Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra Records [Release date 14.10.13]
Billy Sherwood is a busy man. The one-time Yes guitarist/keyboard player has carved out a niche coordinating a myriad of projects in recent years – some with a prog angle, others with a ‘tribute’ theme. For the second offering from the aptly-titled Prog Collective he has brought together another A-Z of prog artists and another highly agreeable listen.
Naturally there is a strong Yes feel (Rick Wakeman, Chris Squire, Patrick Moraz, Geoff Downes and Tony Kaye all present) but by enlisting the likes of John Wetton, Fee Waybill and Alan Parsons (yes, THE Alan Parsons) there is enough light, shade and variety.
XTC vocalist Colin Moulding fronts the opening track ‘Are We To Believe’ which is transformed by Mel Collins’ superb sax. The two Sherwood-fronted tracks are probably the standouts: ‘In Our Time’ and ‘Just Another Day’, both sounding like post-seventies Yes. The stellar cast of musicians also includes Steve Hillage, Steve Morse, Roye Albrighton (Nektar), Jordan Rudess and Derek Sherinian.
Gary Green (Gentle Giant) contributes to one track – as he did on the last outing - and the late great Peter Banks is heard on the immersive ‘Tomorrow Becomes Today’ with Sonja Kristina on vocals.
With a closing “epilogue’ by the legendary William Shatner (who gets his own prog album masterminded by Sherwood, but that’s another story) you have a rounded performance by all and a progressive album of real merit. ****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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