Xavi Reija featuring Tony Levin, Markus Reuter, Dusan Jevtovic – The Sound Of The Earth (Moonjune Records, 2018)
The Sound Of The Earth is an album by a sort of western progressive music all-stars associated with the Moonjune label. Xavi Reija demonstrates his formidable skill as a drummer, along with some of the biggest names in the improvisatory progressive rock scene: Tony Levin, Markus Reuter and Dusan Jevtovic.
The album features high energy pieces with creative drumming, distorted guitars and outstanding bass work. The four musicians also delve into tranquil territory, with the guitarists developing exquisite ambient soundscapes supported by lightly touched drumming and imaginative basslines.
The lineup includes Xavi Reija on drums; Tony Levin on electric bass, upright bass, and stick: Markus Reuter on touch guitar; and Dusan Jevtovic on guitar.
Soft Machine, the legendary British band from Canterbury, has a new album titled Hidden Details. Soft Machine was the jazzier side of the famed Canterbury progressive rock movement of the early 1970s.
The current lineup includes John Etheridge on electric and acoustic guitar; Theo Travis on saxophone, flute, and Fender Rhodes piano; Roy Babbington on bass; and John Marshall on drums.
The music on the album includes progressive jazz-rock, improvisatory pieces and some sound experimentation. The structured musical works are more satisfactory and engaging. Theo Travis really stands out when he picks up the flute or the electric piano, developing mesmerizing crystalline sounds.
Album highlights include “The Man Who Waved at Trains,” a spellbinding composition featuring Fender Rhodes and great flute/guitar dialog; the excellent bluesy guitar on “Broken Hill”; the dreamy keyboards on “Out Bloody Intro”; the delicate guitar on “Drifting White”; the splendid ensemble work on “Fourteen Hour Dream”; and the magical flute and percussion on “Breathe.”
The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery is an album released in 2017 by The Tangent, one of the finest progressive rock acts in recent years. The band is led by keyboardist, composer, vocalist and drummer Andy Tillison. It’s a splendid recording that features some of the finest musicians in the European scene.
This is progressive rock in its supreme form. Tillison is a masterful keyboardist and orchestrator. In addition to state of the art symphonic progressive rock and jazz-rock rich in keyboards, he adds elements of funk, soul and even Santana-style Latin rock. Wildly eclectic and deeply satisfying.
The Tangent always attracts some of the finest players in the current scene. On this album, the band features the great guitar hero of our time, Luke Machin. His chameleonic guitar style is out of this world, ranging from knockout shredding to exquisite solos.
Other members include bass virtuoso Jonas Reingold, saxophonist and flutist Theo Travis, and Marie-Eve de Gaultier (from Luke Machin’s band Maschine) on keyboards and vocals.
The album only has 5 tracks and four of them are lengthy epics packed with instrumental goodness that flow beautifully. Andy Tillison cares about of the world and its ecosystems. His lyrics make reference to the endangered wild animals; the sorry state of mass media and fake news; and other equally important topics.
The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery is a progressive rock masterpiece. It demonstrates that The Tangent is in perfect shape.
British musician and producer Jon Hiseman who founded seminal British progressive rock and jazz-rock bands Colosseum, Tempest and Colosseum II died June 12, 2018.
Philip John “Jon” Hiseman was born June 21, 1944 in Manchester, England. He studied piano and violin as a child. However, he became passionately interested in percussion during his early teens.
From 1969 to 1978 he led three groundbreaking jazz-rock groups: Colosseum, Tempest and Colosseum II.
He later recorded several albums with his wife, saxophonist Barbara Thompson.
Jon Hiseman released a solo album titled ‘A Night In The Sun’ with a band led by Márcio Montarroyos, made in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1982.
In 1994 Colosseum got together again. The reformed group released a live reunion album and a new studio recording, ‘Bread and Circuses’ in 1997, followed ‘Tomorrows Blues’ (2003) and ‘Time On Our Side’ (2014).
Martyn Hansen wrote about about Hiseman titled ‘Playing The Band – the musical life of Jon Hiseman’, published in 2011.
The album 27 Faces of a Broken Heart features an impressive collection of guitarists. All the tracks are basically variations of the same song, composed by American guitarist and airline pilot Ramin Partovi. He created this musical piece during a very difficult time of his life and invited some of the finest guitarists in the rock and fusion scene to perform and record variations of this song.
Musically, the album has strong fusion, rock, progressive and blues elements and each version features spectacular guitar solos and a formidable rhythm section, plus a great bass solo.
The core band includes Ramin Partovi on guitars, Carl Verheyen on guitars, Simon Phillips on drums and Jimmy Johnson on bass. The guests include famous guitar players as well as lesser known players who are nonetheless highly skilled and equally good.
27 Faces of a Broken Heart opens with the original track by Ramin Partovi and then it’s followed by the multiple variations featuring the following guitarists: Yussi Wenger, Brent Mason, Jinshi Ozaki, Tom Kolb, Jon Reshard, Scott Henderson, Andy Becht, Ervin Toucet, Ernesto Homeyer, Erick Walls, Doug Rappoport, Masta Edwards, Carl Verheyen, McCoy Mason, Jeffery Marshall, Robin Siedschlag, Brent Mason’s second version, Brad Bailey, Oz Noy, Jeff Richman, Mike Stern, Gabriel Forsman, Mark Lettieri , Dean Brown, and Giuseppe Vasapolli.
27 Faces of a Broken Heart is a fascinating concept album showcasing the remarkable talent of Ramin Partovi, his friends and musical heroes.
Podd is a new high energy American progressive rock band. The four virtuoso musicians play instrumental music that incorporates classic progressive rock with frequent musical changes, dynamic jazz-rock fusion and classical influences.
Guitarist Peter Olsen put together Podd. He’s a talented guitarist who showcases a wide range of fascinating guitar sounds and techniques. His colleague Eric Olsen uses an arsenal of keyboards, with which he performs impressive synth solos and magnificent cathedral-style organ.
The formidable rhythm section provides and support and creative bass lines and drumming as well.
Personnel on Cosmic Forces: Peter Olsen on acoustic and electric guitars; Dejan Dejkoski on drums and percussion; Eric Olsen on keyboards; and Takashi Otsuka on bass.
Although the band has created its own sound, you’ll hear influences from Yes, Camel and Chick Corea.
On Cosmic Forces you’ll find some stellar individual playing as well as engaging instrumental interaction.
French progressive rock and jazz violinist Didier Lockwood died February 18, 2018 in Paris. He was known for his virtuosity and experimentation on the electric violin.
Didier Lockwood was born in Calais, France in 1956. He grew up in a family of artists. His father was a school and violin teacher, his mother an amateur painter, and his elder brother Francis, a talented pianist very attracted to jazz. Didier fell in love with the violin and entered the Conservatory at the age of six.
In addition to going to school and participating in swimming competitions, the young violinist attended the Conservatory and received daily private classes.
Didier Lockwood joined the Lyric Orchestra of the Théâtre Municipal de Calais at 13 years old. He was 16 when he was doubly rewarded for his efforts and his virtuosity by winning the First Prize of violin of the National Conservatory of Calais, as well as the SACEM First National Prize of contemporary music.
The young violinist admired classical music and its eminent composers. However, a new passion soon developed: improvised music and jazz. At 17, he chose the legendary progressive music band Magma rather than attending the Paris Conservatory.
In 1973, he made his debut with Magma, along with drummer Christian Vander. Lockwood recorded two albums with Magma: Theatre Du Taur Concert (1975) and Live/Hhaï (1975).
In 1976, Lockwood joined Zao, a progressive band created by two former members of Magma. He participated in two albums, Kawana (1976) and Live! (1976).
Jazz became his next focus in 1978. Lockwood worked with well known French jazz musicians: André Ceccarelli, François Jeanneau, Didier Levallet and Henri Texier.
During the 1980s, Lockwood carried out all sorts of jazz projects, ranging from string trios and quartets to solo and fusion groups. He also collaborated with UZEB, Gordon Beck, Martial Solal and Michel Petrucciani.
In 1994, he celebrated his 20 year career anniversary. The following year, he made his first American album: New York Rendez-vous.
In March 2000, he released, Tribute to Stéphane Grappelli, which received many awards since its release: Diapason d’Or, Choc Jazzman, and Selection FIP.
In the spring of 2001, Didier created, along with Indian dancer Raghunath Manet and percussionist Ri Murugan, the show Omkara, a musical encounter between jazz and Indian music.
In 2003 Lockwood released a double album titled Globe-Trotter, featuring solo and quartet performances.
In 2005, Lockwood and Caroline Casadesus, created a new show, the Jazz and the Diva that brought together jazz and classical music.
In 2009, Didier released Lockwood Brothers with his brother Francis.
After several years touring Europe alongside Mike Stern, Billy Cobham, John Abercrombie and Victor Bailey, he reformed the Didier Lockwood Group (DLG), with Jean-Marie Ecay, Paco Séry and Linley Marthe.
Didier Lockwood received numerous accolades and awards, including Les Victoires de la Musique, le Django d’or, le Prix de la Sacem et de l’Académie du Jazz and Knight of the Legion of Honor and Officer of National Merit and Arts and Letters.
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)
This self-titled recording “Gleb Kolyadin” is the debut solo album of Gleb Kolyadin, one of the rising stars of progressive keyboards. His primary instrument is the grand piano, masterfully recorded at Moscow’s iconic Mosfilm studios. The opening track, “Insight” brings together deep classical music influences in the form of piano, jazz stylings and synthesizer solo bursts that recall Chick Corea’s work.
The second track, “Astral Architecture,” is a mesmerizing piece with captivating piano and vocals, soft drums and dreamy guitars and synths.
On “White Dawn”, Kolyadin layers keyboards, mixing grand piano and symphonic synths with soaring guitar.
“Kaleidoscope” features piano, powerful drums and bass that initially sounds like a tribute to the fine work of Emerson Lake and Palmer that later adds jazz vibraphone and flute into the mix with a Rick Wakeman-style synth solo to top it off.
On the short track 5, “Eidolon,” Gleb Kolyadin showcases his magnificent skill on the piano. The piece ends with fascinating reverb sounds. It segues into another and wonderfully orchestrated piece titled “Into The Void,” featuring piano, mysterious synths and delicate jazz drums.
“The Room” features the piano, bass and drum trio format along with saxophone, weaving in progressive rock, jazz and classical stylings and morphs into a high energy electronic prog rock set.
The longest track is Confluence, clocking over 10 minutes. It begins with delicate piano, bass and absorbing vocals by Steve Hogarth (Marillion). Gleb Kolyadin brilliantly builds the music up tempo, treating the listener to delicious interplay between the piano, drums and vibes.
On track 9, “Constellation / The Bell,” Kolyadin exhibits his classical piano influences and adds contemporary vocal experimentation near the end.
“Echo / Sigh / Strand” combines classical piano with a brief outburst epic prog rock.
Track 10, “Penrose Stairs” features jazz saxophone plus the grand piano, vibrant drums and bass.
“Storyteller” is a progressive rock lover’s dream, with Kolyadin and fellow maestro Jordan Rudess exchanging fabulous keyboard performances. Rudess plays a knockout synth solo.
The album concludes with “The Best Of Days” where Steve Hogarth returns with another entrancing vocal performance accompanied by spellbinding piano, drums and bass.
The lineup on “Gleb Kolyadin” includes Gavin Harrison on drums; Nick Beggs on bass; Theo Travis on flute and saxophone; Steve Hogarth on vocals; and Mick Moss and Jordan Rudess on keyboards.
Gleb Kolyadin cofounded the chamber prog group Iamthemorning in 2010 along with singer Marjana Semkina. The group released Iamthemorning in 2012, Belighted in 2014 and Lighthouse in 2016. In 2016 Iamthemorning won the UK-based Progressive Music Award for album of the year.
With his first solo album, Gleb Kolyadin has unveiled a formidable force in the progressive rock field. He’s a masterful performer, arranger and innovator. This album is heading straight to the top of best progressive albums of the year.
Liver is the new live album by Italy’s remarkable band Slivovitz. The ensemble plays a mix of contemporary jazz, progressive rock, blues and effervescent rhythms with funk influences.
Liver revisits musical pieces from Slivovitz’s recent albums “Bani Ahead” (2011) and “All You Can Eat” (2016). The new versions include plenty of opportunities for improvisation and instinctive interplay. The saxophone, violin, trumpet and harmonica take turns as soloists. I gravitate towards the mesmerizing trumpet solos and the violin performances as well, possibly because the violin connects more with the Arti e Mestieri and PFM Italian vibe that has always attracted me.
The band lineup includes seven talented musicians: Derek Di Perri on harmonica, Arcello Giannini on guitars, Vincenzo Lamagna on bass, Salvatore Rainone on drums, Ciro Riccardi on trumpet, Pietro Santangelo on tenor saxophone and Riccardo Villari on electric violin.