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Proto-Kaw - The Wait Of Glory CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.65 | 94 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars ***For best results this CD should be listened too using headphones*****

Continuing the dream that started with the release of the Early Recordings of Kansas 1971-73 and Before Became after Proto-Kaw throws this statement called The Wait Of Glory as a gauntlet at the feet of the music industry as if to say ignore us at your own detriment. Following up a successful Before Became After Proto-Kaw avoids the second effort jinx with what may be the progressive CD of the year.

This CD was recorded in October of 2005 in Kansas. This is the first effort with all brand new songs written by Kerry Livgren and with this band in mind. The drummer seat changed with Mike Patrum taking over for Brad Stoltz and Jake Livgren was given a part in the recording band as well as his very important part of the touring band. (Jake has a great ear and plays; guitar, sax, percussion and sings backing vocals live.) This CD is a great mix of a variety of sounds and genres. Livgren is never afraid to explore new territory in his songs and this collection of songs is a perfect example of that.

Almost space rock in parts, Symphonic in others. King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull and Kansas are certainly influences here but there are so much more! Great harmonies in both the vocals and instruments you can even hear a little metal thrown in. Of course the jazz/rock fusion is still there but there are even some touches of AD and some other of Livgren's solo songs and even reaching back to the spirit of the Early Recordings CD. The band itself is maturing right before your ears. This isn't just a fun little project of old friends this is a serious statement that they can compete with any band on any level. If this CD does not get you by the 4th song you won't like it but I'll bet my life most of you will.

John Bolton uses much more use of flute than on BBA which gives the band a Jethro Tull sound and even English folk music in parts. Listen to the instrumental parts in When the Rains Come for a perfect example of that.

Craig Kew's bass playing is stellar. Influenced by Jaco Pastorius he is really coming into his own as one of the top bass players in the industry. Mike Partum's drums are fitting comfortably in the mix and he and Craig work very well together.

Dan Wright is a solid keyboardist playing some down and dirty rhythms and some great solos. It is hard to believe this guy didn't even play for 30 years.

It is hard to believe but Kerry Livgren at this stage of his career is getting better as a soloist and still can deliver some beautiful piano tracks.

Lynn Meredith's voice is great and used differently than on BBA. I think Lynn has confidence has grown the more he sings. The use of Jake Livgren on the lead vocal on Melicus Gladiator gives a harder edge and almost metal sound. The harmonies created by the three Lynn, Jake and Craig are some of the best harmonies I have heard in a long time.

On to the songs. At Mornings Gate is the most ballady of all the songs but it is beautifully done with the piano, flute and choir voices on the keys almost brings tears to your eyes. The Vigil is fast becoming my favorite track on the CD. A beautiful vocal intro that transcends into a beautiful melody featuring Flugelhorn, played by Daryl Batchelor who also plays trumpet on a few songs, flute, synth and piano it reminds me of a slower ELP moment like Take a Pebble in its spirit. Fantastic song.

Old Number 63 is what Kerry Livgren said is progressive R&B and you know what he is right. Lynn does some blues wailing in the intro that reminds me of Warren Ham from AD. Then we get a spoken vocal line almost a rap type verse but the chorus is beautifully harmonized. The instrumental section is fabulous with the band get down right funky in the rhythm line but keeping the mix of runs just going strong. Kudos to Craig and Mike and Dan for that. The soloing is fantastic. The melody lines in this CD are some things I have really never heard Kerry record before. This is a very unique song and I keep hitting the replay button on this one.

Osvaldo's Groceries is an instrumental song that is reminiscent of Frank Zappa's maniac fun stuff. Some fun vocal effects but overall some killer playing. There are all sorts of things going on in this song.

The CD ends with Picture This which is another epic symphonic song in the style of Theophany, its Livgren at his best.

However all that said in my mind the best song is On the Eve of the Great Decline which should be played on the radio. It is a shorter song but it is not really pop more like Pink Floyd if that is even a valid description. In the similar style of Byzantium from Kansas Somewhere to Elsewhere CD it conjures a mystic feel throughout causing a darker emotion than most of this bands output. It may be this song that makes this band fortunes grow. We shall see.

The bonus song on the special edition is called One Fine Day. A real good R&B (in the traditional sense) song that could get radio airplay. Nothing Special but well played.

The special edition also comes with a DVD with three tracks from the Progressive Legends Pre Show at Nearfest 2005. The songs aren't the best ones they play but the video is great and the visuals are fantastic and the sound is clear. For those of you wanting to know what these guys are like live this is a good place to start. We can only hope the rest would be released soon!

The Artwork and design is also a 5 star performance by Ken Westphal who starting to become my favorite cover artist in the modern century.

This is the real deal and the full package. This is the CD that defines Proto-Kaw and will be their measuring stick for all future releases. Take a ride with a band that knows where it is going. For those of you who scoff at Kerry Livgren I would like to challenge you to anyone from the 70's who has released two stellar examples of progressive rock in the new millenium that are of equal value? 5 Stars

Garion81 | 5/5 |


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