Tag Archives: keyboards

Progressive Rock Icon Rick Wakeman Opens Official Online Store

Rick Wakeman

Keyboard maestro Rick Wakeman has announced a new partnership with Music Glue as the new home of his online store, The Rick Wakeman Emporium. The new store includes Signed special items, signed CDs, DVDs and LPs, signed memorabilia & artwork, CDs, DVDs and LPs, T-Shirts, mugs and tote bags.

Visit Rick Wakeman’s Emporium: www.musicglue.com/rick-wakeman-emporium

Artist Profiles: Rick Wakeman

Rick Wakeman

Richard Christopher Wakeman was born May 18, 1949 in Perivale, Middlesex, England. His interest in music manifested itself very early. From the age of seven on, he studied classical piano. At the age of 14, Wakeman joined a local band, Atlantic Blues. The same year, he left school to enroll in the Royal College of Music. He had intended to start a career as a concert pianist, but Wakeman was dismissed from the college after it became clear that he preferred playing in clubs to studying technique.

By his late teens, Wakeman was a well-known session man, playing on records by such diverse acts as Black Sabbath, Brotherhood of Man, and Edison Lighthouse. At the end of the 1960s, his name also began appearing on the credits of albums by artists such as Al Stewart and David Bowie. A set of sessions with a folk-rock band called the Strawbs led to his joining the group in 1970.

After two albums with the Strawbs, Wakeman joined Yes, a rock band that evolved into one of the pioneers of cutting edge progressive rock. Yes had attracted considerable attention with their first three albums. Wakeman played a key role in the final shape of the group’s fourth record, Fragile, creating a profound, swirling sound on an array of electric and acoustic pianos, synthesizers, and mellotron. Fragile was a hit, driven by the chart success of the single “Roundabout,” and Wakeman was suddenly elevated to star status.

Rick Wakeman – The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Yes’ next album, Close to the Edge, increased Wakeman’s audience and his appeal, for his instruments were heard almost continually on the record. During the making of Close to the Edge in 1972, Wakeman also recorded his first solo album, an instrumental work titled The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which comprised his musical interpretations of the lives and personalities of the said six royal spouses. Released early in 1973 on A&M Records, it performed well on the charts.

Yes’ next album, Close to the Edge, increased Wakeman’s audience and his appeal, for his instruments were heard almost continually on the record. During the making of Close to the Edge in 1972, Wakeman also recorded his first solo album, an instrumental work titled The Six Wives of Henry VIII, which comprised his musical interpretations of the lives and personalities of the said six royal spouses. Released early in 1973 on A&M Records, it performed well on the charts.

Cover of Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans, designed by Roger Dean

Public reception of Yes’ magnificent 1974 double album, Tales From Topographic Oceans, was mixed, and the British pop critics, who disliked and misunderstood progressive rock, were cruel in their attacks on the record. Wakeman left Yes before the album’s supporting tour. His new solo album, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, adapted from the writings of Jules Verne and featuring a rock band, narrator (David Hemmings), and full orchestral and choral accompaniment, was released to tremendous public response in both the United States and the UK, where it topped the charts.

Rick Wakeman

In 1975, Wakeman’s next album, The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, was given a grand-scale premiere at Wembley’s Empire Pool, although it also cost Wakeman a fortune to stage the event on ice. During this same period, Wakeman began working on film scores with the music for Ken Russell’s Lisztomania, which was a modest hit.

In 1977, Wakeman returned to Yes, with which he has continued recording and touring. His solo career continued on A&M into the end of the ’70s, with Criminal Record and Rhapsodies, which were modestly successful.

Wakeman’s biggest media news during this period, however, came through his alleged role in getting the Sex Pistols dropped by A&M Records soon after being signed. None of this bothered his fans, which rapidly expanded to encompass those he picked up through his work with lyricist Tim Rice on a musical adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, and his burgeoning film work, which included the music to movies about the 1976 Winter Olympics and the 1982 soccer World Cup competition. Additionally, he became a regular on Britain’s Channel 4. Wakeman’s audience and reputation survived the 1980s better than almost any progressive rock star of his era, as he continued releasing albums on his own label. He also remained associated with Yes into the 1990s.

Rick Wakeman

In January 2016, Trevor Rabin announced he plans to perform with Wakeman and Jon Anderson as Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman (ARW), later in the year. Anderson revealed the three wrote “some unique songs together”. Also in January, following requests from fans, Wakeman recorded piano versions of “Life on Mars?”, “Space Oddity”, and “Always Together” as a tribute to David Bowie following his death with proceeds from the songs donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Selected Solo Discography:

The Six Wives of Henry VIII (A&M Records, 1973)
Journey to the Centre of the Earth (A&M Records, 1974)
Lisztomania (A&M Records, 1975)
The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (A&M Records, 1975)
No Earthly Connection (A&M Records, 1976)
Rick Wakeman’s Criminal Record (A&M Records, 1977)
1984 (Charisma Records, 1981)
Silent Nights (President Records, 1985)
Country Airs (Coda Records, 1986)
The Gospels (Stylus Music, 1987)
Phantom Power (Jimco Records, 1990)
The Piano Album ( Castle Communications, 1995)
Return to the Centre of the Earth (EMI Classics, 1999)
Out There (Music Fusion, 2003)
Piano Odyssey (Sony Classical, 2018)

Virtuoso Pianist Gleb Kolyadin Releases State of the Art Solo Debut

Gleb Kolyadin – “Gleb Kolyadin” (Kscope, 2018)

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.

Buy Gleb Kolyadin in Europe

Buy Gleb Kolyadin in the rest of the world

Keyboardist Don Airey Launches His Pre-Sale Campaign For “K2 – Tales of Triumph and Tragedy” Limited Edition Box Set

Iconic keyboardist Don Airey, known for his work with acclaimed rock band Deep Purple has launched a pre-sale campaign on PledgeMusic for a very special limited edition Deluxe Box Set of his progressive rock solo album “K2 – Tales of Triumph & Tragedy,” to be released on Gonzo Multimedia in June 2017.

“K2” was recorded in 1988 at Sarm East Studios, London, and originally released worldwide on MCA Records. The album was inspired by a news article written by climber Jim Curran about his stressful experiences on the 1986 expedition to K2 in the Himalayas that claimed the life of 12 climbers. The music was finalized after Don met Jim at his house in Sheffield where he talked of his friends Al Rouse and Julie Tullis, who both died in a snowstorm at the peak.

The album also features guest appearances by celebrated rock musicians Gary Moore, Cozy Powell, Colin Bluntstone, Chris Thompson and other artists.

There will only be 100 of this deluxe Box Set manufactured and each will contain a signed and numbered certificate. There will also be additional signed items and exclusive merchandise as part of this pre-order campaign.

You are going to get something that will please everyone and hopefully you’ll like the music too!,” says Don Airey.

For more information and to pre-order visit: www.pledgemusic.com/projects/donairey

Keyboard Maestro Allan Zavod Dies at 71

Australian jazz-rock and classical keyboard master and composer Allan Zavod passed away on November 28, 2016. Zavod played piano, synthesizers, organ and other keyboards with some of the most iconic jazz-rock artists such as Billy Cobham, Herbie Hancock, Jean Luc-Ponty, George Benson and Frank Zappa.

Allan Zavod was born October 16, 1945 in Melbourne, Australia. He completed a music degree at Melbourne Conservatorium in 1969. His skill as a pianist was much-admired by Duke Ellington, who after hearing him playing jazz piano, arranged for him to extend his jazz studies at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Zavod later held a post as professor of music in Berklee.

Based in the United States of America for 30 years, Zavod played, recorded and toured with many well-known international musicians such as Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson Big Band, Cab Calloway, Billy Cobham, Gary Burton, Herbie Hancock, Jean Luc-Ponty, George Benson, and Frank Zappa.

Zavod played keyboards in Maynard Ferguson’s Chameleon (1974) and Life & Times by Billy Cobham (1976). After that, he joined the Jean Luc Ponty band and appeared on many of the band’s best recordings: Imaginary Voyage (1976), Enigmatic Ocean (1977), Cosmic Messenger (1978), Live (1979), A Taste for Passion (1979) and Civilized Evil (1980).

 

Mirage synth solo:

 

Mirage full piece:

 

In the 1980s and 1990s, Zavod recorded and toured with Frank Zappa. He played in the following Zappa albums: Fits Your 34B, No Matter Which 43B You Are (1985), All You Need is Glove (1985), Does Humor Belong in Music? (1986), You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 (1988), Guitar (1988), You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 (1989), You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4 (1991), You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6 (1992), and Cheap Thrills (1998).

In 1996, Zavod composed the score for the stage adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” that enjoyed tremendous success across Australia.

As a film composer, Zavod wrote scores for over 40 American and Australian films, documentaries, television and theater, including: a US film score with guitarist Eric Clapton; an award winning children’s film for “Shine” director Scott Hicks; a film for Disney; the Theatre production of The Hobbit; and the long running series “A Country Practice”.

In 2009 The University of Melbourne awarded Allan Zavod the Doctor of Music for his international contribution in the field of Classical Jazz Fusion, only one of 5 recipients with an earned Doctorate for composition in the 150 year history of the University.

From 2007 to 2012 Zavod was dedicated entirely to composing. During this period his orchestral works were performed in Australia and abroad.

Allan Zavod passed away at his home accompanied by his wife Christine, his son, Zac, his mother, Annie and close friends.

Donations to the family can be made at: gofundme.com/allan-zavod

Mussorgsky through the Progressive Rock Prism

Emerson Lake & Palmer – Pictures at an Exhibition, Deluxe Edition (BMG, 2016)

Pictures at an Exhibition is one of the great progressive rock classic albums. It is also one of the greatest live albums released in the early 1970s. The three progressive rock pioneers, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer were at their prime. They recorded this live album in 1971 in Newcastle (UK).

Rock and classical music are brilliantly combined in Pictures at an Exhibition, which is a progressive rock tribute to the music of Russian composer Mussorgsky. The three trailblazers transform the classical compositions by injecting early synthesizers, wild electric organ blues progressions, energetic rock drums and Greg Lake’s melodic sensibility on vocals and guitars, although he also joins his two bands mates during their most energetic moments on electric bass.

The Deluxe Edition is a real treat for ELP fans. Disc 1 includes a remastered version of the original album along with a Pictures at an Exhibition Medley bonus track recorded live at the Mar y Sol Festival in Puerto Rico in 1972.

Disc 2 includes another live performance of Pictures at an Exhibition; this time in London. I love these different live recordings because many of the solos vary. The remarkable organ improvisation in “Blues Variations” varied from concert to concert. Additionally, Disc 2 contains live versions of earlier material, such as The Barbarian, Knife-Edge and Rondo.

In summary, Pictures at an Exhibition, Deluxe Edition is a fabulous recording that showcases the mastery of three talented musicians who broke new ground by fusing classical music and cutting edge rock.

Buy Pictures at an Exhibition, Deluxe Edition in the Americas

Buy Pictures at an Exhibition, Deluxe Edition in Europe

Frost Moves the Sound Forward

Frost – ‘Falling Satellites‘ (Insideout, 2016)

Frost’s Satellite is exactly the type of album which demonstrates that forward-thinking progressive rock is alive and well. Keyboardist, composer, vocalist, producer and songwriter Jem Godfrey has put together an impressive mix of classic progressive rock with contemporary sounds, bringing in cutting edge recording technology, overdubs, pop hooks, electronics and lots of sound effects.

Highlights include ‘Towerblocks’ were he delivers a collage of electronic beats, vocal samples, fabulous keyboard and guitar solos and a general epic feel. Prog for the 21st century.

A notable piece is “Lights Out, where Frost turns to exquisite chill out soul arrangements with a great mix of male and female vocalists. The female vocalist here is rising British pop singer Tori Beaumont.

Another high point is “Closer To the Sun,” where the bands mixes pop hooks, electronic atmospheres, effects, and a signature solo by guitar master Joe Satriani who appears as guest on this piece (I’ve always been puzzled why guitar heroes like Satriani, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson and others don’t appear more frequently in progressive rock productions). Additionally, Jem Godfrey also delivers a great keyboard solo.

The finest pieces on the album are ‘The Raging Against the Dying of the Light Blues”, “Nice Day For It…” and “Hypoventilate,” several parts of an extraordinary suite where the band delivers exciting high-intensity progressive rock. These segued pieces have frequent time signature changes and some of the best keyboard work and guitar/keyboard interplay on the album. A genuine delight and truly remarkable.

It’s been a long time coming, but we got there in the end. I think this is our strongest album to date and moves the sound forwards whilst still referencing what’s gone before,” says Jem Godfrey. “It’s also great to have finally co-written some songs with John in a Frost* context. The end results were better than either of us could have imagined, we just can’t wait to get out and play it all live now.”

The Frost lineup on ‘Falling Satellites’ includes Jem Godfrey on keyboards, vocals, Railboard (a 10-string Stick), guitar, lap steel, and a mysterious device called beaumatron; John Mitchell (Lonely Robot, It Bites) on guitars and vocals; Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson) on drums; and Nathan King (Level 42) on bass.

Guests on the album: Tori Beaumont on vocals; Joe Satriani on guitar; and Mark knight on violin.

The album is available on limited edition CD digipak with two bonus tracks, gatefold 2LP + CD and digital download. The 2nd bonus track, “British Wintertime” has an epic conclusion that exhibits gorgeous keyboard orchestrations.

Frost has produced one of the best progressive rock albums we’ve heard this year. Highly recommended.

Buy Falling Satellites in the Americas

Buy Falling Satellites in Europe

Interview with Italian Progressive Music Band Syndone

Progressive Rock Central talks with Italian composer and keyboard master Nik Comoglio, founder of Syndone, one of Europe’s finest progressive rock bands.

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

NC – The most important thing is the interaction between rock and classic. Syndone has always tried to merge this two components of music as best as it can, so that a real “Symphonic Rock Sound” could born. By my experience I’ve noticed that people likes more when this two genres are well defined in the album. So when there is “classical” it should be “very clean”; when there is “rock” it should be much dirty. This formula works better than a studied melt like we did in “La Bella è la Bestia”.

Then the other important element goes through the composition and the orchestration. Syndone is trying to rejuvenate and improve the progressive style using a clear defined musical score in which the “obbligato parts” are strictly the base for the whole sound. I think that, in Eros & Thanatos, the orchestra has been very important to drive our music towards a real symphonic rock album.

Last thing: the vintage keyboards! The sound of the old synthesizers recorded with new microphones and new recording techniques have helped us to create and define a huge new sound even without electric guitar.

Syndone
Syndone

AR – Who can you cite as your main musical influences?

NC – My musical influences come mainly from Jazz and Classical music. When I was a kid I always listened to my father’s old jazz LPs… then I progressed to the classical and the contemporary music discovering Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Mussorgsky, Debussy, Ravel, Webern, Berg, Berio and so on; from there I moved towards progressive and rock music. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Gentle Giant, PFM, ELP, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Queen… I grew up with them! They opened my mind to the melodic texture while jazz and classical drove me to learn the harmony and the unconventional music signatures.

AR – Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.

NC – We must go back to 1989. We were in the middle of the “New Prog” revival. I had a phone call from Beppe Crovella of Arti & Mestieri who asked me if I had some progressive material to recording. After a brief meeting with him I put together some ideas which were good at that time. Then a band was needed so I asked for a drummer and a bass man in order to form a “live trio line up”. We went to Electromantic Studio and in around a week (after a quick rehearsal) we made the album “Spleen” (1990). After two years in 1992 we recorded “Inca” always released by Electromantic.

 

Syndone - Spleen
Syndone – Spleen

 

After “Inca” we disbanded for some personal reasons as it happens in the most of the split groups but, first of all, for several problems and big arguments connected with the production of that period.

 

Syndone - Inca
Syndone – Inca

 

My music evolution began as an autodidact when I was fifteen; then, years later, I progressed studying piano and composition with Maestro Azio Corghi. I loved to analyze Bach and Mozart’s masterpieces scores and the opera of the most composers of early 1900s as well. My first gig was at the age of seventeen in a rock cover band.

AR – Your most recent albums are all concept albums. How do you come up with these ideas?

NC – It’s Rik’s [Riccardo Ruggeri] job mainly… He creates the lyrics and the album’s concept theme. I generally give him the rough basic line of a tune (in midi files) during the preproduction, letting the music inspires him to a new song or an idea of a new song. So that’s it! He always writes the lyrics very close to the impressions that my music evokes in me; this is the way we’ve been working together from Melapesante… we never changed because it works!

 

 

AR – In my opinion, Italy has one of the finest and most original progressive rock scenes in the world. Why do you think Italy produces so many first-class artists?

That’s true! Italy have had a lot of great progressive bands, especially in the “age d’or” (around the mid of ‘70ies) in which to be a progster meant to be an innovator, to be among the vanguard. Anyway, in Italy there has always been a big classical musical background among musicians (especially inherent to melody) coming naturally from the opera, from melodrama and from popular music. I think that this ancient kind of melodic music have influenced through the years the most part of Italian musicians who late have dedicated themselves to jazz, pop and progressive music.

AR – What keyboards and other instruments do you use?

NC – I generally use vintage keyboards: Roland Juno 60, 106, Jx8P; Wurlitzer and Rhodes electric pianos; Hohner Clavinet D6; Hammond A100/M102; Minimoog model D (or the new Voyager); Oberheim Matrix 1000; and in last album (Eros & Thanatos) a new Dave Smith Prophet 8. I like the huge sound!

 

 

AR – And what effects do you use?

NC – I never let the sound of my keyboards clean. Generally I love make my sound and “to dirty” it with effects like phasers, distortion and fuzz pedals. Even the amplifiers are important for the final sound… I have an old Marshall JCM 800 combo and a vintage Fender Twin.

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

NC – Speaking for myself, more than a band to work with I would prefer a single artist to work with and to create something new… I always would love to work with David Byrne of the Talking Heads.

AR – Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?

NC – Not for the moment… we just came out with a new album (that’s Eros & Thanatos) which took two years of work. Now we are looking to the promo gigs.

 

Syndone - Eros & Thanatos
Syndone – Eros & Thanatos

 

Discography:

Spleen (Vinyl Magic Records, 1992)
Inca (Vinyl Magic Records, 1993)
Melapesante (Electromantic Music, 2010)
La Bella è la Bestia – The Beauty Is The Beast (AMS, 2012)
Odysséas (AMS, 2014)
Eros & Thanatos (Fading Records, 2016)

Beautifully-Crafted Musical Work about Love and Death

Syndone – Eros & Thanatos (Fading Records/AltrOck Productions FAD-021, 2016)

Italian progressive symphonic rock band Syndone has been releasing consistently great albums. Their latest, Eros & Thanatos is a concept album about love and death.

Syndone’s sound continues to be characterized by the use of various types of keyboards, vibraphone, counterpoints, off time signatures, delightful Italian classical musical influences, and the intensely dramatic vocals of singer-songwriter Riccardo Ruggeri.

Keyboard maestro and composer Nik Comoglio uses pipe organ, distorted electronic keyboards, and masterful orchestrations, including magnificent mellotron. The band includes two additional keyboardists: Marta Caldara on mellotron and Gigi Rivetti on piano and electronic keyboards.

In addition to the classic progressive rock instrumentation, the sound on Eros & Thanatos is enriched by the use of a classical string ensemble, the Puntorec String Orchestra.

Two high profile guests appear on the album. Progressive rock legend Steve Hackett (Genesis) plays a knockout electric guitar solo on the epic last song, “Sotto un cielo di fuoco.” The other guest is Ray Thomas (Moody Blues) who plays flute on “L’urlo nelle ossa.”

The lineup on Eros & Thanatos includes Nick Comoglio on keyboards, pipe organ and orchestration; Riccardo Ruggeri on lead and backing vocals, vocoder, 12 string acoustic guitar; Marta Caldara on vibraphone, piano and mellotrón; Gigi Rivetti on piano and keyboards; Maurino Dellacqua on bass and Taurus bass; and Martino Malacrida on drums and percussion.

Special Guests: Steve Hackett (Genesis) on electric guitar and Ray Thomas (The Moody Blues) on flute.

Additional musicians: Tony De Gruttola on acoustic guitars and Pino Russo on classical guitar and oud.

Puntorec String Orchestra conducted by Fabio Gurian.

Eros & Thanatos is yet another beautifully-crafted masterwork by Italian progressive rock band Syndone.

Buy Eros & Thanatos in the Americas

Buy Eros & Thanatos in Europe

Memorable Live Recording by Rising Italian Progressive Rock Masters

Barock Project – Vivo – Live in Concert (Artalia ART002, 2016)

Italian progressive rock band Barock Project showcases its talent on its first live album titled Vivo – Live in Concert. As the name of the band indicates, Barock Project is deeply influenced by classical music and symphonic rock. The group of young musicians is led by keyboard maestro and composer Luca Zabbini.

Vivo – Live in Concert is a 2-disc set with live versions of some of the band’s most iconic pieces. There is also a Genesis tribute, with a version of Los Endos, an instrumental piece that appeared on Genesis’ a Trick of the Tail.

The repertoire includes straight-ahead symphonic progressive rock inspired by Baroque music, ELP, Genesis and the great Italian progressive bands of the 1970s and some hard rock in the Deep Purple vein.

The vocals are primarily in English although the album includes two songs in Italian that truly captivating. In fact, I much prefer when Italian bands sing in Italian. They have special charm within the progressive rock realm.

I gravitate towards the more progressive pieces. Highlights on Disc 1 include: “Coffee in Neukolln,” an epic piece where Luca Zabbini deploys symphonic keyboards, dreamlike classical piano and synths. There’s also fascinating call and response vocals and creative bass lines.

On the somewhat operatic “Fool’s epilogue” we get to experience the admirable skill of drummer Eric Ombelli and guitarist Marco Mazzuoccolo playing admirable classical-inspired electric guitar as well as fabulous shredding with jazz-rock elements. Zabbini also treats the listener with masterful electric organ and other keyboards.

Another high point is “Un altro mondo”, an exquisite vocal and piano duet with lyrics in Italian that builds into an epic with the addition of guitar, bass and drums and grand finale with synth solo. It’s followed by another fabulous Italian-language song that feels like PFM meets ELP.

The last track on Disc 1 is the remarkable rendition of Los Endos. A version that progressive-era Genesis would be proud of.

The high spots on Disc 2 are: “Overture”, a scrumptious keyboard fest by Luca Zabbini that sounds like a 21st Century version of ELP.

Another standout is “Skyline,” a long suite with various phases featuring memorable keyboard and guitar work. At times, however, they stray a little towards hard rock.

The final highlight is “The longest sigh,” where the band returns to state of the art progressive symphonic rock, featuring brilliant synth and mellotron work by Luca Zabbini and a great guitar solo by Marco Mazzuoccolo.

The lineup on Vivo – Live in Concert includes Luca Zabbini on piano, keyboards, acoustic guitars, vocals; Luca Pancaldi on lead vocals; Eric Ombelli on drums; Marco Mazzuoccolo on electric guitars; and Francesco Caliendo on electric bass.

Buy Vivo – Live in Concert in North America

Buy Vivo – Live in Concert in Europe