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Frogg Cafe: Frogg Cafe

Wow, just where has this band been hiding? Sounding like a hybrid of Gentle Giant, Dixie Dregs, Frank Zappa, Hands, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, this New York based band has put together a very impressive debut here, filled with stunning, complex instrumental arrangements, intelligent melodies, and a firm foot in progressive rock and jazz tradition.

Kicking off with "Deltitnu", the band goes for your jugular with a complex violin led ditty that is like the perfect marriage of the Dixie Dregs and Gentle Giant. Bill Ayasse is a monster on the violin, as his weaving, melodic lines permeate most of the CD's songs in fine fashion. The two-part "Candy Korn" mixes some jazzy, trumpet led dark instrumental passages with vocal sections that brought to mind vintage Kansas, while "Old Souls" is a more rockin' tune with complex guitar and violin over strong vocals that ask the questions of the afterlife. Piano, guitar, and violin do battle on the wonderful "While You Were Sleeping", a somber instrumental that soars with majestic melodies and clever instrumental breaks. I was again reminded of Hands or Gentle Giant on the song "Old Man", from the multiple vocal harmonies to the acoustic meets electric instrumentation, it just screams classic 70's prog. The band goes for insane complex workouts on "Space Dust", a tune that guitarist Frank Camiola and violinist Bill Ayasse really shine, while the band again hits a slight Kansas tone on "Questions Without Answers", complete with a little nod to Zappa's "Inca Roads" thrown in for good measure.

This is just simply a fine performance from a band that would really strike a positive nerve with progressive rock and fusion lovers given some exposure. All the players are outstanding, as I should mention also James Guarnieri on drums, Nick Lieto on trumpet and keys, and Andy Sussman on bass and guitars. This five piece delivers the goods in a big way, and a new CD is in the works for 2003. I'll be looking forward to it.

Added: January 26th 2003
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Frogg Cafe Website
Hits: 6050
Language: english

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