31 March 2016

Instrumental New Age Review: John Fluker-11:11

Release Date: May 1, 2016
Label: Retribution Records


Composer, musician and vocalist, are a few of the titles that the multitalented John Fluker holds. He has backed folks like Beyoncé, Dionne Warwick, Mavis Staples, John Legend, Boyz II Men, etc. The list goes on and on. So to say that the man is a seasoned artist is putting it mildly.

With the release of 11:11 he showcases his diversity with musical styles using the piano as the foundation where every track finds its path through careful construction. From the colorful atmospheric opener “Awaken,” with classically influenced piano strokes and ambient textured keyboards, the music gives you a wakeup call to this immense talent and pulls you into another world. The theme here is indicative of the title of course so you can focus on that one meaning, look at the track titles then take it from there.

“Artificial Time” is a gorgeous soundscape taking the bounty of that classical influence then pushing the envelope to make it an instrumental new age journey through your own personal space and time. The title reminds us that we invented time so it thereby is artificial in every sense of the word. What we really know is that we are all stardust and our lives are but a bat of an eyelash in the grand scheme of things…indeed.

I love albums like this; the ability to take music and no words then unravel a story through one concept and create an aural painting that freezes in time forever is a gift. Music is everlasting and so are the memories we hold dear. Life and what we know is what keeps us alive and the will to live another day for more wonderful life experiences. Music makes it all that much more enjoyable and when its great piano based instrumentals that are on offer we get the chance to write the story.

Speaking of time and stories, “Tick-Tock Tale” encapsulates everything I just said. The hands of time move ever so fast or much too slow depending on your life situation. With each passing second you change and so do your surroundings however it takes us a while to notice the change happening before us. The tick tock of the clock is our compass to the past and the future. Listen to John’s fingers make another piece of paradise with the ivory keys. It is short and sweet yet poignant and impactful. The title makes you think and then the music ends to fast like our time here on this earth.

11:11 has the genius and presence to get your attention, make you focus and think about all the things that matter in life. I really appreciate what music like this does for me; it is truly a spiritual experience that brings out the very best in me. Give it a listen to see what it can do for you.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Awaken, Artificial Time, Tick-Tock Tale

Tracks: 
01. Awaken
02. In The Beginning
03. Artificial Time
04. The 4th Dimension
05. Piano Story
06. Tick-Tock Tale
07. Moments
08. Age of Eternity
09. Piano Story
10. Hour of Prayer
11. 11:11
12. The Joyful Clock Unwinds

 

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
March 31, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

30 March 2016

IZZ Guitarist Paul Bremner Set to Release New Studio Album "The Witness"


New York, NY – IZZ guitarist, Paul Bremner’s new studio album, The Witness, is scheduled for release on April 26, 2016. IZZ fans have grown to associate Paul’s distinctive and melodic guitar playing with the “IZZ Sound”. Paul has earned the respect of the progressive rock community by writing such memorable songs as “Light From Your Eyes”, “Illuminata” and co-writing the IZZ classics “Late Night Salvation” and “Can’t Feel the Earth, Part II,” among many others. Paul’s new studio album of 10 songs showcases both his dynamic guitar playing and his penchant for writing emotional music and lyrics.

“I am thrilled to release this collection of songs” says Bremner. “They feature a wide range of moods and emotions and I think IZZ fans will find them intriguing and satisfying.”

The first track of the album “From Here I Can See the Horizon” features a powerful and exciting lead vocal performance from Anmarie Byrnes while the emotionally charged “Warm” spotlights a hauntingly beautiful lead vocal from Laura Meade. The energetic fury of the title track “The Witness” features Brian Coralian on drums while Greg DiMiceli is showcased on several tracks including the jazz/funk-inspired “No Remorse”.

Tom Galgano, who sings lead vocals on several tracks and who engineered and co-produced the album with Bremner notes, “Every song on this album is different and yet they are all connected by Paul’s unique guitar sound and songwriting. It’s been an absolute pleasure working on this album – in fact in many ways it’s been like working on an ‘alternate’ IZZ record.”

The last track on the album, “Last Exit Before Toll” comes in at over 20 minutes and encompasses the full range of Bremner’s musical palette. “I am very happy to include this extended piece which I hope will take the listener on a journey; and I am happy that it features all of my IZZ band mates.”

Paul Bremner’s The Witness will be available for purchase on iTunes, at Amazon.com and at your favorite online retailer on April 26, 2016.

For press inquiries, contact Glass Onyon PR:
828-350-8158
glassonyonpr@gmail.com

For all other inquiries, contact Doone Records at info@doonerecords.com
www.izzmusic.com

www.facebook.com/izzmusic
Twitter: @izzmusic

28 March 2016

Concert Review: Kansas at The Colonial Theater

Kansas In Concert At The Colonial Theater
UCP Life Without Limits Benefit
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
March 26, 2016

Phil Ehart (drums), Richard Williams (guitar), Ronnie Platt (vocals, keyboards), Billy Greer (bass, vocals), David Manion (keyboards, vocals) and David Ragsdale (violin, guitar, vocals) are Kansas.  

The show benefited United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County. The “Life Without Limits” concert replaces UCP’s annual fundraising telethon, which ended last year after more than five decades.

Ms. Brittany Dorwin (pictured here) whom I have known since she was a baby was crowned the Massachusetts Jr. Miss Amazing 2016. She will move on to the Nationals in Chicago very soon. If you are interested in sponsoring her trip to Chicago on June 30TH make your donation here http://www.missamazing2016.com/sponsor-a-queen



Brittany certainly fits the description of amazing. I have never looked at her as someone with a disability; she is an intelligent, funny, warm, and a loving soul. Thanks to her wonderful parents Pam and Dan and the support of her sister Samantha, she was given every opportunity for a normal and healthy upbringing. The event was very special for her and everyone that knows her. Congratulations Brit we love you!

This was the third time I have seen Kansas and all with different line ups. I would have to say after watching them last night that they are as tight as ever and sounded fantastic! There are two original members left, founder and drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Richard Williams. Billy Greer has been with the band since 1985 and quickly became one of the foundations of their sound with his bass and strong vocals (He also has been in Seventh Key and Native Window). Ronnie Platt is the most recent addition holding down the lead vocals that I am aware of. He is voice is very strong and reminiscent of the great Steve Walsh the original voice of the band. 

Their set was very efficient with very little band to audience exchanges. Kansas is one of the true prog rock innovators and legends that are still performing today. The sound they present is mixture of rock, classical and pop and for the most part remains very complex. It is the kind of music built for improvisation and although they stay true to a planned set list they really stretch out musically much to the delight of their audiences. 

David Ragsdale is a multi-talented component offering his distinct violin sounds along with guitar and backing vocals. Phil Earhart is the rock of the band and always was. His drumming is extraordinary and he makes it look so effortless. Watching a superb progressive rock band is a real audio visual treat that you simply cannot forget.

Some of favorites of the night was the opener “Point of Know Return,” “Miracles Out of Nowhere,”  “Belexes,” which was a crazy transitioning number that required an enormous amount of talent to perform, and “Portrait (He Knew),” which was inspired by Albert Einstein.

This was a great night for many reasons and one I believe the packed house at The Colonial are going to remember for a long time. Witnessing the raucous applause, hand clapping and whistles from the audience for their encore was proof positive that they still are relevant force in music and their songs are unforgettable. To all of you people that decided your cellphones were more important than what you where there for, you missed a great show!

March 27, 2016

Set List:
Point of Know Return
What’s On My Mind
Play The Game
The Wall
Reason To Be
Dust In The Wind
Miracles Out of Nowhere
Icarus
Opus Insert
Closet Chronicles
Hold On
Belexes
Portrait (He Knew)
Sparks of the Tempest

Encore:
Fire
Wayward Son

26 March 2016

Concert Review: John Mayall At The Colonial Theater

John Mayall In  Concert At The Colonial Theater
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
March 24, 2016

The Godfather of The British Blues made an appearance last night in The Berkshires. Yes indeed, Mr. John Mayall, the living legend, all 83 years of him performed on stage with his band at the fantastic Colonial Theater. I just knew going into this experience it was going to be very special and it most certainly was.
Mayall and his Bluesbreakers share a lot of music history with world renowned artists. Many got their start with him such as Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor, and those are a just a few who have served their apprenticeship under the tutelage of Mayall. He has been enjoying a successful solo career since the days of the Bluesbreakers and is still carrying the torch for the blues.

When I first arrived at the venue John was sitting at his merchandise table selling CDs and signing autographs. I was amazed to see this going on and thought highly of him that he would make himself available that way. That is how you can really communicate with your audience and forge a relationship before the show starts. He was gracious and kind, a real gentleman. I was more than happy to buy his new CD Find A Way To Care and have him sign it. He looks amazing for a man of 83 years I can tell you that!

The soundman Darren O’Brien came through in fine fashion as usual, working on the sound board and mixing the sound perfectly all night long. 

Prior to the show in the afternoon I listened to some of Mayall’s 2015 release Find A Way To Care on Spotify. I was glad to see he still was in excellent form. What is amazing about him when he performs is how he multitasks. He plays the harmonica with one hand and the other with keyboards while singing in between. That is a lot things to be doing for one performer and he handles it all like it’s a walk in the park.


His band is Rocky Athas (lead guitar), Greg Rzab (bass) and Jay Davenport (drums) who are all truly amazing musicians in their own right. It was interesting to watch all of them do their thing. Everyone got their turn in the spotlight and performed admirably. 

I have to give the nod not only to Mayall but his entire supporting cast particularly Rzab on bass. He went off on few tangents and gave the audience a real show, banging away at that bass like it was a lead guitar. His funky playing was one of the highlights of the evening to be sure. This is not to take anything away from the lead guitar or drums which were excellent as well.

Highlights of the night that provided an extended jam session were several but in particular I enjoyed the song “Chicago Line,” off of Mayall’s first album in 1964. Mayall interacted well with the audience and there were some humorous moments like when he introduced “Mother In Law Blues.” He covered an equal of amount of his own material and blues legends tracks from the likes of Albert King with songs like “California Blues.”



I have always found the Blues very entertaining in many ways. Even though the “blues” are supposed be lamenting about something the good artists like Mayall know how to present it all with a touch of irony and humor. The other fact is that it does have a tendency to sound similar with each song; here is where years of experience and outright talent take center stage. Every song went on a good run with some improvisation that kept it all interesting. At times Davenport was drumming at a pace that would have fit into a jazz set which was a nice change. I always keep in mind that jazz and blues are kissin’ cousins and one could not survive without the other. If you ask any good rock musician worth their salt they will tell you how important the roots of the blues have shaped their music.

John Mayall keeps on keepin’ on and I was honored to be present at his performance and to have the opportunity to shake his hand. Hearing the Blues live is quite a treat so catch this legend in action when you can.

March 26, 2016

25 March 2016

Curved Air Legend Darryl Way Releases New Prog Album "Myths, Legends and Tales" - OUT NOW!


London, UK - Darryl Way is the co-founder of CURVED AIR, a trail blazing rock violinist and composer. “Myths, Legends and Tales” is Way's latest PROG album which takes its inspiration from some of the mythologies (both ancient and present day) which have inspired him.

“Myths, Legends and Tales” is a mixture of instrumental Symphonic Rock and Songs. The inspiration for the instrumental pieces comes from the mystical world of Greek Mythology, whereas the songs are a mixture of observations about the world we live in and stories and events that have been inspirational.

“As a rock violinist I have always been searching for that elusive sound, turn of phrase and means of expression that would give the electric violin a legitimate voice in the idiom of rock music. With this album, I feel that I have come closer than ever before to achieving this goal. 'Myths, Legends and Tales' is another attempt by me to fly the flag for 'Prog Rock'. I've raised the flag up the mast as far as I am able and can only now hope, that it will be seen and appreciated by the devoted fans of this neglected genre.” - Darryl Way

The album features full length prog tracks which will appeal to Curved Air fans and new listeners who have been enjoying Way's return to the music industry in a burst of fresh creativity.

Track Listing:

1. APOLLO (RACING AGAINST THE SUN)
2. ORPHEUS AND THE UNDERWORLD
3. WHATEVER HAPPENED?
4. DOVE OF PEACE
5. STRANGE GOINGS ON
6. APHRODITE
7. THE ICE MAN
8. CRUSADER
9. HELTER SKELTER
10. PROMETHEUS CHAINED

To purchase Darryl Way's “Myths, Legends and Tales”:
Amazon CD: http://geni.us/4Dv
Amazon Digital: http://geni.us/43BZ
iTunes: http://geni.us/34EV

ALSO AVAILABLE: DARRYL WAY – ULTRA VIOLINS (ExM004) CHILDREN OF THE COSMOS (RHRC001)

For more information: http://www.darrylway.com/

Darryl Way is managed by QEDG Management info@qedg.co.uk

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158 (USA), glassonyonpr@gmail.com

23 March 2016

New Age/World Review: Logical Drift - Pacific Journey

Release Date: February 25, 2016
Label: NYCMusic

John Matarazzo is Logical Drift and his album Pacific Journey is a tribute to the beautiful islands of the South Pacific Ocean.

There is nothing like good instrumental music to create scenery for your mind’s eye to put you at peace and center you. It always comes to me at the right time and makes me feel more connected to our world.

This Pacific Journey certainly has the ability to transport you to another place and time. The music you will find on this aural journey is as diverse and colorful as the flora and fauna you will find in the islands that are the subject matter.
For my ears I liken this kind of music to a musical story and I allow my heart and soul to be an open book to its pages. It is my objective to convey the premise of this recording through a few choice tracks and discuss whether or not it delivers what it promises in reference to the title and the CD cover.

“Himalayan Heights” is part of the travels you take while listening. Matarazzo takes several instruments to create his sounds so they coalesce into something that is musically palpable. On the artist’ website it is explained as such: Combining his knowledge of ancient spiritual systems, psychoacoustics and aural imaging, he creates soundscapes that heighten the listeners’ sense of wellness and tranquility. The stimulation of the Chakra portals carries listeners on a journey toward greater awareness and aliveness. That puts it all into proper perspective as far as I am concerned. The synths, drums and other worldly sounds and textures added make it all sound so real like you are there enjoying everything in real time. “Himalayan Heights” made me feel that way.


“To Meet The Sky One Must” is another beautiful soundscape that puts you in touch with your spirit and mystical places of mother earth. The soft drums and their rhythm in this song are like your heartbeat and the sitar sounds are alluring and magical. The female vocals added gently invite you in. It is like a slice of heaven knocking at your door. All you need to do is listen and transport from your current state of existence. I think this place of peace lies inside us all, we just need some help to find it and music like this puts us in touch with that other self that awaits our call. It is that easy. 

“Rainy Jungle” helps one to get in sync with the nature that abounds around us. We are all connected to mother earth and water is the essence of life. In the jungle there are many different types of animal and plant species and without the rain they do no survive. It is the life blood of our planet. This track is very atmospheric using layers of keyboards to create a symphonic walk through the complexities of the jungle and all its offerings. Perhaps those of us that have not had the pleasure of witnessing this place on earth can still understand the absolute beauty and perfection that lies within this wondrous place. Allow the music to take you there and it will.

That is but a taste of some of the marvelous music found on Pacific Journey. The listening experience brings you many thoughts and feelings and hopefully delivers you to the beauty of the south pacific islands. It certainly worked well for me and I would recommend you listen and take the journey yourself.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Himalayan Heights, To Meet The Sky One, Rainy Jungle

Tracks:

01.Pacific Journey
02. Dance In The Lotus Garden
03. Himalayan Heights
04. To Meet The Sky One Must
05. Sanur Beach
06. Rainy Jungle
07. Open Skies Are
08. Mediation On A Blue String
09. Darker Dreams
10. Once Upon The Horizon


Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- New Age Music Reviews Founder
March 23, 2016
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

22 March 2016

Todd Rundgren's BOX O'TODD Limited Edition Live Box Set To Be Released


Los Angeles - Purple Pyramid records will be releasing a special limited edition collector's box titled BOX O'TODD featuring previously unreleased live in-studio recordings from the early '70s by legendary guitarist/songwriter/producer, Todd Rundgren! All shows were originally broadcast on the radio at the time.

This unique box features both stripped down solo performances by Rundgren as well as full band recordings with The Hello People, and includes some of Todd's most well-known songs including “Hello, It's Me,” “I Saw The Light,” “It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference” and many more!

In addition to three full-length CDs, the box set comes with a 20-page booklet featuring a full set of insightful liner notes by Dave Thompson and full color photos plus a signature guitar pick, 3 collectible pins, and a backstage pass!

Track List:

DISC 1 - Live From Philadelphia 1971 with the Hello People (originally broadcast on WMMR-FM)
1. Banter & Soundcheck
2. Believe In Me
3. Lady On The Terrace
4. I Got My Pipe
5. It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference
6. Rock All Over Again
7. Everybody In The Congregation
8. Broke Down & Busted
9. Tonight I Wanna Love Me A Stranger
10. Ooh Baby Baby
11. Hold Me Tight (Excerpt)
12. Before I Grow Too Old
13. Be Nice To Me
14. I'm Feelin' Better
15. The Ballad (Denny & Jean)

DISC 2 - Ultrasonic Studios 1972 with the Hello People (originally broadcast on WLIR-FM)
1. Broke Down & Busted
2. Georgia Swing
3. Outside Love
4. Piss Aaron
5. A Dream Goes On Forever
6. I Saw The Light
7. It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference
8. Feels So Good to Be Alive
9. Mad Red Ant Lady
10. Blaze
11. Lady On The Terrace
12. Slut

DISC 3 - Counterpart Studios Cincinnati 1973 with Utopia (originally broadcast on WKRQ-FM)
1. Intro
2. I Saw The Light
3. A Dream Goes On Forever
4. Piss Aaron
5. Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song
6. Hello It's Me
7. Banter
8. Utopia Theme
9. Black Maria
10. Hungry For Love
11. The Ikon (Segments)

Buy the CD: http://flyt.it/ToddRundgrenCD
Download on iTunes: http://flyt.it/ToddRundgrenDig

Press inquiries:
Glass Onyon PR
Billy James
PH: 828-350-8158
glassonyonpr@gmail.com

CLEOPATRA RECORDS, Inc.
11041 Santa Monica Blvd #703
Los Angeles CA 90025
www.CleopatraRecords.com

21 March 2016

Australian Prog Artist Ben Craven To Release Third Album "Last Chance To Hear" Featuring Guest Contributions By William Shatner and Billy Sherwood


“Seriously well-distilled and blended” - Van Dyke Parks

Brisbane, Australia – Australian cinematic progressive-rock singer-songwriter Ben Craven is releasing his highly anticipated third album “Last Chance To Hear”. The new release features guest contributions by YES legend Billy Sherwood and iconic actor William Shatner (yes, Capt. Kirk himself!!!). A new single titled “The Remarkable Man” is available for immediate download when pre-ordering the album. It's an imaginary theme song from a spy thriller movie franchise.

Says Ben, “ 'Last Chance To Hear' is loosely inspired by the end of the music industry as we knew it. There’s never been a time when so much new music was being made by so many people and being listened to by so few people. The concept of paying for new music is now alien to a lot of the audience. Digital downloads have made physical media virtually obsolete. Streaming services mean that anybody making new music is now competing with the whole history of recorded music. And the album format is in danger of becoming extinct. There's never been a time full of more 'opportunity' than now. So I made an album about it.

“The new album is a logical progression from my previous album, 'Great & Terrible Potions'. The arrangements are more confident and more purposeful. But probably the biggest difference is that there are fewer vocals on this new one. 'Last Chance To Hear' is more about having the confidence, and presumably the competence, to let the music do the talking.”

The obvious question is how did Ben recruit such iconic artists as William Shatner and Billy Sherwood to guest on his new album? Ben explains, “I was not my first choice to perform the vocals on 'Spy In The Sky Part 3'. I pored over the melody and the lyrics to get them just right. But when I finally ran through the completed lyrics in my head, I could only imagine a speaking voice.

“Immediately I thought 'William Shatner!' and loved the idea. Then reality kicked back in and I got on with the job of singing my own vocals. Except the idea never went away. It kept nagging and eating away at me, like all good ideas do. And here I was willing to give up my own vocal performance on the most dramatic piece of music on the album! So I had to stop ignoring it.

“I reached out to Billy Sherwood who as you know produced William Shatner's last album, the excellent 'Ponder The Mystery'. Billy would have been my first and only choice to record the session. I asked him if he thought the concept of having Shatner appear one of my songs would even be possible. Amazingly, everyone agreed, and Billy is the one who actually made it happen.

“Deep down I felt a lingering terror that the music might collapse under the weight of a William Shatner vocal performance. But I suspect Shatner realized the opposite. He played the lead vocalist role perfectly, as boldly and grandly as the music aspired to be. It is an awesome combination and he brought the track up to a new level altogether. I love it.”

Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, immersed as a toddler in the era of big prog rock, Craven taught himself guitar and keyboards and joined a series of bands. None of them made it and none of them remotely played the kind of music that had been burned into his mainframe as a kid. Nonetheless, the songs he wrote accumulated steadily. In 2005, Craven dispensed entirely with the band approach and recorded his debut album, “Two False Idols” under the name of Tunisia. The result was a work of incredible maturity, with influences ranging from Pink Floyd and Brian Wilson to the likes of Bernard Herrmann and John Barry.

Says Ben, “My usual suspect influences are Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield, Yes and King Crimson. But just as important are composers like Bernard Herrmann, John Barry, Henry Mancini and John Williams. I seem to blend progressive music with film soundtrack elements. I'm also a Brian Wilson tragic.”

As Craven worked his first album it became painfully obvious that the music business was in the midst of a sea change, and most of the old guard didn't seem to realize they were the cause. Very quickly he took an anti-DRM stance and released the live acoustic EP “Under Deconstruction” as a high-quality free download.

Craven stepped up a gear for his sophomore album, “Great & Terrible Potions”. Delivering on the cinematic promise of “Two False Idols”, “Potions'” went widescreen as Craven blurred the boundaries between conventional songs and orchestral soundtracks. Augmented by a stunning cover designed by legendary artist Roger Dean (Yes, Uriah Heep, Asia), “Potions” was dense, complicated and unashamedly pretentious – everything a good prog rock album should be! Or, to put it another way, Craven sounded exactly like someone reveling in the creative freedom that came only from not worrying about what others wanted, and delivering what he felt instead.

And now, much to the excitement of Prog fans worldwide, Ben is releasing his latest masterpiece “Last Chance To Hear”!

Here's what the press raved about Ben Craven's previous release:

“Heavy-duty prog rock monster” - Anil Prasad, Innerviews

“Cracking virtuoso performance by an absurdly talented individual” - Classic Rock Society

“Craven’s one-man-band production is a prog opus for the 21st century” - Musoscribe

“All the drama, thunder, strum and drang you could want the spiritual grand child of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson to bring” - Midwest Record

“Craven’s tremendous ability to combine memorable hooks with complex progressive rock and cinematic orchestral music is astounding” - Sea Of Tranquility

“Press play and this album does the rest” - Muzikreviews

In support of “Last Chance To Hear” Ben is putting together a one-man show for the album launch event in April, and hopes to develop it for further performances.

In closing Ben has this to impart to his fans and listeners, “This is a desperate time for music. The landscape is littered with album reissues, remixes, repackages and compilations. Record companies are trying to squeeze out every last cent while they still can. Some artists only put out new albums so they can tour. Others have decided that nobody wants to hear their new music so they don't bother making any. There’s so much noise out there now that it’s virtually impossible for anyone to stand out without the marketing might of a big record label. I want people to know that there are still those of us flying under the radar, the obsessives, who make music because it keeps us alive. With no realistic expectations of financial success, it's the anticipation of the next song, the one we haven't finished yet, that keeps us going!”

For more information: http://bencraven.com/

“The Remarkable Man” video: 


To purchase Ben Craven's “Last Chance To Hear”: https://bencraven.bandcamp.com/album/last-chance-to-hear

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158 (USA), glassonyonpr@gmail.com

Contemporary Progressive Rock Review: Sebas Honing-The Big Shift

Release Date: 24th January 2016
Label: Freia Music

Sebas Honing is a multi-instrumentalist who hails from The Netherlands. Sebas is also a composer and producer, as well as being known for his guitar work in Equisa (prog metal) and 5150, a Van Halen tribute band. Together with his partner, Petra, he also fronts the acoustic duo, Mr. and Mrs. Honey. With all this going on, it makes you wonder where he finds the time to release solo material, with his latest offering being The Big Shift.

This release follows on from Songs of Oceans and Seas, a concept album relating to water, and From Middle to East, another concept album tracing a journey from Turkey, through India and on to Indonesia. The former follows a musical journey through rock/pop to prog rock/metal with the latter combining prog rock/metal with traditional music from the countries the journey passed through.

The band formed to record The Big Shift, also led to the formation of a live band which will have debuted on the 24th of January this year. The four people involved in the recording of The Big Shift were, Sebas (vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards), Petra Honing (lead and backing vocals), Christiaan Bruin (drums and backing vocals) and Tessa Struijs (backing vocals). Christiaan Bruin is also a member of Sky Architect and Nine Stones Close, whilst also releasing solo albums under the name of Chris.

The Big Shift is again a concept album, of sorts, but with a more personal link and relates to change that occurs at various points, such as leaving home, getting rid of fears and the birth of his daughter. The Big Shift is a 15 track album with a playing time of around 62 minutes. Tracks 1 and 15, “Big Shift” and “Lost,” form the shortest and longest tracks on offer, with the former clocking in at 1:12 minutes and the latter running just short of 6 minutes (5:48).

The opening, and title, track, “Big Shift” (1:12) is an atmospheric 25 seconds before the chunky power chords erupt. Some very tasty guitar then takes the track out and into “Life (part I)” (5:13) which is a totally different “kettle of fish.” Subtle strummed guitar leads into an almost faltering, fragile vocal from Sebas, and then the track opens up when Petra’s vocals join in. The track is more band orientated from this point as the music slowly builds and there are some chunky chords before the guitar gets a chance to “run free” with some excellent soaring themes.

These opening two tracks highlight the more melodic, almost pop styled areas of the music as well as the more metallic sections and it makes you eager to hear the rest of the album.

Tracks 3 and 4, “Ditching Fear” (4:15) and “Mercury Retrograde” (4:00) continue this light/dark atmosphere before “OMG” (3:34) blasts out of the speakers as a riff-laden thumper of a track together with a more strained version of vocals. 

“All of You” (4:06) quiets things down by several notches and “Freedom” (4:47) is a slow building track, neither being reliant with the more metallic side of Sebas. “Mild Smile” (4:48) is another of the gentler examples from Sebas although the latter part of the track ramps up the soaring guitar melodies again. “Full 180” (3:04) is a rampaging, thundering track which drives out of the speakers and pummels your ears. 

Cue a total change with the next track, “Flickering Heart” (5:22) which demonstrates the ease with which Sebas can move from the light into the dark, both between, and within, tracks. The penultimate track, “Life (part II)” (4:52) is another thundering rocker before the finale, “Lost” (5:48) which is an atmospheric moody track with bursts of metal to accentuate the sections within the track.

The Big Shift is an excellent album which seems to have used the previous 2 releases as stepping stones to a new level. The Big Shift effortlessly fuses areas of lighter and darker moods across and within the 15 tracks. One moment you are listening to the gentler, laid back music, but Sebas has the ability to “up the ante” so quickly and seamlessly, that you realize you are listening to a musician who is very confident about what he is achieving.

I found The Big Shift an extremely enjoyable 60+ minute listen and would suggest giving the album a few plays. It is unlikely that you will feel any pangs of disappointment.

4.5/5 Stars 

Key Tracks: Life (Part I), All You Are, Lost

Tracks: 
01. Big Shift
02. Life (Part 1)
03. Ditching Fear
04. Mercury Retrograde
05. OMG
06. All You Are
07. Freedom
08. Mild Smile
09. Hometown
10. Full180
11. Flickering Heart
12. Homeless
13. Falling Down
14. Life (Part 2)
15. Lost
 
Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk
March 21, 2016
Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk



20 March 2016

Rock/Metal Review: Bang-Mother/Bow to the King

Release Date: 1971/1972
Label: Capitol Records
Every era has its superstars, the acts and bands that shine brighter than the rest of the pack.  They top the charts, play to sold-out crowds, and amass millions in record sales. They influence the next generations of musicians and their songs and go on to become a staple of pop-culture, while sounding as good now as they did decades ago when they were first released.  Then there are the bands that get lost in the shuffle.  They have plenty of talent, and maybe a hit song or two, but they were never able to make it to the next level for whatever reason.  Bang is one such band.

Formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania not long after Woodstock in 1969 by two high school friends, Frank Glicken (guitar, vocals) and Frank Ferrara (bass, lead vocals), they were joined by Tony Diorio (drums) after he answered their ad in a newspaper.  One of the earliest American bands to venture into the heavy metal genre, there were hopes of them being the American answer to Black Sabbath. They signed to Capitol in the early 70s, and eventually put out three albums, with the single “Questions” making it into the top 100.  They were never able to duplicate its success and broke up after the release of their third album.

Bang and Mother/Bow to the King are re-issues of their first two albums, originally released in 1971 and 1972.  They are a joy to listen to, making it a real shame that they could not manage to keep things together, because there is a lot of quality music one these two albums.  It makes one wonder what they would have produced during the rest of the 70s if they never broke up.

The opening of “Lions, Christians” is a great attention grabber with its caustic and distinct guitar riff.  This is an ace of a hard rock song with some heavy presence.  This is a solid example of the early 70s hard rock sound that has such a close kinship with heavy metal, a nice mesh of the right speed with a heavy sound.  “The Queen” is sure to be a pleaser as it gives off a very strong Led Zeppelin vibe.  “Last Will” takes the tempo down a notch.  The sound is a bit more pop oriented, with a strong Beatles influence on this one. 

“Come with Me” picks things right back up with another soulful hard rock song. The guitar parts are a real standout here, being very memorable and unique. One of the album standouts, “Our Home,” is such a fantastic rocking tune, and should really be essential listening for hard rock fans. It is one of those songs where their skill, talent, and promise can be heard.  Over forty years later, it still sounds so fresh.  “Future Stock” is slow, heavy, and ahead of its time. This is one of those songs where their proto-metal sound can clearly be heard. “Questions” is straight up and kills it with its seductive bassline, and the drums complement it fantastically. Closing of the album is the post-apocalyptic sci-fi themed “Redman,” that is almost too catchy for its own good. 

Mother/Bow to the King is their 1972 follow-up to their self-titled debut. The opener, “Mother,” is pleasant sounding folksy song, so feel free to clap along. It retains their hard rock flair with the guitar solo near the end.  One listen to “Humble” and it is easy to see why these guys are categorized as proto-metal with the heavy hard rock sound of this song.   “Keep On” is a solid rock song memorable for its funky guitar.

“Idealist Realist” brings the heavy proto-metal sound of “Humble” back.  The cover of The Guess Who’s “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature” clashes with the rest of the songs and sounds so out of place on this album.  “Feel the Hurt” is an emotional lighter rocker.  It is not as heavy as “Humble” or “Idealist Realist,” but it has plenty of passion behind it.  Following it up is “Tomorrow,” an up-beat rocker.  “Bow to the King” starts off slow and mellow and has an almost dreamlike quality to it.  It is a successful divergence from their usual hard rock and metal sound that veers into progressive rock territory.  It is a serene closer to an interesting sophomore album.   

These Bang re-issues are a true blast from the past.  Bang is one hidden gem of a band that deserves to be rediscovered.  Bang and Mother/Bow to the King are two highly creative and skillful albums that you cannot go wrong with.  If you are in any way a fan of hard rock, heavy metal, or of music from the 70s in general, then these Bang albums should definitely be in your collection.  

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Lions, Christians, Our Home, Questions, Mother, Humble, Bow to the King

Tracks:
Bang

01. Lions, Christians
02. The Queen
03. Last Will
04. Come with Me
05. Our Home
06. Future Stock
07. Questions
08. Redman


 
Mother/Bow to the Earth
09. Mother
10. Humble
11. Keep On
12. Idealist Realist
13. No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature
14. Feel the Hurt
15. Tomorrow
16. Bow to the King


Brian McKinnon - Write A Music Review Sr. Staff
March 20, 2016
Review Provided By Write A Music Review

16 March 2016

Jazz Review: Pablo Embon-The World Within

Release Date: March 18, 2016
Label: Independent
Website


Pablo Embon is a remarkably talented artist. He has released his 15th album titled The World Within. The album was performed, recorded, mixed and produced by Embon between June 2015 and February 2016 in Israel. Amongst the 13 tracks there is a multitude of jazz stylings.

As a listener this is sheer delight to hear such talent and diversity on display. As an individual with the role of reviewing said music it is quite an undertaking. I mean that as the sincerest form of flattery by the way.

The influences Pablo has are many and 99% of them are artists I love so it is no wonder I found it easy to fall into this music like it was an old friend. Jazz is very complex music, a true art form that deserves respect and the full attention of a listener. Lord knows if you have a lapse in your listening you are bound to miss something prolific or even a subtle nuance that changes the entire direction of a song.

It is hard to choose a place to start with this magnificent recording but as usual I like to focus on 3 or 4 tracks that stood out for my ears and musical palette. First let me say how much I have always loved jazz and although I hear elements of it in much of the music I have the opportunity to review, I rarely have the chance to take in so many different forms of the genre in one sitting as I have with The World Within.

“Peeling Off” caught my attention first with the title itself. This was like peeling off the layers of something to find something underneath, then doing it again and again. For instance the peeling of the musical onion can be a wonderful thing for a musician to experience and even more so for the music fan to hear it. This track was all about the grandeur and elegance of the piano. Embon certainly pays due respect to the ivory keys with the wonderfully rhythmic and pleasant journey.

“The Real Thing” for me was the expression of jazz from beginning to end. It reminded me so much how I came to love this music in the first place. The all-important percussion, the gentle tapping of the symbols, the guitar accentuating the tinkling of the piano as the bass and drums fall into sync. This is traditional jazz that changes over to a more modern sound nearly half way through. It was like listening to Dave Brubeck morphing into Chick Corea (worthy of note are the electric keyboards). I loved the back and forth transitions, and how in one track a listener gets to experience how jazz music has progressed into what it is today. Not only is it “The Real Thing,” it is a tribute to the art.

“What I've Heard” is one of the more interesting tracks and the one that steps away from the others. One cannot help but notice how different it sounds even though the entire album offered a good helping of different jazz styles throughout. This track while having a foundation of jazz to work with, takes everything one step further with the steady and proud pounding of military drums that echo the past and usher in the future once the keyboards come rolling in. The orchestral maneuvers bring a cinematic theme to your mind’s eye easily, like the very beginning or end of a favorite movie soundtrack. It made me think of John Wayne riding a horse across a vast expanse in the Wild West. All the changing emotions and atmospheres are packaged ever so tidily in this track.

You are bound to find The World Within the music after one listen. I listened three times and kept finding more. Welcome to the incredibly entertaining world of Mr. Pablo Embon!

5/5 Stars

 
Key Tracks: Peeling Off, The Real Thing, What I’ve Heard

Tracks:

01. The World Within
02. Last Falling Angel
03. Amor Latino
04. Coming Back
05. More For Less
06. The Ride Home
07. Leave the Lights on
08. The Moon For You
09. The Real Thing
10. Distinctive
11. Fly Away
12. What I've Heard
13. Peeling Off

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck- Write A Music Review Founder

March 16, 2016

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

15 March 2016

AndersonPonty Band Feat. Music Icons Jon Anderson & Jean Luc Ponty To Tour North America Spring 2016


Los Angeles – In support of their critically acclaimed CD/DVD release “Better Late Than Never”, the AndersonPonty Band, featuring music icons Jon Anderson and Jean Luc Ponty, will be touring North America in Spring 2016! The band played a series of successful US dates in the Fall of 2015 and are excited to bring their music to the fans once again.

AndersonPonty Band tour dates:

Apr 28 - Fox Tucson Theatre - Tucson, AZ TICKETS
Apr 30 - The Canyon Theater - Agoura Hills, CA TICKETS
May 01 - The Grove of Anaheim - Anaheim, CA TICKETS
May 04 - Boulder Theater - Boulder, CO TICKETS
May 06 - Majestic Theatre - Dallas, TX TICKETS
May 07 - One World Theatre - Austin, TX TICKETS
May 10 - Ames Center – Burnsville, MN TICKETS
May 11 - The Arcada Theatre - St. Charles, IL TICKETS
May 13 - The Pageant - St. Louis, MO TICKETS
May 14 - Barrymore Theatre - Madison, WI TICKETS
May 17 - Riviera Theatre - N. Tonawanda, NY TICKETS
May 18 - Tarrytown Music Hall - Tarrytown, NY TICKETS
May 20 - Cabot Performing Arts Center - Beverly, MA TICKETS
May 21 - Calvin Theater - Northampton, MA TICKETS
May 23 - The Ridgefield Playhouse - Ridgefield, CT TICKETS
May 25 – The Egg – Hart Theatre – Albany, NY TICKETS
May 26 – St. Denis Theatre – Montreal, Canada TICKETS
May 27 – Palais Montcalm – Quebec, Canada TICKETS

One of the most eagerly awaited releases of 2015, the AndersonPonty Band's “Better Late Than Never” features outstanding performances by the group from September 2014 at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado, as well as some innovative production.

Along with some breathtaking new musical compositions, “Better Late Than Never” also showcases rearrangements of classic YES hits like “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, “Roundabout” and “Wonderous Stories”. The album also includes some of Jean Luc Ponty's beloved compositions, with Jon's lyrical vocals and melodies enhancing the music and creating a very special and unique sound such as “Infinite Mirage” a new song incorporating Jean Luc's classic tune “Mirage”.

YES's original singer/songwriter for 35 years, Jon Anderson has had a successful solo career, which includes working with such notable music artists as Vangelis, Kitaro, and Milton Nascimento. International violin superstar Jean Luc Ponty is a pioneer and undisputed master of his instrument in the arena of jazz and rock. He is widely regarded as an innovator who has applied his unique visionary spin that has expanded the vocabulary of modern music. Together these two music legends have formed a musical synergy that is unparalleled!

“A breakthrough feeling came as I sang with Jean Luc's music, to be in a band again is very exciting on many levels, we will play and sing our way around the world and have fun, for music is pleasure, music is all that is.” - Jon Anderson

“Collaborating with Jon who is such a creative singer/songwriter is unlike any project I have done before. I knew that we had plenty of musical affinities to make it work, but the result is way beyond my expectations. It is also a lot of fun to reunite with these excellent musicians who played with me in the past, they really put their heart in this project and with Jon's creative input we are not just rehashing the past but giving a new life to the music we started developing decades ago.” - Jean Luc Ponty

The AndersonPonty Band also includes Jamie Glaser on guitars (Jean Luc Ponty, Chick Corea, Bryan Adams and Lenny White); Wally Minko on keyboards (Pink, Toni Braxton, Jean Luc Ponty, Tom Jones, Gregg Rolie and Barry Manilow); Keith Jones on bass (Airto, Santana, Kenny Loggins and Jean Luc Ponty); and Rayford Griffin on drums and percussion (Stanley Clarke Band, George Duke, Jean Luc Ponty and Michael Jackson). The band visit the music created by Jon Anderson and Jean Luc Ponty over the years with new arrangements, virtuosic performances and new energy.

Jean Luc Ponty was originally approached by Jon Anderson with the idea of working together as far back as the 1980's. Now 30 years later the dream has become a reality!

Here's what the press have raved about AndersonPonty Band's “Better Late Than Never”:

“Collaboration reinvigorates its two legends.” - PROG magazine, UK

“Simply captivates with its beauty.” - Artrock.pl, Poland

“A perfect confluence of two wonderful talents” - Classic Rock Revisited, USA

“This album is sublime.” - Vintage Vinyl News, USA

“One of the best progressive rock releases of the year.” - Music Street Journal, USA

“One of the best things to happen to prog-rock in decades.” - That Devil Music, USA

“Get ready for pure musical joy.” - Vintage Rock, USA

“This is a brilliant Prog album” - Planet Mosh UK

“The album is a joyous celebration” - Audiophile Review, USA

“AndersonPonty Band strikes sonic gold.” - MWE3, USA

“The music is unparalleled” - Lords Of Metal, Netherlands

To purchase AndersonPonty Band “Better Late Than Never” CD/DVD: http://www.amazon.com/Better-Late-Than-Never-DVD/dp/B0133G1FM4/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1457714243&sr=1-1&keywords=andersonponty+band

Watch the forthcoming AndersonPonty Band special on PBS. Check your local listings for dates and times.

For more information visit the official AndersonPonty Band website: http://www.andersonpontyband.com/

Jon Anderson official website: www.jonanderson.com
Jean Luc Ponty official website: www.ponty.com

Manager: Miles Copeland
mc@milescopeland.net

Booking agent: APA
O: (212) 205-4328 | C: (310) 895-6144 | F: (212) 245-5062
JLashnits@apanewyork.comwww.apa-agency.com

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com
(interview requests contact Billy James at Glass Onyon PR)

APB poster credit: Photo of Jon Anderson (Robin Kauffman), Photo of Jean Luc Ponty (Robert Ford), Design (John Vehadija)