Síntesis (Synthesis), the iconic Cuban group led by bassist, singer and composer Carlos Alfonso Valdes, will celebrate its four decades on Saturday, March 5 at 16:00 at Casa de África in Havana.
Founded in December 1976, Síntesis started as a progressive rock band inspired by Genesis and the nueva trova, releasing En Busca De Una Nueva Flor. The group later evolved towards a fusion of progressive jazz-rock and Afro-Cuban influences to become those of the most significant and original acts Cuba with their album series called Ancestros.
New York City-based progressive music trio Consider The Source is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a free compilation. The anthology, titled “Past Is Prologue: 2005-2015”, includes tracks from every Consider The Source studio album, including multiple pieces from the recent “World War Trio” series.
The band plays Middle Eastern influenced music mixed with progressive rock, heavy metal riffs, cinematic orchestrations, odd-time improvisations and world music beats.
Formed in 2004, the current lineup of Consider the includes Gabriel Marin on fretless double-neck guitar; John Ferrara on bass; and Jeff Mann on drums and percussion.
Although Uruguayan musician Beledo is best known as a virtuoso electric guitarist, on his new album “Dreamland Mechanism” he showcases his talent as a multi-instrumentalist.
“Dreamland Mechanism” contains a wonderful mix of progressive jazz-rock fusion combined with world music elements, including tango, flamenco and Indonesian music.
Beledo uses various guitar techniques including the captivating Alan Holdsworth-style that has fascinated fusion and progressive rock audiences for years. Beledo is also a skilled violinist and keyboardist, delivering memorable solo work throughout the album.
Joining Beledo is an impressive lineup of international musicians, including some of the best instrumentalists in the current jazz-rock fusion scene.
Although the entire album is outstanding, there is one piece that really stands out over the rest, the delightful laid back “Budjanaji,” a guitar lover’s dream, featuring two guitar masters, Beledo and Dewa Budjana, performing extraordinary guitar solos.
The lineup on includes Beledo on electric and acoustic guitar, acoustic piano, violin, accordion, Fender Rhodes, Mini Moog, fretless electric bass; Lincoln Goines on electric bass; Gary Husband on drums; Tony Steele on electric bass; Doron Lev on drums and percussion; Endang Ramdan on lead Sundanese kendang percussion; Cucu Kurnia on Sundanese kendang percussion; Dewa Budjana on electric guitar solo; and Rudy Zulkarnaen on electric bass.
“Dreamland Mechanism” features remarkable performances by fusion maestro Beledo and his colleagues.
Jazz-rock guitarist and composer Jane Getter has attracted a lot of attention with her new album On. Getter fuses, rock, jazz and other elements, delivering a fabulous progressive rock mix. Getter talks to Progressive rock Central about and her background.
Can you give our readers a brief history on how you got involved with music?
My first instrument was piano which I started at around age 7 or 8. I then switched to guitar after spying on my sister’s guitar lessons. My parents finally gave in and gave me lessons. I stopped for a few years and then picked it up again in high school. It was in college that I became very serious about playing, and practiced 6 hours a day at one point. I chose to make it my career then.
What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
I have a very eclectic taste in music, from rock to classical, world to gospel, metal to blues, funk and R&B, etc. It all comes together in my writing and playing.
Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
My influences have changed over the years: Crosby Stills and Nash, Led Zeppelin, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, Alan Holdsworth, John Coltrane, more recently King Crimson, Porcupine Tree, Animals As Leaders, Opeth, Periphery.
Are there any specific guitarists that inspired you to play guitar?
Bonnie Raitt, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and then a friend of mine took me to see Joe Pass play solo and I was totally blown away and said “I want to do that”. Others are Wes Montgomery, Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, Robben Ford.
Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
I started out playing folk and blues on acoustic guitar. I then started playing jazz on a hollow body guitar and did that for a number of years. Then I started getting into jazz-rock fusion and got my first solid body guitar. From there it’s been a gradual evolution into where I am today.
My first recording which never got released was a straight ahead jazz record (all originals) called “The Weaver”. Then in 1998, my first album came out on Lipstick Records called “Jane”. It’s a jazz-rock and funk fusion record with a couple of smooth jazz songs. “See Jane Run” is a straight up jazz-rock fusion album. “Three” combines jazz-rock and prog rock.
What’s the concept behind On, your new album?
My style has been evolving over the years and I feel ON to be my strongest work yet. My eclectic taste in music always enters into my writing and I feel this album is more focused than my previous work. The music for this album is what I am hearing and digging now.
You have brought together some of the finest jazz-rock fusion musicians. How did you connect with the current members of your band?
Adam Holzman is my husband and he’s played in my band and co-produced with me since my first album “Jane”. I’d been a fan of Chad Wackerman’s since I heard the Allan Holdsworth records he’s on and we had done some shows together in LA [Los Angeles] a few times before the recording happened. Bryan Beller is the perfect player for this music and he and Adam had done a project together previously.
Alex Skolnick and I play in another project together and he brought the perfect combination of metal, rock and jazz to this project that I wanted. I had been a fan of Corey Glover ever since I first heard him in Living Colour and I was so thrilled to have him on this record. Theo Travis and Adam have worked together in Steven Wilson’s band and he was perfect for what I wanted also.
What guitar types and models are you playing now?
My main guitar is made by Peekamoose Custom Guitars, which is a small guitar shop out of New York. It’s their model 1 made specifically for me – a Strat-style with humbuckers. I also play a 1971 Fender telecaster, a custom Strat from when I was with Fender about 10 years ago. The acoustics I’m using now are: Yamaha AC3R, 1972 Martin D28, 1982 Ovation nylon string.
Do you keep most of your previous guitars?
I have a few that I keep because I love but haven’t been using much lately, especially my 1953 Gibson ES175.
Is there an all-time favorite guitar?
I love them all, but my Peekamoose has become my favorite now.
What guitar effects do you use?
For distortion, mostly my Fuchs amp distortion, but also a Maxon overdrive, Seymour Duncan Dirty Deed, 805 Overdrive, Lava Box, Rocktron Metal Planet Jam Delay Lama, Boss Digital Delay, Tone Concepts Distillery, Vox Wah Wah, Korg Volume Pedal, TC Electronics stereo chorus, flanger, sometimes the MXR Dynacomp compressor.
Do you play any other musical instruments?
I play a little bass, drums and keyboards.
What music are you currently listening to?
Animals As Leaders, Periphery, John McLaughlin, Steven Wilson, Opeth, Alan Holdsworth, Marvin Sapp, Oumou Sangare, Nine Inch Nails
If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?
I would love to collaborate with Herbie Hancock, Steven Wilson, Mikael Ackerfeldt, Jeff Beck.
Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?
Right now I’m mainly focused on getting my new project Jane Getter Premonition out to the world. I still play in a few other projects like the three guitar project with Alex Skolnick and Bruce Arnold, called Skolnick, Getter, Arnold – previously called Eclectic Electric Guitar Trio. Jane Getter Premonition is my main thing at the moment.
Steven Wilson is welcoming the New Year with a half album of pieces that serve as an appetizer until he releases his next project.
This recording reflect the various musical influences absorbed by Wilson throughout the years. The album opens with a long piece titled “My Book of Regrets”. It’s a little deceptive as it begins sounding like pop-rock. Thankfully, around three minutes into the track, Wilson kicks in fiery progressive rock with a fabulous instrumental section featuring a fabulous guitar solo by David Kilminster and Adam Holzman’s knockout keyboard work. This is followed by a beautiful laid back dreamy symphonic rock section highlighting Wilson’s vocals and guitar and Nick Beggs notable bass lines.
The second composition on the album is a Year of the Plague (4.15), a charming instrumental recorded during the sessions for “The Raven that refused to Sing”. Wilson plays a wide-range of real and sampled instruments, accompanied by Holzman’s piano.
Track 3, “Happiness III” is a straight ahead classic rock song.
On the mesmerizing instrumental “Sunday Rain Sets In”, track 4, Wilson delivers a masterful mix of guitars, keyboards and that breaks out into powerful instrumental outbursts.
On “Vermillioncore” the band goes into high energy jazz-rock fusion and hard rock mode with some fine space rock moments.
The last track is a new version of the Porcupine Tree song “Don’t Hate Me.” It’s one of the best pieces on the album with captivating interplay between Wilson‘s male vocals and female vocals by Ninet Tayeb. There is also a memorable Fender Rhodes electric piano solo by Adam Holzman and spellbinding ambient keyboard atmospheres.
The Whiskey Mountain Sessions contains a series of lengthy jams by Hillmen, a band that features two members of progressive rock band Djam Karet. These recordings made in a studio, but they were recorded live, without any overdubs. Although the band calls their still free improvisation, don’t think about hard to digest free jazz. Instead, Hillmen advance the music using blues, jazz-rock, psychedelia and progressive rock elements.
Hillmen use a mix of vintage and modern music instruments to develop their jams. The lineup on The Whiskey Mountain Sessions includes Pete Hillmen on drums, Gayle Ellett (Djam Karet) on organ and electric piano, Mike Murray (Djam Karet) on guitars, and Ralph Rivers on bass. Two guests appear on a handful of tracks: Steve Re on bass and Brian Carter on acoustic piano.
The Whiskey Mountain Sessions is a captivating demonstration of the progressive side of jam rock.