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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Scott Henderson

Vibe Station

Review by Gary Hill

I could see this getting placed in non-prog as jazz. There is a lot of jazz here. Still, there are enough other things, and enough rock in particular, that I think it lands under progressive rock. It’s a strong set however you label it, though.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Church of Xotic Dance

Fusion and southern rock seem to merge on this rocker. It’s a guitar driven instrumental with a number of shifts and changes and a great groove. There are moments that make me think of modern King Crimson. The later portion of the piece seems a bit more purely melodic. It’s more of a straight groove, too. It still has plenty of Americana and fusion in the mix. It’s also got lots of great instrumental work. Dixie Dregs is a fairly valid comparison, really.

Sphinx
More freeform and chaotic at the start, this definitely has hints of Rock In Opposition built into it. It’s a killer instrumental that’s more dramatic and striking than the opener was. This thing keeps shifting and changing and gets into some pretty hard rocking territory.
Vibe Station
This is a real powerhouse jam. It has a lot of progressive rock and a lot of fusion in it. It also has plenty of both southern rock and funk in the mix.
Manic Carpet
Feeling a little more mysterious, this powerhouse number is one of my favorites. It’s definitely more in line with pure fusion, though. The crazed jamming later is pretty freeform in a lot of ways.
Calhoun
Although this is mellower, it’s no less dramatic. The instrumental work on the piece is outstanding and it covers a lot of great musical territory.  We’re taken through a number of turns and variants throughout the duration.      
The Covered Head
This piece is an awesome fusion number that shows off different flavors at different times. At some points this is the most decidedly jazz oriented thing here. It gets pretty crazed at points.
Festival of Ghosts
There are no big changes anywhere in this set. That said, this tends to rock out a bit more than some of the rest. I love the driving bass line and there are elements to this that make me think of Rush just a little at times.
Dew Wut?
This has some seriously inspired jamming on this one. There is definitely more of a groove to this piece than some of the more recent ones had. It’s on fire, and more closely related to the opening number in a lot of ways. Some weird processed cow sounds end this piece.
Chelsea Bridge
Mellower jazz is the concept here. It stays mellower, but gets into more bluesy territory later.
 
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