Various Artists — Giant for a Life - A Tribute to Gentle Giant
(Mellow MMP 300 A/B, 1997, 2CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1998-07-01
The second of two tributes to rock's most misunderstood progressive band is another hodgepodge of tracks from the Gentle Giant catalog. Most bands seem to adopt the policy of covering the original piece in its entirety without straying from the original arrangements. This usually has negative side effects for fans since the first version of the song is rarely improved on. Vocally it can be a bit trying as well to listen to a butchering of your favorite piece from almost twenty years ago. Mellow's continuing trend of band tributes has both pros and cons to support this view. A few cases in point: Fonya's arrangement of "Talybont" is quite good with closing strains from opening part of Free Hand. I have to commend Sky Island for undertaking the tricky title track from In a Glass House, well recorded and faithfully played too, but vocally disappointing. French TV's cover of "Mister Class and Quality?/Three Friends" rocks quite a bit, which does come close to capture the feel of that segue from 1972.
Another focus of the tribute album phenomenon is on bands looking to make a name for themselves in the progressive niche. We'll probably never hear from the following bands again: The Chocking Smokers Band, Glass Haus, The Works... but who cares, right? The late Louis Mastro does a faithful job of "Cogs in Cogs" while Kevin Gilbert's last recorded new piece graces the other Dan Barrett organized tribute and worth the price of purchase for me. In summary: another mixed bag of dinosaur bones.
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
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 Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more