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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Nick Finzer

Cast of Characters

Review by Gary Hill

I've debated whether to land this under non-prog or progressive rock. Make no mistake, this is not progressive rock at all. It does have a lot of fusion elements, though. We generally land fusion under prog, which is what I've done here. That said, there is enough traditional jazz that it could have come down to a coin-toss. There are a number of reasons I often err on the side of prog versus not, too. Either way, this is a great instrumental set.

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Track by Track Review
A Sorcerer (is a myth)
Classical piano brings this into being. It builds out from there to an arrangement that has a lot of classical along with plenty of jazz in the mix. As the piece shifts into more of an up-tempo groove, the fusion element becomes the driving force. It's a powerhouse number that works quite well. This thing really grooves and explores its musical neighborhood nicely.
Evolution of ...
Coming in with just piano, this short piece resembles early King Crimson in some way to me. It serves as the introduction to the next number.
... Perspective
The fusion elements are at the core of this number. It has some cool grooves and melodies built into it. This makes me think of the music of greats like John Coltrane and Miles Davis a lot of the time.
Brutus, the Contemporary
This cut is much more of a straight jazz number. It's energized and potent.
Here we get a nice piano solo. This is a short introduction to the next number.
... Patience
A mellower cut in the earlier sections, this has a great smooth jazz vibe to it. I love the bass on this thing. It builds up to more powered up zones as it continues, stretching closer along the fusion line as these guys jam like crazy.
A Duke
Another that comes in more along the lines of old-school jazz, this is up-tempo and very classy.
(Take the) Fork in the Road
Here we get into some crazed zones that land in the territory of Rock in Opposition. It's a powerful cut that brings some controlled chaos. It's one of the shorter pieces of the disc, and that's a bit of a shame because I really like this a lot.
The Weather Man
Mellower and more melodic, this is quite classy.
A killer melodic jazz number, I like this one a lot.
You'll Never Know...
Starting with piano, this is a trippy kind of early King Crimson-like number. It is a short piece that serves as an introduction to the next one.
... the Alternative
I really love the guitar soloing later in this number. Overall this tune seems to live part in fusion territory and part in more pure jazz zones.
The Guru
With a melodic kind of groove, this tune feels a bit like jazzy prog rock in many ways.
We're More than the Sum of our Influences
A short piece, this is melodic and has a real grounding effect on the set.
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