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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Gerald Gradwohl Group

Episode 6

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing release. It would be easy to just label it as fusion, but that's not descriptive enough. There are moments where it crosses near heavy metal. There are other parts that come in more along the lines of blues rock. Whatever you call this, though, it's a strong instrumental album that works for beginning to end. You figure when artists ranging from Spyro Gyra to Robin Trower and Herbie Hancock come to mind on one release, it's pretty inclusive in terms of sounds.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Viking
This piece is just a minute long. It has a real driving heavy metal concept at the heart of it. Yet there are some cool jazzy textures that come over the top.
Let's Talk
Killer fusion with a bit of a funky groove is at the heart of this smoking hot tune. There are some great retro concepts and some killer hard rocking leanings in the mix here. There is a break later where a voice says, "Hey, let's talk." Then we get some instrumental solos over the top of a smoking hot rhythm section. This is such a hot section of music.
K-Log
There is a little bit of a stutter to the timing on this that is cool. The tune gets underway with a real rock vibe. Some jazzier textures emerge as the first horn joins. The cut has a great groove and energy. It's one that really does walk the line between rock and jazz very closely. That said, it turns more pure rock for a time before exploding into some jazz jamming that wanders toward Rock in Opposition type territory for a while. The guitar soloing on the tune gets pretty crazed at times. A weird electronic kind of tone comes in to start the final movement. The cut takes on a quirky kind of groove that seems to merge the electronic era of Herbie Hancock with RIO from there to eventually close it. .
Longing For Home
The bluesy guitar sound on this makes me think of the slow side of Robin Trower's catalog. That element remains a reference point as the track continues. It turns jazzier as the horns join. The whole piece has some great bluesy jazz concepts and textures.
The Essence Of Time
Here we get another classy jazz jam. There is some pretty awesome fusion guitar soloing built into this number. That really puts this one over the top as one of the highlights, but it's a special song even without it.
Jabo
The bass brings a lot of energy and vitality to this piece, while the melodic fusion over the top provides a helping of cool. There is some great jamming along with intriguing twists and turns here. There is some fiery guitar work as the tune intensifies and the tempo increases later. It turns truly soaring further down the musical road.
What's On Your Mind?
The first half of this is more or less a blues rocking jam. It turns toward more pure jazz further down the road for a killer jam, but gets re-grounded with the blues rock beyond that.
Positive Grid
A mellower jazzy groove is on hand here. This is a melodic and effective piece of music. It makes me think of Spyro Gyra to some degree. It is a great choice for closer because it makes for a satisfying conclusion.
 
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