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.

Symphonic Prog Rock Band Renaissance Featuring Annie Haslam To Perform with 10-Piece Chamber Orchestra

Renaissance

Pioneering progressive rock band Renaissance featuring Annie Haslam has announced its upcoming tour of the US Northeast in October and November 2017. Titled “Symphonic Journey,” the tour will feature four very special concerts with a 10-piece chamber orchestra, a handpicked ensemble of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.

Concerts include October 26th at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield CT; October 27th at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA; Town Hall in New York City on October 28th; and The Egg in Albany, NY on October 29th. These concerts will be the first time in 40 years that Renaissance will perform on stage with a “live” orchestra.

Plans are currently being made for the group to film the October 27th Keswick Theatre show for an upcoming DVD release that will follow the success of its 2015 London Union Chapel DVD. A crowd funding campaign has been started to raise the significant funds to produce the new live DVD.

The band keeps getting stronger and stronger and the addition of the chamber orchestra will be the most exciting event for the band in years,” said Renaissance leader and singer Annie Haslam. “This addition of ‘live’ orchestral musicians will add an incredible dynamic to our big numbers like ‘Mother Russia,’ ‘Carpet of the Sun’ and ‘Song For All Seasons,’ all of which included an orchestra on the original recordings.”

Annie Haslam will be joined on stage by long time musical associate Rave Tesar on piano, together with Tom Brislin on keyboards, Mark Lambert on guitars, Frank Pagano on drums and percussion, and Leo Traversa on bass.

Tour dates:

Oct 26 – Ridgefield Playhouse – Ridgefield, CT (With 10-Piece Chamber Orchestra)
Oct 27 – Keswick Theatre – Glenside, PA (With 10-Piece Chamber Orchestra)
Oct 28 – Town Hall – New York, NY (With 10-Piece Chamber Orchestra)
Oct 29 – The Egg – Albany, NY (With 10-Piece Chamber Orchestra)
Nov 01 – City Winery – Boston, MA
Nov 02 – Rams Head on Stage – Annapolis, MD

Béla Bartok Through a Rock Prism

Dialeto – Bartók in Rock (Chromatic Music CMCD 001, 2017)

Brazilian band Dialeto has adapted well known classic pieces by Béla Bartok and has transformed them into progressive rock pieces. Bartok’s original pieces were inspired by Bulgarian rhythms and Romanian folk dances. Dialeto, from Sao Paulo, added complex, highly creative instrumental rock, heavy blues and improvisation.

This mix of progressive rock with folk-rooted traditions works really well. Bartók in Rock also features a high profile guest, violinist, David Cross (King Crimson) on one piece.

The lineup includes Nelson Coelho on guitar; Gabriel Costa on bass; and Fred Barley on drums plus David Cross on violin.

Bartók in Rock is a deeply intense and beautifully-arranged prog rock album inspired by Béla Bartok.

Buy the digital download version of Bartók in Rock or get the CD from dialeto.bandcamp.com

Plurima Mundi’s Paths

Plurima Mundi – Percorsi (2017)

Percorsi is the title of the first full-length album by Italian progressive rock band Plurima Mundi. It’s an independent release featuring vocals in Italian, which is always welcome.

All the music is composed by fiddler Massimiliano Monopoli, who provides one of the key ingredients of the band: the fiery electric violin. Another essential element is vocalist Grazia Maremonti, who has a gorgeous, passionate voice that sounds classically-trained.

The rest of the band provide the rest of the ingredients familiar in progressive rock, including fine keyboard and guitar work.

The lineup includes Massimiliano Monopoli on electric violin; Massimo Bozza on bass; Grazia Maremonti on vocals; Silvio Silvestre on guitar; Lorenzo Semeraro on piano; and Gianmarco Franchini on drums.

 

 

Buy Percorsi

Absorbing Prog Rock and Movielike Electronics

Djam Karet – Sonic Celluloid (HC Productions HC019, 2017)

Progressive rock band Djam Karet has released another gem. Sonic Celluloid is envisioned as “sound as cinema.” While the description cinematic quickly comes to mind, this is not a richly orchestral album. Instead, Djam Karet treats the listener to 10 tracks where mellotron, real drums and sequencers are mixed with progressive rock and spacey guitars.

The band reveals that Sonic Celluloid has more minimoogs and mellotrons than any of the previous releases. And it’s pretty evident. Fans of mellotron will really enjoy this album.

The lineup on the album includes Gayle Ellett on electric and acoustic guitars, Greek Bouzouki, Moog, Mellotron, Hammond organ & Rhodes; Chuck Oken, Jr. on drums, analog and digital keyboard sequencing and soundscapes; Henry J. Osborne on bass; Mike Henderson on guitar feedback; Mike Murray on guitar atmospheres and piano; and Aaron Kenyon on bass effects.

Djam Karet continues to impress with their forward-thinking vision of progressive music, fusing well-crafted progressive rock with mesmerizing electronics.

Buy Sonic Celluloid

Remarkable Finnish Zeuhl

Dai Kaht – Dai Kaht (TKGO01, 2017)

Dai Kaht is a great debut album by a Finnish band deeply inspired by 1970s progressive rock and Zeuhl, the innovative progressive music genre developed by French band Magma. Following Zeuhl tradition, the band members have created their own language, which they use in their songs.

Although the band’s sound definitely draws a lot of ideas from Zeuhl, the sound is more rock oriented, featuring two guitar players; it’s less jazzy and operatic than Magma.

The band members have adopted artistic names in their new language: Alemaahr Kempah (Atte Kemppainen) on vocals and bass; Willargh Shirow (Ville Sirvio) on guitar; Zwerie Stöbah (Tommi Ruotsalainen) on rhythm guitar; and Ozamö Sharif (Osmo Saarinen) on drums, vocals.

Dai Kaht is a remarkable Zeuhl album by a talented prog rock band from Finland with a promising future.

Buy the digital download version of Dai Kaht. The album is also available on CD.

Fascinating Electric Guitar Variations

Yang – The Failure of Words (Yang Music, 2017)

French progressive band Yang released its third album, The Failure of Words, earlier this year. Yang is an instrumental rock quartet that incorporates elements from progressive rock, jazz, hard rock, and world music.

Yang’s pieces are impeccable, exquisitely-crafted works, featuring memorable dual guitar and interplay and masterful creative drums. The guitar and bass interactions use various techniques, ranging from parallel melodies to counterpoints, call and response and looped patterns.

The lineup includes Frédéric L’Épée on guitars, keyboards; Laurent James on guitar; Nico Gómez on bass; and Volodia Brice on drums.

Previous albums include A Complex Nature (Cuneiform Records Rune 197, 2004) and Machines (Yang Music VOC1527, 2010).

 

 

 

Buy The Failure of Words

Italian Band Deelay to Release Debut Album

Italian progressive music band Deelay has announced the release of its self-titled debut album on AMS Records. The Rome-based trio includes Dario Esposito (Il Balletto di Bronzo ) on drums, Federico Procopio on guitar and Roberto Lo Monaco on bass. The three artists are seasoned session musicians.

The band’s style is a mix of progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, post rock and ambient textures.

Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan Announce Tour Dates

Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan

 

Guitar maverick Bill Frisell and virtuoso bassist Thomas Morgan will be touring North America in the next weeks to present their new album Small Town.

 

Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan – Small Town

 

 

Tour Dates

June 23 – Ottawa, ON at Ottawa Jazz Festival
June 24 – Toronto, ON at Toronto Jazz Festival
June 25 – Rochester, NY at Rochester Jazz Festival
June 27 – New Haven, CT at Firehouse 12
June 28 – Pawling, NY at Darryl’s Place
June 29 – Bay Shore, NY at Boulton Center for the Performing Arts
June 30 – Brooklyn, NY at Roulette
July 1 – Evanston, IL at SPACE
July 2 – Montreal, PQ at Montreal Jazz Festival

The Continuing Journey of Rahul Mukerji’s Guitar

Rahul Mukerji – Ma De Re Sha (Rahul Mukerji, 2017)

Ma De Re Sha is a great electric guitar album by Rahul Mukerji, an Indian musician living in the Washington D.C. area. Mukerji combines powerful rock guitar hero licks with jazz-rock fusion, Middle Eastern beats and Indian music influences. He also uses a note bending technique that gives it a South Asian flavor and sets him apart from western guitar players.

The lineup includes Rahul Mukerji on guitars, guitar synth, e-bow, sampling, tabla and drum programming; Bruce Ng on additional drum and percussion programming on all tracks; Ruben Rubio on bass.

Buy the CD from rahulmukerji.bandcamp.com/releases

Best of Arthur Lipner

Arthur Lipner – Two Hands, One Heart, Best of Arthur Lipner

Arthur Lipner – Two Hands, One Heart, Best of Arthur Lipner (Malletworks Media, 2015)

Two Hands, One Heart is a double CD set by vibraphone and marimba virtuoso Arthur Lipner. Disc 1 contains acoustic tracks, while disc 2 features an electric set. Although Lipner ventures into straight ahead jazz on occasions, most of the material on this album falls into the smooth jazz category.

On some pieces, Lipner adds Caribbean steelpans, Brazilian rhythms and melodies, and Argentine tango.

The album is available from store.cdbaby.com/cd/arthurlipner