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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ricardo Grilli

1962

Review by Gary Hill

Ricardo Grilli is the guitarist of this outfit. Given that the group bears his name, you might think that means that this will be a bunch of pieces built around guitar showcases. That’s never the case at all. These instrumental compositions are all well thought out and real group performances. The song is key. This is essentially fusion, hence landing under prog, but it does lean toward more traditional jazz a lot of the time. Don’t get me wrong, the guitar is really the standout point of a lot of these pieces, but it’s not the focus of the number. It just shines brightly amidst the arrangement. I would say that is probably going wind up as one of the best instrumental albums of the year. It’s magical.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.
Track by Track Review
1954-1962
There is an echoey, almost psychedelic element as this track comes into being. This song remains mellow, and is reasonably short. It has some real drama and style, though, and segues into the next piece.
Mars
Coming out of the opener, this works gradually upward and eventually shifts out to some soaring jazz-fusion that is melodic and powerful. The cut gets into some particularly effective musical passages as the artists continue exploring the landscape with their instruments. The guitar in particular has some awe-inspiring sections.
Signs
This has a bit more of an old-school jazz sound. Yet it still has some rather freeform explorations. There is some prominent piano and horn work on the tune. Again, though, for me anyway, the guitar steals the show. It’s not that it dominates the piece. It’s just that the notes that come from it really elevate the number and take it into another world.
Coyote
There is a somewhat mellower, but quite magical concept behind this number. The song has some great instrumental explorations along the road. It’s much more of a pure fusion piece.
E.R.P.
While not a huge change, this up-tempo piece has some pretty amazing guitar work, even in comparison to the other music here. Given the competition, that really says a lot.
The Sea and The Night
The piano gets a real showcase along the road of this number. Beyond that the cut has a lot of the same basic concepts as we’ve heard throughout. It’s another classy tune.
LunĂ tico
I love the piano and horn interplay as this piece works out from the start. The section later in the track that serves as a rhythm section showcase is great, too. The number is a melodic and pretty one. It’s perhaps a bit less adventurous than some of the others here are, but no less compelling.
183 W 10th St.
I love the cool jazz groove on this number. It’s perhaps less fusion and more pure jazz than some of the rest here. I really love the section where the bass shines. This has a percussion workout later in the piece in a more fusion-like bit. 
Virgo (Oliver's Song)
A melodic and pretty number, this has some intriguing moods and musical passages. I love the piano soloing on the tune.
Voyager
This starts with a drum solo section. It eventually works out to some intense fusion jamming from there. This is a killer number that really covers a lot of great ground. I’d consider it one of the highlights of the set. That makes it a great choice for the closing shot.
 
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