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RACHEL FLOWERS

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Rachel Flowers biography
Rachel Flowers is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from California working in several different branches of rock music. Despite having been permanently blind from an early age, she has gained a reputation for being an impressive keyboard virtuoso as well an accomplished flute, guitar, bass, saxophone and Chapman Stick player. Her star in the progressive rock community rose swiftly from 2011 onward, after she began publishing solo piano and synthesizer recordings of songs by Emerson, Lake & Palmer on YouTube, which even gained her the attention of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake themselves. Since then, she has released three solo albums and has performed with Herbie Hancock, Dweezil Zappa, Rick Wakeman, Arturo Sandoval, Michael Sadler and Terje Mikkelsen, among many others. She also played piano at Keith Emerson's tribute concert in 2016.
Her debut album "Listen" was released in 2016 and consisted mostly of instrumental jazz fusion pieces, in tribute to Flowers's long-standing admiration of the music of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Ella Fitzgerald. She played every instrument on the album by herself. Her follow-up album, 2017's "Going Somewhere", showed more influence from rock and pop music and featured her vocals for the first time. With the release of her third album "Bigger On The Inside" in 2021, she has continued her musical trajectory into harder-hitting progressive rock music while retaining the characteristic optimism and listener-friendly nature of her earlier output.

------bio by Mirakaze------

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RACHEL FLOWERS discography


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RACHEL FLOWERS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.85 | 4 ratings
Listen
2016
4.00 | 1 ratings
Going Somewhere
2018
4.88 | 8 ratings
Bigger on the Inside
2021

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RACHEL FLOWERS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Listen by FLOWERS, RACHEL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.85 | 4 ratings

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Listen
Rachel Flowers Eclectic Prog

Review by moshkito

5 stars Listen 2016

As her website states, this is music that defies categorization, in that it is quite different all around .. however, there is one thing that many folks are not remembering ... her work is VERY VISUAL ... even if we think that her blindness prevents her from seeing things that "we do" and she supposedly can't. But, if she can not "see", she certainly can feel so beautifully with her music as to enchant one's imagination.

I can't help thinking of this material as soundtrack music, and it is weird to me that someone has not picked up on it.

The thing that one will notice quickly, is how grand her design is, and how she puts it together ... the best of Claude Debussy, the very best of Stanley Clarke, a very definite touch of Miles Davis, some Herbie Hancock although I would imagine that there is some Chick Corea here as well, certainly John Coltrane, some Frank Zappa guitar style ... and some beautiful instrumental jazzy stuff that is just honey for your ears.

Just recently I wrote a review of her latest album (Bigger on the Inside) and one of the things that I mentioned was that all that seemed left was orchestrated music ... and wouldn't you know it, a couple of weeks later I got this album, and there it was ... the orchestrated material, just as good (if not better) than I thought.

And, right at the start, (Greg's Favorite) the album let's you know this is not "rock music" at all, but mostly what used to be known as "jazz", in the orchestrated mode ... although you will not exactly feel that full blast until the third title of the piece ... Run for Miles. Greg Lake did meet Rachel and this was one of his favorite pieces, we are told, although I can't say that I see, or hear, a lot of Greg here, unless he suggested details for a bass line? ... very pretty and well done to start an album with but it really shows her appreciation for ELP, the one band that mostly impressed her, and whose material she has helped make better known, even though most "rock fans" don't like these things, because copies are terrible. Oh yeah, Stravinsky is terrible 100 years later! (Sorry!)

It is insane, and amazing that someone can do a treat for Claude Debussy in "Dawn Points" and it ends up feeling like it is in the wrong place ... that it belongs in another composer's listing. Yet, here it is, and so pretty ... and unlike a lot of rock music, she knows how to link the themes of the music, so that a "main theme" is all inclusive, instead of it being something that is separated from the rest, one issue with rock music, not knowing how to include a main theme properly into their design.

"Run for Miles" will likely make you feel like listening to Miles Davis, although not one of my favorites, but certainly one of the most impressive "improvisers" in all of music, he would have given "krautrock" a run for their money faster than anyone else. As we know that Rachel plays all the instruments, realizing that this impression is right on the money, complete with Herbie's piano and the bass and drums, and then Rachel's keyboards added, so Miles gets a breather. It is a fascinating piece, and one that will make us feel like we missed something. Towards the later part of the piece, I think that it is more like Chick Corea now playing and Herbie adding his piano in the background ... a combination that would make us dizzy, and crazy while listening to it all. But, somehow, it fits so beautifully, and so well, that you just want to flow along and continue listening.

"Goes to Eleven", for me this is a piano extravaganza illuminated with orchestrated touches. It is really good, and a sign of how Rachel sees an orchestra and how well she can imagine various instruments mixed together. WE don't hear enough orchestras with a bass player that makes it better and more innovative. We don't hear enough orchestras with an electric guitar that makes it better and more innovative, and classical music orchestras in every town still ignore all of this, and won't even consider a Mike Oldfield, or Vangelis! In a way, showing how a bass (or any other instrument) can be fused into an orchestra, here it is, and it does not sound out of place, or that the orchestra is second fiddle to the "rock star".

The rest of the album is just as impressive, and at times, you wonder ... what is Stanley Clarke doing here? And yet, he fits just as well as anyone else in here, and no doubt, in the end, the only thing that you can say is ... wow ... that is some really well done stuff and the compliments to the great names are excellent, and you know what? ... I want more!

To be able to write this, I ended up listening to the album probably 4 or 5 times, because it was so alive and exciting ... and beautiful. You rarely get a chance to listen to things that stand out so much, but this past month has been an amazing journey for me, and a lot of it has to do with Rachel Flowers and her amazing style of creating music. Be it the orchestrated material fused with jazz, or some orchestrated material fused with rock music (Bigger on the Inside), it is all so fluid and so lovingly put together ... it makes you wonder ... it really does ... as it takes you away ... and you see this ... and you see that ... it just never stops ... how much more would you want?

NOTE: Ranked 5 for its excellence, although it might not be considered "progressive rock music", but it is very "progressive" in its mixing and design and appreciation of a lot of music history specially such that is considered "jazz", that is presented orchestrated and beautifully interpreted as if the originals were right here with you!

 Bigger on the Inside by FLOWERS, RACHEL album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.88 | 8 ratings

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Bigger on the Inside
Rachel Flowers Eclectic Prog

Review by moshkito

5 stars I have, for at least 60 years of my life heard a lot of music. Some is great, some is OK, and some did not really grab my inner mind. But one thing that has always been there and it is something that is hard to speak about, is that somehow, a lot of it had a visual sense for me, which was always the clue about the music, I think. History discusses classical music as a real important visual thing, and this goes way back to the great symphonies and concertos. Rock music, sadly, has replaced a lot of its musical lyricism with lyrics and (sometimes) senseless solos, that supposedly tell you what the music is about ... and then you hear something that is not "visual" per se, but the lyricism in it, drives it well ... until you hear Rachel Flowers ... "I feel I could fly ... " and see the music take off, you know that what you have here is special and far out. Not to say that the rest of the album is not as good, it is and then some. The whole things stands out.

I have, for a long time, appreciated Rachel Flowers' work, and specially for me is her acoustic versions of Keith Emerson's works, with TARKUS on the piano being the special one, that I wish was available as a CD, and not just on the tube, and folks realize what a magnificent piano concert it really was, and how the heck was our beloved Keith Emerson going to show it to his mates, so they could figure out how to present it in their own style and ability ... and they did, as well as they did a lot of other works.

This album, I suppose that it is easier to say that it is a very personal album, and she sings it with a conviction that is very strong, and the music is not afraid to show it even more. So in the piece "The Darkness", another very personal song, she unleashes a metal edge here and there, and the funny thing ... it's not out of place, and shows very clearly how one can illustrate a lot of words and not fail to create something that could easily be thought of as just a solo. According to info on it and her interview, it is a sort of take on Dream Theater's guitar work. If that is not enough, the following piece "Feel" or even more far out, and I suppose that I could easily tell you that ... goodness is that Frank on the guitar? ... but it's not. It's Rachel, and the quality of how it is used and the orchestrated style with which these two pieces are done, make it a fundamental and incredible listen for those that love music that really flies, instead of expecting it to tell you that it supposedly flies. Here, the music lives and the amazing thing is that you get the feeling that George Martin is the one that put this stuff together, because the way that each piece is presented is so well done, and it flows from the keyboards as an orchestra to just a piano, or voice, and then something else ... a combination that is a treat for one's ears, if we want to hear something special, instead of just a hit song.

It's a very personal album, and you can tell, and she speaks of it on an interview, that she did all the mixing, and it also shows that she has a very clear idea of what she wants to do with a piece of music, instead of relying on simple lyrics to tell you ... she sings well, and it is easy to flow on it, but the music itself, lives so beautifully with her words, that it's hard to think of them separately.

One thought came to my mind, that the next step is probably going to be a concerto or a symphony of some sort, because what she does with the music, and eventual mix is super special, and I think it will stand up for a long time.

A long time ago, Guy Guden (Space Pirate Radio) made another one of his funny comments, that sometimes things are so heavy they are weightless ... and if I have a comment about this album it is just that. It is super progressive, in that it does not conform to any cookie cutter form and instead stuck to the quality of the music. And sometimes, this is confusing, because a lot of the "progressive" thoughts and fans, tend to stick to a definition that does not even conform to the very word it professes to be and follow ... but in the hands of Rachel Flowers I can tell you, that "progressive" is in good hands and you and I can only hope that we will hear a lot more, for this is special and something that you will not hear every day ... well, when I get done hearing "Feel" for the umpteenth time, I will let you know, but its appreciation is still as strong as the first time ... you can really FEEL this album if you are not conditioned by "forms" of something or other. And I'm not sure that an artist can ask more or give you more than that ... and present it so beautifully.

A very special album and highly recommended.

Thanks to tapfret for the artist addition.

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