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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Bob Holz

Holz-Stathis: Collaborative (double vinyl set)

Review by Gary Hill

I've reviewed the CD version of this album in this edition of Music Street Journal, but also want to look at this awesome double record set. The vinyl of the release is gorgeous with one disc pressed in red and the other blue. It's so gorgeous that it earned one of our MSJ bonus videos which you can see here:

Somehow this music seems well suited to the vinyl format to me. It just seems appropriate for it. As good as the CD sounds, I think the record sounds better. I also think it flows better as individual sides versus a full CD. The following is from my CD review, and I've copied it here for the sake of consistency.

I've pretty consistently put Bob Holz releases under progressive rock because that's where we land fusion. I think that without that history, I probably wouldn't include this one there. While there are still some definite fusion pieces here, overall I think this fits more with mainstream jazz. Don't get me wrong, that's a classification, not a comment on quality. You can't go wrong with Holz in terms of quality, ever.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2023  Volume 5 More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Album One
Side A
The Tunnel

I really love the killer funky groove that gets things going here. There is some scorching hot guitar soloing on this at times. We also gets some killer horn work. Then again, the whole thing is positively on fire.

Island Sun Love
There is an island vibe here. Then again, you expect that from the title, right. This has female jazz vocals and a classy sound to it. It's not very fusion-like, but it does have a modern jazz feel at its heart. The first instrumental break with its guitar soloing does bring some hints of fusion, too. The second instrumental movement makes that aspect even more pronounced.
Alex’s Dream
This is a short percussion solo.
World Turned Upside Down
Coming in more tentative, this works out with a lot of style and charm from there. This does have some fusion-like twists and turns built into it at times. The guitar soloing, in particular, brings that to bear. There is some great work from all musicians involved on this instrumental track.
Side B
Side Scratch

The funk is large and in charge on this number. This piece works through a number of twists and turns and has a lot of style and charm.

More purely melodic jazz is on the menu here. This has a timeless vibe to it.
Palo Viejo
This has a great energy and groove. It's again more traditional jazz than fusion. There is a bit of a Latin angle at play. It's another solid instrumental tune on a disc with no shortage of such pieces.
Back to You
Only the second song here to include vocals, this time they are of the male variety. This feels more like a modern pop tune. There is a lot of soul music built into this. It's a great groove.
Album Two
Side C

This cut reminds me a little of George Benson. The acoustic guitar soloing is all class, and the whole tune has an accessible, smooth jazz vibe to it. While that "smooth" label can be seen as derisive, I don't intend it to be at all. This is a great piece of music. It does get into some smoking hot, but still somewhat subdued, jamming later.

You Can Get It
Here we more powerhouse jazz jamming. This energetic, a little more fusion-like and deeply passionate and inspired.
Better Try
I love the fairly sedate and rather soulful vibe that dominates this piece. This is all class.
Side D
Flight of Fancy

Now the fusion comes home to roost on this track. There is some killer guitar work built into this beast. The bass takes over later with some amazing jamming. We also get some particularly tasty violin work further down the road. This is packed full of intensity, style and class. It might be my favorite track here.

Make Me Smile'
Here we get a smoking hot rendition of the classic song from Chicago. They include male vocals on this. If you want to look to classic jazz rock, it's hard to come up with anything much better than Chicago, so I think this is such a great inclusion. They do a great job of showing reverence for the source material, while also making it their own.
Lookin’ Back
The closer is another slab of particularly effective instrumental jazz.
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