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.

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.

Strat Andriotis and Jerry Goodman, a Remarkable Collaboration

Strat Andriotis – Night Manager (Dekatria Records, 2018)

Canadian guitar virtuoso Strat Andriotis collaborates with iconic musicians from the jazz and fusion world on Night Manager. The guests are legendary violinist Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra), famed Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and pianist Adrean Farrugia.

Strat Andriotis – Night Manager

The album includes masterful and captivating electro-acoustic interactions between Andriotis’ guitars, Jerry Goodman’s violin and Rubalcaba’s piano. The music easily crosses boundaries between contemporary jazz, classical, progressive jazz-rock and Gypsy violin.

Night Manager follows Strat’s 2015 and 2017 respective releases of Liars Incorporated and Less Off Patient.

Night Manager is an impeccable example of contemporary jazz craftsmanship.

Peter Bank’s Remarkable Guitar and Experimentation

Peter Banks – The Self-Contained Trilogy (The Peter Banks Musical Estate/Cherry Red Records, 2018)

This 3CD boxed includes remastered versions of all three of Peter Banks’s solo studio albums from the 1990s in a single package.

Disc one features Instinct, a great instrumental album that showcases Peter Bank’s talent as a guitarist. Banks played practically all instruments, bringing together progressive rock, blues, funk and world music influences.

The second CD includes Self-Contained. Again, Banks played all instruments except keyboards on one track. Self-Contained is a little more exploratory, with numerous short vignettes that range from beautiful solo guitar pieces to excursions into rock, electronica, sound experimentation and ambience.

The third disc is Reduction. Banks continued his sound experimentation, combining guitars with electronic beats and sound effects, incorporating rock, funk and electronica along with exquisite acoustic guitar melodies.

Peter Banks was a remarkable guitarist and one of the original members of progressive rock band Yes. He passed away in 2013.

Buy The Self-Contained Trilogy

Interview with Icelandic Band Lucy in Blue

Rising Icelandic act Lucy in Blue has released a superb new album titled “In Flight.” The band delivers an exquisite set of songs deeply influenced by psychedelia and progressive rock, especially early 1970s Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Camel and Gentle Giant. It’s beautifully-crafted material with timeless soaring guitars, mesmerizing keyboards, soft vocals, creative bass lines, psychedelic effects and multi-faceted drums.

Lucy in Blue – In Flight

Lucy in Blue was founded in 2013. The young band released its self-titled debut album on Bandcamp in 2016. The lineup includes Arnaldur Ingi Jónsson on keyboards and vocals; Kolbeinn Þórsson on drums; Matthías Hlífar Mogensen on bass and vocals; and Steinþór Bjarni Gíslason on guitar and vocals.

How did you come up with the band title Lucy in Blue?

When Naldo and Matti had just met and started jamming, they were also taking a physics class together. Both of them had a hard time with the mathematical concepts in the class and their focus always seemed to be on music so it looked like they would fail the class. But nearing the end of term they had their final chance to save their grade by doing a group presentation. An exchange student from South Africa called Lucy was the third member of their group. When Lucy discovered their musical aptitude and lack of mathematical grace she offered to write the whole presentation by herself on the condition that the boys in the band played for her while she wrote. Steini and Kolli were eventually persuaded to do so, even though they had to play through the night.

The band struggled to keep playing after midnight, but Lucy provided them with caffeinated drinks from her home country, packaged in blue. All the while Lucy wrote and, in an absent way, commented harshly on their playing ability. Improving as band at a staggering rate after that gruesome night (even though Naldo and Matti flunked their physics class) they decided to name the band Lucy in Blue, even though they never heard from the South African girl again.

Lucy in Blue

What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?

Earth, wind and fire.

How did your musical ideas evolve throughout the years from your debut album to your new recording, In Flight?

Those years are all a haze, so we can‘t really comment on that.

Tell us a little about the band members and their background.

Naldo started playing music quite young, starting with the baritone horn in a brass band in school. He slowly shifted all his focus to the piano, and keyboards eventually, studying both classical music and jazz, while always strumming a bit on the guitar at home and now in his solo project, Dread Lightly.

Kolli started playing the drums at the age of 10 and soon started to grow steadily as a musician as his interest in the craft enveloped him, playing along with everything from Metallica to Frank Zappa. At the age of 15 he started learning jazz drumming and a bit of classical percussion which led him to meet Naldo, and they played in a pop group for a few months before Lucy got together.

Steini has been playing guitar since the age of 7. He went on to take guitar lessons for for a few years, studying popular music. He took a big jump in skill when he discovered the world of thrash metal. He and Matthías had gone to school together in the small town of Hveragerði and had played together on a few occasions and was yearning for something new when Matti contacted him.

Matti grew up around a lot of musicians as his father was in one of the biggest pop groups of Iceland at that time. He started to play music when he got his first bass on his 10th birthday but the real interest started when he was a teenager and started listening to the rock bands of the 1970s. After finishing elementary education in Hveragerði he went to Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð, a school renowned for drawing in all the creative and strange kind of people. There he met Naldo on his first day and soon they started to share their favorite bands with each other. For the past couple of years he has played every kind of music with a large amount of professional musicians and the obsession of analog synthesizers has become a big part of his sound resulting in a empty wallet and a electronic solo project named Endlessly.

After Matti, Steini and Naldo had jammed once or twice Matti came to see Unmusical Smooch Depot, the pop group Kolli and Naldo were in, play an off-venue Iceland Airwaves gig. He persuaded Kolli to try jamming with them and what followed were 30 minute jam sessions over Em and A and an eager enthusiasm for jamming out psychedelic tunes. Matti introduced them to the magic of Pink Floyd and Trúbrot and eventually the boys discovered the exciting world of prog.

Lucy in Blue

What guitars, keyboards and other instruments do you use?

In the keyboard section we have a Nord Stage 2, Hammond XK-3c, Prophet REV2 and a Moog Sub 37, in addition to an everchanging synth collection in the hands of Matti.

Kolli uses Gretsch drums, zildjian cymbals and a 6.5 x 14” Ludwig Supraphonic snare drum.

The bass rig includes a Rickenbacker 4003s, FBT amflifier and a TC Electronic RS212 and Steini plays a Modified 60th anniversary Fender Stratocaster through a Farfisa/FBT stereo amplifer rig.

And what effects do you use to develop your progressive and psychedelic sounds?

Lots of delay and pathos.

Lucy in Blue

How’s the progressive rock scene in Iceland in terms of bands and venues?

Iceland has a wealth of progressive rock bands, like Trúbrot, EIK and Icecross, but they were only persistently active during the 70‘s, but we‘ve had access to all the main venues of the rock scene downtown, mostly playing with metal bands. A lot of the metal bands are quite progressive, though, and the metal scene is blisteringly vibrant so it‘s not a bad crowd at all.

Mainstream media ignores progressive music. How do you promote your music?

Unsuccessfully, through mainstream media.

If you could gather any additional musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?

The heavenly vocals of Árstíðir or Graduale Nobili could be a welcome addition to our sound at some point. And of course, if time is on our side, we hope to someday work with Megas.

Aside from the new album, do you have any additional upcoming projects to share with us?

After the release of In Flight we plan to release some more albums, as well as singles. And we all have our Sally on the side, although we haven‘t released much individually except for Heift, the raw and seething black metal lovechild of Kolli, Matti and Alli from Auðn.

Extensive Guitar Sessions by Peter Banks

Peter Banks’s Harmony In Diversity – The Complete Recordings (The Peter Banks Music Estate/Cherry Red Records, 2018)

This mammoth 6-CD set contains all the recordings made by former Yes guitarist Peter Banks with his band Harmony In Diversity. The recordings were made during 2005 and 2007.

Peter Banks’s Harmony In Diversity – The Complete Recordings

The boxed set includes instrumental guitar-fueled rock with funk leanings, classic rock, jam rock improvisations, guitar experimentation and some progressive rock as well.

Peter Banks plays all guitars and is joined by drummer Andrew Booker and bassist Nick Cottam, who mixed the recordings. Drummer Dave Speight appeared on the volume 6 of the set.

The album includes an extensive booklet and the audio was remastered.

There is nearly 6 hours of music, rarely heard before by the talented Peter Banks and his colleagues.

Caravela Escarlate, Keyboard Delights from Brazil

Caravela Escarlate – Caravela Escarlate (Karisma Records, 2019)

Caravela Escarlate is a Brazilian symphonic progressive rock band founded in 2011. The group features keyboard wizard Ronaldo Rodrigues, who uses a wide range of keyboards. The Scarlet Caravel’s sound is deeply influenced by the classic progressive rock bands of the 1970s.


Caravela Escarlate – Caravela Escarlate

Although vocals appear on a few tracks, most of the album is instrumental, showcasing Rodrigues’ talent on the synths, organ, mellotron and other instruments. He’s joined by the powerful drums of Elcio Cáfaro. Influences include ELP, Peter Bardens (Camel), Sagrado Coracao da Terra, Jon Lord and Gentle Giant.

David Caravelle – Vocals, bass, guitars and violins; Ronaldo Rodrigues (Massahara, Arcpelago) – Keyboards; Elcio Cáfaro – Drums.

The Myriad Guitars of Michel Héroux

Michel Héroux – Now (Michel Héroux, 2019)

Now is an deeply satisfying album of instrumental guitar rock music by Canadian musician, educator and composer Michel Héroux. Now combines dazzling guitar hero rock, mesmerizing avant-garde jazz guitar similar to Bill Frisell’s work and skillfully-crafted progressive rock.

Michel Héroux

Personnel: Michel Héroux on guitars; Vincent Yelle on bass; and Francis Fillion on drums.

Oytun Ersan’s Delicious Fusion


Oytun Ersan ‎– Fusiolicious

Oytun Ersan ‎– Fusiolicious (2018)

Turkish Cypriot bass virtuoso invited some of the finest musicians in the current jazz and fusion scene to perform on Fusiolicious. Jazz, rock and funk ingermingle with total ease.

The most captivating moments on the album are Ersan’s bass performances, the spectacular electronic keyboard solos by Gary Husband, Karen Briggs inspirational violin and the outstanding guitar work by Bret Garsed, Dean Brown and Mike Miller.

Personnel: Oytun Ersan on bass and guitar; Drums – Dave Weckl on drums; Brett Garsed, Dean Brown and Mike Miller; Gary Husband on keyboards; Gerry Etkins on keyboards; Eric Marienthal on saxophone; Gökay Gökşen on trombone; Utku Akyol on trumpet; Karen Briggs on violin; and Aytunç Akdoğu and Simge Akdoğu on vocals.

A Hypnotic Trip from Sonora Sunrise

Sonora Sunrise – The Route through the Canyon (Trail Records, 2019)

The Route through the Canyon is an album by Russian progressive music band Sonora Sunrise. They are based in Altai, a mystical land in southern Siberia with olden mountains where you still find ancient shamanic rites.


Sonora Sunrise – The Route through the Canyon

The culture and wilderness of Altai inspires Sonora Sunrise. Their music is a superb mix of progressive rock, psychedelia, space rock along with ambient and Berlin-school electronic music. It is a spellbinding sound developed with electric guitars, effects, soundscapes, vintage analog synths from the Soviet Era, and a rhythm section.

Sonora Sunrise includes Artem Demidov on guitars, soundscapes; Dmitry Shershnev on keyboards, guitar; Alexey Shulepov on bass; and Vitaliy Khard on drums. Vocalist Katya Zlobina appears on various The Route through the Canyon tracks, delivering entrancing performances.

Captivating Progressive Innovations from Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett – At The Edge Of Light (InsideOut Music, 2019)

At The Edge of Light is Steve Hackett’s 26th studio album. The multifaceted guitarist continues to fascinate with a set that brings together progressive rock, pop, classical music, and world music.

The album opens with a high energy piece titled “Fallen Walls and Pedestals,” where Hackett showcases many of his influences: Eastern strings, superb progressive rock guitars and heavy drums.


Steve Hackett – At The Edge Of Light

Next, Hackett continues with the song “Beasts in Our Time,” where the listener is treated to rich, dramatic and dream-like cinematic symphonic moments intertwined with peaceful acoustic guitar sections, a sax solo and a memorable electric guitar wild ride with outstanding symphonic parts.

Track 3, Under the Eye of the Sun” features ornate vocal harmonies, fast-paced rock, epic guitar segments, mesmerizing Armenian duduk and ambience. Progressive rock meets world music. Can’t get better than that.

It is no secret that Steve Hackett also loves the blues.  “Underground Railroad” is a blues gospel tribute to African American traditions and the route some slaves used to escape from the southern USA.

“Those Golden Wings” begins with a charming neoclassical symphonic piece with Steve Hackett’s gorgeous signature acoustic guitar and vocals. It progresses into a cinematic sections with magnificent choirs and strings. Classical meets progressive rock and shredding guitar.

On track 6, “Shadow and Flame,” Hackett returns with the world music influences by adding Indian elements. It’s spectacular progressive rock highlighting Hackett’s electric guitar along with remarkable sitar work performed by the wonderful Sheema Mukherjee, who used to play with Transglobal Underground.

“Hungry Years” is a sing along pop song with a toe tapping beat.

Track 8, “Descent” consists of an ominous march with orchestral drums and exquisite strings that give way to Hackett’s extraordinary guitars folowed by “Conflict,” a short symphonic piece.

The album ends with a tranquil ballad called “Peace.”

The lineup:  Steve Hackett on acoustic, 12-string and electric guitars, dobro, bass, harmonica and vocals; Durga McBroom on vocals; Lorelei McBroom on vocals; Nick D’Virgilio on drums; Simon Phillips on drums;     Sheema Mukherjee on sitar; Gulli Briem on drums, percussion; Malik Mansurov on tar; Jonas Reingold on electric bass; Paul Stillwell on didgeridoo;     Rob Townsend on saxophone, bass clarinet, duduk; Amanda Lehmann on vocals; John Hackett on flute; Gary O’Toole on drums; Roger King on keyboards, programming and orchestral arrangements; Ben Fenner on keyboards; Dick Driver on double bass; and Christine Townsend on violin, viola.

The album is available in several formats, including a Mediabook CD with an extra DVD with a 5.1 surround sound mix and behind the scenes footage; double vinyl LP and CD, jewel case CD and digital version. The CD booklet contains lyrics, credits and great photos.