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Andy Tillison - Parallel Or On A Tangent
Posted on Sunday, October 02 2005 @ 19:33:44 CDT by Duncan Glenday
General Andy Tillison and I sat at a table in the bay window of the restaurant next to the Colonial Theater that will forever be known as the place where they filmed The Blob. But this weekend it was the venue for the 2005 ROSfest and on this perfect Sunday the progressive rock fans were milling around outside, wandering to the vendor room, smoking and feeling wonderfully relaxed. But Tillison had other things on his mind. He's an accomplished musician, but The Tangent is a very new band and in a few hours they would headline America's second biggest prog festival.

Sea Of Tranquility's Duncan Glenday reports:

The Tangent started off as a project but despite the challenges of geography, the participants gelled like magic on the debut CD and the market's response was overwhelmingly positive. Andy quickly decided to drop the 'project' status and The Tangent is now a full band, with live performances, a new CD in the works, and a curious lineup.

Initially formed from a collaboration of artists, about half of whom were related one way or another with The Flower Kings, The Tangent's original lineup included no fewer than 7 contributors: Tillison on keyboards and vocals, Sam Baine (pictured right) on piano, Roine (Flower Kings) Stolt on lead guitar and vocals, Jonas Reingold on bass, Zoltan Csörsz on drums, Guy Manning on acoustic guitars, mandolin and vocals, and David Jackson on saxophone, flute.  (Yes - that David Jackson!)  The lineup for second album was similar, with only the saxophonist Theo Travis replacing Jackson. But don't expect to see all of those people together on stage any time soon. The ROSfest gig was presented by just a 6-person lineup –  that's still a big team roster, but the two people most missed at ROSfest were Roine Stolt and Guy Manning.

"Roine's just much too busy right now", Tillison explained. And Guy? "Well let's just say that sometimes best friends shouldn't work together." I know that Tillison and Manning have been friends for years and collaborated on Parallel or 90 Degrees and as La Voce Del Vento on the Colossus Spaghetti Western epic project, so I wouldn't let Andy get away with that and pressed the point. "Best friends tend to bump heads from time to time", he went on. "Working in the studio is one thing, but Guy has some strong opinions, and so do I. We didn't want to ruin a friendship. We'll definitely be working together in the studio in the future." We discuss Guy's music for some time, and Andy points out that there are several opportunities for further collaboration - there's a second Spaghetti epic in the works, The Tangent will be back in the studio soon, and there's still Parallel Or 90 Degrees.

For ROSfest The Tangent comprised Andy  on keyboards and vocals, Sam Baine on keyboards, Krister Jonsson - guitar and vocals, Jonas Reingold - bass, Jaime Salazar - drums and Theo Travis on saxophone and flute

"Zoltan is one of the best drummers in the world," he continues. "Three of our people are from Sweden, two are in France, and one - Theo, who plays the sax - is from England. " An Englishman himself, Tillison recently moved to south-central France. Asked whether he plans to spend his life in France as a full-time musician, Andy was adamant about keeping the music fresh, and an enjoyable activity rather than a burden. "I'll work on my music full time for about a year, then I'll teach English. The music will become a part time thing again – I'd far prefer it to be a hobby".

Dressed in a jeans and tie-dyed T-shirt and sporting a wild head of long graying hair, Andy personifies the image of a 1960s hippie. Add the small colored glasses barely covering intelligent eyes, and he looks like the musician's musician. On some of the Internet discussion boards fans of The Tangent have judged the band's first album to be superior to their second, so I asked about that. "I wouldn't say that. Yes, they are very different though", Tillison agrees. "But The Music That Died Alone is more easy-listening, and The World That We Drive Through is much deeper. More complex. So the album people prefer may come down to the style they prefer–" The Tangent is busy with a third album, but Parallel or 90 Degrees is on hold. About half of a new Po90 album is ready, and he plans to return to it later.

When the band took the stage on Sunday Andy playfully told the crowd that since the band is such an international collection of artists, they'd hardly rehearsed and they don't have many live performances under their collective belt; so their nerves were running high. Many of the fans went to ROSfest specifically to see The Tangent, and for the rest, the performance was a huge surprise. Everyone expected them to be good, but their set was impeccable. Tillison and company play big music, with a big lineup, and everyone's expectations of the band were met in a big way, and none of the nerves were evident in their presentation. These are seasoned professionals who delivered an excellent performance.

There were many Tangent fans before ROSfest. There are a whole lot more now.

Andy Tillison's huge keyboard setup dominates the large ROSfest stage

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