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Zvoncheck, Tommy: ZKG

Tommy Zvoncheck has a resume that will floor you. It floored me when I read some of the great artists he has had the pleasure of working with over his many years in music. The list of artists he has worked with comes from all genres of rock and popular music, (showing the depth of his musical talent). He has played or written music with the following: Public Image Ltd., The Coasters, Blue Oyster Cult, Aldo Nova, Flow and Eddie, Musique, Clarence Clemmons, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Tyler, Pat Travers, Patti Smith, Eric Johnson, Nena, (remember 99 Luftbaloons?), and Alex Lifeson, among many others. You can view his resume from the link below to get more of the depth of band mates, musical styles and friends he has collaborated with to make some great music.

I found this album during a search for new music and was immediately drawn to the incredible dynamic keys and sounds which this album brings to the table. This album was released in the magical, (one of my favorite years for music), 2008. But as I've often stated in my reviews, "it's not important when you find the music, it's just important that you do". This album truly lifted my spirits and was a welcome surprise during the first few months of this year, when there are not as many new releases available to review. This album goes well any time of day or any occasion. I can't wait to take this music up into the mountains and over to the ocean this summer.

"Off the Coast" opens with bold key strokes and then shimmering synth effects as you can almost see and feel the ocean spray. Then the powerful drums roar in to lift the majestic power to anthem level. The thunder and lightning effects are tremendous.

Must have been raining and storming when he wrote this album. Two songs about storms and "Storm Chaser" rushes forward with power guitar and keys to blow all the clouds away. Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser's, (Blue Oyster Cult), guitar really rocks this one. Tommy's keys and synths drive just as hard though. The crunchy bass and drums help keep perfect rhythm. The ELP level keys majestically and triumphantly help power this one along with Roeser's blistering lead guitar. Two excellent songs out of the gate and we're just under way in this over 50 minute epic album.

Power drums and bass launch "Infratech", before the lead electrics and vibrant keys take front stage. Very cool opening and change in direction for the album. This is more of a jazzy sound. Tommy takes total control of the front of the stage with beautiful synths and keys. The drums keep great pace as Tommy weaves the keys in and around the piece.

Pounding drums, heavy electric guitars and cool synths open "Daddy, You're the Bomb". A definite rocker full of those interweaving keys mixing with heavy drums and wild guitar solos. This one is full of cool guitar and keyboard solos. You will not be able to sit still. A celebration of talent all the way.

"Indinaja" opens with cool bell chimes and Asian sounding synths, before piano, and more synths and drums are added to the mix. A slow paced mood song, full of beautiful synths which give off the sounds of flutes at times. I hear more jazz influence from Patrick Moraz than Kitaro on this song. The bells and chimes that take you to the end are wonderful.

"ZKG"is a Yes like instrumental from the 80s, full of guitar like sounds and high pitched synths pushing ever higher into the atmosphere. The changes in tempo even feel like Yes. Then, Tommy changes pace again and powers through with an Emerson like synth extravaganza, circa Emerson, Lake and Powell of the '80s. The blistering guitar work adds power and dimension to the already majestic sound. The pipe organ like synths take us back to Yes and Going for the One. Before we get too settled in, the heavy lead guitar is back and smashing incredible rhythm. Yeah, everything but the kitchen sink in one instrumental extravaganza. One of the best songs on an album full of highlights. Excellent!

Showcasing his diverse talents and ability to change genres, "Quadima", brings back more of a straight ahead rock n' roll sound to the keys, which are supported well with bass and electric guitar. The power drums and keys really rock this one well. There is a Yes, 90125, feel to this one as well. But this is original music built to the same level of performance you expect from 90125's instrumental moments. The Emerson like keys and bell like sounds are just fantastic.

"The Wizard "opens with mysterious keys followed by heavy rocking drums. I hear a little of the influence of another wizard, Todd Rundgren here in the bell like majestic synth sounds which enhance the melody. The guitars and keys work so well together. They intermingle perfectly, creating a fast moving dynamic rhythm. You just can't sit still to any of these tracks. This dynamic instrumental music just fills the room with sound and takes hold of your imagination. The guitar work is amazing.

Cool 'glass breaking' piano opens "Piano Improvisation #7". The icy cool sound is excellent for a morning awakening or evening relaxing by the fireside. Short, but oh so sweet.

Growing synths and blazing guitars open "The Evil That Lurks Within", as the fire power builds slowly this time around. The drums and the excellent piano and synths set a very cool majestic pace which inspires and brings awe to your ears.

"The Rain in Florida (featuring Jon Anderson of Yes on vocals)" is the best song on the album. I have to admit I'm a Jon Anderson fan, so this one was a natural winner. I never did hear this after the Florida vote fiasco. So I'm glad that I was able to finally hear this one in its entirety. Thanks Tommy.

Jon's vocals capture the spirit of the people who went through this fiasco so well. Tommy's low piano keys slowly and sadly add to the narrative perfectly. Jon even talks to Tommy towards the end of the track adding more human emotion to the song.

Track Listing
1. Off The Coast 2:35
2. Storm FX 0:22
3. Storm Chaser 4:13
4. Infratech 4:45
5. Daddy, You're The Bomb 6:06
6. Indinaja 5:38
7. ZKG 6:57
8. Quadima 4:56
9. The Wizard 4:07
10. Piano Improvisation #7 2:57
11. The Evil That Lurks Within 4:00
12. The Rain in Florida (feat. Jon Anderson of Yes) 3:26

Added: February 7th 2011
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 2192
Language: english

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