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(Due to the possible aspersion on my character as an unbiased reviewer, I have intentionally delayed praising Holdahl. Why you ask? I am his promotional agent at MP3.com and aye, there’s the rub. But now I must do what this fine artist deserves – be honest.)
Many groups try to do progressive rock music, to affect all the trappings but it somehow seems contrived, without that certain flow and ease. Holdahl however breathes prog and a uniquely fresh and satisfying brand that is not borrowed pastiche of all the prog before. Holdahl is a master and his keyboard-driven songs pull you deep into that “other world” that is progressive rock as it is exactly the epitome of art rock.
Not until the seventh track, “Tavish” do you hear a clear tribute to ELP and that Emersonian vibe. All else reigns a splendid waltz of NEW progginess and boy oh boy, does this seasoned reviewer enjoy such!
Other prog references? Well, Holdahl’s vocal timbre leans to Peter Gabriel a bit but wanders into territories all his own and his voice is a pure delight – as in professional and without silly prog-operatic pretense.
Holdahl crafts a beautiful castle in the clouds of keyboards with great solos and effects. And ya know, I never missed not hearing a guitar! Holdahl solos very guitar-pentatonic-riffish with slides and bends, sustains and such like yer best axe-man doth do. Bravo, Lyle! Excellent stuff sure to satisfy the pickiest of prog-headz!
Track to die for is the trilogy, “Spirals in a Box/ Arabesque/ Passageways”, a great head rush and soul traveling tune.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.