Tag Archives: Progressive rock

Multifaceted Progressive Creations by Ed Bernard

Ed Bernard – Polydactyl (Ed Bernard, 2015)

Canadian multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer Ed Bernard has released one of the finest progressive rock albums we’ve heard in recent months. Although Bernard has some guests, he plays the majority of the instruments and also appears as lead singer throughout most of the album.

You can tell that Ed Bernard has absorbed the best of what progressive rock has to offer. You can hear influences here and there, but there is also a distinct sound developed by Bernard, with a vibe that celebrates both British and North American progressive rock.

Throughout Polydactyl Bernard delivers spectacular guitar solos, majestic mellotron and synthesizer work, violin melodies and mandolin. Bernard demonstrates that you can create high energy music, full of drama while at the same time staying in solid progressive rock territory.

The album opens with “Symfoprogru,” a knockout instrumental where Bernard layers numerous instruments, serving fabulous melodies. He performs practically everything except drums.

On track 2, “Derealization”, Bernard brings in the vocals. It’s a beautiful song that starts with acoustic guitars, synths and outstanding vocal work, including lead and overdubbed backing vocals. While most progressive rock vocalists try to emulate Jon Anderson or Peter Gabriel, Ed Bernard sounds totally different, like a cross between Steve Walsh and Jeff Berlin. Bernard also has a great ability at creating epic atmospheres. Derealization reaches a climactic point with a fiery guitar solo.

“Entitled” is still high level symphonic progressive rock, but it also has folk-rock influences with a mix of acoustic and electric instruments and harmony vocals that recall Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Track 4, “Eyes Everywhere” commences with mandolin and an irresistible groove. Bernard demonstrates his prodigious skills as an arranger, mixing flawless transitions between jazz-rock fusion, delicious symphonic mellotron goodness and epic emotions. The final part is a dazzling electric solo where Bernard combines captivating rock shredding with jazz-rock techniques.

“Running” begins with beautiful pastoral acoustic guitars, mellotron and harmony vocals. Bernard builds it into a vibrant electric piece with stunning guitar, synthesizer and drum interactions. Bernard uses different guitar techniques throughout the album, including overdubs. On “Running” he also adds the grand cathedral-style organ that builds up in magnificent fashion.

Track 6, “Withywindle” is an instrumental that initially showcases the acoustic and classical side of Bernard. He starts with an impressive mandolin set, followed by acoustic guitar and fiddle that transitions into a symphonic section with organ and orchestral synths.

The symphonic tone continues with the eerie orchestral intro to “1000 Hates” that leads into a vocal section with more memorable lead and harmony vocal work. Bernard injects succulent instrumental sections throughout this composition. The final section of this track develops into a stirring guitar conclusion.

The vocals on Track 8, “The Quiet Race” are quite different. That’s because Phil Naro, the lead vocalist for Bernard’s band Druckfarben, and Cameron Hawkins provide the vocals. The vocals, along with the mellotron arrangements are a tribute to Yes at its best. Bernard ends the piece with a dizzying guitar solo.

The last track, “Bring it Home” is essentially a folk-rock piece with acoustic guitars and vocals. It feels like Jim Croce meets Anthony Phillips. Bernard later adds violin and vocal overdubs.

As mentioned earlier, Bernard sings and plays practically all instruments on the album: guitars, violins, violas, mandolins, bass, percussion, keyboards and programming. Guests include Cameron Hawkins on vocals; Phil Naro on vocals; Greg Wyard on bass; Joel Lightman on piano; William Hare on drums; Paul DeLong on drums; and Zed Murmer on drums.

Considering the work that Ed Bernard put into this recording: composing, playing, orchestrating, recording and mixing, he has clearly demonstrated that he is one of the giants of progressive rock in the current scene and Polydactyl is one of his masterworks.

Buy Polydactyl in North America

Buy Polydactyl in Europe

Russian Progressive Duo Iamthemorning to Release New Album “Lighthouse”

iamthemorning
iamthemorning

Lighthouse (Kscope) is the title of the new album from Russian progressive duo iamthemorning, scheduled for release on April 1. Lighthouse is the follow up to the band’s 2014 album Belighted. The iamthemorning includes Marjana Semkina on vocals and Gleb Kolyadin on grand piano and keyboards.

Lighthouse includes guest musicians Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree, King Crimson) on drums, Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) on bass and additional vocals on the album’s title track by Mariusz Duda (Lunatic Soul, Riverside).

Lighthouse features classical music, Canterbury-style progressive rock, northern folk, jazz and electronic influences. Featuring a story of the progression of mental illness, the album takes the listener through the stages with the story’s central character, her attempts to fight it, and temporal remission leading to a final breakdown. Lyrically, the works and lives of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath inspire the album.

iamthemorning - Lighthouse
iamthemorning – Lighthouse

The album artwork for Lighthouse was created by watercolor artist Constantine Nagishkin who the band has previously collaborated with before.

Lighthouse will be released on CD, LP (with MP3 download code) and digitally.

Ovrfwrd’s Fantasies

Ovrfwrd – Fantasy Absent Reason (Prog Records, 2015)

On “Fantasy Absent Reason”, American band Ovrfwrd delivers a set of instrumental performances that fuse blues-rock jams, hard rock, and progressive rock.
The album opens with the lengthy titled track “Fantasy Absent Reason”. This piece features hard rock riffs, blues-rock, and some down tempo moments where the keyboards take the band closer to progressive rock.

Track 2, “Brother Jack McDuff” is essentially a blues-rock jam where the electric organ has the leading role.

“Dust Nova”, track 3, begins with a mesmerizing section of keyboards and guitar, some of the best material on the album. The piece evolves into powerful blues-rock.

Track 4, “Utopia Planitia”, features notable keyboard, flute and solo guitar work. It’s the most progressive piece on the album.

The final track is the delightful “Creature Comforts” where the band uses electric piano and guitar supported by the rhythm section.

The lineup includes Kyle Lund on bass; Rikki Davenport on drums and percussion; Chris Malmgren on keyboards; and Mark Ilaug on guitars.

Buy the Fantasy Absent Reason digital version

Buy the Fantasy Absent Reason CD.

Groundbreaking Progressive Music Band Magma Announces 2016 North American Tour

Magma
Magma

Magma, one of the seminal progressive rock bands of the 1970s has announced its 2016 North American Tour. Magma is known for its sensational mix of rock, jazz, odd time signatures, theatrical choir arrangements, heavy and distorted pulsing electric bass, epic pieces, downtempo grooves and much more. The legendary influential group led by drummer Christian Vander will be performing new and classic Magma material.

The current lineup includes Christian Vander on drums, vocals; Stella Vander on vocals and percussion; Isabelle Feuillebois on vocals and percussion; Hervé Aknin on vocals; Jérôme Martineau on Fender Rhodes; Benoit Alziary on vibraphone; Jim Grandcamp on guitar; and Philippe Bussonnet on bass.

Magma’s most recent releases include Slag Tanz, Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré, Félicité Thösz, and the 12-CD live collection Kohnzert Zund.

March 15 – San Diego, CA at Brick By Brick – www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1050007
March 16 – Los Angeles, CA at The Regent – www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1051495
March 18 – San Francisco, CA at Great American Music Hall – www.eventbrite.com/e/magma-gamh-whelen-money-tickets-20525684876
March 19 – Portland, OR at Wonder Ballroom – http://bit.ly/MAGMAwon2016
March 20 – Seattle, WA at Crocodile – www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1049861
March 22 – Denver, CO at Gothic Theater – www.gothictheatre.com/events/detail/306226
March 23 – Cleveland, OH at Beachland Ballroom – http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=6435075&pl=beachland&dispatch=loadSelectionData
March 25 – Chicago, IL at Reggies – www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1050071
March 26 – Chicago, IL at Reggies – www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1050083
March 27 – Austin, TX at Mohawk – https://mohawk.queueapp.com/events/17011
March 29 – Atlanta, GA – TBA
March 30 – Philadelphia, PA at Underground Arts – www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=6470355&pl=uarts
April 1 – New York City at Le Poisson Rouge – http://lpr.com/lpr_events/magma-45th-anniversary-tour-april-1st-2016/
April 2 – Toronto, ON at Opera House – www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1057787

MagmaTour_2016

Deluxe Edition of Anthony Phillips’ Wise After The Event

Anthony Phillips - Wise After The Event
Anthony Phillips – Wise After The Event

A new 4CD edition of Anthony Phillips’ 1978 progressive rock classic “Wise After The Event” is now available on Esoteric Recordings /Cherry Red Records. Anthony Phillips was one of the founders of Genesis.

“Wise After The Event” was Phillips’ second solo album, produced by Rupert Hine. The album features a wonderful mix of instrumental music and songs. Anthony Phillips was supported by well-known progressive rock musicians: Mike Giles and Mel Collins (King Crimson) and John G. Perry (Caravan, Quantum Jump).

This deluxe edition includes a new stereo mix of the album, a newly re-mastered version of the original album stereo mix and a CD of demos, out-takes and extras.

The collection also contains a DVD (NTSC Region Free) of a new 5.1 Surround Sound Mix of the record and a lavishly illustrated booklet with a new essay by Jon Dann featuring interviews with Anthony Phillips and Rupert Hine (the album’s producer).

Buy Wise After The Event

Interview with Virtuoso Guitarist Jane Getter

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.

 

Jane Getter
Jane Getter

 

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.

 

 

Jane Getter - Jane
Jane Getter – Jane

 

Jane Getter - See Jane Run
Jane Getter – See Jane Run

 

Jane Getter - Three
Jane Getter – Three

 

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.

 

Jane Getter Premonition - On
Jane Getter Premonition – On

 

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.

 

Jane Getter Premonition
Jane Getter Premonition

 

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.

Progressive Circus 2016 Festival Lineup Announced

Progressive_Circus_2016

The complete lineup for the 2016 progressive rock festival Progressive Circus in 2016 is now available. The Swedish event will feature iconic British band IQ along with one of the finest Scandinavian bands, Anekdoten. The rest of the program includes Atlas, Me and my kites and Soniq Circus. The festival takes place April 9, starting at 15:00 at the Slagthuset in Malmö.

IQ will be celebrating 35 years as a band with their first headliner visit to Scandinavia. The group will present material from its critically acclaimed 2014 album “Road of Bones“.

Swedish band Anekdoten returns with “Until all the ghosts are gone,” considered one of the finest releases of 2015.

Atlas was one of the finest Swedish progressive rock bands in the late 1970s and their last gig was before IQ’s first, and they are coming 37 years later.

Me and my kites are heavily influenced by the late 60s psychedelic progressive folk

Soniq Circus’ influences include 1970s progressive rock and heavy metal.

More details at www.progressivecircus.com

Progressive Rock Profiles: Renaissance

Renaissance
Renaissance

English progressive rock band Renaissance rose was founded by vocalist Annie Haslam and principal songwriter and guitarist Michael Dunford joining at the beginning of the 1970s to define their work with folk rock and classical fusions.

The band combined folk rock with symphonic elements, creating a unique progressive rock style influenced by Bach, Chopin, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff. The band released a series of masterful albums that are considered classics from the 1970s era: Prologue, Ashes Are Burning, Turn of the Cards, Novella, Scheherazade and Other Stories, and A Song for All Seasons. The band had their first Top Ten UK hit with “Northern Lights” in 1978.

 

Renaissance - Ashes Are Burning
Renaissance – Ashes Are Burning

 

Renaissance - Turn of the Cards
Renaissance – Turn of the Cards

 

Renaissance - Novella
Renaissance – Novella

 

Renaissance - Scheherazade and Other Stories
Renaissance – Scheherazade and Other Stories

 

Renaissance - A Song for All Seasons
Renaissance – A Song for All Seasons

 

After extensively touring and popularity in the UK, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, France, Belgium, Portugal and Israel, the most influential progressive rock stations in the US picked up on the band’s unique musical sound and introduced them to fans in the United States of America.

The band has played on the world’s most distinguished stages, from Carnegie Hall in New York City with The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, to the Royal Albert Hall in London with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Over the band’s lengthy career they have recorded fifteen albums. Despite explorations into solo careers and changes in the line-up Haslam and Dunford remain the creative core of Renaissance.

In 2009 Renaissance embarked on a special 40th Anniversary Fall Concert Tour in 2009 to re-introduce to new generations the lush, orchestral favorites that made them a staple of 1970’s progressive rock radio. Joining Haslam and Dunford in Renaissance were keyboardist Rave Tesar and bassist/vocalist David J. Keyes, both of whom were previous members of Renaissance and the Annie Haslam Band.

Renaissance released Grandine il Vento in 2013, reissued in 2014 as Symphony of Light with bonus tracks. The album became a tribute to Michael Dunford who passed away in 2012.

With a new lineup, Renaissance performed many of its classic at The Union Chapel in London UK on April 16, 2015. The concert was filmed by Paul Green Productions, with lighting by Russell ‘Tigger’ Matthews. The concert was released in 2016 on a DVD titled Renaissance, “Live at The Union Chapel. The lineup in 2016 included Annie Haslam on lead vocals, Rave Tesar on keyboards, Tom Brislin on keyboards, Mark Lambert on acoustic guitars, Leo Traversa on bass, and Frank Pagano on drums.

Discography

* Prologue (Sovereign/EMI (UK); Sovereign/Capitol (USA), 1972)
* Ashes Are Burning (Sovereign/EMI (UK); Sovereign/Capitol (USA), 1973)
* Turn Of The Cards (BTM (UK); Sire (USA), 1974)
* Scheherazade And Other Stories (BTM (UK); Sire (USA), 1975)
* Live At Carnegie Hall (BTM (UK); Sire (USA), 1976)
* Novella (Warner Bros. (UK); Sire (USA), 1977)
* A Song For All Seasons (Warner Bros. (UK); Sire (USA), 1978)
* In The Beginning (EMI (UK); Capitol (USA), 1978)
* Azure D’Or (Warner Bros. (UK); Sire (USA), 1979)
* Camera Camera (Illegal (UK); IRS (USA), 1981)
* Time-Line (IRS (UK); IRS (USA), 1983)
* Tales Of 1001 Nights – Parts 1 & 2 (Warner Bros (UK); Sire (USA), 1990) Da Capo Repertoire (Germany), 1995)
* ‘Live’ At The Royal Albert Hall – Parts 1 & 2 (King Biscuit/BMG (USA), 1997)
* Songs From Renaissance Days (HTD (UK); King Biscuit/BMG (USA), 1997)
* BBC Sessions (Wounded Bird (USA), 1999)
* Day Of The Dreamer (Mooncrest (UK), 2000)
* Unplugged ‘Live’ At The Academy Of Music (Mooncrest (UK), 2000)
* Tuscany (Toshiba EMI (Japan); GEP (UK & Europe); Friday Music (USA), (2000)
* In the Land of the Rising Sun ‘Live’ in Tokyo (Toshiba EMI (Japan); GEP (UK & Europe) Friday Music (USA), 2002)
* http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001F9WIAU?ie=UTF8&tag=musidelmund-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B001F9WIAU | Dreams And Omens ‘Live’ at the Tower Theatre (Friday Music (USA), 2009)
* Scheherazade And Other Stories • plus DVD (Friday Music (USA), 2010)
* The Mystic and The Muse • EP (Hybrid Recordings (USA), 2010)
* Special Limited Edition Live CD/DVD (2011)
* Grandine il Vento (Symphonic Rock Recordings, 2013)
* Symphony of Light (Red River Entertaint, 2014), reissue of Grandine il Vento with new tracks
* Academy of Music 1974 (Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records, 2015)
* DeLane Lea Studios 1973 (Purple Pyramid Records, 2015)

Web site

renaissancetouring.com

Steven Wilson’s Impeccable Music Sensibility

Steven Wilson - 4 ½
Steven Wilson – 4 ½
Steven Wilson – 4 ½ (Kscope, 2016)

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.

Buy 4 ½ in North America

Buy 4 ½ in Europe