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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jeff Berlin

Low Standards

Review by Gary Hill

I always put Jeff Berlin under progressive rock. Part of that is because I think fusion is really just the jazz side of prog. Secondly, Berlin has been involved in a lot of progressive rock projects. Whether you think of this as jazz or prog, though (and musically it’s almost pure jazz) it’s a great set. The bass really shines. Of course, Berlin is the bass player, so that makes sense. Particularly when you consider he’s one of the best bass players out there. And, remember when you read that, bass guitar is my primary instrument to play.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review

As this powers out, one can just say “wow.” It’s energetic fusion that is just plain awesome. I love it. It really grabbed my attention right out of the gate.  There’s a smoking hot section later in the track where the bass and piano seem to dance around one another that’s top-notch.

El Gaucho
The bass is the king here. I love how Berlin weaves melody with his bass. All that said, there is plenty of other drama and style in the other instrumental performances. Still, a lot of this is basically an accompanied bass solo. The piano gets a chance to show off later, though, with some nice melody.
Falling Grace
I love the sort of rubbery feeling to this piece. It’s more pure jazz in some ways than the other stuff. As much as I dug the bass on the previous numbers, this one just plain blows that away in my book. Of course, you can’t really complain about the drumming on this either. The combination is purely on fire.
Fee Fi fo Fum
There’s definitely a groove feeling to this thing. It’s got a great tempo and some killer jamming. Berlin, as always, shines.
Dramatic and powerful the piano here drives the melody for a time. Then further down the road it’s Berlin who takes the lead. Both the piano and the bass get more turns to shine as this thing keeps evolving and growing. I really love the piano solo late in the piece a lot.
Very Early
I really love the groove to this piece. It’s got more of a rock vibe to it for sure. There’s a shift around the three and a half minute mark to more pure jazz as the piano takes a solo.
Whisper Not
The bass is really quite expressive on this piece. It seems to swirl about and really just plain grooves. It’s fun.
Piano starts things here. As the bass joins the cut seems to have an almost soulful groove to it at times. They turn this out into some killer jamming as it continues.
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