Tag Archives: Progressive rock

Electrifying Ethnomission

Tohpati Ethnomission – Mata Hati (MoonJune, 2017)

Tohpati Ethnomission is one of the most original and exciting progressive music projects coming of Indonesia. The group is led by guitarist and composer Tohpati.

Mata Hati brings together Indonesian traditional music, first class jazz-rock fusion and elements of progressive rock. Can’t get better than that.

In addition to the thrilling original sounds, Tohpati Ethnomission also features highly-skilled instrumentalists who play some of the finest jazz-rock fusion you’ll find in the current scene.

The lineup includes Tohpati on guitars; Indo Hardjodikoro on bass; Diki Suwarjiki on suling bamboo flute and tarompet (Indonesian shawm); Endang Ramdan on kendang percussion; and Demas Narawangsa on drums. The Czech Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michaela Ruzickova, guests on one track.

Mata Hati is undoubtedly one of the finest progressive music releases of the year.

Buy Mata Hati

Impeccable Cast

Cast – Power and Outcome (Progressive Promotion Records, 2017)

Mexican progressive symphonic rock band Cast, one of the finest progressive rock acts from Latin America is back with “Power and Outcome”. The band led by keyboardist and composer Alfonso Vidales features an international roster of virtuoso musicians who deliver impressive solos and prog-rock orchestrations.

In addition to Vidales’ magnificent keyboard work, Cast’s sound is characterized by the violin solos of Italian musician Roberto Izzo and Chilean guitar wizard Claudio Cordero who shreds masterfully.

On the vocal side, Cast uses English-language lyrics inspired by British bands. The vocals are beautifully-crafted with call and response techniques, overdubs and dramatic effects. Nevertheless, most of the album is instrumental.

Stylistically, the band is influenced by top tier British bands and also by Italian progressive rock masters.

The lineup includes Alfonso Vidales on keyboards; Claudio Cordero on guitar; Roberto Izzo on violin; Antonio Bringas on drums and percussion; Bobby Vidales on lead and background vocals; Lupita Acuña on vocals; Carlos Humarán on bass, Taurus pedals and background vocals.

Power and Outcome is an impeccable example of progressive rock craftsmanship featuring stellar instrumental and vocal work.

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Jazz-Rock Guitar Virtuoso and Innovator Allan Holdsworth Dies at 70

British guitarist and composer Allan Holdsworth passed away yesterday, April 16, 2017. He was 70 years old. Holdsworth was one of the finest guitarists in the jazz and rock fields, who developed a unique style and technique. His chords were admired and imitated by many.

Allan Holdsworth was born August 6, 1946 in Bradford, England. Allan Holdsworth played in some of the best progressive rock and jazz-rock bands of the 1970s: Tempest, Soft Machine, The New Tony Williams Lifetime,Nucleus, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, Jean-Luc Ponty band and progressive rock supergroup UK.

 

 

Later, Allan Holdsworth released a series of solo albums and collaborations with leading jazz and fusion musicians such as Stanley Clarke and Chad Wackerman. In addition to the electric guitar he used and recorded with a new device called SynthAxe.

“There is no greater measure of a life well lived than the amount of people he had impacted, and by that measure the artist Allan Holdsworth lived a very good life. This man took a plank of wood, a few strings, and some wires and transformed people’s lives in a way that few others have. The ultimate genius of the rarest kind. One of THE greatest musicians ever lived. So much history with Allan,” said producer Leonardo Pavkovic of MoonJune Music, who worked with Holdsworth 2001-2016.

 

 

 

Allan Holdsworth is survived by his daughters Emily and Louise, his son Sam, and his granddaughter Rori.

Progressive World Music for Troubled Times

Steve Hackett – The Night Siren (InsideOut Music, 2017)

Thanks to his Genesis Revisited progressive rock recordings and tours, guitar virtuoso (and former Genesis guitarist) Steve Hackett is enjoying some of his most productive years. He has recorded albums where he explores various genres with total ease and skill. On The Night Siren he fuses his signature guitar style with a mix of classic rock, progressive rock, folk-rock, world music and various other influences, bringing attention to international turmoil.

Speaking about this recording, Steve Hackett has indicated that he’s always had an interest in multicultural diversity within music. Hackett’s curiosity about other cultures was evident in his early recordings, where he incorporated East Asian, Celtic, and other influences.

On The Night Siren Steve Hackett will take you on a constant unexpected musical ride. Songs that begin pastoral will conclude with knockout guitar solos. Heavy drums similar to Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir and Middle Eastern melodies transform into magnificent prog rock sections. There is also flamenco, Andean charango, fiery blues harmonica, Australian aboriginal didg, and more.

 

 

The album lineup includes Steve Hackett on electric and acoustic guitars, oud, charango, sitar guitar, harmonica, vocals; Mira Awad on vocals; Leslie-Miriam Bennett on keyboards; Gulli Briem on drums, cajon, percussion; Troy Donockley on Uilleann pipes; Kobi Farhi on vocals; Dick Driver on double bass; Benedict Fenner on keyboards and programming; Jo Hackett on vocals; John Hackett on flute; Roger King on keyboards and programming; Ferenc Kovács on trumpet; Sara Kovács on didgeridoo; Amanda Lehmann on vocals; Malik Mansurov on tar; Nad Sylvan on vocals; Gary O’Toole on drums; Christine Townsend on violin, viola; Rob Townsend on baritone and soprano sax, flute, flageolet, quena, duduk, bass clarinet; and Nick D’Virgilio on drums.

 

Buy The Night Siren

YES Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman Announce North American Tour Dates

YES featuring ARW – Photo by Kevin Nixond

Progressive rock band YES Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman will be touring North America August-October 2017.

It’s very simple,” explains band founder and vocalist Jon Anderson about the recent decision to change the band’s name from ARW to YES Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman. “The fans want it, we want it and it’s our right to use the name. YES music is in our DNA!

Tour Dates:

Saturday, Augugust 26 – Stockton, CA – Bob Hope Theatre
Monday, August 28 – Saratoga, CA – Mountain Winery
Tuesday, August 29 – Friant, CA – Table Mountain Casino
Thursday, August 31 – Las Vegas, NV – Smith Center
Saturday, September 2 – Layton, UT- The Kenley Amphitheater
Sunday, September 3 – Littleton, CO – Hudson Gardens
Tuesday, September 5 – Kansas City, MO – Kauffman Center
Friday, September 8 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theater (new showdate)
Saturday, September 9 – Hammond, IN – Venue at the Horseshoe Casino
Tuesday, September 12 – Kettering, OH – Fraze Pavilion
Wednesday, September 13 -Vienna, VA- Wolf Trap
Friday, September 15 – Akron, OH – Goodyear Theater at East End
Saturday, September 16 – Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
Monday, September 18 – Quebec City, QC – Grand Theatre du Quebec City
Tuesday, September 19 – Montreal, QC – St. Denis Theatre
Thursday, September 21 – Port Chester, NY – Capitol Theatre
Saturday, September 23 – Wallingford, CT – Toyota Oakdale Theatre
Sunday, September 24 – Brookville, NY – Tilles Center
Wednesday, September 27 – Newark, NJ – NJ PAC (NJ Performing Arts Center)
Friday, September 29 – Reading, PA – Santander Performing Arts Center
Saturday, September 30 – Trenton, NJ – Patriots Theater at the War Memorial
Sunday, October 1 – Philadelphia, PA – Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center
Wednesday, October 4 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theater
Thursday,October 5- Albany, NY- Palace Theatre
Saturday, October 7 – Niagara Falls, NY – Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino.
Sunday, October 8 – Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Theatre
Tuesday, October 10 – Melbourne, FL – King Center For The Performing Arts
Wednesday, October 11 – Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall
Friday,October 13- West Palm Beach, FL – Kravis Center For The Perf. Arts
Saturday, October 14 – Miami, FL- Adrienne Arsht Center For The Perf. Arts

Go to www.YESfeaturingARW.com for more information

Progday 2017 Reveals First Acts

Progressive rock festival Progday announced the first artists scheduled to perform Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The festival will feature acclaimed Peruvian band Flor De Loto, sensational American progressive band INFiNiEN and celebrated Swiss avant-garde ensemble Sonar.

 

 

 

More details at www.progday.net

Headline photo: Flor De Loto

Omega, the Essential Rock Band from Hungary

Omega – Anthology 1968-1979 (Purple Pyramid Records, 2017)

This anthology is a great opportunity to discover the great Hungarian rock band Omega. Anthology 1968-1979 includes two discs. Disc 1 focuses on the 1960s. At that time, the band was still trying to find its way. Their songs were short and more pop oriented although there are glimpses of the good things to come in the future, in a few songs where you can hear psychedelic elements, blues rock, and mellotron sounds similar to the Moody Blues.

Disc 2 gets to the really good stuff. In the mid-1970s, Omega were deeply influenced by the space rock strain of progressive rock, especially bands like Pink Floyd and Germany’s Eloy. While the guitars and the heavily processed vocals are clearly on the space rock spectrum, the keyboards had a symphonic rock quality along with electronic music excursions.

Omega were very prolific in the 1970s and released albums in Hungarian as well as versions in English for the international market and even one album in German. If this compilation attracts your attention, you should look for the solidly progressive rock albums released by Omega. Begin with Time Robber and Skyrover.

Buy Anthology 1968-1979

Martigan Pursues the Distant Monsters

Martigan – Distant Monsters (Progressive Promotion records PPRCD036, 2015)

The first two tracks of this album would lead you to believe that Martigan is strictly a prog metal band. Throughout “Theodor’s Walls”, and “Lion,” the band uses the tired chugga chugga of heavy metal. However, on “Lion” guitarist Björn Bisch finally delivers the goods, by playing a superb electric guitar solo.

On track 3, “Simplicius”, Martigan finally starts to show its true progressive rock side with expressive vocals inspired by Fish and other second generation prog rock singers and another great epic guitar solo.

“Complicius,” track 4, is even better, with outstanding vocals and creative drum work that progresses very nicely into an instrumental section where Björn Bisch’ guitar stands out once more.

The longest track on the album is “The Lake,” where you get a well balanced mix of vocals and remarkable instrumental work spearheaded by the guitar that takes you into an epic grand finale.

Track 6, “On Tiptoe,” has a dreamy and cinematic nature with notable vocal work, light percussion and plenty of symphonic keyboards.

“Fire on the pier” has echoes of Genesis and Pendragon, with more delectable guitar goodness.

The albums ends with an anthemic song titled “Take me or leave me.”

The lineup includes Kai Marckwordt on lead and backing vocals and guitar; Oliver Rebhan on keyboards and backing vocals; Alex Bisch on drums and backing vocals; Björn Bisch on guitars and ebow; and Mario Koch on bass and clarinet.

Buy Distant Monster in the Americas and rest of the world

Buy Distant Monsters in Europe

Prog Masters ELP Live in South America

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer – Once Upon a Time in South America (Rock Beat, 2017)

For fans of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer and keyboards in general, Once Upon a Time in South America is a real treat. The 4-CD (also available on vinyl) collection features live performances in South America by the legendary progressive rock band Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.

The majority of the concerts took place in 1993 in Chile and Argentina. Even though most of the pieces that appear on Once Upon a Time in South America are familiar compositions by the band, there is a lot to discover.

One of the great qualities about Keith Emerson was that he used a wide range of keyboards and his variations and improvisations on familiar melodies made his music highly enjoyable and refreshing.

This album features two versions of Pictures at an Exhibition, one of their most iconic works that has rarely appeared on other recordings.

Throughout the album, Keith Emerson delivers stellar keyboard performances. As I mentioned earlier, he liked to modify familiar melodies with new solos and other variations, switching keyboards and sometimes embedding familiar melodies from movies and other sources.

Carl Palmer is an impressive rhythm machine. He is renowned for his creative, varied and powerful drumming style.

Greg Lake also delivered masterful performances, although his voice suffered a little throughout the tour. In addition to his unmistakable vocals, he also played guitars and some great bass lines.

The tracks selected cover the band’s entire musical history, from their early hits Lucky Man and From the Beginning to Hoedown, Pictures at an Exhibition, Tarkus, Karn Evil 9 and Fanfare for the Common Man.

Buy Once Upon a Time in South America

Guitar Maestro Steve Hackett Releases Video for ‘Behind The Smoke’

Renowned guitarist and composer Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis) is set to release his latest album ‘The Night Siren’ on March 24th , 2017 through InsideOut Music (Sony). In the meantime, Hackett has released a brand new video for the album’s opening track ‘Behind The Smoke.’

I’m thrilled with this video for the track ‘Behind the Smoke’ from my new album The Night Siren,” says Steve Hackett. “Director Ivan and the I-Code team have created an extraordinary film here resembling an epic movie! It perfectly matches the song, which laments the predicament of refugees throughout the ages. More compassion is needed in this world for those escaping persecution and death.”

‘The Night Siren’ is a wake-up call… the warning of a siren sounding in this era of conflicts and disagreement.

The album lineup includes Steve Hackett on guitar & vocals; Roger King on keyboards & programming; Nad Sylvan on vocals on Inca Terra; Rob Townsend on all things wind; Amanda Lehmann on vocals; Gary O’Toole on drums; and Benedict Fenner on additional keyboards & programming).

Also featured are vocalists Kobi Farhi and Mira on Israeli and Palestinian; Nick D’Virgilio on drums, from the USA; Malik Mansurov on tar, from Azerbaijan; and Gulli Breim on drums and percussion, from Iceland.

Additional musicians who add to the rich flavor of the album are Christine Townsend on violin and viola; Dick Driver on double bass; Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes; and Leslie Bennett on keyboards on The Gift.

Order The Night Siren