Cai was a progressive rock band from the Cadiz province of Spain. The groundbreaking group combined progressive rock, with jazz fusion and Flamenco.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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)
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)
Spiral Meditations (2013)
Bloodmoon Rising (2014)
The Delicate Beyond (2014)
The Delicate Forever (2014)
The Desert Collection – Volume 1 (2014)
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)
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.
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 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.
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)
Camel was formed in 1971, when three former members of blues rock band The Brew, guitarist Andrew Latimer, drummer Andy Ward and bassist Doug Ferguson, placed an ad in British rock magazine The Melody Maker.
Peter Bardens responded to the ad. Not long after they agreed on a new name, Camel. Camel played their first concert at Waltham Forest Technical College supporting Wishbone Ash in December 1971.
In 1972, MCA signed the band. They recorded a self-titled album, Camel, with material by Latimer and Bardens. MCA’s lack of enthusiasm led Camel to move to Decca Records’ subsidiary Deram Records, which at the time was the home for various emerging progressive rock bands. Camel had a long association with Decca which produced the group’s best loved and most significant work, including Mirage, The Snow Goose, Moonmadness, Rain Dances, Breathless, I Can See Your House From Here and Nude.
In early 1977, bassist Doug Ferguson left Camel. He was replaced by Richard Sinclair, a former member of Caravan. The band also featured Mel Collins on flute and saxophones. He preferred the independent role of session man and never joined the band as a full member.
Latimer and Bardens had major disagreements About the musical direction of the band. In 1978, after the album Breathless came out, keyboardist Peter Bardens left the band. Andy Ward and Andrew Latimer took advantage of this opportunity to expand the band. They decided to use two keyboard players. They contacted Richard Sinclair’s cousin Dave Sinclair, and his former bandmate Jan Schelhaas for the 1978 tour to promote Breathless. Things didn’t work out too well and by the end of the tour, Dave Sinclair and Richard Sinclair left Camel.
Impressed by an album by American progressive rock band Happy The Man, in 1979 Andrew Latimer and Andy Ward asked keyboardist Kit Watkins to join the band. They also recruited a reputable bassist named Colin Bass.
The new line-up recorded I Can See Your House From Here. Watkins left Camel shortly before the band entered the studio to record Nude in 1981.
That year was devastating for the band. In mid-1981, Andy Ward succumbed to alcohol and drug abuse and attempted suicide, unsuccessfully to the relief of all. However, Ward was unable to play drums. The band dissolved.
Camel was under contract with Decca and the label asked for another album. Andrew Latimer, the sole surviving member of Camel, went into the studio to record The Single Factor, which was released in 1982. Singer Chris Rainbow and bassist/singer David Paton joined the band. Other musicians who participated in the sessions included Anthony Phillips (former Genesis guitarist), Francis Monkman (Sky), and guest drummers Simon Phillips (The Who, Jeff Beck, Toto), Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention) and Graham Jarvis (Cliff Richard). Bardens reconciliated with Latimer and made a guest appearance on the album.
In 1983 Andy Latimer contacted Dutch keyboardist, Ton Scherpenzeel, who was a former member of Kayak, one of the leading progressive rock bands in the Netherlands. Both musicians planned the new album, titled Stationary Traveller. The line-up at the time included Ton Scherpenzeel on keyboards, Colin Bass on bass, Andrew Latimer on guitar, flute, vocals; Chris Rainbow on vocals and Paul Burgess on drums.
The live performance video and CD of the Stationary Traveller was released as Pressure Points.
PolyGram took over Decca. Camel and Decca mutually and amicably agreed to end their agreement. Frustrated by lawsuits (which Camel won) and negotiations with record companies to release the new album, Dust and Dreams, Andy Latimer sold his home in the UK and moved to the United States of America in 1988. With proceeds from the sale of his London home, he financed construction of a small studio where he recorded and produced Dust and Dreams.
Latimer decided to go independent and started his own record company, Camel Productions, that released Dust and Dreams. It was a success and this led to some tours.
In 1994, Latimer returned and recorded Harbour of Tears, a tribute to his father, who ha passed away.
In 1998, Camel recorded a live album recorded in Los Angeles, California, titled Coming of Age, released on both video and compact disc.
An album titled ‘Rajaz’ was released in 1999. Keyboardist Ton Scherpenzeel returned to the band. In 2000, Canadian keyboardist Guy LeBlanc and fellow Canadian drummer Denis Clement joined Camel.
A Nod and a Wink came out in In 2002, highlighting Latimer’s flute. The album was dedicated to Camel’s former keyboardist Peter Bardens, who had passed away.
In October 2006 Latimer moved back to the UK. The following year, it was revealed that Andrew Latimer had suffered from a progressive blood disorder. He received treatment but it took him time to recover and regain his strength.
Camel re-recorded and extended The Snow Goose album. This new version came out on November 4, 2013. The lineup in 2013 included Andrew Latimer on guitars, flute, and vocals; Denis Clement on drums, fretless bass, keyboards; Colin Bass on bass and acoustic guitar, vocals; Guy LeBlanc on keyboards and vocals; and Jason Hart on Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals.
Chameleon – The Best of Camel (1981)
The Collection (1985)
A Compact Compilation (1986)
Echoes: The Retrospective (1993)
Camel – Master Series, 25th Anniversary Compilation (1997)
Lunar Sea (2001) Rainbow’s End: An Anthology 1973–1985, boxed set (2010)
Ain Soph was formed in 1970 and was one of the pioneers of rock music in Japan. Their music is influenced by British progressive rock, adding Japanese elements. They were heavily influenced by Canterbury-style bands such as Camel, Soft Machine and Hatfield and the North. They are well known as a Japanese Canterbury music band and have released 7 albums in Japan.
Their album Tenchi-Sozo: Ride on a Camel contains a different version of their famous suite A Story of Mysterious Forest, recorded live, before their first album was released.
The Mysterious Triangle album (1993) was recorded live during 1976-1978. It features 6 previously unreleased songs and two tracks from previous albums with different arrangements.
Quicksand, the band’s third live album contains a selection of live performances from 1986-89. during that period, Ain Soph had two keyboard players. This recording includes 5 unreleased pieces and the 16-minute long ‘Quicksand.’
They played with Richard Sinclair in 2004. “They are one of the very best Canterbury music bands in the world. I am willing to join whenever they need my voice on recordings.” he said. Ain Soph also played at BajaProg2007 festival.
Anyone’s Daughter is a German progressive rock band founded in 1972 in Stuttgart, in southwestern Germany by guitarist Uwe Karpa and keyboardist/vocalist Matthias Ulmer. The band started out playing covers of Deep Purple and other rock bands, and named themselves after the Deep Purple song released in 1971.
Anyone’s Daughter became one of the leading German progressive rock bands during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their debut album Adonis (1979) is a progressive rock classic that was first released on the legendary krautrock label Brain in 1979.
“Adonis” was later remastered and two previously unreleased bonus tracks: “The Taker” and “The Warship” were added to the original album. The main part of “Adonis” was the epic of the same name that was divided into four parts and took up the complete first side of the vinyl with a running time of more than 24 minutes.
In 1970, the brothers Shulman founded progressive rock band Gentle Giant. Derek was the lead vocalist and played alto sax and bass, Ray sang and played bass and violin, and Phil handled the saxophone and added vocals. The rest of the band included Kerry Minnear on keyboards, who came straight from the Royal Academy of Music. Gary Green, a musician with a blues background, became the guitarist. Martin Smith was on drums.
Malcolm Mortimore replaced Martin Smith in late 1971 and was Gentle Giant’s drummer for the “Three Friends” album. John Weathers joined the band in 1972 and was the drummer featured in the “Octopus” album. The European edition of “Octopus” featured artwork by Roger Dean while the USA edition showed an octopus in a jar design created by Charles White.
Gentle Giant’s use of complex classical chord and time patterns, together with rock, blues, jazz and Early Music melodies and themes, set them apart from other progressive rock groups of their time.
Playing the Fool, the band’s official live album, was the last progressive rock-era album. Like other progressive rock acts, Gentle Giant switched to a pop direction in subsequent albums.
Live At The Bicentennial , released in 2014 contains live recordings made at Calderone Theatre and Hempstead, New York in 1976.
British musician and producer Steven Wilson remixed Gentle Giant’s “The Power & The Glory” in 2014 and “Octopus” in 2015. The Steven Wilson remix of Octopus entered the BBC Rock charts at 34 in November 2015. “Everyone in the band is delighted to hear that the music that we created in 1972 seems to be even more popular in 2015,” said Derek Shulman, former lead vocalist and North American chairman of Frontiers Records. “To see Octopus in the top 40 is such a pleasant surprise. Steven Wilson remixed the music in 5.1 with his usual respect and care. All the Gentle Giant team especially want to thank the old and new fans for keeping the music we created years ago still vital today.”
In 2017, Gentle Giant was inducted into Portsmouth Guildhall’s Wall of Fame. Phil, Derek and Ray Shulman, plus keyboardist Kerry Minnear appeared in person and were inducted by area media personalities Adrian Collis and Geoff Dorsett of Express FM’s Monday night Soft Rock Show. Gentle Giant’s lead signer Derek Shulman said, “This city is where we started it all, in fact memories of starting and ending the band are all about Portsmouth. We all went to school here, it’s where we made our lives. It’s an honor.” The British southern port city and naval base is where Gentle Giant and (their first band) Simon Dupree & The Big Sound were formed.
On September 29th, 2017 Gentle Giant released “Three Piece Suite.” It’s a specially curated selection of songs and compositions from the band’s first three albums (Giant, Acquiring the Taste, Three Friends) presented in both 5.1 surround sound and stereo. There are nine tracks from the albums, plus a pre-debut song, remixed by Steven Wilson. The choices were determined by the limited availability of multi-track master tapes from the era. Only a few songs from each album are known to exist as multi-tracks, with the rest presumably lost. Steven Wilson explained: “To create the new mixes, I used Logic as the software and Universal Audio plug-ins, which provide emulations of classic analog outboard effects, channel strips and old mixing desks…I used these tools to clean things up and bring out some more clarity, detail and definition in some of the instrumental interplay. There was never a question of trying to outdo the original mixes, but offer different perspectives on them.”
Gentle Giant’s Three Piece Suite includes the songs “Giant,” “Nothing At All,” and “Why Not” from the first album Giant; “Pantagruel’s Nativity,” “The House, The Street, The Room” from the second album Acquiring The Taste; “Schooldays,” “Peel the Paint,” “Mr. Class And Quality,” and “Three Friends” from the album Three Friends completes the list of the original recorded material.