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Progression: The Dream of Cecilia

In the tradition of Return to Forever, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Tony Williams Lifetime, Dixie Dregs, The Elektric Band, Jukka Tolonen, Spaced Out, Tribal Tech, and Iceberg comes Progression, a six-piece jazz fusion band from Finland who ironically have been around since 1976 but are only just now releasing their brand new debut album The Dream of Cecilia. Well, the wait was certainly worth it, as the CD is a highly enjoyable trip through classic as well as modern fusion styles. Comprised of guitarists Harri Nokso & Jaan Jaanson, drummer Toni Lustila, bassist Jan-Olof Strandberg (although Ilpo Peltonen plays on the album), keyboard/viola player Jussi-Matti Haavisto, and percussionist Kimmo Porsti, this ensemble snakes their way through nine exciting instrumental pieces here that thrill on all levels. Hints of classic Return to Forever & Mahavishu Orchestra show their face on "Nightmare", as the dual guitars do battle with viola, elements of classical, jazz, and Latin coming into the mix and weaving their way around each other. Opening title cut sees tight grooves allowing melodic guitar solos and tasty organ to lay the groundwork,while the short "The Chaser's Rhapsody" will instantly remind you of vintage Dixie Dregs, Haavisto's viola simply gorgeous as it delivers the main melody lines. Other highlights here, and there are many, are the complex "Gangsta Race", which features some stellar guitar and viola solos, the majestic "Bright Light From High", which is a must for Mahavisnu Orchestra fans, the wild "Hyperactive Games", the heavier "Little Confusion" (recalling vintage RTF), and the classy fusion that is the closer "Mental Activity", complete with nimble drum solos from Lustilla, who shows his powerhouse chops. Once you are done with this 50-minute CD, you'll need to take a breather, then get ready to hit the start button and experience it all over again.

Essentially, this is just a mind-blowing example of classic jazz-fusion with a modern touch, performed by a group of musicians who are all on the same page and obviously perfectly in synch with each other. Let's hope we don't have to wait long for a follow-up. Highly recommended!

Track Listing

  1. The Dream of Cecilia
  2. Wild Night at Tall Jack's
  3. Nightmare
  4. The Chaser's Rhapsody
  5. Gangsta Race
  6. Bright Light From High
  7. Hyperactive Games
  8. Little Confusion
  9. Mental Activity

Added: June 7th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4438
Language: english

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