Essential: A masterpiece of progressive rock music.
Admittedly, many prog rock fans with otherwise excellent taste in music find Gentle Giant rather hard to get into. Their music certainly is challenging, and very varied in flavour. At times it evokes Medieval music, at other times there are a cappella vocals delivered in a quasi-“round” format, in company with passages that veer from moments of delicate beauty to “rocking out.” All of these musical paths, and more, are often explored within the space of a single song. (Of course, that could be part of a generic description of progressive rock.) Gentle Giant have an inimitable style that is difficult to categorize; they must be heard to be understood. Perhaps only those with the most open musical minds will find them at all accessible. Certainly, though major players of the 70s prog scene, “Giant” never fully rose above their cult status to approach the popularity and critical acclaim of contemporaries like Genesis, Yes, ELP, Pink Floyd or Jethro Tull. (Though Gentle Giant don’t really sound like any of those heavyweights, their music bears a somewhat closer resemblance to that of ‘Tull, than any of the others mentioned.)
Original album plus seven bonus tracks (six previously unreleased), two mixed to 5.1 surround, and all to stereo by Steven Wilson. The 40th Anniversary edition of Jethro Tull’s Minstrel In The Gallery. The album has been expanded to include the b-side Summerday Sands, several studio outtakes, and alternate session material recorded for a BBC broadcast. The second disc features a live recording of Jethro Tull performing at the Olympia in Paris on July 5, 1975, a few months prior to the release of Minstrel In The Gallery. During the show, the band played songs from several of its albums, including War Child and Aqualung, as well as an early performance of Minstrel In The Gallery. It was mixed to 5.1 & stereo by by King Crimson guitarist Jakko Jakszyk.
Veteran Italian rock band Pooh formed in Bologna in 1966. During the late '60s, the band featured Roby Facchinetti, Valerio Negrini, Dodi Battaglia, and Riccardo Fogli, but after Negrini left in 1971, the band recruited guitarist, bassist, and vocalist Red Canzian plus drummer and percussionist Stefano D'Orazio, and began a long run as one of the best and most popular Italian rockers of their times. The band recorded for many labels, including CBS, Vedette, CGD (Compagnia Generale del Disco), and Warner Music Italy, selling over 100 million records in the process. Pooh continued to tour and record continually up into the 2010s, but in late 2016 they decided to call it quits by the end of the year, in order to complete their 50-year anniversary as a band.