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TEE: The Earth Explorer

TEE are a progressive rock band from Japan who play instrumental music with a strong jazz fusion flavour. The band formed in 1995 under the Earth Explorer moniker as a progressive rock cover band. With the release of their debut CD they shortened their name to TEE. The band consists of Ryuji Yonekura (keyboards, claviola, voice), Kenji Imai (flute, soprano recorder, voice), Takayuki Asada (drums, voice), Yukio Iigahama (bass, voice) and Katsumi Yoneda (guitars, voice). The band's influences include King Crimson, Frank Zappa and Kenso. All the members play very well and there is no doubting all of these musicians are very talented. The dominant instrument in many of these songs is the flute, providing some nice melodies upon which the other instruments ebb and flow. The band's style does not relate to their homeland as it does not have much to do with Japanese progressive rock. There is a definite European flavour and many of these songs have Eastern accents and melodies that define the band's sound.

The jazz fusion of "L'oiseau Bleu" starts things in fine fashion with intricate drum work, rollicking paino and flute explorations with an Eastern edge. Although there are moments of discord there always seems to be a nice melody just around the corner. This is complex music that never sounds over indulgent or aimless as there is a purpose at work here. The Eastern influenced flute at the beginning of "Nomad" paves the way for more exotic sounds and leads to gentle guitar chords and soft keyboards upon which the flute is exposed. The gentle nature of the music soon leads to a jazz fusion workout complete with chaotic guitar leads and more stellar drumming from Asada. Majestic synths begin "Aurora" as electric guitar tries to break through the symphonic resonance which leads to the quieter sounds of flute and piano. The tempo increases again, escalating to up-tempo fusion before ending the way it began, with pure symphonic delight.

For the jazz fusion crowd this should be a rewarding listen. For all other fans of progressive rock you just might have found a reason to broaden your musical horizons.

Track Listing:
1. L'oiseau Bleu (Trans Europ Express)
2. Nomad
3. Sirocco Chase
4. Col de L'Iseran
5. Aurora
6. City

Added: June 19th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 3116
Language: english

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