhapsodies, which were modestly successful.

Wakeman’s biggest media news during this period, however, came through his alleged role in getting the Sex Pistols dropped by A&M Records soon after being signed. None of this bothered his fans, which rapidly expanded to encompass those he picked up through his work with lyricist Tim Rice on a musical adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, and his burgeoning film work, which included the music to movies about the 1976 Winter Olympics and the 1982 soccer World Cup competition. Additionally, he became a regular on Britain’s Channel 4. Wakeman’s audience and reputation survived the 1980s better than almost any progressive rock star of his era, as he continued releasing albums on his own label. He also remained associated with Yes into the 1990s.

Rick Wakeman

In January 2016, Trevor Rabin announced he plans to perform with Wakeman and Jon Anderson as Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman (ARW), later in the year. Anderson revealed the three wrote “some unique songs together”. Also in January, following requests from fans, Wakeman recorded piano versions of “Life on Mars?”, “Space Oddity”, and “Always Together” as a tribute to David Bowie following his death with proceeds from the songs donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Selected Solo Discography:

The Six Wives of Henry VIII (A&M Records, 1973)
Journey to the Centre of the Earth (A&M Records, 1974)
Lisztomania (A&M Records, 1975)
The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (A&M Records, 1975)
No Earthly Connection (A&M Records, 1976)
Rick Wakeman’s Criminal Record (A&M Records, 1977)
1984 (Charisma Records, 1981)
Silent Nights (President Records, 1985)
Country Airs (Coda Records, 1986)
The Gospels (Stylus Music, 1987)
Phantom Power (Jimco Records, 1990)
The Piano Album ( Castle Communications, 1995)
Return to the Centre of the Earth (EMI Classics, 1999)
Out There (Music Fusion, 2003)
Piano Odyssey (Sony Classical, 2018)

Artist Profiles: Cai

Cai in the early 1980s

Cai was a progressive rock band from the Cadiz province of Spain. The groundbreaking group combined progressive rock, with jazz fusion and Flamenco.

Cai – Más Allá De Nuestras Mentes Diminuta

The band’s first album, Más Allá De Nuestras Mentes Diminutas, was released in 1978. The line-up included Paco Delgado on guitar, Diego Fopiani on drums, percussion, lead vocals, José Vélez Gómez on bass, and Sebastian Domínguez ‘Chano’ on keyboards.

Cai – Noche Abierta

Epic Records Spain signed Cai and released its second album, Noche Abierta (1980). The musicians that participated in the album were the same as in Más Allá De Nuestras Mentes Diminutas, with the addition of another guitarist, José Fernández Mariscal.

Cai – Canción De La Primavera

By 1981, Andalusian rock was struggling to survive. Cai released a third album titled Canción De La Primavera (Epic, 1981) and later disbanded. Its young keyboardist, Chano Dominguez, went on to become the leading jazz pianist in Spain and is known for his outstanding fusions of Flamenco and jazz.

Cai – Mucho Más Allá De Nuestras Mentes Diminutas

In 2009 a double CD set came out, titled Mucho Más Allá De Nuestras Mentes Diminutas. The album featured the reissue of the debut album Más Allá De Nuestras Mentes Diminutas plus 3 bonus tracks from 1981 and live performances from a 1979 concert at cortijo Los Rosales.

The band reunited in 2010. This time it was reduced to a trio featuring Diego Fopiani on drums, percussion and vocals, José Fernández Mariscal on guitars and bass, and new member Blas Lago on keyboards. They released an album titled Metáforas De Luz (2010).

Cai – Metáforas De Luz

Drummer Diego Fopiani died April 4, 2019.

A Highly Melodic Pymlico

Pymlico – Nightscape (Apollon Records Prog, 2018)

Norwegian instrumental band Pymlico returns with an album titled Nightscape. Although the band is known for combining progressive rock and jazz fusion, the fusion side is actually smooth jazz, with very sweet, melodic saxophone.

There is a dynamic interaction between the high energy progressive rock, cinematic passages and the mellowed down sections.

The band includes Øyvind Brøter on keyboards; Stephan Hvinden on guitars; Andreas Sjo Engen on guitars; Axel Toreg Reite on bass and synth bass; Marie Færevaag on saxophones and keyboards; Arild Brøter on drums, keyboards and additional guitars; and Oda Rydning on percussion.

Guests: Mattias Krohn Nielsen on acoustic and some electric guitars; Ketil Vestrum Einarsen on flute; Didrik Føyn Føyen on trombone; and Andreas Fossum on trumpet.

Nightscape is a finely crafted instrumental album by a group of talented young musicians.

Buy Nightscape

Artist Profiles: Joe Zawinul

Joe Zawinul

Few keyboardists in jazz history matched the creativity and eclecticism of Joe Zawinul. He was a true innovator in the world of jazz and one of the originators of today’s world fusion sounds.

Joe Zawinul was born on July 7, 1932, in Kirchbach, a small village near Vienna. His first instrument was the accordion. At the age of 12, he started to learn the piano, which became his main instrument. After World War II, Zawinul continued his musical education at the prestigious Vienna Conservatory. He moved to the United States in 1959 on a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in Boston.

In the United States, he inevitably became involved in jazz, playing as a sideman to artists such as Slide Hampton, Dinah Washington, and Cannonball Adderley. He met and collaborated with Miles Davis while the latter was moving into his electric era and was essential in the outcome of Bitches Brew (1970), Davis’ first electric project.

After releasing his debut solo album on Atlantic in 1970, Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter put together one of the most important jazz groups of the 1970s, Weather Report. Drawing on the power and theatricality of rock and R&B, while maintaining allegiance to jazz and the pure spirit of improvisation, they were pioneers of the fusion movement of that decade while carving out their own unique niche.

Even though band members came and went, Weather Report’s spirit prevailed over the course of 17 albums, including the groundbreaking Black Market and the enormously popular Heavy Weather, which included Zawinul’s infectious song “Birdland.” That song, in versions by Weather Report, Manhattan Transfer and Quincy Jones, won separate Grammy awards in three successive decades. Weather Report itself won a Grammy for its live album, 8:30.

In 1985, after he and Shorter finally agreed to go in separate musical directions, Zawinul continued to create adventurous new grooves in the group known as Weather Update and then the Zawinul Syndicate, whose albums included My People in 1996 and the two-CD, World Tour in 1998.

Other special projects included an adventurous solo electronic album, Dialects (1986), and work as producer and arranger on Salif Keita’s landmark album, Amen (1991). Meanwhile, as another side project of his creative life, Zawinul also pursued classical composition, writing his ambitious Stories Of The Danube in 1993 and working with renowned classical pianist Friedrich Gulda. His special solo project “Mauthausen,” released in Europe in 2000, is a memorial for the victims of the Holocaust, and was performed on the site of the Austrian concentration camp after which it is named.

Zawinul had honorary doctorates from Berklee School of Music, and is the official Austrian goodwill ambassador to 17 African nations. In January 2002, Zawinul received the first International Jazz Award, co-presented by the International Jazz Festival Organization and the International Association of Jazz Educators. In 2002, he released the CD Faces & Places.

The live album Vienna Nights came out in 2005.

Zawinul was a pioneer in the use of electronic keyboards, ranging from synthesizers to samplers. He incorporated global sounds into his keyboards, developing cutting edge world fusion.

Joe Zawinul died in Vienna on 7 August 7, 2007.

Discography:

To You with Love (Strand, 1959)
Money in the Pocket (Atlantic, 1966)
Rise & Fall of Third Stream (Vortex, 1968)
Zawinul (Atlantic, 1971)
Dialects (Columbia, 1986)
The Immigrants (Columbia, 1988)
Black Water (Columbia, 1989)
Lost Tribes (Columbia, 1992)
My People (ESC, 1996)
Stories of the Danube (Polygram, 1996)
World Tour (ESC, 1997)
Mauthausen – Vom großen Sterben hören (ESC, 2000)
Faces & Places (ESC, 2002)
Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate – Vienna Nights – Live at Joe Zawinul’s Birdland (Heads Up, 2005)
Brown Street (Heads Up, 2006)
75 (Heads Up, 2008)

Artist Profiles Steve Roach

Steve Roach – Photo by Adam Fleishman

 

Composer, producer, synthesist and multi-instrumentalist, Steve Roach was born February 16, 1955 in La Mesa, near San Diego, in California. He is fascinated by the desert landscapes and wide open spaces in the Southwest of the United States, as well as the outback deserts of Australia. Steve’s style has evolved from purely electronic sounds to the combination of synthetic sounds with some of the most primitive musical instruments.

Steve bought his first synthesizer in 1978. Although his first influences were German electronic acts like Tangerine Dream, Can and Klaus Schulze, Steve soon went beyond and developed his own style.

 

Steve Roach in 1982 – Photo by Thomas Ronkin

 

Los Angeles’ hectic way of life led him to isolate himself in a musical sanctuary. Initially, Steve composed intense sequencer-based music. Later, he started to compose more tranquil and atmospheric music as a response to the rhythmic and sequenced world that characterized his earlier music.

After Empetus, Steve’s compositions mirrored his impressions of southwestern landscapes and world music. His trips to Australia had a profound effect on his music. The desert’s attraction led Steve to move to Tucson, Arizona in the southwestern United States.

 

Steve Roach – Photo credit by John Woolsey

 

I seek musical instruments that allow me to create sounds in an attractive and intuitive way. It’s something intriguing. That’s the difference between a keyboardist and a synthesis,” says Steve.

Steve Roach records and produces his music in his own studio called the Time Room. It’s a room full of marvelous electronic music devices that Roach uses to extract a multitude of spellbinding sounds.

Steve Roach is restless in his search for new sounds that connect with an ancient source of truth in this ever changing world. Roach has earned his position in the international first tier of major progressive music artists over the last decades through his ceaseless productivity, constant innovation, open minded collaborations with numerous artists and the psychological depth of his music.

Recognized worldwide as one of the leading innovators of contemporary electronic music, he is a very prolific musicians, who has released dozens of albums since 1981, including the ground-breaking double CD Dreamtime Return; the critically acclaimed tribal-trance extravaganza Artifacts; the award winning Earth Island, the second collaboration with Mexican multi-instrumentalist Jorge Reyes and Spanish guitarist and producer Suso Sáiz; the independently produced The Dream Circle; his collaboration with Belgian musician Vidna Obmana, Well of Souls; and Kiva, a mind-bending masterpiece featuring hallucinogenic shamanic rites, synthesizer landscapes and primeval instruments, combining the talents of Roach, Michael Stearns and Ron Sunsinger.

 

Steve Roach – Dreamtime Return

 

At the melting point in the ocean of desert, this awesome expanse of a 180-degree horizon slowly works on the perception, revealing yet again the Other desert of inner regions that I crave to be in,” says Steve Roach.

Selected Discography:

Now (Fortuna 1982)
Traveler (Domino 1983, Fortuna 1987)
Structures from Silence (Fortuna 1984)
Quiet Music 1 (Fortuna 1986)
Quiet Music 2 (Fortuna 1986)
Quiet Music 3 (Fortuna 1986)
Empetus (Fortuna 1986)
Western Spaces (with Kevin Braheny,Thom Brennan; Fortuna 1990)
Quiet Music (Fortuna 1988)
The Leaving Time (with Michael Shrieve; Novus/RCA 1988)
Dreamtime Return (Fortuna 1988)
Stormwarning: Live in Concert (Soundquest 1989, Lektronic Soundscapes 1992)
Desert Solitaire (with Kevin Braheny, Michael Stearns; Fortuna 1989)
Australia: Sound of the Earth, with David Hudson, Sarah Hopkins (Fortuna 1990)
Strata, with Robert Rich (Hearts of Space 1990)
Now / Traveller (Fortuna 1992)
World’s Edge (Fortuna 1992)
Soma, with Robert Rich (Hearts of Space 1992)
Suspended Memories: Forgotten Gods, with Jorge Reyes, Suso Sáiz (Hearts of Space 1993)
The Lost Pieces (Rubicon 1993, Relic/Projekt 1995)
Origins (Fortuna 1993)
Solitaire: Ritual Ground, with Elmar Shulte (Silent 1993)
Suspended Memories: Earth Island, with Jorge Reyes, Suso Sáiz (Fathom 1994)
Artifacts (Fortuna 1994)
The Dream Circle (Soundquest 1994)
Well of Souls, with Vidna Obmana (Projekt 1995)
Kiva, with Michael Stearns, Ron Sunsinger (Fathom 1995)
The Dreamer Descends (Amplexus 1995)
The Magnificent Void (Fathom 1996)
On This Planet (Hearts of Space, 1997)
Slow Heat (Timeroom Editions, 1998)
Light Fantastic (Hearts of Space, 1999)
Atmospheric Conditions (Timeroom Editions, 1999)
The Dream Circle (Timeroom Editions, 1999)
Truth & Beauty: The Lost Pieces 2 (Timeroom Editions, 1999)
Midnight Moon (Projekt, 2000)
Early Man (Projekt, 2001)
Time of the Earth (2001)
Core (Timeroom Editions, 2001)
Streams & Currents (2001)
Darkest Before Dawn (2002)
Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces (Projekt, 2003)
Texture Maps: The Lost Pieces 3 (Timeroom Editions, 2003)
Life Sequence (2003)
Fever Dreams (2004)
Holding the Space: Fever Dreams II (Timeroom Editions, 2004)
Places Beyond: The Lost Pieces 4 (Timeroom Editions, 2004)
Possible Planet (2005)
New Life Dreaming (2005)
Immersion: One (Projekt, 2006)
Proof Positive (2006)
Kairos: The Meeting of Time and Destiny (2006)
Immersion: Two (Projekt, 2006)
Fever Dreams III (2007)
Immersion : Three (2007)
A Deeper Silence (2008)
Landmass (Timeroom Editions, 2008)
Dynamic Stillness (2009)
Destination Beyond (2009)
Afterlight (2009)
Immersion: Four (Timeroom Editions, 2009)
Sigh of Ages (2010)
Immersion Five – Circadian Rhythms (2011)
Groove Immersion (2012)
Back to Life (2012)
Soul Tones (2012)
Future Flows (2013)[8]
Spiral Meditations (2013)
Bloodmoon Rising (2014)
The Delicate Beyond (2014)
The Delicate Forever (2014)
The Desert Collection – Volume 1 (2014)
Invisible (2015)
Skeleton Keys (Projekt, 2015)
The Skeleton Collection 2005 – 2015 (Timeroom Editions, 2015)
Etheric Imprints (Projekt, 2015)
Bloodmoon Rising – The Complete 5 hour collection (Timeroom Editions, 2015)
Vortex Immersion Zone (Timeroom Editions, 2015)
This Place to Be (2016)
Shadow of Time (Projekt Records, 2016)
Spiral Revelation (Projekt Records, 2016)
Fade to Gray (2016)
Painting in the Dark (2016)
The Passing (Timeroom Editions, 2017)
Nostalgia for the Future (Timeroom Editions, 2017)
Long Thoughts (Projekt Records, 2017)

Artist Profiles: John McLaughlin

John McLaughlin

In a career that has spanned over 4 years John McLaughlin has been part of or led some of the most important movements in jazz and music. His compositions are now being treated with the reverence of classical music pieces and being interpreted the world over musicians of many varied genres.

John McLaughlin was born January 4 1942 in Doncaster, Yorkshire in England. The guitarist is well known for his eclectic taste in music. McLaughlin was a child when he first fell in love with jazz and the blues and he was just 11 years old when he began studying and playing the guitar.

The 1960s found him playing jazz rock and blues in his native England where he worked with Alexis Korner and Ginger Baker among others before moving to New York at the end of the decade.

McLaughlin had a busy year in 1969. He recorded his debut album Extrapolation and started working with two seminal voices in early fusion: Tony Williams (who employed McLaughlin and organist Larry Young in his trailblazing group Lifetime) and Miles Davis. Never afraid to forge ahead Davis had done a lot to popularize cool jazz and modal post-bop in the past and he continued to break new ground when he introduced fusion on his 1969 sessions In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew both of which feature McLaughlin’s playing. The guitarist was also featured on 1970’s A Tribute to Jack Johnson another Davis gem of the time.

Like bebop in the 1940s and modal jazz in the early 1960s fusion was controversial. Jazz purists felt that rock and funk rhythms had no place in jazz but thankfully McLaughlin disagreed and let his musical instincts guide him.

After participating in Davis’ and Williams’ groundbreaking fusion combos McLaughlin founded an influential group of his own in 1971: The Mahavishnu Orchestra fusion’s first super group. The Mahavishnu Orchestra created music that still has a unique influence today. The band included some of the finest contemporary jazz instrumentalists of the time: violinist Jerry Goodman (later Jean-Luc Ponty), keyboardist Jan Hammer (later Gayle Moran and Stu Goldberg), bassist Rick Laird (later Ralphe Armstrong) and drummer Billy Cobham (later Narada Michael Walden). The Mahavishnu Orchestra combined electric jazz and rock with Indian influences.

 

 

By the time Mahavishnu broke up in 1975 it had recorded several classic albums for Columbia (including Birds of Fire, Between Nothingness and Eternity, The Inner Mounting Flame, Apocalypse and Visions of the Emerald Beyond) and gone down in history as one of the 1970’s most influential fusion ensembles.

 

The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Birds of Fire

 

The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Between Nothingness and Eternity

 

The Mahavishnu Orchestra – The Inner Mounting Flame

 


The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Apocalypse

 

The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Visions of the Emerald Beyond

 

In 1973 collaborated with Carlos Santana on the album Love Devotion Surrender dedicated to their guru at the time Sri Chinmoy. They covered John Coltrane pieces including the classic “A Love Supreme” (with chanting) and several Mahavishnu compositions.

In 1975 McLaughlin did the unexpected by founding Shakti an acoustic group that employed traditional Indian musicians including tabla player Zakir Hussain violinist L. Shankar (Ravi Shankar’s nephew), T.H. Vikku Vinayakram (ghatam) and earlier Ramnad Raghavan (mridangam). The group released Shakti with John McLaughlin and A Handful of Beauty.

 

Shakti – Shakti with John McLaughlin

 

Shakti – A Handful of Beauty

 

Shakti underscored the guitarist’s interest in India’s music culture and religion. Shakti reminded listeners that McLaughlin was as appealing on the acoustic guitar as he was on its electric counterpart and proved that he wasn’t about to confine himself to playing any one style of music exclusively.

Indeed McLaughlin was heard in a variety of musical settings in the 1980s everything from a brief Mahavishnu Orchestra reunion in 1984 to an acoustic guitar summit with Al DiMeola and Flamenco legend Paco de Lucia in 1982 (The Guitar Trio) to a classical album with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1988. At the same time McLaughlin was also at the forefront of technology using the first guitar synthesizers.

McLaughlin was no less eclectic in the 1990s when his Verve projects ranged from 1993’s acoustic Time Remembered: John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans (a tribute to the late pianist) to sessions featuring organist Joey DeFrancesco (1993’s Tokyo Live) and an acoustic McLaughlin/DiMeola/de Lucia reunion in 1996.

It was in 1997 that McLaughlin reunited with Zakir Hussain and a reconfigured version of Shakti for several U.K. concerts that were documented on Verve’s two-CD set Remember Shakti. In the subsequent years John has releasedAfter the Rain with Elvin Jones and a career retrospective titled The Promise as well as the live The Heart of Things and most recently Industrial Zen.

In 2005 he created a revolutionary guitar instructional DVD This is the Way I Do It that has met with universal praise. Today he continues on his musical journey by once again delving into yet another musical form that combines all of his past experience with as of yet unlearned knowledge.

I’m a guitar player that’s what I am primarily that’s what I’ll always be‘ McLaughlin has been quoted as saying. ‘(And) I’m an eternal learner. I don’t want to stop learning because I feel that no matter what I’ve done; I’m really just beginning again. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning.’

In 2010 he received the reputable German jazzahead! Award. The award honors the activities of artists in the vibrant and distinct musical language of jazz.

In 2015 McLaughlin released Black Light featuring 8 original McLaughlin compositions including a tribute to his departed colleague collaborator and friend Paco De Lucia, with whom McLaughlin had intended to compose an album’s worth of new material just before De Lucia’s untimely passing. McLaughlin returned to acoustic guitar for a tribute to his friend titled “El Hombre Que Sabia”.

The rest of Black Light is electric showcasing McLaughlin’s band the 4th Dimension, “my three favorite musicians,” said McLaughlin. The 4th Dimension is composed of multi-instrumentalist Gary Husband on keyboards and drums, Etienne Mbappe on electric bass and drummer Ranjit Barot.

website: www.johnmclaughlin.com