If there’s one thing you learn from listening to a lot of prog/rock/fusion music, it’s that lightning-fast guitar players are a dime a dozen. Listeners are generally impressed the first couple of times they hear a nimble fingered axeman set their fretboard on fire, but after you realize that there’s a ton of similar guitarists out there cutting CDs you begin to get a bit jaded. This causes the listener to begin looking for traits other than speed to set guitar players apart. The reason I’m bring this up is because when I first fired up Jeff Kollman’s latest CD Shedding Skin I thought to myself “Great, another amphetamine-fingered guitarist with an entire hour to kill noodling pointlessly with his instrument.” However, after listening to the first few tracks I realized that Jeff Kollman is a shredder with “the difference” – that difference being that he can actually write a catchy tune and gets enough variance in his guitar sound to keep things interesting through most of Shedding Skin.
The Tyler, TX-raised Bugs Henderson took his cues from the wealth of great roadhouse blues and blues-rock guitarists that were around Dallas, including Freddie King, Johnny Winter, and literally dozens of others on the Texas music scene of the '60s. Henderson has cited James Burton, Ricky Nelson's guitarist, as a major influence.
There are a few artists out there that, without trying to change the world, succeeded in accomodating the old recipes to the present day. In the domain of Progressive rock, The Flower Kings is the perfect example. Following a path not unsimilar to Spock's Beard's, the swedish band led by guitarist Roine Stolt achieved to leave its mark in the middle of the Nineties, accompanying the rebirth of Progressive rock. It remains on top of the genre nowadays. It is no surprise then if, after having paid tribute to most of the giants of the Golden Seventies, the artists of today tend to care about that second generation as well. That's how the Musea label and the Colossus fanzine created an album in four CDs, tailor-made for the excellency of The Flower Kings: "A Flower Full Of Stars - A Tribute To The Flower Kings".
The band has a core rhythm section, but features a revolving combination of all-star guest front men and women. These recordings feature the talents of Gary Brooker, Georgie Fame, Albert Lee, Andy Fairweather Low, Chris Rea, Beverley Skeete, Mick Taylor and George Harrison (amongst his last recordings) on an intriguing and varied selection of covers and originals.
Sweden's The Flower Kings represent the finer elements of progressive rock as they artfully expound upon the early-'70s, much beloved British Canterbury Scene amid dashes of psychedelic rock and to a lesser extent, jazz fusion. With this 2000 release, the musicians continue their forward thinking ways, as they touch upon disparate elements amid complex arrangements and tenacious ensemble work along with the occasional nod to contemporary jazz, thanks to multi-instrumentalist Ulf Wallander's tasty soprano saxophone work.
Seven Kings explores contemporary music styles ranging from Sanford’s (b. 1963) jazz-flavored work (the title track) to Jacobs’ (b. 1961) carefully crafted modernist piece. ...The work by Ballou (b. 1963) unfolds like a jazz improvisation, developing momentum from the beginning to the end.