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.

Norwegian Fusion Superband Meets Mike Stern


Jan Gunnar Hoff Group Featuring Mike Stern (Losen Records LOS 196-2, 2018)

Three of the finest musicians in the northern European fusion scene collaborate with American guitarist Mike Stern on Jan Gunnar Hoff Group Featuring Mike Stern.

Half of the album are laid back tracks that highlight Stern’s guitar and Jan Gunnar Hoff’s piano. The other half are thrilling, high energy, electric jazz-rock fusion pieces with admirable guitar work and fantastic synth solos and electric piano by Jan Gunnar Hoff.

The synthesizer work is so good that leaves wanting more. His synth style is influenced by two of the greatest fusion keyboardists o all time: Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul.

The lineup includes Jan Gunnar Hoff on piano and keyboards; Mike Stern on guitar and vocals; Per Mathisen on electric and acoustic bass; and Audun Kleive on drums.

Fernando Perdomo Tracking the Beatles


Fernando Perdomo – Zebra Crossing

Fernando Perdomo – Zebra Crossing (Forward Motion Records / Cherry Red, 2018)

Zebra Crossing is a Beatles-inspired album by American musician Fernando Perdomo. Although Fernando Perdomo has been involved in various progressive rock projects, this recording is essentially a pop album with some Beatles-style arrangements. The only time when Perdomo shows his progressive side is on the title track Zebra Crossing, an instrumental where he plays guitars inspired by George Harrison.

Perdomo provides most of the vocals and plays the majority of the instruments. Guests include  Kaitlin Wolfberg on Violin; Ruti Celli on Cello; Durga McBroom on Background vocals on “Home”; Zak Nilsson on Backing vocals;  Stephen Kalinich on spoken word; Cyndi Trissel on Clarinet; Danny Ayala on Keyboards & backing vocals; Megan Zeankowski on Bass;  and  Ken Sharp on Guitar and backing vocals.

For Perdomo’s progressive side listen to Out To Sea and Out To Sea 2.

Curved Air Live at Their Prime


Curved Air – The Second British Rock Meeting 1972 (The Right Honourable Recording Company/Cherry Red, 2018)  

This fantastic surprise is a high quality live album by progressive rock pioneers Curved Air at the peak of their career. While most of the first progressive rock bands were fronted by men, Curved air featured the fabulous lead vocalist Sonja Kristina. Another Curved air innovation within progressive rock was the use of violin as a lead instrument.

The Second British Rock Meeting 1972 shows the versatility of Curved Air and the beauty of progressive rock with a mix of exploratory rock, classical music, blues, jazz, and jam rock.  This album is the third volume of the Curved Air Rarities Series and the only recording of its kind, featuring Curved air improvising, with extended, delectable versions of the band highlighting the talent of innovative keyboardist Francis Monkman and groundbreaking violinist Darryl Way supported by an inspired rhythm section.

The lineup included Sonja Kristina on vocals and acoustic guitar; Darryl Way on violin, Francis Monkman on keyboards and guitar; Florian Pilkington-Miksa on drums; and Mike Wedgwood on bass.

The CD booklet includes an introduction by Francis Monkman, who mastered the audio and supervised the release personally, together with two essays authored by attendees at the festival as well as previously unseen pictures.

GroundUp Music Festival 2019


The GroundUp Music Festival

The GroundUp Music Festival will take place this weekend, February 8-10, 2019 at the North Beach Bandshell. Snarky Puppy will play all three nights, and music fans will also get a chance to see Andrew Bird, David Crosby, Tank & the Bangas, Richard Bona, Lalah Hathaway, and many more.

Snarky Puppy’s discography includes Live at Uncommon Ground (2005), The Only Constant (2006), The World Is Getting Smaller (2007), Bring Us the Bright (2008), Tell Your Friends (2010), groundUP (2012), Amkeni with Bukuru Celestin (2013), Family Dinner – Volume 1 (2013), We Like It Here (2014), Sylva with Metropole Orkest (2015), Family Dinner – Volume 2 (2016) and Culcha Vulcha (2016).

Click here for more details and a link to buy tickets. The North Beach Bandshell is located at 7275 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33141.

Tony Palmer & Tangerine Dream Announce “Live At Coventry Cathedral 1975” Deluxe Box Set

Tangerine Dream – Live at Coventry Cathedral 1975

 “Live at Coventry Cathedral 1975” is the title of an exclusive box set of Tangerine Dream’s filmed and directed by Tony Palmer.

In December 1974, German electronic music pioneers Tangerine Dream were invited to play in the grand setting of Rheims Cathedral, a groundbreaking move. Afterwards, they were then invited to perform in the cathedrals of York, Liverpool and Coventry. The tour attracted extraordinary coverage in the media, especially at Coventry Cathedral, an iconic building rising on the ruins of the old cathedral bombed to rubble by the Germans in 1940, as a celebration of peace and reconciliation, as well as a lasting showcase for great contemporary art.

This DVD features the live recording soundtrack (unlike the previous issue), and also contains footage of Tangerine Dream from the legendary music program, All You Need is Love.

This deluxe box set brings together both the film DVD and memorabilia together for the first time, along with a signed and numbered certificate by Tony Palmer, the director.

To pre-order: burningshed.com

Thijs Van Leer got It Partially Right

Thijs Van Leer – Focus

Focus founder Thijs Van Leer recently made headlines when he stated in an interview in the new issue of British publication Prog Magazine that “All the bands who call themselves that [progressive] today, to me, are more regressive rock.”

Indeed, many current acts that are described by labels and publicists as prog or progressive are in reality regressive rock, a term we like to use.

Interestingly, the organizers of an event called Radar Festival came to the defense of certain current acts. This gathering will feature a set of heavy metal acts: Animals As Leaders, Monuments, VOLA, Valis Ablaze, Toska and Sumer. These are all prog metal bands, one of the most regressive genres out there.

Where Thijs Van Leer got it wrong is that there are currently some truly excellent acts making various forms of progressive rock that are forward thinking and metal free: Infinien, Big Big Train, The Tangent, Syndone, The Knells, Gleb Kolyadin, Yuka & Chronoship, Dave Kerzner and many more.

Thankfully, progressive rock is well and alive, featuring pioneering masters as well as young talents. We’ll keep you informed about superb new recordings.

Celebrated Yes Vocalist Jon Anderson Reveals New Album, 1,000 Hands

Groundbreaking progressive rock vocalist Jon Anderson (Yes) has announced the release of a new album titled 1,000 Hands that will be released on March 31, 2019.

“I’ve spent long periods of time making some records, but I’ve never taken a journey quite like this one,” says Anderson. “To say that 1,000 Hands has been a long time in coming would be quite an understatement, but I’m thrilled that it’s finally a reality and that my fans will now be able to hear it. And I think they’ll be delighted to hear music that’s timeless. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

Jon Anderson – 1,000 Hands

Anderson started the album (originally titled Uzlot – “it means a lot of us”) approximately 30 years ago, working with a group of musicians that included Yes drummer Alan White and bassist Chris Squire. Nevertheless, due to his demanding touring commitments with Yes, Anderson had to put the record on hold. “Before you knew it, I started getting involved in other projects and tours, and years went by,” he clarifies. “I would listen to the tapes from time to time and think, ‘This could have been a great album! One day I’ll finish it.’”

Respected producer Michael T. Franklin (Bruce Hornsby, Brian Wilson, Roger McGuinn) had at one time begun working on orchestrations for the album, but once more Anderson’s packed schedule required the project to be put on hold. Ultimately, a year and a half ago, Anderson and Franklin decided to continue to work on the album and were determined to finalize it. “Our ideas still matched,” Anderson says. “Michael knew everything I wanted to do and how I wanted the music to sound, so we agreed to go for it.”

The final work took place in Franklin’s Solar Studios in Orlando, Florida. Anderson laid down backing vocals to his original lead tracks, and Franklin brought in an superb group of rock and jazz legends to complete the songs: fellow Yes colleague Steve Howe, Ian Anderson, Jean-Luc Ponty, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, Steve Morse, Rick Derringer, Jonathan Cain, and the Tower of Power Horns are just a few of the guests on 1,000 Hands.


Jon Anderson – Photo Credit: www.DeborahAnderson.com

“That’s where the title 1,000 Hands comes from, all of the brilliant musicians who played a part in making the record,” Anderson states. “Michael acted like something of a casting director, bringing so many great players. It was really exciting to hear the record open up and become what I had always envisioned.”

The sessions came out so well, in fact, that Anderson decided to include four new songs on the album, with brand-new lead vocals. “Jon is such a remarkable writer and singer,” enthuses Franklin. “His newer songs were fabulous, and they fit seamlessly with the rest of the album. Everything came together beautifully.”

Bookended by the utterly beautiful acoustic ballads “Now” and “Now and Again,” the album includes stimulating new progressive rock pieces (“Activate,” “Come Up”), poly-rhythmic wonders (“WDMCF”) and reggae pop (“First Born Leaders”).

Mesmeric Electron Birth

Steve Roach – Electron Birth (Timeroom Editions, 2018)

Electronic music wizard Steve Roach recorded Electron Birth in front of a live audience during a remarkable performance at Tucson’s Galactic Center on February 11, 2018.

The album Electron Birth consists of 54:49-minute long progressive electronic music piece titled “Electron Birth” and a second composition called “Cloud Currents.”

Steve Roach’s electronic styles vary from album to album. In this case, Steve delivers a transfixing set of intricate, multilayered and constantly evolving, fast-paced electronic pulses generated by sequencers and other devices along with shape-shifting harmonic layers. This is the new generation of what is known as the Berlin-style of electronic music.

After the high energy construction, Steve takes the listener to another level of consciousness with “Cloud Currents.” It’s a dreamy, peaceful and delightful track of morphing ambient music that lets you sit down and relax.

The instruments used on Electron Birth include Oberheim Xpander, Emu Esynth, Korg Wavestation, Nordlead 2 and 4, TTSH Arp 2600 clone and Eurorack expander, Doepfer MAQ 16 Sequencer, DSI Mono Evolver, and Mackie VLZ 4 – 32 channel mixer.

King Crimson Reveals 2019 Tour Dates In Celebration of 50 Years

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, legendary progressive rock band King Crimson has announced 50 Concerts for 2019. The present eight musician line-up will perform 50 concerts throughout three continents as part of their 2019 Celebration tour.

The band’s packed three-hour shows regularly include material from twelve of their thirteen studio albums, including many of the songs from their essential 1969 album In The Court of the Crimson King, described by Pete Townshend, as an “uncanny masterpiece”. The new 8-piece line-up plays many historic pieces which Crimson have never played live, as well as new arrangements of Crimson classics.  There are also new instrumentals and songs, as well as the compositions by the three drummers, Pat Mastelotto, Gavin Harrison and Jeremy Stacey, which are a regular highlight. A unique show, where eight of the best rock musicians in the world play music without disruption or embellishment.

King Crimson – In The Court of the Crimson King

The lineup includes:

Robert Fripp, although best known for his work in King Crimson, he has contributed to numerous albums by players as diverse as Brian Eno, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Blondie, Talking Heads, Daryl Hall, The Roches, Peter Hammill, Keith Tippett, David Sylvian, The Orb, and The Grid. His 1979 solo album, Exposure was described as “the Sergeant Pepper of avant punk.” He has appeared twice in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time poll, although Fripp claims these are likely to have been mistakes by the typesetter.

Tony Levin has been a member of King Crimson since 1981.  Internationally renowned and constantly in-demand for his distinctive bass work, he also toured with Peter Gabriel with whom he has worked since 1977. He has appeared on albums by Paul Simon, John Lennon, David Bowie and countless others and recently formed his own band, Stick Men alongside Crimson drummer, Pat Mastelotto.

Jakko Jakszyk was a member of Level 42, before working with Mel Collins as part of former-KC alumni group, 21st Century Schizoid Band between 2002 – 2004. His solo album, The Bruised Romantic Glee Club (2006) was his first recorded collaboration with Fripp, followed by A Scarcity of Miracles in 2011. An acclaimed producer in his own right, Jakszyk has recently mixed Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson’s UK Top 20 album, Homo Erraticus.

Mel Collins was previously a member of King Crimson 1970 – 1972 appearing on In The Wake Of Poseidon (1970), Lizard (1970), Islands (1971), Earthbound (1972) as well as a guest appearance on Red (1974), the final King Crimson album of the 1970s. He subsequently worked with The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton and many others, before returning to King Crimson in 2014.

Gavin Harrison joined King Crimson in 2007, playing a series of dates in the USA the following year. A respected author and tutor, he has also recorded three albums with The Pineapple Thief, even though Harrison is probably best-known for his work with Porcupine Tree.

Pat Mastelotto joined King Crimson in 1994 after working with Robert Fripp and David Sylvian. A member of the hugely successful American 1980s group and MTV favorites, Mr. Mister, he is at home in both experimental music working with KTU as well as pop and rock appearing on albums by The Rembrandts, Hall And Oates and XTC.

Jeremy Stacey is a British drummer. His early work included the 1990s band, The Lemon Trees (with twin brother Paul Stacey on guitars, Guy Chambers and others) and Denzil. He has also played with Sheryl Crow, the Finn Brothers, Nick Harper, Noel Gallagher, and many more. On March 7, 2016, it was announced that he would be taking the place of Bill Rieflin as the center drummer on the 2016 King Crimson European tour, a position he retained even after Rieflin’s return to the band.

Bill Rieflin is a multi-instrumentalist but is primarily known for his drumming with Ministry and industrial rock outfit KMFDM. From 2003 until their dissolution in 2011 he played drums with REM. He recorded with Robert Fripp on Birth of a Giant and The Repercussions Of Angelic Behaviour (both 1999) and most recently in the ambient super-group, Slow Music in 2006 and 2014.

King Crimson 2019 Tour Dates:

June 10, 2019 – Haus Auensee, Leipzig

June 12, 2019 – Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt

June 13, 2019 – Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt

June 15, 2019 – Liederhalle, Stuttgart

June 16, 2019 – Liederhalle, Stuttgart

June 18, 2019 – Royal Albert Hall, London

June 19, 2019 – Royal Albert Hall, London

June 20, 2019 – Royal Albert Hall, London

June 22, 2019 – De Vereeniging, Nijmegen

June 23, 2019 – De Vereeniging, Nijmegen

June 26, 2019 – Teatr Roma, Warsaw

June 27, 2019 – Teatr Roma, Warsaw

June 29, 2019 – Zitadelle, Berlin

July 04, 2019 – Romisches Theater Augustusta Raurica, Basel

July 08, 2019 – Arena Di Verona, Verona

July 10, 2019 – Stupinigi Sonic Park, Torino

July 12, 2019 – Doctor Music Festival, Escalarre

July 13, 2019 – Doctor Music Festival, Escalarre

July 14, 2019 – Doctor Music Festival, Escalarre

July 18, 2019 – Arena Santa Giuliana, Perugia

August 23, 2019 – Teatro Metropolitan, Mexico City

August 24, 2019 – Teatro Metropolitan, Mexico City

August 27, 2019 – Teatro Diana, Guadalajara

August 29, 2019 – Teatro Metropolitan, Mexico City

September 03, 2019 – Greek Theatre, Los Angeles

September 05, 2019 – Fox Theater, Oakland

September 06, 2019 – Fox Theater, Oakland

September 08, 2019 – Paramount Theater, Denver

September 10, 2019 – Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Chicago

September 12, 2019 – Warner Theatre, Washington D.C.

September 14, 2019 – Budweiser Stage, Toronto

September 17, 2019 – St Denis Theatre, Montreal

September 19, 2019 – Boch Center Wang Theater, Boston

September 21, 2019 – Radio City Music Hall, New York City

September 23, 2019 – The Met, Philadelphia

September 25, 2019 – Hard Rock Rocksino, Cleveland

September 27, 2019 – The Ryman Auditorium, Nashville

September 29, 2019 – The Cobb Center, Atlanta

Oct 06, 2019 – Sunset Stage Rock In Rio – Rio De Janeiro

Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond