Friday, December 24, 2010

Nice Christmas Message

As I was looking for Christmas light videos I came across this wonderful video collage someone had made for Jon Anderson's song "All God's Children." I felt it was perfectly appropriate for the season.

Merry Christmas!

These sorts of videos have been around for a long time but it seemed an appropriate way to wish readers a Merry Christmas! Lights synchronized to the music of Jon Anderson, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Mannheim Steamroller.

Pain of Salvation: "Be" with Orchestra

Interesting mix of prog, metal, and folk music dealing with struggles of faith, commercialism, and other social themes. Unique staging puts the small chamber orchestra mixed in with the band members. I'm not a huge fan of the band, but I really like some of it so I've made a playlist of 4 of my favorite segments from the DVD.

Kansas Know Place Like Home DVD-with Orchestra, Kerry Livgren, Steve Morse

This looks like a great new DVD from Kansas! I'm really excited about it -- they sound better than they have for a long time. One thing I really like is that they've got a new singer for the high melodies--looks like Steve Walsh has finally acknowledged that he can't hit those notes like he used to, and he sounds great on the lower vocal leads and harmony parts. Here is the official teaser video.

Another Magenta Cover: Lucky Man

Magenta have recorded their second cover of a classic prog rock tune, giving it a unique Magenta treatment. I've embedded the Magenta version as well as a video of a gum-chewing Greg Lake performing it solo in 1974.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yes Alumni Update: Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson got ill when Yes was to go on tour; rather than canceling the tour Yes found a new singer. Jon has moved on to work with many other musicians, including the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. A new television special was broadcast over the Thanksgiving break of a concert; I can't wait until a DVD is available.

Yes Alumni Update: Trevor Rabin

Trevor Rabin continues to compose and produce music for film and many other venues. His most recent soundtrack was for The Magician's Apprentice. He does a great job of weaving Dukas' music throughout the the score -- sometimes it sneaks in subtly, and sometimes it bursts brazenly in. Here is one bit of it:

I checked out his website and was very happy to find a nice audio player there with some of his music, including the NBA theme, music from movies, and other things. The only Yes in the list was a bit of the song Silent Spring from the album Talk. 

Click here to open the audio player.

I still find it surprising that in 1980 Trevor joined members of the then defunct classically-oriented band Yes to revitalize it as a vehicle for his pop songs, then leave the band to compose movie soundtracks. Just listen to his music and imagine what he could do for a prog rock band. Too bad he didn't take Yes more in this direction while he was with them (although there certainly are elements in the three Yes albums he participated in).

Yes Alumni Update: Bill Bruford

Bill Bruford continues to use his remarkable talents with Earthworks and other jazz projects. While I really enjoy his music I didn't realize he had gotten together with three other amazing drummers, including Chad Wackerman, to form the World Drummers Ensemble. I got to see Chad play with Alan Holdsworth at NEARfest a few years ago, it was amazing. So here is the promo video for their DVD:

And here is a nice Earthworks video from quite a few years ago, when he was in his electronic drumpad kick:

Yes Alumni Update: Rick Wakeman

I recently decided to see what some ex-Yesmen were up to, and was quite happy with what I found. I'll be making a series of posts to share what I learned.

Rick Wakeman just released a DVD of a live piano performance with orchestra in Lugano, Switzerland, in a beautiful outdoor setting. Enjoy this clip of Catherine Howard. Other tracks include The King Arthur Suite, Gone But Not Forgotten, Merlin The Magician and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. See it listed on