Tag Archives: Progressive rock

Caravela Escarlate, Keyboard Delights from Brazil

Caravela Escarlate – Caravela Escarlate (Karisma Records, 2019)

Caravela Escarlate is a Brazilian symphonic progressive rock band founded in 2011. The group features keyboard wizard Ronaldo Rodrigues, who uses a wide range of keyboards. The Scarlet Caravel’s sound is deeply influenced by the classic progressive rock bands of the 1970s.


Caravela Escarlate – Caravela Escarlate

Although vocals appear on a few tracks, most of the album is instrumental, showcasing Rodrigues’ talent on the synths, organ, mellotron and other instruments. He’s joined by the powerful drums of Elcio Cáfaro. Influences include ELP, Peter Bardens (Camel), Sagrado Coracao da Terra, Jon Lord and Gentle Giant.

David Caravelle – Vocals, bass, guitars and violins; Ronaldo Rodrigues (Massahara, Arcpelago) – Keyboards; Elcio Cáfaro – Drums.

The Myriad Guitars of Michel Héroux

Michel Héroux – Now (Michel Héroux, 2019)

Now is an deeply satisfying album of instrumental guitar rock music by Canadian musician, educator and composer Michel Héroux. Now combines dazzling guitar hero rock, mesmerizing avant-garde jazz guitar similar to Bill Frisell’s work and skillfully-crafted progressive rock.

Michel Héroux

Personnel: Michel Héroux on guitars; Vincent Yelle on bass; and Francis Fillion on drums.

Carl Palmer Announces Prog-Rock Camp in Philadelphia

Groundbreaking British rock drummer Carl Palmer has announced a Prog-Rock Camp to be held November 8-10, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Carl Palmer was a founding member of the legendary progressive rock band Emerson Lake & Palmer. 

The event is envisioned as a musical learning experience for drummers, guitarists, bassists, keyboardists and vocalists called Carl Palmer’s Prog-Rock Camp. The instructors include  Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy and very special guests: guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (former Guns N Roses; Sons Of Apollo) and Derek Sherinian (former Dream Theater, Alice Cooper, Sons Of Apollo).

The camp will run for 3 days in Philadelphia. Registration is now open and is on a first, come first served basis. A sell out will be 100 registrants.

“This camp will be a special dream come true for me,” says Carl Palmer, who has spent many years as an educator and demonstrator of advanced percussion. “It is not designed to be a ‘fantasy’ event, but rather, a complete three day educational adventure for those who really want to improve and advance their musical craft. Of course, fans who want to take in the experience, are welcomed, as well.  This is a chance to sit one on one with some of the contemporary musical greats and learn.”

Carl Palmer

The Camp will begin on Friday, November 8th and will include three days of events. Among the highlights: Master Classes with Carl Palmer, guitarists Paul Bielatowicz and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, bassist  Simon Fitzpatrick, and keyboardist Derek Sherinian; An informative Q&A with Carl Palmer, his band, and the special guests; a complete Saturday evening concert with Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy featuring the greatest music of Emerson Lake &  Palmer; the world premiere of a never-before-seen complete concert film: ELP Live In South America 1997; performances by bands assembled  from the attending campers; plus seminars on artist management & booking; a seminar by a renowned life coach; new music technology displays; a Palmer Art Event and much more!

The cost to attend Carl Palmer Prog Rock Camp is $1,399 and includes all events, classes, concert, meals, parking, and hotel lodging.  A deposit is required at registration, which will cap at 100 campers.

November 8th – 10th, 2019 • 2300 Arena • Philadelphia, PA

carlpalmer.com/ProgRockCamp/ProgRockCamp-Main.php

A Hypnotic Trip from Sonora Sunrise

Sonora Sunrise – The Route through the Canyon (Trail Records, 2019)

The Route through the Canyon is an album by Russian progressive music band Sonora Sunrise. They are based in Altai, a mystical land in southern Siberia with olden mountains where you still find ancient shamanic rites.


Sonora Sunrise – The Route through the Canyon

The culture and wilderness of Altai inspires Sonora Sunrise. Their music is a superb mix of progressive rock, psychedelia, space rock along with ambient and Berlin-school electronic music. It is a spellbinding sound developed with electric guitars, effects, soundscapes, vintage analog synths from the Soviet Era, and a rhythm section.

Sonora Sunrise includes Artem Demidov on guitars, soundscapes; Dmitry Shershnev on keyboards, guitar; Alexey Shulepov on bass; and Vitaliy Khard on drums. Vocalist Katya Zlobina appears on various The Route through the Canyon tracks, delivering entrancing performances.

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.

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.

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”).

The John Irvine Band’s Finely Crafted Progressive Jazz-Rock

The John Irvine Band   – Metaphysical Attractions (John Irvine, 2018)

John Irvine is an excellent Scottish guitarist and composer inspired by some of the leading jazz-rock and rock hero guitarists. His music is on the progressive side of jazz-rock, incorporating influences from maestros such as Pat Metheny, Joe Satriani, John McLaughlin and Alan Holdsworth as well as classic progressive rock harmonies.

The guitar sounds are multifaceted, and highly satisfying. John Irvine also plays the bass and keyboards. Guests include Rob Ironside on saxophone; Gwen Kelso on flute; and Rich Kass on drums.


The John Irvine Band   – Metaphysical Attractions

Favorite tracks include “Hymn To The Winter Sun”, full of seductive grooves and memorable guitar work; the captivating “Me And My Idiophone,” where John Irvine uses an impressive arsenal of guitars supported by formidable creative drumming; and the progressive desert blues of “Sahara Yadouin.”

Buy the digital download version of Metaphysical Attractions or the CD from thejohnirvineband.bandcamp.com.

Wonderful Return of The Gardening Club

The Gardening Club – “The Riddle” (Gonzo, 2018)

Progressive rock band The Gardening Club recorded its new album at producer and guitarist Norm Macpherson’s Garry Oak Studios in Metchosin, British Columbia in Canada. This place, encircled by woods and near the Pacific Ocean, was a great place for composing and recording the new record.

Most of the music on The Riddle is by guitarist and vocalist Martin Springett. He delivers a wonderful set of slide guitar performances that add an enchanting bluesy feel to the band’s particular style of folk-influenced progressive rock. The vocals sometimes recall the Strawbs and Echolyn as well.

The Gardening Club – “The Riddle

Guitar play an essential role in this album featuring the slide guitar as well as exquisite acoustic and electric guitar interplay between Martin and Norm Macpherson.

Although we associate heavy use of keyboards with progressive rock, the keyboards here appear in the form of a handful of delightful synth solos.

“The Riddle” also features a few saxophone solos. The smooth jazz saxophone is too sappy and breaks the magic of the album. Having two great guitarists is more than plenty and much more satisfying.

The lineup includes Martin Springett on vocals and guitars; Sean Drabitt on fretless electric bass; Norm Macpherson on guitars; Norm’s son, James Macpherson on drums and keyboards; and Wayne Kozak on saxophone.

Martin Springett is also well-known as an illustrator. He created the beautiful artwork for the CD version of the album.

Buy “The Riddle” in North America

Buy “The Riddle” in Europe

Roine Stolt’s Epic Alchemy and Social Conscience

Roine Stolt’s The Flower King – Manifesto of an Alchemist (Inside Out Music, 2018)

Swedish guitarist, composer and progressive rock marvel Roin Stolt is a prolific artists who has been involved in numerous projects as band leader or as part of super bands: The Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Agents of Mercy, and Kaipa DC. His latest project is called Roine Stolt’s The Flower King, which is a subtle way to clarify that this is a solo endeavor rather than a new Flower Kings album.

Although many identify Roine Stolt as a progressive rock musician (which he is), the multi-faceted artists is also influenced by classic rock, blues and jazz.

The album begins with a short atmospheric piece titled Rainsong. This is followed by the least favorite song on the album, Lost America, which is a classic rock/hard rock song with catchy hooks.
Progressive rock starts trickling in with “Ze Pawns,” a track with dreamy keyboards and mesmerizing slide guitar. The introspective vocals recall the work by Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.

High Road is one of the finest pieces on the album, symphonic progressive rock at its best; full of memorable and beautiful electric guitar work.

Rio Grande is an instrumental epic with outstanding guitar, drums and keyboard work, including evocative mellotron.

Next To A Hurricane is a happy, sing-along song with pop and jazz harmonies.

On The Alchemist, another instrumental, Roine Stolt incorporates jazz fusion, Zappaesque zaniness and blues, including interplay with saxophonist Rob Townsend.

Baby Angels is a sweet song with unexpected ukulele.

Thirty Wakeup sounds like a tribute to Focus’ signature classically-rooted instrumentals, with Roine’s guitar joined by electric organ and flute.

Roine Stolt has a great ability at making epic progressions. The Spell of Money is an instant-epic that feels familiar right from the dramatic beginning. It combines superb musicianship with politics and social criticism about the dark side of money.

The album includes Roine Stolt on lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass, ukulele and drums; Hans “Hasse” Fröberg on vocals; Nad Sylvan on vocals; Max Lorentz on vocals and Hammond B3; Zach Kamins on organ, Moog synth and Mellotron; Rob Townsend on soprano saxophone and flute; Michael Stolt on bass and vocals; Jonas Reingold on fretted and fretless basses; and Marco Minnemann on drums

The album is available in various formats: limited edition CD digipak, Gatefold 180g 2LP + CD and as digital download.

Buy Manifesto of an Alchemist