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Frank Wyatt & Friends: Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist is the long awaited solo release from Happy The Man, Oblivion Sun, and Pedal Giant Animals keyboard player Frank Wyatt, who, after a lengthy illness and much time in and out of the studio, finally put the finishing touches on this breathtaking album. Of course, he had a little help from his friends, and the line-up for Zeitgeist includes:


Frank Wyatt-Piano, Keyboards
Bill Brasso-Drums
Stan Whitaker-Guitar,Vocals
David Hughes-Bass
Cliff Fortney-Vocals
David Rosenthal-Keyboards
Rick Kennell-Bass
Chris Mack-Drums
Peter Princiotto-Sitar
Mike Beck-Percussion
Ron Riddle-Drums
Kit Watkins-Keyboards
Joe Bergamini-Drums
Andrew Colyer-Keyboards

A good chunk of these folks will no doubt be familiar to many, as they've played with Wyatt in one or more of the bands listed above, making this an all-star affair of prog-rock musicians who have come together to create some stupendous music. Fans of the jazzy, symphonic prog sounds of Happy the Man will instantly fall in love with the melodic flair of "Eleventh Hour" and the complex arrangements of "Twelve Jumps" and "Leaving", while the cascading piano/synth lines and intricate guitar work of the opening title cut is one of the more remarkable tunes you'll hear this year. Soaring synth melodies from Colyer saddle up next to Wyatt's piano on "The Approach", supported by some muscular Hughes bass playing and Bergamini's nimble stick work, and the tender "Fred's Song" is an emotional piece driven by Wyatt's lovely piano & synth arrangement, a beautiful tribute to Frank's fallen friend. The closing, four part "Perelandra Movement" is an orchestral suite clocking it at close to 25-minutes long, featuring just Wyatt on keyboards and samples as he replicates an entire band & orchestra. Grand, majestic, and emotional, this piece no doubt was a labor of love for Frank, a must hear for any lover of symphonic rock, classical, or orchestral music. At times bombastic, always melodic, and often tender, this suite is a great way to finish up the album.

As someone who has seen Happy the Man live, and even met Frank Wyatt in person (way back at NEARfest 2000!), a release such as Zeitgeist is a long awaited, welcome, and lovely surprise here in the holiday season of 2019. Do yourself a favor and get a copy for yourself, friends, and loved ones who happen to like progressive music, you won't be disappointed.


Track Listing
1 Zeitgeist 7:55
2 Leaving 3:52
3 Twelve Jumps 4:12
4 Eleventh Hour 3:24
5 The Approach 8:06
6 Fred's Song 5:37
7 To Venus (Perelandra Mvt. I, Andante) 8:18
8 The Green Lady (Perelandra Mvt. II, Allegretto con moto) 5:48
9 The Golden Feast (Perelandra Mvt.III, Allegro) 4:57
10 Blessed Be He (Perelandra Mvt. IV, Presto) 6:27

Added: October 5th 2020
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Artist Website
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Language: english

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Frank Wyatt & Friends: Zeitgeist
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2020-10-06 04:58:16
My Score:

It has been quite the musical journey for American musician Frank Wyatt. From the formation of Happy The Man in 1973, and the subsequent lineup changes until the band disbanded in 1979, only to reform many years later and release Death’s Crown (1999) and The Muse Awakens in 2004, featuring Wyatt and two other original members; Stan Whitaker and Rick Kennell. Whitaker and Wyatt also formed the Pedal Giant Animals project and released their one and only album in 2006. That same year the duo formed Oblivion Sun and released two critically acclaimed platters; their self-titled debut (2007) and The High Places (2013). A few years back Wyatt was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer which further spurred him on to get together with his old band mates, culminating with the release of Zeitgeist in 2019. And what an excellent album it is.

Beginning the disc is the title track with its blasts of synths, grooving bass and tasteful lead vocals from Whitaker. He has a Gabriel-esque tonal quality and sounds great here. The instrumental interplay is fantastic throughout the song’s eight minutes, a fine display of symphonic progressive rock. “Leaving” features Bill Brasso (drums) and Wyatt’s pretty keyboards and piano. It begins in a mellow fashion but soon leads into dramatic crescendos and more excellent keyboard work. “Twelve Jumps” is a nice progressive fusion piece followed by the beautifully poignant “Eleventh Hour”, a deeply personal piece. Another highlight has to be “The Approach” beginning with Peter Princiotto’s sitar before advancing into stunning keyboards featuring nice builds and solos with some darker tones here and there. The fluid bass provided by David Hughes is also worth a mention.

There are ten tracks in total and not a dud in the bunch. Wyatt and cohorts have reason to be very proud of Zeitgeist, an album I highly recommend for all fans of progressive rock.



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