Exposé Online banner

Gentle Giant — Artistically Cryme
(Glass House GLASS104CD, 1976/2003, 2CD)

Gentle Giant — The Missing Face
(Glass House GLASS105CD, 1977/2003, CD)

Gentle Giant — Playing the Cleveland
(Glass House GLASS106CD, 1975/2003, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2004-09-01

Artistically Cryme Cover artThe Missing Face Cover artPlaying the Cleveland Cover art

Gentle Giant’s headlining and support tours are further documented in three more marginal bootleg renditions from Voiceprint in the UK. Artistically Cryme is the first release, and a complete two disc show form the European tour in support of Interview in late 1976. The band’s set list had expanded to cover a few new pieces from that album which lent themselves to live performance: “Interview,” “Timing,” and the odd mesh of “Peel the Paint” with “I Lost My Head” that somehow worked well together. The group marched through “Just the Same” and “Proclamation” much like a tornado through a cornfield. “On Reflection” benefits from the noticeable switchover of instrumentation from guitar/bass/drums to violin/vibes/acoustic guitar. “Interview” (the lead track from the album of the same name) in this live incarnation serves as platform for a brutal, obtuse riff and a smoking electric guitar solo from Gary Green. Disc two opens with the band staple “Excerpts from Octopus” before eventually coming to “Timing” which in its studio form was a vehicle for further adventures in orchestral percussion. Onstage however, Ray Shulman turns the piece into a violin tour de force (much like his old solo spot in “Plain Truth”). Overall it’s a great mostly complete show but with dodgy sound on the low end.

A local group, “Myles and Lenny” opened for the band at the Agora Ballroom in early January 1975, but that didn’t seem to stop Giant from giving a good set. Playing the Cleveland documents the group’s show, opening with a blistering version of “Cogs in Cogs,” probably one of the most difficult first songs for any live performance. Emphasis on this set list was the new The Power and the Glory album where the five piece group excelled in jarring riffs and instrumental dexterity. “Proclamation” has a slightly slower tempo at the end of the track (predating the inclusion of “Valedictory”). This then transitions into the band’s sad legacy ballad “Funny Ways,” where Kerry always got to show his vibraphone chops. The last three pieces are from ten months later and were probably appended onto the disc to shore up the length. The added version of “Cogs in Cogs” is also a blinding flash of inspiration and most certainly scared audience and other bands on the bill.

The Missing Face is the newest of this batch of recordings, from mid-way through The Missing Piece tour featuring five pieces from that album. Again sound quality is fair at best. The studio sound of the original LP and CD transfer has always been a bit high on the treble side so it’s great to hear strong pieces such as “I’m Turning Around” with a balanced lower end. The highlights of the show, including a great version of “On Reflection,” which was featured also a highpoint of Playing the Fool from the previous year. Gary Green’s guitar solo on “Playing the Game” shows a nod to a bluesy rave-up. For those of you who haven’t heard the comparable second disc of the BBC Sight and Sound gig from some months earlier as the group does well to shift emphasis on many pieces to their half rock and roll “Betcha Thought We Couldn’t Do It” and their multi-instrumental expertise (demonstrated on “Funny Ways”). A rare version of “The Face” from The Power and the Glory was next to closing piece as the group demonstrates handling a difficult piece of gypsy violin atop clavinet and heavy rock.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 30, 2003 releases, 1976 recordings, 1977 recordings, 1975 recordings

Related artist(s): Gentle Giant

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

David Sancious and Tone - Transformation (The Speed of Love) – David Sancious came at the genre of jazz-rock fusion from a rather different direction than most of the key figures. Rather than coming into it as an established jazz player or from the progressive...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues