Christopher Braide maintains a ubiquitous presence within the global music industry. He's a songsmith and singer for cinema and TV, and he produces works for pop acolytes such as vocalists Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé and Christine Aguilera among many other projects, spanning multiple genres. With Braide's third and finest co-led outing with famed British keyboardist Geoffrey Downes, known for his work with Yes, Asia and others, the duo hits that sweet spot, bridging the gap between conventional rock and articulately arranged progressive rock. They also summon the services of an all-star cast such as vocalist, guitarist Andy Partridge (XTC), vocalists Marc Almond, Kate Pierson (B52s) and other notable musicians, appearing on select tracks to round out this highly melodic production. It's consummated with hummable themes, robust instrumentation and poignant solos.
Legendary artist Roger Dean designed the cover art, reminding us of his colorful wraithlike illustrations for Yes, Uriah Heep and many other prog bands that helped blaze new frontiers in the 1970s. So, the table is set for this highly accessible program sparked by Braide's youthful vigor and heartfelt vocal delivery, capped off by his near perfect diction. Yet the magnum opus is the title track, which clocks in at 18-minutes. Here, Downes' majestic piano voicings and blossoming mellotron notes pave the way for a multifaceted piece that kindles fond memories of prog's glory days but framed with a modern uplift.
Braide's wondrously radiant choruses ride above Downes' circular synth patterns, contrasted by guitarist Dave Colquhoun's clean and expressive leads, as the musicians intertwine memorable hooks amid changeable flows throughout. Moreover, Pierson's angelic refrains infuse a sacredness that transitions the ensemble back to the primary theme via stately sub-motifs and wistful dreamscapes, executed with various modes of intensity. Downes also employs vocoder-based background voices and somber synth strings passages, complementing a few thunderous movements, as Braide adds some reverb to his vocals to project an imposing vibe with spiritual underpinnings. Nonetheless, Skyscraper Souls is a superlative effort on many musical fronts and an essential listen by just about anyone who digs Indie, prog or archetypal rock formats.
Personnel: Geoffrey Downes: vocoder, piano, keyboards, programming; Christopher Braide: lead vocals, piano,
keyboards, programming; Dave Colquhoun: lead guitars; Andy Hodge: bass guitars; Ash Soan: drums,
percussion; Andy Partridge: background vocals, lead and acoustic guitars, mandolin and sleigh bells
(1,3,8 & 9); Kate Pierson: vocals (2); Matthew Koma: vocals (4); David Longdon – vocals & flute (5);
Tim Bowness: background vocals (6); Marc Almond: lead vocals (7); Patrick Howley: lead guitar solo
(4); Elijah and Sascha Braide: vocals (2, 3, 5, 6); Matt Bourne Jones: trumpet; Barney Ashton Bullock:
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.