Our Personal Selections
Progessive Edge's Top 10 Lists for 2002
Cherokee's Musical Selections - Apr. 7, 2002
Bob's Musical Selections - Jan 22, 2003
Progessive Edge's Top 10 Lists for 2002
Note these are picked subjectively and non-scientifically and represent exactly what we thought were the best things we heard/saw/found/enjoyed in 2002. About the only limit we placed on this was that the people needed to release something or tour in the course of the year. Some of these categories are very close, indeed. All are recommended highly, and ofcourse, your tastes may vary widely.
Up - Peter Gabriel
Cherokee's Music Selections
When I was growing up I was exposed to a lot of different kinds of music. There was North American Indigenous music alongside Celtic Traditional Music and Appalachian Bluegrass from my grandparents ( My Great Uncle was a championship fiddler and played on Midwestern Hayride for years). There was classical, swing, jazz and latin dance music from my parents that merged with british invasion, motown, and maistream pop and folk. When I was 12 music assumed a huge place in my life when I was blessed with finding a small "progressive" music station out of Oxford, Ohio that played everything from The Beatles to Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies. I communicated so much with the staff that they adopted me as kindof a mascot (they donated a lot of albums to me). Their philosophy about "progressive" music was embodied by a spirit of exploration and interaction between musical genres and forms. It is music that makes you think as well as feel. I hold this same philosophy. Therefore I see "progressive" in music where others might have much narrower criteria. I have a special fondness for obscure 60's psychedelia and 70's prog and avant garde but I like current stuff too. My taste is always evolving.
It is difficult for me to recommend music to others knowing I have such eccentric and eclectic taste but here goes. I got a lot of CD's for gifts recently so that's what I'm listening to mostly.
YES Magnification 2001
I am a huge YES fan. One of the things I always look forward to with any YES album is that sense of anticipation when playing a new CD the first time. Somehow they always manage to sound like YES while doing something you don't expect and you might not like on first hearing. It always takes at least five listens to even begin to put it all together even if I do like it the first time. It's always an adventure. This album was no different. It is certainly the most "mature" album they've done, with lyrics that are far more wordly, socially conscious and dark than we are used to played out against instrumental backdrops that are perhaps not so innovative as they are reminiscent. The arrangements recall much of the Beatles with George Martin and so pay homage to YES' avowed position as torchbearers of The Beatles legacy while still sounding like YES. This album has a lot of beauty and strength to it largely due to Larry Groupe's orchestral arrangements, the power and dominance of Squire's bass lines (If God played bass it would sound like Chris Squire!) and the sheer magic of Anderson and Squire's intertwined vocals (much of the album they sing as one). Not as "crunchy" as the 70's stuff, or as pop as the 80's stuff, or as meandering as the 90's stuff, it feels as if YES has finally hit a new stride. On nightly rotation.
Jade Warrior Elements: The Island Anthology 1995
This two disc anthology brings together the four albums the multi-instrumentalist duo releassed on Island records from 1974 to 1978. The anthology shows that Jade Warrior were way ahead of their time as one of the first bands to incorporate elements of World music as well as being one of the first bands to make what would later be called World, New Age and Ambient music.All this was done without synthesizers with the exception of Steve Winwood contributing Moog on a couple of tracks. Truly revolutionary stuff for the time, it still sounds fresher and more innovative than most of the World and New Age Music being made today. Gift
Nick Drake Fruit Tree 2001 Remaster (4CD Set)
I don't think there is much I can say about Nick Drake that hasn't been said. I had the 1986 issue and gave it to my best friend last year and got the new and improved Rykodisc 24-bit remasters as a gift this year. This is a gorgeous set that ehnhances an already impossibly beautiful set of CDs. Nick has been a huge influence on the alternative/indie music scene. If you've never heard Nick Drake before and you love intense and complex finger-picked accoustic guitar and beautifully crafted solipsistic melancholy make you appreciate the beauty of life all the more, you owe it to yourself to get this set. Gift
It' A Beautiful Day - First Album 1969
This has always been one of my favorite albums. IABD was a San Francisco scene band that incorporated bluegrass, classical, rock, jazz, R&B, and psychedelic sensibilities with excellent musicianship, a violin as the lead instrument and gorgeous vocal harmonies. You may note a strong similarity between the track "Bombay Calling" and "Child in Time" from the Deep Purple's In Rock released in 1970. Gift
Robbie Robertson - Contact From The Underground of Redboy 1998
[Not among the presents but one of my favorite albums for the past few years] Known primarily as one of the songwriters and lead guitarist of The Band, Robbie Robertson has done several soundtracks and 4 solo albums all of which are commendable. This CD was nominated for a Grammy for Best World Music Album in 1999 and truly deserved it. His solo albums have become increasingly socially conscious and political. This album is very political and presents many issues close to the hearts of Native Americans. Robertson is part Mohawk. He uses samples of traditional music from various tribes and native musicians and singers. These are implanted and overlayed with original compositions laced with rock, folk and jazz along with DJ riffs from Howie B. and remixes by Marius DeVries. The result is a highly thought provoking and evocative mix.
Porcupine Tree- Lightbulb Sun 2000
Shadow Gallery Legacy 2001
R. Carlos Nakai - All of his wonderful solo flute albums or any of his collaborations.
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Bob's Musical Selections
First, a little background, so that you will know how to rate your musical preferences as compared to mine... My musical tastes tend towards the prog-metal, and even the "Rave electronica" side of the biz, and as a result my choices of favorites might lean a bit that way. However, I do listen to a wide range of music depending on mood, and hearing World or classical music around the house is a regular thing. As some of you may know, my favorite band is Yes, and has been for almost as long as I can remember, so you may see some bias there. :-) Having been raised in the 1960s and 1970s, I have a distinct fondness for bands of that era, but am very interested in all of the new progressive music that's out and about. The current wave of bands are really quite interesting. Not that I hold on to a "favorites" list for very long, so I'll update this page periodically.
So, with all that said, I'll give some idea as to what's in the ol' CD player right now, and what I can recommend.
The Flower Kings - Stardust We Are
The Flower Kings have quickly moved to the top of my playlist. They put on a great concert, playing prog rock that sounds somehwat like old Yes or Genesis with a metallic edge. If you like deep, intense bass, accomplished guitar and keyboard work, driving percussion and meaningful lyrics, try out the Flower Kings. Stardust We Are is a good introduction to the band, as it contains all the elements that make the Flower Kings unique. Albums such as Flower Power and the Flower King, as well as the most recent, the Rainmaker, are also excellent.
Afro-Celt Sound System - Volume 3 : Further in Time
Wow! I just discovered this band, and love them. An interesting blend of rhythms and melodies, the name really says it all. Well, except for the fact that the music is really exciting and unique. Celtic and African influences are evident, as well as the overlay of club/house music. The musicianship is superb, and this album feaures vocals by Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Pina and others. If you like exciting worl music, you'll find it here.
California Guitar Trio - Christmas Album
I know Christmas is over, but I have become very fond of these guys, and this album is a real treat that I believe everybody will like. It has some very poignant and beautiful arrangements, as well as some humourous moments. In fact, if you like intricate acoustic guitar work, any of the CGT CDs are recommended.
Tony Levin - Pieces of the Sun
This is Tony Levin's latest work, and it takes a more intense and "firey" approach to the music. While certain parts and quotes will make you think of his earlier works, the album pushes more into fusion.
Oceania - Oceania
This is a very interesting mixture of Western and Maori music. Created by Jaz Coleman, it was originally recorded in its entirety with aboriginal instruments. Hinewehi Mohi's vocals added a beautiful and ethereal dimension to the composition. The record companies then insisted on adding drums for enhancing their ability to sell into the club scene, so Coleman relied on his understanding of pop music to add in a suitable beat track. The resulting mixture is intoxicating and exciting, and very unique.
Yes - Magnification
Their newest album (released Dec 4, 2001) features a full orchestra (the San Diego Symphony, directed by Larry Groupe) and no keyboard player for the first time. (They did tour with Tom Brislin, however). The album has striking arrangements and eerily prescient lyrics, considering it was written before the recent tragic events. Some will find the sound a bit soft, and the songs, while far more expansive than regular pop fare, are not the 20 minute epics that some purists might prize. Overall, this is a great album that I have a hard time turning off, and comes highly recommended.
Shadow Gallery - Legacy
I was very impressed by this album, the guitar and keyboard playing is superb, intricate and heavy where required, but also light and serene when the mood is appropriate. The lyrical content is deep and interesting and goes along well with the music. The last track - an epic at 34 minutes plus - has a bit of a twist that is most entertaining.
Other favorite albums / artists:
Douglas Blue Feather
Nakai, Eaton, Clipman, Nawang - In A Distant Place
Transatlantic - Bridge Across Forever
World Trade - Euphoria
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