Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weidorje Video

Just found this on YouTube...I had no idea any video of this band existed. I reviewed their one and only album here. I wish the quality of the clip was better but it's still pretty cool to see these guys in action. Gotta love Bernard Paganotti's jumpsuit! ;-)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cervello - Melos

This one gets overlooked a lot by the Italian Prog fans but in my opinion it's one of the best things to come out of Italy in the 70s! I actually picked it up completely at random many years ago...I knew absolutely nothing about it except that it was a band from Italy. Like you, I usually do a bit of research on some of the various prog sites out there before buying something, but it's always nice when a surprise like this comes along.

This is a very dynamic album. A very heavy sound at times, with lots of great guitar work, but plenty of nice lighter moments as well that use the the flute, vibraphone, and acoustic guitar. In fact, it's a pretty wild ride...the quiet passages linger for a bit and then tend to give way to sudden outbursts and cool odd-meter vamps. The vocals may be a tad on the harsh side for some tastes, but I think the aggression here suits the music well.

Cervello is: Gianluigi Di Franco (vocals, flute, percussion), Corrado Rustici (guitar, flute, vibes, voice), Giulio D'Ambrosio (sax, flute, vocals), Antonio Spagnolo (bass, acoustic guitar, flute, vocals), Remigio Esposito (drums, vibes). A couple of these guys were in the band Osanna, a group that I'm only vaguely familiar with (add another thing to the list...!). Again, the guitar work in particular is outstanding, but also the way the group uses the flutes and saxophone in addition to some interesting guitar tones. They really get some very interesting sounds going, to the point where you might actually be fooled into thinking there are keyboards on the album. Through their creative arrangements and use of additional instruments, they sound larger than a five-piece group.

I highly recommend this recording for Italian prog fans. It was out of print for a while, but I believe it's now available again on Japanese mini-LP CD.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oral History Live! With YES at the Experience Music Project in Seattle

This looks pretty cool, I wish I lived near Seattle...

[The text below is taken from this page on the Experience Music Project website.]

Join us for an intimate interview with the band YES, hosted by Jacob McMurray, EMP|SFM's senior curator.

As a dominant force for more than four decades, YES has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, stretching the boundaries of progressive art-rock with their dynamic instrumental contrasts and abstract lyrics. Their symphonic use of sound and innovative musical styles continues to make them one of the most successful and long-standing group in rock history and their amazing career continues to defy many of their contemporaries, as they continue to add new, young fans to their following.

Band members Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White will take part in the interview.

Please note: The event starts at 8:00 pm.
Monday, June 29, 2009
8:00 pm
Ticket Info
Free to EMP|SFM members; $5 general public, 206.770.2702 or 1.877.EMP.SFM1.

Tickets go on sale to EMP|SFM members June 11 and to the general public June 15.

Comp tickets must be claimed at least 15 minutes prior to show time or they will be released to the rush line.
JBL Theater
325 5th Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Heavy Rotation This Week

Premiata Forneria Marconi - Storia Di Un Minuto
My favorite PFM album and one of the best of the whole Italian prog scene, I think. "Impressioni Di Settembre" and "La Carrozza Di Hans" are personal favorites. Someone over at Progressive Ears recently posted an English translation of the lyrics and it's really added to my appreciation of this brilliant recording.

Capitolo 6 - Frutti Per Kagua
This one is relatively new to me, and so far I'm really loving it. Another great Italian band that only recorded one album, but these guys sound pretty unique, not like the typical Italian prog sound. The flute features prominently here. The side-long title track is a real trip, and really plays more like a suite made up of smaller parts.

Leviathan (self-titled)
A strong effort from this little-known American group from 1974. This is a very dynamic group that combines progressive rock, hard rock, and folk, with plenty of heavy guitar and organ work, but an equal portion of quieter, more reflective moments. The 2nd cut, "Angels," is an example of one of these quieter moments, and it's absolutely beautiful. A lot of great Mellotron playing on this record too.

King Crimson - USA
I've always thought this was a great snapshot of King Crimson in their prime. The live versions of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II)" and "21st Century Schizoid Man" here are staggering. And I love John Wetton's aggressive, distorted bass work throughout the record. I've always had a soft spot for "Asbury Park" too.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Jon Anderson is Back

Somebody posted these links on the Progressive Ears forum and I thought I would share them here too. As many of you know, Jon has suffered from asthma and respiratory ailments for the last several years. Apparently at one point he had an asthma attack so severe that it nearly killed him. He now seems to be mostly recovered and is sounding great again! On Saturday June 6th he played a small show in Grover Beach, California to celebrate his wife's birthday. This was his first performance in several years.

Another video is here: Jon Anderson performs "Sweet Dreams"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Shout-Out to Progressive Ears

When I started this blog, I had wanted to put in a plug for this site, but mysteriously it happened to be down at the time I made the first attempt. In any case, that was clearly just bad timing...they have been up and going strong since then.

Progressive Ears
is a great online forum that I joined years ago and then took a long hiatus from. I have been back online there lately and it's a great group of folks and a terrific source of info about prog rock. As I type this, there are threads on PFM, Yes, Simon Phillips, Ruins, Oblivion Sun, Marillion, DFA, etc., etc...

If you're not familiar with the site, check it out at

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Weidorje is a juggernaut of a band, driven along by Bernard Paganotti's aggressive fuzz bass-playing but possessing a collective spirit that is clear from listening to their music. They were an offshot group of the infamous Magma, a band that to be honest isn't really my taste, judging from the few things that I've heard. But I sure dig this record a lot.

This is a powerful sounding group. The personnel is: Bernard Paganotti (bass and vocals), Patrick Gauthier (keyboards), Michel Ettori (guitar), Kirt Rust (drums), Alain Guillard (saxophone), Yvon Guillard (trumpet and vocals), and Jean-Philippe Goude (keyboards). Compositions are by Paganotti, Gauthier, Goude, and Ettori and the interesting thing is that, in keeping with what I said about the "collective spirit" here, there is a real similarity in the writing...these guys were smart composers and clearly all knew how to write for this group. If I didn't know otherwise, I might have guessed that the tunes were all written by one member, or a combination of all the members together.

"Elohims Voyage" begins omniously, dark and sinister in tone, with a simple opening theme that is eventually augmented by wordless vocals. The tune builds and re-builds over the course of its 16 minutes, developing into a heavy groove generated by the rhythm section, with the brass, keyboards, and guitar helping to launch the attack. The initial theme is expanded and new ideas develop in reaction to it. "Vilna" involves a similar exploration of themes, a deconstruction and reconstruction that is exciting to listen to. All while Paganotti and Rust are hammering away underneath. The beginning of "Booldemug" is exciting, with its happy keyboard intro that leads into another killer bassline from Paganotti and then more swirling melodies from the horns. This is the most upbeat tune on the album, and it's a brilliant closer.

The CD on Musea adds two live bonus tracks which give a sense of how strong this group was in concert: "Rondeau" and "Kolinda." The latter track brings up another interesting point I have always wondered about with this record. Paganotti delivers a magnificent bass solo, but there are parts of it that almost sound verbatim like bits of Chris Squire's solo on the live version of "Ritual" from the Yes album Yesshows. Even the bass sound is almost identical. Is it possible that Paganotti was a Squire fan? We may never know.

I've been the proud owner of this CD for many years now, and it's a recording that I come back to over and over again and it never disappoints. Though it was the only release from this band, according to the liner notes there are appearances by the group here and there on some of the members' solo releases. I'll have to start digging for some of those.