Best Progressive Rock Album 2012. By John P. Olsen – November 5, 2012.
Best of Progressive Rock Review – The Fusion Syndicate: Legendary Progressive Rock Superstars & Legendary Jazz Fusion Artists Unite on the New 2012 Progressive/Fusion Song Collection produced by Billy Sherwood.
Many of the best known names in progressive rock have come together on a collection of songs for a new album produced by famed guitarist, and former YES band member Billy Sherwood.
The Fusion Syndicate is an innovative 2012 release containing some of the best song collections of rock jazz fusion with a superstar cast and crew of music legends. This time around intricate rhythms and soulful improvisation dazzle, in a best new album in 2012 – The Fusion Syndicate.
Featuring top artists in the progressive rock, and jazz fusion scene The Fusion Syndicate boasts performances by best artists in their class like Brand X, Dream Theater, Hawkwind, King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Porcupine Tree, Soft Machine, Spyrogyra, Tool, Yellowjackets, YES, and others.
Earlier this year Billy Sherwood produced The Prog Collective & Songs Of The Century which combined, features a superstar cast and crew of none other than John Wetton (Asia), Tony Levin (King Crimson), Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia), Alan Parsons (Alan Parsons Project), Chris Squire (Yes), Rick Wakeman (Yes), Larry Fast (Peter Gabriel).
The stellar lineup of famed performing progressive rock artists also include John Wesley (Porcupine Tree), Mickey Thomas (Starship), Steve Morse (Deep Purple) & Tony Kaye (Yes), Richard Page (Mr. Mister) & Peter Banks (Yes), Colin Moulding (XTC) & Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia), Annie Haslam (Renaissance) & David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen s E Street Band), Gary Green (Gentle Giant) & Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Roye Albrighton (Nektar) & Steve Porcaro (Toto), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow), Rod Argent (The Zombies), Robby Krieger (The Doors), and Dave Kerzner.
Billy Sherwood has also released his sixth solo album Art Of Survival in 2012. This year yielded a bounty of the best progressive rock albums to choose from, but in terms of a one of a kind collection of songs like this, where else can you find a lineup of legendary progressive rockers like this on a single album. Put another way, The Fusion Syndicate is one of the best new song collections featuring an extensive lineup of legendary progressive rock artists.
To sample or purchase visit Cleopatra Records store for The Fusion Syndicate.
The Fusion Syndicate – Best of Progressive Rock Artists and Songs:
Artists performing on The Fusion Syndicate include: Rick Wakeman (Yes), Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Nik Turner (Hawkwind), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets/Alan Holdsworth), Steve Stevens, Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater/Liquid Tension Experiment), Mel Collins (King Crimson), Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Jay Beckenstein (Spyrogyra), Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai), Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree), David Sancious (The E Street Band), Larry Coryell, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater/Black Country Communion), Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea Elektric Band), Chester Thompson (Genesis/Frank Zappa), Steve Morse (Dixie Dreggs/Deep Purple), Jim Beard (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Randy Brecker (Blood, Sweat & Tears/Brecker Brothers), Percy Jones (Soft Machine/Brand X), John Etheridge (Soft Machine), Tony Kaye (Yes), Chad Wackerman (Frank Zappa), Steve Hillage (Gong), Scott Kinsey (Tribal Tech), Theo Travis (Steven Wilson Band), Justin Chancellor (Tool), Asaf Sirkis, (The Orient House Ensemble).
The Fusion Syndicate songs: 1. Random Acts Of Science 2. Stone Cold Infusion 3. Molecular Breakdown 4. Particle Accelerations 5. At The Edge Of The Middle 6. Atom Smashing 7. In The Spirit Of.
Album cover artwork courtesy cleorecs.com.
Best Solo Piano Album 2012. By John P. Olsen – August 31, 2012.
The Piano – Best Solo Piano Compilation Album in 2012, featuring 17 songs by 17 artists, from Reviews New Age, Alejandro Clavijo.
If you love solo piano music, new album The Piano is likely to be one of the very best new releases in the new age solo piano/instrumental category in 2012. This exclusive piano music collection of 17 top-quality songs by 17 great artists is a brand new compilation album produced by Reviews New Age founding editor and blog host Alejandro Clavijo from Spain.
Many may already be familiar with Alejandro if you have visited his Reviews New Age site, and there is another reason you might recognize the name since Alejandro’s brother is the award-winning guitarist and recording artist David Clavijo.
The Best of Reviews New Age: The Piano by Various artists is the title given to this new 2012 album. The 17 songs are the best song selections from 17 of today’s top contemporary solo pianists. Many artists are top ranked pianists, while other artists are equitably well-known names in the new age music industry.
If you are in any way familiar with artists in the solo piano category, you should be able to recognize most pianists on this compilation album that spans well over an hour in duration. Although I no longer review solo piano music, there are several artists I have featured at this site over the years by way of their piano and instrumental albums.
The Best of Reviews New Age: The Piano is already getting a lot of press simply because a comprehensive collection of the best piano songs by some of today’s best artists is by all accounts, highly desirable.
If you love solo piano music this new compilation album by Reviews New Age, is a release is certainly worthy of your time and money. Even for persons less familiar with the specialized solo piano category of music and want an introductory album, I ask you; why not begin with the best!
Visit ReviewsNewAge.com for more information and music stores to sample or purchase in either audio CD or mp3 download format. Reviews New Age is a multilingual site, so for Spanish to English translation, click on the Google Translate button option at the top.
You can find The Piano at Amazon.com and major online stores like CDBaby, Emusic, and iTunes. Listed below are the 17 artists contributing 17 songs on The Best of Reviews New Age: The Piano – compilation release for 2012. Big Stock Photo – Aysarts.
The Best of Reviews New Age: The Piano – 17 Artists & 17 Songs:
1. Doug Hammer song Maine Morning
2. Rocky Fretz song Kim’s Song
3. Ralph Zurmuhle song The Train
4. Chad Lawson song Set On a Hill
5. Matthew Mayer song Beyond
6. Navid Nevue song A Vision in White
7. Joe Bongiorno song Rise and Shine
8. Philip Wesley song Lamentations of the Heart
9. Mario Lopez Santos song Luceros
10. David Lanz song Sir George (Liverpool Farewell)
11. Wayne Gratz song Natalie’s Song
12. Michele Mclaughlin song Perseverance
13. Joseph Akins song Masterpeace
14. Lisa Downing song Night Games
15. Peter Kater song Ascent
16. Danny Wright song I Always Will
17. Julio Mazziotti song Indicios
Best Instrumental Song Collection 2012. By John P. Olsen – July 5, 2012.
Best Instrumental Songs Review: The Gathering by Will Ackerman.
When deciding on a review title for Will Ackerman’s collection of contemporary instrumental songs, the first caption that came to mind involved the word best. There are several reasons why I gave The Gathering a desirable best instrumental song collection title, and I am prepared to give the reasons why. Synonymous with quality music, the name Will Ackerman alone seems to shout excellence! This is apparent, whether it is his own music recording, or one of the 20 plus gold and platinum albums he produced throughout his 35 year professional career.
The Gathering is the newest 2012 instrumental music compilation album from the acclaimed, GRAMMY® Award winning guitarist and producer Will Ackerman. Featuring an exclusive music collection of 22 top-quality songs by 22 great artists, The Gathering is a decisive who’s who of the best quality artists Will Ackerman selected for this release, out of the many fine musicians who had their album produced at his state-of-the-art Imaginary Road Studios.
Will Ackerman is famous worldwide for his production talents as founder Windham Hill Records, and his strong influence in the instrumental music recording industry yesteryear and today. In addition to his role as producer, Will Ackerman is an award-winning composer and guitarist, having performed a vital role in launching the careers of many award-winning artists. Over the past 35 years Will Ackerman has produced albums for over eighty four artists. Some of the most notable artists are Alex de Grassi, Michael Hedges, Michael Manring, Shadowfax, Liz Story and George Winston.
The Gathering by Will Ackerman is an excellent compilation album with 22 of the best contemporary instrumental songs on Will Ackerman’s West River Records label. Famous for founding Windham Hill Records, the legacy of the highest quality artists endures on Will Ackerman’s West River Records label.
The Imaginary Road Studio today engages the expertise of producer and engineer Tom Eaton. Taking the high road in quality studio productions, William Ackerman and Tom Eaton’s expertize help artists embolden their music compositions with grace, elegance and imagination.
Visit WilliamAckerman.com and the Imaginary Road Studios. You can sample or purchase The Gathering at CDBaby.com. Listed below are the 22 artists and 22 song credits for The Gathering 2012 compilation release.
There are a number of new age and contemporary instrumental artists whose music I have reviewed over the years. The 13 artists with album reviews at this site are listed first in the credits. Photos courtesy willackerman.com.
The Gathering Credits – 22 Artists and 22 songs:
1. Ann Sweeten song Dawn on Red Mountain, from Grey Sky And Bittersweet album.
2. Devin Rice & Erin Aas song Thyn Ayre, from The Arrival album.
3. Fiona Joy Hawkins song Feeling Sunshine, from Live At The Q album.
4. Jeff Oster song Serengeti, from True album.
5. Kathryn Kaye song Mountain Laurel, from Heavy as a Feather album.
6. Kori Linae Carothers song Carpe Diem, from Trillium album.
7. Lawrence Blatt song The Color of Sunshine, from The Color of Sunshine album.
8. Masako song Glastenbury, Vermont, from Masako album.
9. Paul Jensen song Taoist Winds, from The Other Side album.
10. Peter Jennison song Anthem, from Longing From Home album.
11. Shambhu song Hide and Seek, from Sacred Love album.
12. Todd Boston song The Brightest Night, from Touched by the Sun album.
13. Will Ackerman song The Wheel, from New England Roads album.
14. Dean Boland song Intimacy, from Soul Whispers album.
15. Denise Young song Livia’s Song, from Something You Dream Of album.
16. Frank Smith song Porch with a View, from Earth Spring album.
17. Ken Verheecke song Forever, from A Place Called Home album.
18. Patrick Gorman song Shades of You, from Chasing Tornados album.
19. Rhonnda Cadle song Shalom, from Will’s Embrace album.
20. Rocky Fretz song Kim’s Song, from The Path Ahead album.
21. Rudy Perrone song The Prophet, from The Language Of Spirits album.
22. Stanton Lanier song Bread of Angels, from A Thousand Years album.
Best Christmas Albums for Holiday Music. By John P. Olsen – November 1, 2011.
Christmas is the most important holiday of the year for most people. While this is especially true for marketing retailers, they too, along with the majority of people also recognize the supreme reason for the season, and truly enjoy the building anticipation during the preceding days, weeks and months leading up to Christmas Day.
If you are like me, simply listening to Christmas music can help one transition into the holiday frame of mind. And while everyone has their own individual pace for getting into the Christmas mood sooner or later, I can always depend on holiday music to renew my Christmas spirit.
Listening to popular Christmas songs prompts an association of my own past holiday experiences with family and friends. Likewise there is a vast selection of music to choose from since many popular artists past and present, have produced outstanding holiday music for our enjoyment over the years.
The best Christmas albums in all popular genres including new age are very comparable since many artists compose their own revision of traditional Christmas songs. It seems nearly everyone is familiar with mainstream traditional songs, so for many us there is even less of an apple to oranges comparison in terms of genre. Sometimes they are so much alike the easiest way to classify their melodies is to simply call it holiday music.
Along with the Christmas holidays is the yearly task of finding a suitable gift for family and friends. One gift idea I would like to suggest is the gift of music, and it doesn’t matter whether your gift is in the form of an mp3 or CD. Music is a gift idea that is relatively inexpensive, and most people will enjoy receiving any time of the year. The economical gift of music can be the perfect choice for many special occasions including birthdays, and in some cases, weddings and anniversaries.
Finding the best Christmas albums for your holiday listening experience is pretty easy too. There is an increasing number of outstanding Christmas albums I would consider my favorites so permit me to tell you about 12 Christmas albums in the New Age genre. Listed in the order of the artist tags at my site, the 12 best Christmas albums are listed by alphabet using the artist’s first name. If you are interested in popular holiday albums for entertaining or gift giving, below is my list of the best Christmas albums with direct links so that you may sample or purchase my holiday music recommendations.
12 Best Christmas Albums for Holiday Music.
1. A Midnight Clear – Christmas in Mitford (Soundtrack) by Bill Leslie.
A Midnight Clear is an instrumental album with 16 songs of traditional and original music. Bill Leslie has another sensational new release people of all ages can enjoy listening to with A Midnight Clear. Drawing his inspiration from author Jan Karon and her best-selling Mitford series, nine instrumentalists join Bill Leslie on the newest release in November 2011 of the 12 Best New Age Christmas Albums recommendation.
While Bill Leslie is recognized as an award winning musician, Bill Leslie is a 5 time Emmy Award winning journalist and newscaster for WRAL television network, and a recipient of multiple Journalist of the Year awards in North Carolina. He is also the composing director and soloist of his traditional and Celtic fusion music group Lorica. In 2010 Simple Beauty won an award for Best Instrumental Album – Acoustic at Zone Music Reporter.
2. Holiday High by Cadence Spalding.
Holiday High is an inspiring new age Christmas album with 10 songs with a intermingling of traditional and original holiday music from 2009. The angelic vocals by Cadence Spalding are a beautiful performance on Holiday High. The innovative talents of mixing and layering are introduced by husband Mars Lasar. Together with beautiful vocals by Cadence and Mars Lasar’s special creative touch, Holiday High is a release far apart from many other Christmas albums.
Holiday High is a traditional Christmas album displaying the serene musical qualities of a highly talented couple, who have earned a respected position in the music world by their individual albums. Save The World by Cadence Spalding is another New Age release worthy of your consideration. While Save The World is not a holiday release, Cadence Spalding’s debut release won NewAgeMusic.nu’s Best New Age Album Award in 2009. Her classical new age popular music is a pleasant mix of ballads finely tuned to perfection in the purest sense, and best describes the question of “what is new age music” best.
3. A Christmas Celebration by Celtic Woman.
A Christmas Celebration is a Celtic instrumental vocal album from 2006 with 15 song revisions of traditional holiday music performed with grace and style. This is the second release from Celtic Woman who is made up from a female musical ensemble with Irish origins. Recognized internationally by their charming vocals with instrumental backing, Celtic Woman is a quality group who has earned a worldwide fan base and escalation in popularity over the years.
A Christmas Celebration was certified a Gold album by RIAA in 2009 with a volume of sales reaching over 500,000 copies. Along with international concert tours in the United States and overseas, their PBS television series with special orchestra performances on CD and DVD and over 6 million in album sales, they have entertained a multitude of people worldwide.
The DVD releases A New Journey–Live at Slane Castle is one of their most popular. The CD/DVD editions of Celtic Woman, A New Journey, The Greatest Journey, & Songs From The Heart are equally popular. The sixth and seventh most current albums from 2011 are Celtic Woman: Lullaby & Celtic Woman: Believe.
4. And Winter Came by Enya.
And Winter Came is a 2008 release from superstar Enya with 12 holiday songs with a winter theme. With over 75 million in album sales worldwide, it’s no exaggeration the Irish born Enya is loved by millions by her collection of Celtic, new age, adult alternative repertoire. And Winter Came recalls the enchanting moments of the season with brilliant beauty.
Enya is a phenomenal female artist who has won four Grammy Awards for Best New Age Album, in addition to an Academy Award nomination. Easily becoming one of the most popular award winning female artists in history, Enya and her trademark melodies are the hallmark of year round quality music.
Whether Enya’s holiday album And Winter Came is your first choice, there are more great albums to choose from. The Very Best Of Enya is a popular chose, like Memory of Trees & A Day Without Rain which sold 15 million copies worldwide is a very popular choice. The album Amarantine from 2005 is another fine song collection, and we certainly can’t forget her early classic releases Shepard Moons & Watermark.
5. Christmas Joy by Fiona Joy Hawkins.
Christmas Joy is a brand new 2011 release with 11 songs of four original compositions and seven revisions on traditional holiday music. On Christmas Joy, pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins introduces a bold mixture of classical and jazz influences combined with world music rhythms and instruments of Didgeridoo, Gaelic, Paraguayan harp, soprano saxophone and stringed orchestra. Fiona even lends her vocals on this release. Musicians accompanying Fiona Joy Hawkins on piano and vocals are Philip Aaberg, Will Ackerman, Charlie Bisharat, and Eugene Friesen and Heather Rankin.
Fiona Joy Hawkins Blue Dream album is a piano and instrumental collaboration with other professional artists that received top music honors and again extended the worldwide admiration for her work. Fiona is a multiple awarding winning pianist who covers new age, classical, contemporary, jazz and world fusion music. Recognized internationally by her award winning piano and instrumentals, you can always depend on Fiona Joy Hawkins to create an exciting mix of songs that are without out exception, produced with quality.
6. Christmas for Two by Lisa Downing.
Christmas for Two is a beautiful piano solo album with 12 original revisions of traditional holiday music. Lisa Downing has a special gift herself as a top solo pianist, and this is especially articulated on her holiday music release. Lisa’s collection of original arrangements in traditional Christmas melodies are a mixture of contemplative and energizing pieces which will inspire the holiday spirit in anyone who listens. Lisa Downing has produced another winning album with Christmas for Two.
Lisa Downing did in fact win award recognition with Christmas for Two in NewAgeMusic.nu’s Best New Age Album Award in 2009, and an award for Best Holiday Album in 2010 at Zone Music Reporter. A Delicate Balance is her solo piano, new age, neo -classical release from 2009 that carries with it a special Lisa Downing touch. Along with her business endeavor and talent agency Vision Quest Entertainment, Lisa is a touring concert pianist who performs many concert venues each year, including corporate and private events. She is an esteemed concert pianist who has toured or performed with other renowned artists David Lanz, Suzanne Ciani, Liz Story, Joseph Akins and Peter Kater. Lisa Downing is a great artist who certainly belongs in this Best New Age Christmas Albums recommendation.
7. Keys of Christmas by Louis Colaiannia.
Keys of Christmas is a piano, instrumental and vocal new age album with 9 songs in an assortment of original and traditional holiday music. Due to be officially released on December 1, 2011, Louis Colaiannia is a talented songwriter, pianist and concert performer. When you listen to Keys of Christmas, you can tell right away the classically trained pianist who explores contemporary piano, jazz, new age and chill out music, has in fact produced a wonderful holiday arrangement. Enjoy the season in perfect harmony with Keys Of Christmas.
Louis Colaiannia’s album A Moment Between Eternities is a classic, instrumental new age contemporary release in 2011. The wonderful range in thought and feel with contemporary variations of classical orchestrations express the passion in which Louis composes every one of his album releases. The 9 songs on A Moment Between Eternities are like modern improvisations on classical music by graceful piano songs emboldened by contemporary instrumentals.
8. Christmas Symphony by Mannheim Steamroller.
Christmas Symphony is a new popular instrument album in 2011 with 16 of your holiday song favorites. This beautiful full symphony sound instrumental release is performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and includes some vocals. Many of you may know this, but Mannheim Steamroller is the most popular Christmas music artist of all time. And that’s a fact. With 28 million in album sales in the United States alone, and their legendary concert tours, it’s easy to see why they have become so popular.
The vast selection of Mannheim Steamroller holiday albums include Christmasville, Christmas Sweet Memo, Christmas Song, Celebration, Christmas Extraordinaire, 25 Year Celebration, Christmas Angel, Christmas Live & A Fresh Aire Christmas. With this long list of popular holiday albums like Christmas Symphony, it’s easy to find what you are looking for.
Mannheim Steamroller founder Chip Davis, and co-found Jackson Berkey have recently announced their annual holiday celebration “The Christmas Music of Mannheim Steamroller by Chip Davis” will soon begin their Christmas concert tour season, so check their website for concerts in your area. Check out their great selection of gifts too.
9. Christmas 25th Anniversary Collection by Mannheim Steamroller.
The Christmas 25th Anniversary Collection from 2009 is a 2 CD collector’s edition of 25 song favorites. The 2 CD song playlist for this excellent edition was selected by Chip Davis himself. If you are like me there are songs you will remember from years past, but it is all about the technical sound enhancements and playlist that makes this release special. After the 25 year anniversary tour last year, Chip Davis continues the tradition of live concerts for audiences around the country.
Mannheim Steamroller has also released a 2 CD disc album in their Fresh Aire Music Series that is a “best of the best” from the popular Fresh Aire series. The 25 songs selected by the band founding director Chip Davis are some of the most popular songs in the entire 8 disk Fresh Aire series. Mannheim Steamroller’s awards of 16 gold records, 7 platinum records and 4 multi-platinum records, Christmas albums and holiday concerts have made them the #1 Christmas music artist of all time.
10. Christmas from Mars by Mars Lasar.
Christmas from Mars is a new age instrumental album with electronic designs on 10 traditional Christmas melodies. This “Best Christmas Albums” recommendation simply wouldn’t be complete without including the 2007 holiday release from Mars Lasar. Recognized for his versatility and talents in electronic instrumental music, Christmas from Mars shines by the aptitude and expertize he conveys in every one of his albums.
Cadence Spalding performs angelic vocals on this album, so together this husband and wife team’s Holiday High & Christmas From Mars both have vocals by Cadence and Mars Lasar’s special creative touch and technical aptitude that sets their albums apart from many others in this category. Both Mars and Cadence have earned a respected position in the music world by their individual albums and ones they have produced together. Mars Lasar’s most current is a solo piano album with 18 songs entitled Piano Moods From Mars.
11. Christmas Eve and Other Stories by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Christmas Eve and Other Stories are a progressive rock adaptation of 17 songs from 1996 in a 1 CD or mp3 format. If you are familiar with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and their theatrical linage of songs, then you know Christmas Eve and Other Stories is unlike any other artist in my top albums recommendations. While I can advise every one of their songs is non-traditional, I can also say every song is special!
Trans-Siberian Orchestra has two very popular concept theme albums entitled Beethoven’s Last Night & Night Castle. Given their name, it does imply they are a Russian based act, but Trans-Siberian Orchestra is in fact a group based in the United States. Along with a huge fan following, their concert and album sales reach into the millions. Their just as popular Christmas themed album series are The Christmas Attic & The Lost Christmas Eve. Trans-Siberian Orchestra may leave you wondering if they are new age, progressive rock, symphonic, or classical music, but whatever classification you decide, you will definitely be impressed.
12. A Windham Hill Christmas by Various Artists.
A Windham Hill Christmas is an excellent release from 2002 featuring 14 song revisions on some of your most familiar holiday songs featuring Windham Hill artists. In this case, by various artists is a good thing! The Grammy Award winning founder of Windham Hill Will Ackerman even performs on the song What Strangers are These. It’s a wonderful instrumental album with a variety of top artists in the music business.
On A Windham Hill Christmas album there are so many top artists that space doesn’t permit me to list every professional. Popular artists on this release you are sure to recognize are Jim Brickman, George Winston, Tim Story, Tracy Silverman, Alex De Grassi, Liz Story, Paul Schwartz and many more. The hallmarks of this album are a relaxing, right at home feel you will notice right away. It’s some of the best songs available from the experts at Windham Hill.
This concludes my 12 Best Christmas holiday album recommendations. On January 1 2012 New Age Music World will present the Best New Age Music Album Awards for 2011. There are many great releases this year, and I will publish my recommendation for Best New Age Albums on New Year’s Day 2012.
Cover arts are courtesy of each individual artist. Photo copyright Big Stock Photo by Subbotina Anna & ppart.
Music Awards Page for Best New Instrumental Albums and Songs.