Bassists Julie Slick and Marco Machera met the Three of a Perfect Pair Music Camp in 2011. They started collaborating in April 2014 to play a short series of concerts in Tuscany, after Julie’s European tour with The Crimson ProjeKCt.
Very instinctively, new songs were written during a few days of rehearsals. The spur-of-the-moment bass duets ended up being so satisfying and well-received that Julie and Marco ultimately decided to write and record more material together. They named their project EchoTest. The group’s live performances and albums include various acclaimed musicians such as Pat Mastelotto, Tim Motzer, Zach LoPresti, Ali Wadsworth, Ian Gray, and Greg Rosen.
EchoTest have reinvented the role of solo electric bass and superbly display the songwriting abilities of the duo, characterized by a mesmerizing combination of loop music, ambient soundscapes and interlocking bass patterns.
Fourth Dementia (2014)
Slick Mix Vol II (2015) Le Fil Rouge
Live in Philadelphia (2016)
Progressive music acts Echotest and Jane Getter Premonition featuring Adam Holzman are set to perform on Friday, February 3, 2016 at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen, New Jersey.
Bass-centric ensemble features Echotest Julie Slick on bass; Marco Machera on bass; Alessandro Inolti on drums; Zach Lopresti on guitar and vocals; and Jenny Founds on vocals. Their album is titled Le Fil Rouge.
Jane Getter is an jazz-rock and progressive rock electric guitar maestra. Her lineup includes Jane Getter on guitars and vocals; Adam Holzman (Steven Wilson, Miles Davis) on keyboards; Randy McStine (The Fringe, Lo-Fi Resistance) on guitar, vocals; Dave Johnsen (Project Object, Grandmothers of Invention) on bass; and Rocky Bryant (Peter Frampton, Dianne Reeves) on drums.
Multi-faceted progressive rock musician and producer Fabio Zuffanti and his group Zband are set to perform on Friday, January 13, 2017 at Raindogs House in Savona.
Fabio Zuffanti will perform excerpts from several of his various progressive rock projects, including solo works, Finisterre, Maschera di Cera and Höstsonaten. As usual, Zuffanti will be accompanied by ZBand, featuring Giovanni Pastorino on keyboards, Simone Amodeo on guitar, Paolo “Paolo” Tixi (Tempio Delle Clessidre) on drums; and Martin Grice (Delirium) on saxophone and flute.
In the next months, Zuffanti will be working on his new album (scheduled for autumn 2017) and will also organize the annual Z-Fest that will take place on March 31, 2017 in Milan. Then in May he will fly to Canada and the United States for a series of gigs.
Ferenc Nemeth and Attila Laszlo – Bridges Of Souls (Dreamers Collective Records, 2014)
Two of Hungary’s leading contemporary jazz musicians join forces with acclaimed American fusion instrumentalists on Bridges Of Souls. Despite the fusion background, Bridges Of Souls includes more than fusion. Sure, there is electric jazz and masterful solos, but the four musicians also incorporate other genres such as blues, reggae and rock.
Ferenc Nemeth is a skilled drummer who demonstrates his talent, but has more of an ensemble mentality, blending his beats perfectly with his colleagues.
Attila Laszlo’s guitar style has an instant appeal, delivering memorable performances. The two American musicians complement the overall sound with outstanding bass and keyboard work.
Although most of the album is instrumental, there are two vocal tracks. One of them features one of Hungary’s most famous rockers, Charlie Horvath, who has a gritty Joe Cocker-style. The other song is by a much younger artist, Lara Bello. The rising vocalist and songwriter from Granada (Spain) provides a charming performance.
The lineup includes Ferenc Nemeth on drums; Attila Laszlo on guitar; Russell Ferrante on piano and keyboards; Jimmy Haslip on bass; Charlie Horvath on vocals; and Lara Bello on vocals.
The album also features an adaptation of the Radiohead song “Creep.”
Jazz fusion innovator, composer and guitar maestro Al Di Meola will continue to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of his Elegant Gypsy Tour with new concerts in 2017 in support of his most recent solo album Elysium. The North American tour begins February 7 in Durham, North Carolina with dates in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Austin, Dallas, Montreal, and more.
Di Meola has been on tour for most of 2016, presenting new material from Elysium together with old favorites. DiMeola uses acoustic and electric guitars, including his nylon string Conde Hermanos acoustic prototype model and a 1971 Les Paul electric (his Return to Forever and Elegant Gypsy guitar).
The band includes Philippe Saisse on keyboards, marimba; Gumbi Ortiz on percussion; Elias Tona on bass; Luis Alicea on drums; and Evan Garr on violin.
2017 North America Tour:
2/7/17 Durham, NC Carolina Theatre
2/8/17 Charleston, SC Music Hall
2/9/17 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
2/11/17 Orlando, FL The Plaza Live
2/12/17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Parker Playhouse
2/13/17 Clearwater,FL Capitol Theater
2/14/17 Ponte Vedra,FL PV Concert Hall
2/17/17 Austin, TX One World
2/18/17 Dallas, TX Majestic
2/21/17 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music
2/22/17 Kent, OH Kent Stage
2/24/17 Quebec City, Q Palais Montcalm
2/25/17 Montreal, QC Salle Pierre Mercure
2/26/17 Peekskill, NY Paramount
The seminal act Djam Karet is one of the most veteran bands in the American progressive music scene. For years, Djam Karet has been crossing the boundaries between progressive rock, electronic music and other genres. We talked to guitarist Gayle Ellett about the band’s background and upcoming projects.
How and when was Djam Karet formed?
GE: We formed back in 1984, in Claremont California. Chuck and I went to the same college, and Henry and Mike lived in town. Chuck was already playing in a band with Mike and Henry called Happy Cancer. And sometimes Chuck and Mike played in a little band I had as well. So we all knew each other (and Claremont is a small town).
What does Djam Karet mean?
GE: It is an Indonesian word meaning “elastic time” and it refers to how your sense of time changes. We spent all of the first few years only playing entirely improvised music, filled with really long jams of an hour or more. But they always SEEMED like they were only maybe 20 minutes long! Being in the moment, like that, made it hard to judge the time. Chuck found that phrase while reading a book by Harlan Ellison.
What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
GE: I personally feel that the essential element of our music is that the other guys in the band better do EXACTLY WHAT I SAY … or I’m gonna smack them upside the head with my guitar! And I have a REALLY heavy guitar too! Just kidding!! (and badly as well)
Actually, we are an instrumental group that focuses on playing the type of music we ourselves want to hear. The band is quite indulgent that way. We are really free to make music anyway we see fit, and to change it up from album to album.
Our music often has a strong sense of groove, and texture and rhythm. Its not all about soloing (even though we have a TON of solos in our music). It’s more about trying to create great evolving compositions that move and grow, with the band as our vehicle, and the studio as our home. Basically, I aspire to someday be the peer of my idols. And Djam Karet is one way in which I try to achieve that goal.
Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
GE: When I was 8 years old, and I first heard the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s album it completely floored me! I thought “WOW! Music can be as real or impactful as a movie or TV. Music can really take you on a visual journey.” And the creators of such works are like Gods, creating new worlds of wonder. I thought, and still do, that there is nothing better you can do, then to create music!
And I am also really influenced by the music of my teenage-years, the 1970’s. Groups like Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant, and the Southern Rock bands like the Allman Brothers, Lynard Skynyrd, ZZ Top, and then later groups like Soft Machine, National Health, Gong, Hatfield, and the darker groups like Present, Magma, Art Zoyd, Weidorje, and Universe Zero.
The band has been around for many years. Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
GE: For many years … all of our rehearsals and gigs were totally improvised. No pre-determined anything, just tune up and play. And our first release “No Commercial Potential” was improvised in-studio to tape. We recorded about 9 jams, and put the 3 best ones on that release. Later, we bought some cool keyboards to use for textures and weird sounds, and as we began to incorporate them into our music, we slowly added more structure to accommodate them.
Then, slowly over time, our music became more structured. The albums “Still No Commercial Potential”, and also “The Trip”, are totally improvised as well. But many of our albums have quite a lot of organized structure to them. We often make each new album a bit different, to keep our interest high. So it all varies from record to record. Some are much more electronic, some are rather hard rock.
What musical instruments do you use?
GE: Our band is basically two guitars, and bass and drums. But we also use a TON of classic keyboards, and other exotic effects. In Djam Karet I mostly play guitars and keyboards, and some Greek bouzouki. I also record a lot of nature sounds from outside my house and various other locations around town, and then incorporate them into our music.
And what effects do you use?
GE: Generally, when I record my guitars I don’t use any effects. I just plug it in, and use the tube amps, and the way I play it, to get my tones. I do occasionally like analog delays and SmallStone chorus pedals, and for jamming with friends, I’ve been loving my Strymon Deco pedal. In the recording studio, for mixing, I’ve been loving the SoundToys EchoBoy and Decapitator. They’re great.
What’s the current Djam Karet lineup?
GE: Everyone that was ever in the band, is still in the band! That includes the four founding members: Chuck Oken jr, Henry Osborne, Mike Henderson, and myself. And also Aaron Kenyon and Mike Murray.
All six of us play (to varying degrees) on the new album: Sonic Celluloid.
Tell us about the upcoming album Sonic Celluloid.
GE: Even though Sonic Celluloid is an instrumental album, it is all about how sound can be like cinema, how music can be like a movie. Many people have told us that listening to our music, is like seeing “mini-movies in your mind.” And on Sonic Celluloid, we really focused in on this cinematic aspect of our sound. Not “soundtrack-type” music, but music as film. Hence the title.
On this release, everyone contributed as much or as little as they wanted, with the huge bulk of the work being done mostly by me and Chuck. Chuck wrote the foundational synth chords and sequences that form the backbone of much of the music, by utilizing his giant collection of modular synths and sequencers. And I then wrote all of the melodies and played all of the guitar solos, and Minimoog & Mellotron & Rhodes and Hammond, and mixed and produced it.
With Sonic Celluloid, we’ve created a sound that has more melodic sections, more classic keyboards, and more acoustic instruments, then any of our previous albums. And its also the best produced and best sounding record we’ve done so far. It’s also very “accessible”, and it’s gonna be a fan-favorite, for sure. So we are all REALLY happy with it!
The band runs a label called Firepool Records that releases recordings by Djam Karet and other artists. How do you select the artists and which are the most recent recordings?
GE: Basically, it’s Chuck and I picking projects we like, that are usually by friends we know. We did the three Herd Of Instinct albums, the Spoke Of Shadows CD, an improvised album by my side-band Hillmen, and an album by Chuck Oken jr, and Mike Henderson.
Do you have any upcoming albums on Firepool?
GE: I think we might be releasing the newest Herd Of Instinct album, due out in 2017. I play on it some, and the great Mark Cook oversees all of the compositions and details. He’s awesome! Other than that, I am not sure, we’ll see what happens!
How’s the current progressive rock scene in your area?
GE: I have no idea, really. We live a very isolated life, and we don’t interact with many other Rock bands here in LA. Actually, we end up doing more stuff with other Electronic musicians. And Los Angeles is a horrid place for live music. Yes, there are a million bars, but most of them never ever have live music. It’s a pay-to-play city. It’s really weird. Yes, all famous bands come through our big metropolis, and you can go see them at a huge venue. But the city itself is not very pro-live music (in my view, at least).
If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?
GE: I don’t really know. I am a huge fan of Brian Eno. I love Bill Laswell’s work. And Daniel Lanois. Who knows?
Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?
GE: There is another Djam Karet album currently in the works. It is partially done, but still has a long, long way to go towards completion, and probably won’t be ready until Late 2018. It will be even more acoustic, with more ethnic instruments, then any of our previous albums.
And also some of the guys in the band have their own musical side-projects coming up, to be announced soon.
So stay tuned!!! It’s gonna be fun year!
Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about our music!! We greatly appreciate it!
06.02.2017 SW – Lund – Into Music
07.02.2017 DE – Hamburg – Markthalle
08.02.2017 DE – Oberhausen – Zentr. Altenberg
09.02.2017 DE – Köln – Yard Club
10.02.2017 NL – Zwolle – Hedon
11.02.2017 NL – Uden – De Pul
13.02.2017 DE – Bremen – Meisenfrei
14.02.2017 DE – Fürth – KOFFERFABRIK
15.02.2017 DE – Mannheim – 7 Er Club
16.02.2017 DE – Rüsselsheim – DAS RIND
17.02.2017 DE – Berlin – Musik & Frieden
19.02.2017 DK – Hvidovre – Medborgarsal
25.02.2017 SW – Stockholm -Bryggarsalen
01.04.2017 SW – Uppsala – Katalin
Acclaimed progressive rock musician Tim Bowness has released a music video with ‘You Wanted to Be Seen,’ the first track from his upcoming album, titled ‘Lost In The Ghost Light‘.
“You Wanted to Be Seen is about someone at their most weary and emotionally withdrawn,” says Tim Bowness. “It’s very much a self-reflective ‘dark night of the soul’ lyric.
Musically, it’s something of an extreme split between the reflective melancholy of the verses and the apocalyptic anger of the latter part of the song, which features some intense dueling guitar and violin parts from Bruce Soord and No-Man’s Steve Bingham.”
This is a superb album by Theo, a band led by multi-faceted musician and composer named Jim Alfredson. After I listened to the album I found out that Jim Alfredson is also the keyboardist for the modern organ jazz trio Organissimo. This jazz connection is clearly visible in some parts of The Game of Ouroboros.
The album features progressive rock of the highest order. Jim Alfredson is deeply influenced by the classic progressive bands of the 1970s, but he wants add modern production elements to the music to make it more current. Sometimes modern prog is code word for prog metal, which is neither modern nor prog. Thankfully, Alfredson‘s concept of modern is right on track. He adds electronics, sound effects and is also a master at setting moods and nuance beautifully. Theo uses silence, quiet passages and slow tempo elegantly, and switches to intense prog rock seamlessly.
Throughout the album, you’ll be treated to memorable organ, piano, electric piano and synth solos that are masterful and tastefully done. Jim Alfredson also provides the majority of the vocals. As lead vocalist, he’s quite good, with a wide range of vocal styles. He sounds very American, which is good. A lot of American progressive rock singers try to sound like Peter Gabriel or Jon Anderson. It’s refreshing to listen to singers who bring a different style to the progressive rock world. Alfredson is sometimes intimate and soft spoken. On other occasions, his vocals are much more intense and he also delivers a vocal performance on track 5 that is close to the classic soul sound of Motown or Michael McDonald.
There is not a weak track on this album, which makes it very satisfactory. Prog fans will find the always cherished long suites. Theo are masters at transitioning from soul or bluesy mood to jazz-rock and finally into masterful epic symphonic progressive rock. Even though I’ve focused on Jim Alfredson, the rest of the musicians are equally talented, delivering notable guitar and bass solos along with creative drumming.
The lineup includes Jim Alfredson on lead and backing vocals, keyboards; Gary Davenport on bass, Chapman stick, fretless bass; Kevin DePree on drums, percussion, backing vocals; and Jake Reichbart on guitars. Special guests include Zach Zunis on lead guitar on the title track; and Greg Nagy on 12-string and backing vocals.
The Game of Ouroboros is an impeccable progressive rock album by a talented group of forward-looking musicians that deserve more attention.