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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Calvin Keys

Electric Keys

Review by Gary Hill

I’m going to land this one under progressive rock, but I could see people having a problem with that. I’d say that putting it under “jazz” would be appropriate, too, but for my money there is enough rock here to get it into the jazzy prog heading. However you call it, though, this is a great entertaining set of instrumental music with quite a bit of range. Calvin Keys plays guitar and as one might expect the guitar shines here, but there are plenty of moments where other instruments take the limelight, too. All in all, this is an excellent album with a lot of groove to it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
You Know the Game

Imagine combining funk with jam band music and a lot of jazz. You’ll be pretty close to this fun number. It’s accessible and energetic. There’s almost a bit of old school rock and roll and surf music in the mix.

Love and Innocence
I absolutely love this jam. It works through a number of shifts and changes, but overall lands in between fusion and pure jazz most of the time. There is some incredible guitar soloing here. I’d say that this piece all by itself is worth the price of admission.
Backyard
This jazz cut just plain oozes cool. I love some of the guitar soloing here, too. There is some great flute work, as well. 
Electric Keys
Now, the title track really goes a long way towards making the argument for putting this under progressive rock more than under jazz. There is still some jazz here, but overall this is a real rock tune. There are some killer riff driven sounds and the drums really get a chance to show off on the piece.
Rhubarb Jam
The bass starts this one off in style. As the arrangement fills out it calls to mind a lot of the jazz rock of the late 1960s and early 1970s. There is some decidedly funky guitar soloing on this piece.
Senior Moment
This little tune is quite a cool one. It’s got some great jazzy prog jamming. It’s another that goes a long way toward making the prog argument. There are some nice twists and turns and some cool melodies that dance across. At times I’m reminded of some of the Latin sounds of early War, but with more of a jazz element at play. The jam mid-track reminds me quite a bit of some of the horn laced sections of early Hawkwind.
Telegraph Blues
Admittedly this one could be used as evidence that this set doesn’t fit under progressive rock. It’s a pretty pure blues song. That said, though, the jazz and jam band elements are still quite well at play. Whatever you call it, though, this is an awesome and fiery tune.
Shawn-Neeq
More of a mellow dreamy cut, this still gets pretty intense at times. It’s clearly somewhere in the land of prog meets fusion.
The Hernia
As the guitar solos on the introduction here I’m reminded of Jimi Hendrix’ version of “Red House.” This definitely has a lot of blues in the mix.
Touch
This guitar solo is melodic and quite tasty and tasteful. This definitely falls into the progressive rock heading.
 
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