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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Fluid Time

Live at JJ Kelly's

Review by Gary Hill

This live disc is a first release of sorts from this Chicago area band. The CD is not really an official release, but just something that they put out to give people a chance to hear them at home. The audio track was taken from a digital video camera, and the CD was created from that. The sound is a bit low in the mix, but other than that is quite good. The music here is a very even combination of jazz-fusion and traditional progressive rock sounds. Two of the songs are covers, one by Bill Bruford and one from Deep Purple. The musicianship is quite good, and the originals hold their own against the competition. The band is composed of Mike Gende, Jack Wilson, Roger Rossen and Frank Stauffer. The CD is available at their website, http://www.fluid-time.com/.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Going Up
This fast paced, fusionish jam has a killer prog texture, feeling just a little ELPish. It is a strong melodic cut that features a spacey jam in the mid-section.
Found My Way
Wow! The bass to the first segment of this one is some of the fastest you are likely to hear. The cut alternates between this frantic fusion section and a very accessible rocking portion. A break that feels a bit like Yes circa 1969 takes over, then a killer hard rocking jam ensues after a time before the cut drops back.
Horror Scope
This harder edged prog number feels a lot like UK and really smokes.
This Time Around/Ode To G (Deep Purple)
This Deep Purple two-fer, the first of two cover songs on the album, comes across quite reflective and evocative as it begins. It starts a gradual and smooth building process. The texture begins to become a bit more powerful and even a little bluesy as it carries on. The number crescendos, then shifts gear, becoming much more dramatic and just a little like segments of Yes' "Awaken". Then percussion comes in, and the piece becomes a very strong rocker with some great textures. This is quite a dynamic and moving rendition.
Five G (Bill Bruford)
The other cover song on the CD, bass jamming starts the cut, quickly joined by percussion. After a time, the bass turns funky, then the other instruments join in, and we're on our way. This is a jazz scorcher, full of intriguing timing changes and killer riffing. Then a more melodic, triumphant sounding melody takes the piece for a while before the frantic jamming returns. The cut alternates between these modes for the duration.
Time Traveler
This comes in with a hard-edged burst of sound. A bit of crescendoing leads to a false stop, then the cut picks up again as a hard-edged rocker. This one is the most guitar-oriented track on the album, feeling a little punky even, with some solid instrumental interplay over top. It gets a bit spacey at times. After a while it switches gear to a more melodic segment, still with a fairly raw edge.
 
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