Essential French progressive rock band Carpe Diem has a new album titled Circonvolutions (Musea FGBG 4960). The band’s influences include rock, classical music and jazz.
The current lineup includes Christian Truchi on piano, keyboards, lead vocals; Alain Faraut on drums; George Ferrero on bass, vocals, guitar; Gilbert Abbenanti on guitar and e-bow; Gérald Macia on acoustic and electric guitars, violin; and Claude-Marius David on tenor and soprano saxophone, flute, percussion.
Jane Getter Premonition, a rising progressive rock supergroup has announced two UK shows in support of the recent release On (Madfish). The group is led by guitar wizard Jane Getter, who will be joined by keyboardist Adam Holzman (Miles Davis, Steven Wilson), bassist Stuart Hamm (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai); guitarist Randy McStine, and drummer John Mader (Steve Miller, Pat Benatar).
“I’m really excited to be bringing my band to the UK!” said Jane Getter. “We will be playing the exciting and hard hitting music from our newly released album, On, along with a few older hits from Three and See Jane Run. Get ready for some intense jams!”
On was recorded at Avatar Studios in New York and includes an outstanding line up of progressive rock, jazz and rock musicians: keyboardist Adam Holzman, bass player Bryan Beller, jazz-rock drummer Chad Wackerman and special guests including vocalist Corey Glover, jazz-metal guitarist Alex Skolnick and British saxophonist, flautist and clarinetist Theo Travis.
Guitarist and composer Jane Getter has performed with many jazz and rock luminaries while acquiring increasing recognition as a bandleader, gifted writer and instrumentalist. Early in her career she toured with legendary jazz/blues organist Brother Jack McDuff. Her composing talents received attention when she won the ASCAP Gershwin Award for Music for Dance or Theatre in the mid 1990’s.
Her debut album, Jane, in 1998 received worldwide critical acclaim and the 2006 follow up, See Jane Run, was released on Alternity Records (home of Allan Holdsworth). In 2012 she released the progressive jazz-rock album, Three. Getter also received widespread exposure playing in the Saturday Night Live Band.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, better known as ELP, one of the seminal bands of the progressive rock era, have signed their catalog to BMG.
The ELP deal includes rights to at least 17 albums by the supergroup, including the trailblazing debut album Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1970), Tarkus (1971) and probably their best known album Brain Salad Surgery. It brings together rights previously split between North America and Europe, with BMG now holding rights for the World excluding South East Asia.
BMG promises a significant reissue campaign, with BMG gaining access to the prized ELP archive including original master tapes, demos, alternate versions, radio sessions, videos, rare photos / memorabilia and bootlegs, from the influential musicians.
ELP were formed in 1970 by charismatic keyboard player Keith Emerson (formerly of The Nice), vocalist and guitarist Greg Lake (formerly of King Crimson) and drummer/percussionist Carl Palmer (formerly of Atomic Rooster). The group combined jazz and classical music with rock. By 1974 they were as big as Led Zeppelin as a live draw.
Dawn Treader is one of the finest electronic music release of 2015. It’s the latest recording by Chronotope Project, the ambient electronic music project of multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Ericson Allen. What’s great about this album is that Chronotope Project has develop a superb mix of meditative, ambient, and sequencer-based electronics with world music elements, specifically Japanese music and American Indian flute melodies.
Jeffrey Ericson Allen does it all in his home studio. He composes and records his music using a combination of analog and digital synthesizers, cello, Irish whistle, recorder, koto, Tibetan and quartz singing bowls, hand percussion and the Haken Continuum Fingerboard, a controller and synthesizer developed by American engineer Lippold Haken.
Dawn Treader is an exceptionally good ambient album overflowing with mesmerizing acoustic and electronic soundscapes and melodies.
This album came to us as a progressive rock album. However, most of Lucid Dreamer is melodic and alternative rock, closer to Coldplay than progressive rock. On track 3, “Born Again,” Zen Carnival introduces a little bit of flamenco rock and notable keyboard work.
The best piece on the album is an instrumental titled “Medieval Suite” where the musicians get an opportunity to showcase their talent. It’s a progressive rock piece with symphonic and fusion elements. You can hear traces of Gentle Giant in the rhythm changes and Greenslade in the keyboards.
The other significant composition is Lullaby where the band presents the best vocals on the album along with Rick Wakeman-style keys and fabulous steel guitar.
The lineup includes Bill Denison on guitars, pedal steel and vocals; Michael James on keyboards and grand piano; Ken Pfeifer on lead vocals and keyboards; Chris Paglia on electric and upright bass; and Carl Puglisi on drums and percussion. Lucid Dreamer also includes special guest Bridget Murphy Zawilinski on soprano vocals.
Zen Carnival was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1997 and released its first album Inheritance in 1999. The second recording, Bardo, was released in 2006.
Lucid Dreamer is another one of those albums where you can clearly perceive the promising progressive rock edge of a rock band. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of that edge in the future.
This rare collection of musical pieces from December 1963 showcases the music that progressive rock keyboard legend Keith Emerson was making as a teenager. This is not a high quality studio recording. Instead, it’s a historical document of a young Keith Emerson, playing jazz and blues with his trio, recorded in his parents’ living room.
This was prior to the era of the electric organ and synthesizer. You see glimpses of what was to come down the road a few years later. And this album also explains why Keith Emerson always added a ragtime piece to Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s albums.
The 7 instrumental tracks were previously available on vinyl (Record Collection). Now they are available for the first time on CD and download.
“Well, we all have to start somewhere!,” said Keith Emerson about this recording. “I’m happy that Cherry Red is releasing my very earliest beginnings and I hope it will inspire future generations of musicians.”
The lineup includes Keith Emerson on piano, Godfrey Shepard on bass and David Keene on drums.
Keith Emerson first found success with pioneering progressive rock band The Nice in the late 1960’s before going on to become a founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer in 1970. ELP became one of the finest and most influential symphonic progressive rock groups of the era. Emerson is widely regarded as one of the leading keyboard players of the progressive rock era.
Perfect Beings had a great debut album last year. They return in late 2015 with their 2nd album titled II. In this recording, Perfect Beings brings together a mix of influences from various genres beyond rock. II contains short songs except for The Love Inside that clocks nearly 9 minutes.
The album opens with one of the most progressive pieces on the album, Mar del Fuego, which is mostly instrumental, mixing Tales from Topographic Oceans-era Yes influences with flamenco. Guitarist Johannes Luley and bassist Chris Tristam showcase their talent with brilliant interplay.
The next piece is an art-pop ballad titled ‘Cryogenia.’ It segues into ‘Samsara’, a short mesmerizing electronic ambient piece.
Next is the longest track on the album ‘The Love Inside’. The first part begins with piano and ballad-style vocals. As soon as the guitar and full band join in, the song loses its pop flavor and gains creativeness. Undoubtedly, the best work here is provided by Luley’s guitar lines, the synth solo and the formidable rhythm section.
The best track by far is ‘Volcanic Streams” which begins with fabulous vocoder work amidst jazz-rock fusion and Middle Eastern influences. Midway through the track, the tempo shifts into a more laid back mode. The vocals here are much more attractive as Ryan Hurtgen drops the pop vocal mode.
‘The Yard’ is the most pop song on the album. It’s kind of bizarre because while the first part is basically pop-rock, the second part turns into delicious Pat Metheny-style jazz-rock.
Track 8, ‘Go’ delivers more pop at the beginning and then morphs into full blown progressive rock with great chameleonic vocals that sound like John Wetton.
‘Rivermaker’ is essentially another pop-rock ballad. ‘Cause and Effect’ further explores the unusual hybrid strain, begining as a ballad and progresses into extraordinary instrumental progressive rock.
The final song is a dreamy laid back piece called The Thrill Seeker with notable instrumental work.
Perfect Beings’ instrumental sections are truly exciting and it would be great to hear more of this side the band. The most captivating talent here is in the instrumentalists.
The line-up includes Ryan Hurtgen on vocals and piano; Johannes Luley on guitars; Chris Tristam on bass; Jesse Nason on keyboards; and Dicki Flizar on drums.
Keyboardist and composer Juha Kujanpää is back with another fabulous album that crosses over into various musical genres. Kultasiipi – Goldwing presents an outstanding fusion of progressive rock, Finnish folk music, jazz and classical music. On this occasion, the keyboards, guitar, bass and drums are joined by a string ensemble that provides a unique Finnish fiddle flavor to Juha Kujanpää’s music.
Throughout the album, the strings intermingle with the keyboards and guitars, creating circular dances and beautiful melodic interplay. Occasionally, you will hear traces of the great master Pekka Pohjola, but Juha Kujanpää has carved his own niche in Finnish music.
Most of the album is a mix of Finnish folk music with symphonic progressive rock with beautiful acoustic introspective segments and high intensity prog rock. The lineup includes Juha Kujanpää on keyboards; Timo Kämäräinen on guitars, banjo; Tero Tuovinen on bass; Jussi Miettola on drums; Kukka Lehto, Tommi Asplund, Alina Järvelä on violins (I recognize these fiddlers from the great folk band Frigg).
Guests featured on Kultasiipi – Goldwing: Antti Sarpila on clarinet; Henri Haapakoski on flute, sax; Emmi Kujanpää on vocals; and Teija Niku on accordion.
Although released late in 2015, Kultasiipi – Goldwing has quickly risen to the top of best progressive rock albums of 2015.
Synthesist, guitarist and composer celebrates outer space in his album Fuzzy Music. Although Luxton sometimes composes lengthy ambient pieces, Fuzzy Music contains shorter electronic compositions that range from melodic and symphonic to expansive and mesmerizing ambient soundscapes, developing mysterious atmospheres that take the listener into a new sonic world.
Spanish band El tubo elástico (the elastic tube) plays an exciting form of instrumental psychedelic progressive rock that evolves around dual guitars, synths, drums and bass. You’ll find echoes of Ozric Tentacles, Pink Floyd and even Camel. I’ve heard the band also described as post rock, but this quartet stands out because of its creative guitar lines and interactions, using a wide-range of guitars sounds. It’s definitely much more varied than the usual post-rock bands.
The lineup includes Alfonso Romero on bass and synths; Carlos Cabrera on drums and percussion; Daniel González on guitars and synths; and Vizen Rivas on guitars and synths.
The album is available on CD, vinyl and digital formats.