With a title Blues For Lazarus, I was wondering why a label specializing in Prog Rock would release it. A little background information on Michael Gill revealed that he has been a fan of prog rock since he first attended a Yes concert in 1974. He has been active in music for many years, but mainly writing music for† film, television and commercials. As it turns out, Blues For Lazarus is actually his debut album.
He invited a host of guests to help him on his album. To drop a few names: Rick Ellis on vocals, Glenn Harris on acoustic guitar, Dave Weckl on drums. Weckl is a name I heard beforeÖAmongst others, he played with Chick Corea. So it is at least impressive that he got so many excellent musicians to play on his album.
On Gillís own website, it states† Blues For Lazarus is original progressive rock music inspired by the writings of Robert Heinlein, William Gibson, Frank Herbert, Mary Stewart and more. Well, that sounds promising! And opener Merlinís Journey sounds great! More AOR than prog, but with some nice, proggy keyboard parts. Maybe this book should not be judged by itís cover after allÖ
But the title track changes my mind. This is actually a blues song! And third track, Arrakis, is more proggy again, although heavily jazz/fusion influenced. And from here on, that is the main sound of the rest of the album. And then Iím done with the album. Donít get me wrong: itís a very nice album. Good musicians, nice songs. But definitely not† ďoriginal progressive rock musicĒ. Itís more fusion or pop music. And then that Peter Gabriel cover, Here Comes the Flood. The singer, Callie Lou Thomas, has a beautiful voice, but I really donít like this version.
So again my question: why did ProgRock Records release this album? I think because they find in the US there is a market for it. In Holland there may be plenty people who will enjoy this album. But please bear in mind this is not a prog rock album.
** Marcel Haster (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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