Robin Taylor / Taylor's Free Universe — Two Pack
(Marvel of Beauty MOBCD 021, 2011, 2CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2011-06-01A brilliant marketing strategy here - two 3-inch mini-CDs in cardboard sleeves are shrink-wrapped back-to-back. The first features three new songs recorded in 2010, featuring Taylor on guitars, bass, keyboards, and percussion, drummer Klaus Thrane, and guests on soprano and tenor sax. Kicking off with an explosive flurry of freewheeling saxes, organ and guitars, it quickly settles into a more familiar progressive rock mode with "Heavy Friends," a piece vaguely reminiscent of Pekka Pohjola's "No Way Out" (from Everyman) but with a lot more jazz intensity and soloing. The voice of Louise Nipper is featured near the end of the second cut "The Ghost of Göran," a more contemplative piece that goes through a number of different sections over its ten minute duration. "Stoned Mushroom" closes the disc nicely in a similar style as the opener though perhaps a bit less frenzied, for a total of about 22 minutes of music. The second disc features two extended twelve-minute workouts by TFU, Taylor's jazz ensemble originally recorded in 2006, featuring Taylor on guitar, regulars Karsten Vogel (saxes) and Pierre Tassone (electric violin), along with bassist Assi Roar and drummer Rasmus Grosell making a mighty formidable rhythm section. Opener "Dark City" flies face first into some wild and blistering interchanges between guitars, sax and violin, while drums and bass pin it all down wonderfully. The second cut "Don't You Miles Me" is especially stunning, with the entire band cutting loose for its duration in some thoroughly funky and satisfying improvisation. Recommended!
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more