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Stick Men
CD Reviews
Absalom
Review by Grant Hill
Stick Men is a unique power trio. Founded by legendary and still cutting edge bassist / Chapman Stick artist, Tony Levin, Stick Men continues to expand the horizons of modern progressive music.

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Deep
Review by Gary Hill
I really like Stick Men. Sometimes their music can be hard to describe, though.

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Open
Review by Gary Hill
Anyone who has heard anything from Stick men will know what to expect here.

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Prog Noir
Review by Gary Hill
This band is really coming into its own.

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Stick Men + - Midori
Review by Gary Hill
This is a double disc set. I believe that it was also released at one point in time as two single disc sets.

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Concert Reviews
Stick Men - Live in Buffalo, New York, October 2011
Review by Grant Hill

The excellent “Two of a Perfect Trio” tour was a well-publicized and equally well received series of concerts featuring the bands of King Crimson legends Tony Levin and Adrian Belew.


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Related Articles
Tony Levin
Review by Bob Cooper
Interview Tony Levin from December 2002

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Tony Levin
Review by Gary Hill
Interview with Tony Levin from 2006



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Tony Levin
Review by Gary Hill
MSJ Chat Transcript Tony Levin from 2003



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Tony Levin
Review by Gary Hill
Interview With Tony Levin from 2002

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Tony Levin
Review by Gary Hill
Interview with Tony Levin From 1998
Audio of this interview is available in our members area.
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King Crimson
Review by Gary Hill
Interview with Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson from 2009
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blld
Review by Gary Hill
Interview with blld from 2010
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Tony Levin
Review by Grant Hill
Interview with Tony Levin from 2011
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Pat Mastelotto
Review by Grant Hill
Interview with Pat Mastelotto from 2012
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Markus Reuter
Review by G. W. Hill

Interview with Markus Reuter from 2012


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Markus Reuter
Review by G. W. Hill
Interview with Markus Reuter from 2016

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Tony Levin
Review by G. W. Hill
Interview with Tony Levin from 2016

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Pat Mastelotto
Review by Gary Hill

Interview with Pat Mastelotto from 2017


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Tony Levin
Review by Gary Hill

Interview with Tony Levin from 2017


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Tim Motzer - and Markus Reuter – Descending
Review by Gary Hill

Moody and ambient music creates the format for these sedate soundscapes. There aren’t huge variants here, and everything moves very slowly, but it never feels redundant or samey either.


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Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe - Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe
Review by Gary Hill
In the late 1980’s Jon Anderson broke away from the Trevor Rabin dominated version of Yes to reunite with his former band mates, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman and Steve Howe to produce Yes type music.
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Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe - Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe Brother of Mine / Vultures in the City CD single
Review by G. W. Hill

This single from Anderson, Bruford Wakeman and Howe is out of print, of course, but these days, it’s not that hard (or sometimes expensive) to get your hands on something like this.


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Various Artists - Back Against the Wall
Review by Gary Hill
There are few people who haven't at least heard of Pink Floyd's The Wall. I would hazard to say that those who have never heard the album are in the minority as well.
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Peter Gabriel - Back to Front: Live in London BluRay
Review by G. W. Hill

Fans of the So album will especially want to pick this up.


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King Crimson - Beat
Review by Gary Hill
Of the trio of studio albums originally released by this version of King Crimson, this was the middle child. It was also a little less adventurous than either of the other two.
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Danny Brill - Better Late Than Never
Review by Gary Hill

Old school prog fans should find plenty to like here. That said, modern progressive rock aficionados will probably like it, too. .


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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities - BLUE Nights
Review by Gary Hill
This recording chronicles the live performances of Bruford Levin Upper Extremities from 1998. The disc showcases the band's unique blend of jazzy modes with Crimsonesque textures and, occassionally, just plain weirdness.
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Centrozoon - Boner
Review by G. W. Hill

It would be easy to just classify this disc as strange atmospheric music.


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Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe - Brother of Mine / Vultures in the City (vinyl single)
Review by G. W. Hill

This single from Anderson, Bruford Wakeman and Howe is out of print, of course, but these days, it’s not that hard (or sometimes expensive) to get your hands on something like this.


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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities - Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
Review by Gary Hill
The musicians on this disc are Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson), Tony Levin (King Crimson; Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe; Bozzio, Levin, Stevens; Liquid Tension Experiment), David Torn (Mark Isham, Bill Bruford), and Chris Botti(Paul Simon, Blue Nile).
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Moonbound - Confession And Release
Review by Gary Hill
This might not be the most obvious choice for the progressive rock section. Surely Moonbound’s music is quite pop oriented.
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Sylvian/Fripp - Damage
Review by Jason Hillenburg

Robert Fripp's collaborations in the late 1980s and early 1990s with David Sylvian, in retrospect, clearly laid the groundwork for King Crimson's album Thrak.


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King Crimson - Discipline
Review by Steve Alspach
These were interesting times for Robert Fripp, ye olde scholastic of the progressive rock scene. In 1978 he had released Exposure, an album that he described as "A Day in the Life" for that period.
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Agents of Mercy - Dramarama
Review by Gary Hill

I’ve been amazed by the quality of music being released in 2010. 


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California Guitar Trio - Echoes
Review by Gary Hill
California Guitar Trio are certainly well known for creating unique progressive rock instrumental pieces.
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Specimen13 - Echosystem EP
Review by G. W. Hill

This is an EP that’s tied to a graphic novel.


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Steve Thorne - Emotional Creatures - Part One
Review by Gary Hill
What a pleasant surprise this album is! I had never really heard of Steve Thorne before, but you can bet after this one I'll be keeping track on him.

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Various Artists - Encores, Legends and Paradoxes
Review by Gary Hill
With a cast of players that reads like a prog "who`s who", this ELP tribute takes the classics and makes them fresh and new again. The result is an incredibly listenable piece of music that really entertains.

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Tony Levin - From the Caves of the Iron Mountain
Review by Gary Hill
This album is an incredibly unique work, beautiful and very difficult to categorize. The musicians on the album are Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta and Steve Gorn.
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Levin Minnemann Rudess - From the Law Offices of Levin Minnemann Rudess
Review by G. W. Hill
This new album from Levin, Minnemann and Rudess is a masterpiece
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Alice Cooper - Goes to Hell
Review by Gary Hill
This was the second Alice Cooper album as a solo performer (rather than the front man of Alice Cooper the band).

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Peter Primamore - Grancia
Review by Gary Hill
This is an intriguing CD. It does a nice job of straddling the fence between jazz and progressive rock.
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King Crimson - Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With
Review by Bill Knispel
Happy With What you Have to be Happy With was the second consecutive EP release from King Crimson, and presented a look at additional material that would, along with the instrumentals presented on the Level Five EP, form the majority of the band’s (at the time) forthcoming studio album The Power To Believe.
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Herd of Instinct - Herd of Instinct
Review by Gary Hill

This mostly instrumental album is released on Djam Karet’s new label. In fact, Gayle Ellett from Djam Karet guests on the disc, along with quite a few more notable names.


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King Crimson - Heroes EP
Review by Gary Hill
This new EP from King Crimson is intriguing. It's bookended by their take on a David Bowie classic (the full version and a single edit). 

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King Crimson - In the Court of King Crimson written by Sid Smith
Review by Steve Alspach
Few bands in progressive rock have a more colorful past than King Crimson. As Sid Smith says in the preface, the history of King Crimson is the "triumph of spirit over adversity. And sometimes the triumph of adversity."
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Julie Slick - Julie Slick
Review by Gary Hill
Julie Slick is a bass player who came to the attention of many through her work in the Adrian Belew Power Trio.

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Markus Reuter - Kopfmensch
Review by G. W. Hill
Markus Reuter is involved in a lot of projects, these days.
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Levin Minnemann Rudess - Levin Minnemann Rudess
Review by G. W. Hill

In the early parts of 2013 I was kind of under-impressed with the music coming out.


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Tony Levin, David Torn, Alan White - Levin, Torn, White
Review by Gary Hill

There is certainly something to be said for truth in advertising. Looking at the group name and the album title, really sets the stage for the music within.


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Wingfield - Reuter - Sirkis - Lighthouse
Review by Gary Hill

If you like instrumental music that's experimental and challenging, you should give this a try. There a real freeform vibe to a lot of it.


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Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment
Review by Gary Hill
Due to be released on March 10th, this album by Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe), Jordan Rudess (Dregs, Rudess Morgenstein) and Mike Portnoy and John Petrucci (both of Dream Theater), much like the Black Light Syndrome CD by Bozzio, Levin, Stevens was written and recorded over the course of six days (with the exception of some keyboard and guitar overdubs). This album is in fact rather similar to Black Light Syndrome, but with the musical changes being a bit more dynamic and possessing a generally higher energy level.
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Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment 2
Review by Gary Hill
If you are into prog, and buy only one album this year, by all means, make it this one. The first Liquid Tension Experiment album was wonderful, and this one is even better.
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Travis and Fripp - Live at Coventry Cathedral
Review by Gary Hill

This is a live album featuring Theo Travis and Robert Fripp.


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Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe - Live at the NEC October 24th, 1989
Review by G. W. Hill

I saw Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe on this tour and it was purely magical.


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Paul Simon - Live From Philadelphia DVD
Review by Gary Hill
Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat. If you are a Paul Simon fan and own the Live at the Tower Theater DVD you have this.
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TU - Live From Russia
Review by Grant Hill

Russia bears mystery and curious allure to many advanced musicians from the West.


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Peter Gabriel - Live in Athens 1987 DVD
Review by G. W. Hill
So, I’m going to go about this backwards. Normally I talk about the main course of a DVD release first and then look at the bonus stuff.
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King Crimson - Live in Birmingham, England in September 2015
Review by John Pierpoint

I had never seen the mighty King Crimson play live before - not surprising, as I was only ten years old when the band last played my home town in 1974!


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King Crimson - Live in Chicago
Review by Gary Hill

King Crimson has one of the most interesting and complicated histories in all of progressive rock. The lineup is one of the most dynamic, too.


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Tony Levin - Live In Chicago, 2002
Review by Gary Hill
Have you ever seen the Tony Levin band live? If not, what are you waiting for?
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Bruford Levin Upper Extremities - Live in Chicago, December 9, 1998
Review by Gary Hill
This was the last show of the latest leg of BLUE`s tour. If this band makes it back on to the road again, do whatever it takes to see them.
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Tony Levin - Live in Chicago-June 23rd, 2000
Review by Gary Hill
Tony Levin and company did two shows for Chicago on June 23rd. The set consisted mostly of material from his new release Waters of Eden.
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Liquid Tension Experiment - Live in Downey, CA, June 2008
Review by Michael Bader

Downey, California is best remembered for the spacecrafts, fighter jets and B-1 bombers built there over the past three or four decades.


More (and larger) photos from this concert are available in our members' area.



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Tony Levin - Live in Madison, WI, March 23, 2003
Review by Gary Hill
This band never fails to deliver a smoking show! They came into Madison on a mini-tour for their Double Espresso live album.
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King Crimson - Live in Vienna
Review by Gary Hill

It seems that there is quite a bit of live material being released from this version of King Crimson. That's a great thing because this line-up might be the best ever.


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Various Artists - Magna Carta Guitar Greats – Volume I
Review by Gary Hill
These Magna Carta sampler discs serve as a great way for people to sample a number of their releases without having to shell out the cash for each and every one of them. I'd have to say that as these things go, this is one of the better ones – and they are all quite good.
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blld - Materia Prima
Review by Gary Hill

This is a short (roughly 20 minutes) EP that should definitely appeal to fans of modern King Crimson.


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King Crimson - Meltdown - Live in Mexico
Review by Gary Hill

This is truly an amazing set. Looking at just the product itself, without even considering the performances will tell you that.


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Tuner - Muut: Live in Estonia 2007
Review by Gary Hill
This live recording of Trey Gunn’s grouping Tuner is quite intriguing.
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King Crimson - Neal and Jack and Me DVD
Review by Bill Knispel
King Crimson’s ‘return to the throne’ in the 1980’s must have been viewed with a degree of skepticism. The band made a name for themselves in the 1970’s with their dark blend of symphonic grandeur and intense heaviness, mixed with an improvisational spirit that would drive them to push every song and performance into parts unknown.
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Steve Thorne - Part Two: Emotional Creatures
Review by Gary Hill
Steve Thorne's first Emotional Creatures CD was a masterpiece of melodic progressive rock. Well, this one is, too.
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Tony Levin - Pieces of The Sun
Review by Gary Hill
Tony Levin consistently puts out musically strong, artistically driven albums, and this one is no exception. Pieces of The Sun does differ in some ways from his previous releases, though.
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Various Artists - Poetry of the Air: A Collection of Love Letters to Music from Musicians written by Gary Hill
Review by Greg Olma
I have known Gary Hill for a while now and the one thing that I can say with complete certainty about him is that he takes his music seriously. 


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Tuner - Pole
Review by Gary Hill
Wow, as strange as this CD is, I love it! A collaboration between Markus Reuter and King Crimson’s Pat Mastellotto, this thing conveys a dark sort of progressive rock that is very much focused on textures.
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Mike Portnoy - Prime Cuts
Review by Gary Hill
Mike Portnoy now has his own entry in the Magna Carta Prime Cuts collection. This disc, as the rest of the series, features selected tracks from albums that the artist has contributed to, presented here as sort of a slice of some of the best of the work from him.
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Jordan Rudess - Prime Cuts
Review by Josh Turner
Jordan Rudess is "technically" the best keyboardist in the business. When you limit this contest to progressive rock, it's a no-brainer.
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KTU - Quiver
Review by Gary Hill
KTU is Trey Gunn, Kimmo Pohjonen and Pat Mastelotto.
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O.R.k. - Ramagehead
Review by Gary Hill

This is a unique and quite intriguing album. It's likely to make my best of 2019 list.


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Yes - Re (Union)
Review by Gary Hill
When Yes released Union it was a hodgepodge sort of album.
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Pat Mastelotto - Recidivate
Review by Grant Hill

This double CD compilation is an interesting and unique collage of multiple percussive styles given to a wide palette of genres and colors therein.


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Jonathan Elias - Requiem For the Americas
Review by Gary Hill
I’ve wanted to review this CD for a while. The problem is, it’s been out of print.
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Tony Levin - Resonator
Review by Gary Hill
In terms of releasing consistently strong material, Tony Levin is one of the best musicians out there.

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Simon Apple - River to the Sea
Review by Gary Hill

So many people these days give lip service to this charity or that, but you really have to admire the people who put their money (literally) where their mouth is. Such is the case with Simon Apple as they are donating a portion of the sale of each CD to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.


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Vapourspace - Sonic Residue from Vapourspace
Review by Steve Alspach
Here's an interesting concept - take songs from various releases from a progressive rock record label and let the music be transformed by a techno mix until it's nearly unrecognizable from the original source.
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Willie Oteri - Spiral Out
Review by Bruce Stringer
Produced, recorded and mixed by Ronan Chris Murphy, "Spiral Out" is an extension of the improvisational outings that made acts like John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra and Tony Williams Lifetime, King Crimson and even Frank Zappa the uniquely memorable experience that made musical history.
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Tony Levin - Tales From The Widow Jane Mine VHS
Review by Gary Hill
When Levin chose to record an album in the unusual venue of an old cave, it seemed a very strange choice. This video chronicling the process of creating that music goes a long way to making it look pretty obvious.
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King Crimson - The Collectable King Crimson, Vol. 3: Live in London, Pts. 1-2 1996
Review by G. W. Hill
I’ve never had the chance to see King Crimson live. I really regret that.
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The Levin Brothers - The Levin Brothers
Review by G. W. Hill

Is this album progressive rock? No.


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Xavi Reija - The Sound of the Earth
Review by Gary Hill

While this is released under Xavi Reija's name, the full lineup here is full of exceptional musicians. Reija handles the drums while Tony Levin delivers bass, standup bass and Stick.


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Wingfield - Reuter - Stavi - Sirkis - The Stone House
Review by G. W. Hill
If you like freaky guitar based instrumental prog, you are sure to dig this. It has fusion and a lot more built into it.

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King Crimson - Thrak
Review by G. W. Hill

When King Crimson reformed after the 80s period, there were definitely elements of that period still present in their sound. 


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King Crimson - Three Of A Perfect Pair
Review by Gary Hill
When King Crimson reformed in the 1980’s to create the Discipline album the sound they presented was quite different from the classic Crimson of the 1970’s. While I liked all of the discs from this Belew, Bruford, Fripp and Levin lineup, I still preferred the “old school” stuff.
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Markus Reuter - Todmorden 513 (Concerto for Orchestra by Markus Reuter)
Review by G. W. Hill

This is classical music, but not in the traditional sense. It’s more like the freeform classical that emerged in the early part of the 20th Century. Yet, it’s also ambient and space music. Is it rock? No, definitely not. It is, however, progressive music.


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Steve Hunter - Tone Poems Live
Review by G. W. Hill

This live album is pretty great. .


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Tony Levin - Tony Levin Band - Double Espresso
Review by Gary Hill
Tony Levin and his band tour fairly frequently, bringing their unique show to enthusiastic fans on a regular basis. It wasn't until recently, though, that those fans could have a musical documentation of that group at home.
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Tuner - Totem
Review by Gary Hill
This is the first disc that was released by Tuner – a collaboration of Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) and Markus Reuter (Centrozoon). 
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Yes - Union
Review by Gary Hill
The great experiment - at the time of this album's recording there were essentially two versions of Yes out and making music. The first was the Trevor Rabin "Yes West" lineup (consisting of Rabin, Chris Squire, Alan White and Tony Kaye - Jon Anderson had left the group, but been working his way back into the fold) and Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe (the splinter group of one of the most classic lineups).
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Peter Gabriel - Up
Review by Steve Alspach
Peter Gabriel has always been one to have a keen lookout on where music is, or where it's going.
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Vantomme - Vegir
Review by Gary Hill

Vantomme is named for its founder Dominique Vantomme. He is a keyboardist, producer and more.


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Vantomme - Vegir
Review by Gary Hill

Vantomme is named for its founder Dominique Vantomme. He is a keyboardist, producer and more.


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Jerry Goodman - Violin Fantasy
Review by G. W. Hill

This album is fully instrumental. It’s a great disc, too. Some of the music here has appeared elsewhere (although most of the time in different arrangements)


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King Crimson - VROOOM
Review by Bill Knispel
10 years following the dissolution of King Crimson following a trilogy of world and gamelan influenced albums, the band quietly rejoined forces in a small studio in Woodstock New York to create a new band and a new sound. Expanding beyond the quartet that created those 1980’s albums, the core group (Robert Fripp. Adrian Belew, Tony Levin and Bill Bruford) was joined by new members Pat Mastelotto (drums, formerly of Mister Mister) and Trey Gunn (Stick) to create what founding member Robert Fripp called a “double trio.”
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Steve Hackett - Watcher of the Skies
Review by Gary Hill
Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett has assembled a wide variety of musicians to rework many classic Genesis songs. The end result is quite interesting.
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Tony Levin - Waters of Eden
Review by Vivian Lee
Since the age of ten, bassist/stick-player Tony Levin has been a chameloid powerhouse in the world of music, having played with artists like Seal, Peter Paul and Mary, and Andy Summers; or with supergroups like King Crimson, Bruford Levin Upper Extremities and Liquid Tension Experiment.
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Alice Cooper - Welcome to My Nightmare
Review by Gary Hill
To many this classic album represents Alice Cooper at his theatric best. It is a loosely knit concept album that at times is a bit weak, at times a bit over the top, but in many ways a spooky masterpiece.
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Tom Griesgraber - Whisper in the Thunder
Review by Gary Hill
Featuring guest appearances by Jerry Marotta, Pat Mastelotto and the California Guitar Trio, and with the fact that Griesgraber's instrument is the Chapman Stick, one might expect this disc to sound like Tony Levin's solo material.
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California Guitar Trio - Whitewater
Review by Gary Hill
The first thing that I feel compelled to say is that I love the cover of this disc. It is arguably the best album cover of the entire year.

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California Guitar Trio - with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto-Live At The Key Club
Review by Steve Alspach
On February 3, 2001, the California Guitar Trio played in Hollywood's Key Club. Fortunately, they also had the stellar rhythm section of Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto to accompany them.
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Tony Levin - World Diary
Review by Gary Hill
Featuring a large number of diverse musicians, this album is a considerably varied work. Released in 1995, jazz, art rock, and world textures dominate in this unique and intriguing CD, Tony Levin`s first solo album and the first release on his Papa Bear label.
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Dewa Budjana - Zentuary
Review by G. W. Hill
This album has some vocals, but they are world type things, more as instruments. 

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