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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tribute

Live! - The Melody, The Beat, The Heart

Review by Gary Hill

This live album is quite good. It’s almost all instrumental. It rides a bit of a line between progressive rock, fusion and straight rock music. That said, there are variants beyond that, too. There isn’t a weak song here. Nor does it ever feel tired or repetitive. This is good stuff for certain.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Make a Move

A cool hard rocking riff opens this. As they work out from there the cut takes on a rather funky fusion texture. It wanders more toward progressive rock as they continue. They work it through a number of shifts and changes. Different instruments take command at different times and the whole thing rocks.

Pioneers
Starting with a martial beat, they launch out into more cool fusion from there. There are some cool keyboard dominated sections later. Some of those make me think of Rick Wakeman’s solo work. The delicate keyboard section around the six minute mark is particularly pretty. This piece is really powerful and has some great melodic themes.
Boogieman
There is a real boogie feeling to this piece. Still, it has all that progressive rock and fusion sound in the mix. There are some cool shifts and turns and some great funky bass work. This reminds me of Little Feat quite a bit. We get a pretty extensive drum solo in the midst of this, too.
Scottish Mystery
This has a great balance between harder rocking and mellower. The mix of prog and fusion is quite well balanced, too. As you might guess from the title, this includes some Celtic music in the arrangement.
Icebreaker
This bouncing rocker is the most purely progressive rock oriented of the bunch, It’s also one that’s quite accessible. This feels very much like something from Rick Wakeman’s solo catalog. It’s a great jam that’s just plain fun. It does include a drop back to sedate elements that serves as a segue into the next piece. .
Part II
Coming right out of the last one, mellow atmospherics are heard at the start of this, and it works out from there. It works out into quite a potent melodic rocker from there.
Le petit prince
This short piece is gentle and very classical in nature.
Through My Heart

 Not only does this piece feature lyrical vocals (the only one to do so), it is strictly acapella. The female vocals create a Celtic vibe to the number.

New Views (Finale)
The opening section here focuses on non-lyrical vocals. The crowd handles most of them at first. As they work out into more of a full band treatment, those vocals get a stage performance. The crowd does begin to clap out the beat after a while, though. There are some male vocals, singing, “The melody, the beat, the heart” several times later. This cut is definitely on the rock end of the progressive rock equation. There isn’t really any fusion to speak of here.
Fragrance
A keyboard solo focusing on piano, this is gentle, intricate and very pretty.
 
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