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Proto-Kaw - Early Recordings from Kansas 1971-1973 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 54 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Before became after!

Proto-Kaw was a band that originally existed in the very early 70's and was Kerry Livgren's pre-Kansas band. Kansas released their debut album in 1974 and Proto-Kaw was no more. Until the new millennium, that is! They surprisingly reunited after 30 years of absence and released two excellent studio albums of new material! This, however, is a compilation of older recordings, two of which later became Kansas songs.

Kerry Livgren has long been one of my favourite song writers. His contributions to Kansas over the years are amazing and this compilation proves that he had talent early on. This compilation also proves that the claim that Kansas was a derivative band, that they did nothing but copy their British Prog counterparts, is not true. Proto-Kaw was proto-Kansas, and they were quite original indeed. The band has a sound of their own and even if this music is clearly in the tradition of classic Prog, I do not find this music derivative at all.

The quality of this music is quite impressive given that it is a collection of previously unreleased demos. The sound quality is also more than decent.

However, if you want to check out Proto-Kaw (you really should!), I would strongly recommend you to start with any one of the two new studio albums: Before Became After or The Wait Of Glory. These two subsequent albums are both excellent and constitute the most consistent period in Kerry Livgren's long career since the Leftoverture/Point Of Know Return period in 1976/77. If you liked the two new Proto-Kaw albums, and/or you are a big fan of Kansas (I am guilty on both accounts!), this compilation is worth while too.

The music of Proto-Kaw is not really that similar to Kansas, but I think it will appeal to the same kind of people as well as to any fan of classic symphonic progressive rock of the 70's. Compared to early Kansas, Proto-Kaw was more jazzy and had more room for improvisation. Instead of violin, the sound is based on flutes and sax in addition to the more traditional drums-bass-guitars-keyboards-vocals approach.

I would love to have a full live recording from today of Proto-Kaw performing songs from their two new studio albums plus a few numbers from this compilation. But I will probably have to be satisfied with the short bonus live DVD (three songs) that came with The Wait Of Glory as well as the two live recordings on this very compilation.

Recommended for fans and collectors of Kerry Livgren and Kansas, as well as for people who loved the two new studio albums by Proto-Kaw. If you are not a Kerry Livgren/Kansas fan, you should really start with the studio albums before you venture as far as this.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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