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GRYPHON

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Gryphon biography
Founded in 1973 - Disbanded in 1977 - One-off reunion in 2009 - Reformed in 2015

GRYPHON was founded by Richard HARVEY (recorder, keys) and Brian GULLAND (bassoon, krumhorn) after a stint at the Royal Acadamy of Music in 1973. They shared a vision of blending traditional English folk, Baroque instrumentation and Renaissance music in a modern format. The compositions resemble those of Gentle Giant but give greater emphasis to the authentic textures and sounds of the Renaissance period.

Harvey and Gulland were joined in 1973 by Graeme TAYLOR on guitar and singer/percussionist David OBERLE for their all-acoustic first album 'Gryphon'. Bassist Philip NESTOR was added to the line up in 1974 for their second effort 'Midnight Mushrumps', which featured an increased number of original compositions and leanings in a rock direction. Later that year their classic 'Red Queen to Gryphon Three' was released and has become a prog rock staple with its longer, somewhat more symphonic arrangements and courtly instrumental rock. The mid-1970s brought big changes to the band with new bass player Malcom BENNET taking over for Nestor. In 1977, guitarist Graeme Taylor left to be replaced by Bob FOSTER, bassist Jonathan DAVIE replaced Bennett, and Oberle switched to lead voice with Alex BAIRED taking over on drums. Tim SEBASTIAN was also brought in as a lyricist to complete the ever-growing unit. 'Raindance' was released in 1975 and 'Treason' in '77, establishing GRYPHON as a top-notch prog rock act.

With a seamless fusion of British folk and medieval rock, GRYPHON developed a strong sound all their own and a loyal following.


-- Atavachron (David) --

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GRYPHON discography


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

3.39 | 247 ratings
Gryphon
1973
3.75 | 261 ratings
Midnight Mushrumps
1974
4.15 | 679 ratings
Red Queen to Gryphon Three
1974
3.29 | 231 ratings
Raindance
1975
3.44 | 154 ratings
Treason
1977
3.89 | 108 ratings
ReInvention
2018
3.46 | 16 ratings
Get Out of My Father's Car!
2020

GRYPHON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.75 | 11 ratings
Ethelion
1998
3.14 | 23 ratings
About as Curious as It Can Be
2002
3.43 | 21 ratings
Glastonbury Carol
2003

GRYPHON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GRYPHON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 6 ratings
The Collection
1992
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection II
1995
4.07 | 15 ratings
Gryphon & Midnight Mushrumps
1996
4.24 | 27 ratings
Red Queen to Gryphon Three & Raindance
1997
3.17 | 8 ratings
Crossing the Styles - The Transatlantic Anthology
2004

GRYPHON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 5 ratings
Spring Song
1977

GRYPHON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gryphon by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.39 | 247 ratings

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Gryphon
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars With this review I am talking about one of the most interesting Groups of the English Progressive scene; the Gryphon.

The peculiarity of this Group is to merge Medieval Folk with its instruments (Flute, Contrabassoon, Harpsichord ...) with the Music of our time (an almost analogous case by the Gryphon is to combine typically acoustic instruments such as the already mentioned , purely electronic instruments such as the electric bass, in my opinion not an enterprise for everyone!). Gryphon was born in 1971 by Richard Harvey (Flute and Keyboards) and Brian Gulland (Double Bass), students of the Royal College of Music in London. Their formation of Classical Music studies will soon expand with other cultured genres of Ancient Music, in this circumstance the most attracted is Harvey who, taken especially from Medieval and Renaissance Music, enriches his instrumental background with Flutes and others. wind instruments of that era, which among other things already played in a band called Musica Reservata. Gulland, on the other hand, is enraptured by Sacred Music and the more modern Progressive Rock.

Graeme Taylor, Jazz-enthusiast Guitarist and Rock-loving Percussionist David Oberlè, were soon added to the Gryphon project. 1973 is the year of the release of "Gryphon", the first work of the Band. The album contains 11 pieces all played with acoustic instruments of the Medieval and Renaissance culture. To my personal taste, the opening "Kemp's Jig" stands out, a Jig (as the title of the piece says) between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, with Harvey's Flute already in plain sight; Nor should the immediate sequel "Sir Gavin Grimbold" be underestimated, this time highlighting the potential of the Contrabassoon played by Gulland. Other highlights of the disc are: "Three Jolly Butchers" written by Taylor and "Pastime With Good Company" a rearrangement of a piece written by ... hear hear Henry VIII of England !!! This is followed by the sweet and beautiful ballad "The Uniquiet Grave", a traditional sung by Oberlè that suggests, precisely from the singing, a slight admiration for Ian Anderson. Finally, I would like to point out what in my opinion is the pearl of the whole album; "Juniper Suite" an instrumental that plunges us into the most total medieval atmosphere, with counterpoint of Contrabassoon, flute blooms and confetti of Classical Guitar; in my humble opinion a masterpiece! Listen to believe!

Following the release of "Gryphon", the Group grows interest among the public and the press, and plays in places of various types of society: clubs, schools, prisons, culminating with performances at the Cathedrals of St. Paul's and Southwark and at Victoria and Albert Museum. A group to be discovered absolutely, an album that deserves to be listened to.

 Midnight Mushrumps by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.75 | 261 ratings

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Midnight Mushrumps
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars In September 1973, a certain Peter Hall, director of the National Theater in London entrusted the Gryphon with the composition of the music for Shakespeare's play "The Tempest". Following the proposal, the group recruits bassist Philip Nestor, thus adding the first electronic instrument to the instrumental ensemble; a situation that will bring the Band closer to the most common and sophisticated Prog Rock of the '70s, but without ever abandoning the Medieval and Renaissance atmospheres.

First months of 1974: with this addition in the line-up comes "Midnight Mushrumps", the second Gryphon Album that begins and is enhanced with the 19-minute Suite of the same name, never pompous and cloying as is usually thought of the latter (point certainly not marginal in the Prog, the Suites, as we all already know). Furthermore, the latter is strongly inspired by the previous theatrical experience of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" as the title of the composition suggests. Someone in the previous review on the Grifoni album of the same name, had pointed out to me the flaw of the frequent ups and downs of the volume, which stand out especially in this long piece, but in my opinion this fact does not penalize the product, on the contrary it gives it greater thickness in the atomosphere to giving an even stronger aroma to our auditory sense. In its totality the disc is more reasoned and more on a Progressive line; while maintaining the typical instrumentation of the debut, even if the use of it is less redundant. The absolute pearl of this second discographic chapter is "The Ploughboy's Dream", a piece with a minimum duration (perhaps because preceded by the initial suite), but which in such a short time manages to give (to those who are sensitive to pure medieval sounds !) chills and indescribable emotions. You have to listen to it to understand what I'm saying! The remaining pieces are all instrumental, which find extreme strengths in the mixture between instruments of the Medieval / Renaissance tradition and the only (for the moment) electric instrument, that is the bass mentioned above. This great feature hints at what will be a worthy sequel to "Midnight Mushrumps". Among the instrumental pieces it should be noted: "The Last Flash Of Gaberdine Tailor" does not exist among modern players such a well-blended conjugation between Renaissance music and Prog, and "Ethelion" the last piece of the album, but which is a wise demonstration of what an electric instrument like the bass can do, alone and immersed in acoustic instruments!

Both that "Gryphon" and "Midnight Mushrumps" have been reissued on CD by various labels, the most interesting is the reissue of "Castle Essential" which brings together the first two albums in a single box, among other things with the addition of the lost track "Crossing The Stiles" in "Gryphon".

After "Midnight Mushrumps" the Gryphon are preparing to churn out, what is rightly considered their masterpiece, and which delivers the group to the Olympus of Prog Rock ... or "Red Queen To The Gryphon Three"!

 Red Queen to Gryphon Three by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 679 ratings

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Red Queen to Gryphon Three
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Exponents of the second generation English progressive, Gryphon formed in the environment of the Royal College Of Music in London and in 1974, after just two years of activity, they released their third album, "Red Queen To Gryphon Three", unanimously considered their masterpiece. The line-up of the period consisted of the traditional drummer (David Oberl), bassist (Philip Nestor) and guitarist (Graeme Taylor) and two fiat players, the flutist Richard Harvey (now renowned author of soundtracks) and the bassoonist Brian Gulland, who they share the use of another wind instrument, the krumhorn, a curved horn typical of the Renaissance.

It is precisely the boundless love for medieval and Renaissance music that distinguishes the group and the work in question: it collects the legacy of the best progressive of the previous five years and takes it to extremes, proposing four long instrumental pieces for over thirty-eight minutes of music, in whose modernity (for the period) jazz-rock, medieval and Renaissance folklore and some hint of classical music sometimes alternate, other times they combine. It is certainly an ambitious work, formally very admirable; on the whole it is an excellently constructed work, which does not lack moments of particular suggestion, but which nevertheless in the long run is wordy, daring, a little pretentious in its continuous search for combinations between different eras and styles. The first song, Opening Move, immediately demonstrates this: a solemn introduction to Genesis, a classical theme of piano, symphonies, Crimsonian progressions for distorted bass and guitar and a lively interlude of winds that acts as a watershed, since then the theme for piano and electric progressions they are repeated for the rest of the composition with the addition of other instruments and hallucinating sound effects. Similarly, the effervescent medieval dance that opens Second Spasm yields the relay to tightrope walking worthy of the Gentle Giant, and then leaves room for bizarre wind games and afterwards to a march in which electronic and classical instruments intertwine (the lesson is still evident of the Genesis); after which the first two acts are resumed with the usual addition of instruments.

The impression had so far is that the group is overflowing with ideas and solutions, but the album is rather perplexing in terms of emotional spontaneity and arouses admiration rather for the technical preparation of the musicians. It is therefore no coincidence that the most reasonable and therefore the best piece is the third, Lament: ten minutes of prog splendor, in which an ethereal modern melody of acoustic guitar opens on which first flute and bassoon alternate naturally, then, when chords change, delicate and mellifluous electric guitar arpeggios take over; quiet but obscure ruminations follow, which then turn into free-jazz delusions mixed with classical guitar arpeggios (the influence of King Crimson is evident in this case); closes the initial theme, proposed by the keyboards and then again by the acoustic guitar, on which I gradually dissolve the piano and the flute. Finally, Checkmate is an opinionated use of means, even more abstruse and bizarre, a jumble of heterogeneous sound sequences technically very well structured but ideologically very free-form: also in this case the feeling is that our people wanted to impress for their ability and skill rather than thrill.

"Red Queen To Gryphon Three" is definitely recommended for progressive rock lovers. The rest of the audience will probably be torn between admiration for the authors' technical skills and doubts about its actual content value. The Lament is still one of the best pieces of English prog and is worth an extra point.

 Red Queen to Gryphon Three by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 679 ratings

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Red Queen to Gryphon Three
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by Beautiful Scarlet

3 stars A purely instrumental affair that should appeal to fans of classical music. The rock or pop elements I enjoy in Progressive Rock are simply not found on this album. It's like playing a well arranged version of literal classical music. While Gryphon was trying to obtain this sound, it is one that I do not find engaging. It's more then the lack of vocals that does this, it is the compositions themselves.

Overall I think the general sound of Gryphon is somewhere in between Gentle Giant and Happy The Man. Really a fine album, just one that my ears attuned moreso to Canterbury Scene and Crossover find dull.

 Spring Song by GRYPHON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Spring Song
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars GRYPHON is one of the finest prog folk bands ever. Their wholly instrumental third album Red Queen to Gryphon Three (1974) is a unique prog masterpiece. The following Raindance (1975) is very uneven in comparison, and some of its short tracks frankly feel like mere fillers. I haven't entirely listened to the next and final album before breaking up, Treason (1977) which this single represents. The key members Richard Harvey, Brian Gulland -- both experts in Old Music -- and vocalist-percussionist David Oberl are joined by three new members: guitarist Bob Foster and the rhythm section of Jonathan Davie and Alex Baird. Treason is more electrified rock than Gryphon's earlier albums and it contains less experimenting or folk ingredients.

On the album 'Spring Song' is a powerful 10-minute prog composition with some notable influences from YES (whom Gryphon had toured with). Especially the electric guitar has sometimes a Steve Howe -like sound during the Treason album. The single version is shortened to 4 and half minutes which naturally changes the composition's character quite a lot. Gone are the extended instrumental sections (ie. intro and outro) pointing at grand-scale symphonic prog. The track starts with a bright piano playing reminiscent of classic Renaissance songs such as 'Can You Understand', joined soon by Oberl's vocals and the other instruments. The melodies are slightly moody but vivant like a spring brook. The chorus easily lingers in your mind afterwards. The reeds that were essential to the earlier Gryphon sound are in a minor role; I think there's only a brief bassoon solo and perhaps a little of English horn. A prog listener will undoubtedly prefer the full version, but also this tight version is very nice, and in some sense more coherent.

'Fall of the Leaf' (4:25) is another melodic song from Treason, romantically mellow and folky but not in a slow tempo. The acoustically oriented arrangement is very elegant, slightly comparable to some quartet era Genesis songs such as 'Ripples', plus the bassoon again adding old chamber music flavour typical for Gryphon.

A pretty pleasant single indeed, makes me want to hear the source album.

 Get Out of My Father's Car! by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.46 | 16 ratings

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Get Out of My Father's Car!
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars As pretty much the only 70s shining example of Medieval chamber prog, GRYPHON stunned the world with its self-titled debut release in 1973 which crazily crafted a bizarre mix of English folk music with medieval and Renaissance music spruced up with the energy of rock. After a couple of progressive folk albums the band enjoyed extensive touring opportunities with bands like Yes, Steeleye Span and even the Mahavishnu Orchestra. All that exposure to the more progressive forms of rock rubbed GRYPHON in all the right ways and the band was influenced heavily as heard on the band's most lauded prog folk and rock release "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" but just as soon as the band ascended the ranks so too did it fall after a couple of less magnificent following albums.

After the dismal response of 1977's "Treason" GRYPHON called it a day and was pretty much written off as a flash in the pan from the early 70s but in 2018 the three original members Graeme Taylor (guitars), Brian Guilland (bassoon, crumhorn, sax) and Dave Oberle (drums) stunned the prog world by releasing its first album 41 years later with the critically acclaimed "Reinvention" which served as a summary of the band's five album career that straddled the mid-1970s. While many may have thought this might be a one-off project, GRYPHON returns in 2020 to prove that not only would that be a false assumption but that it didn't require another four decades to gestate another batch of material to unleash on the prog world and much like the legendary mythological creature that was known for guarding treasures and priceless possessions seems to have uncovered a wealth of new inspiration.

Yeah GRYPHON is back but with a different lineup and a completely different style unlike anything they have tackled in the past (well for the most part). This is a much leaner lineup with not only the three original members but the return of Andrew Findon on flute, piccolo, soprano crumhorn, soprano sax and the clarinet. New to the family is Rob Levy on bass and Clare Taylor on violin and keyboards. At first glance of the band's seventh album GET OUT OF MY FATHER'S CAR! one is struck with an abrupt WTF reaction as the album cover deviates from the band's cover art depicting mythological scenarios and instead sports what resembles some kind of poster art that might have been seen during the Summer of Love in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Oh no! This is gonna suck! (my first thought). Well, you can never judge a book by its cover so after all is said and done i have to say that it's not as bad as i was fearing however this one is unfortunately a few steps down from "Reinvention" not only in its inconsistency but in its deviation from the crazy prog folk charm of what makes GRYPHON so unique (well, for the most part).

The title track gets off to a funky festive start as it sounds like Earth, Wind and Fire have joined the band for a funk fueled romp that includes some deviations into some extremely proggy territory. Oh yeah, now we're talking! While unlike anything GRYPHON has crafted before, the intricate tradeoff of all the various instruments on board fortified with crazy time signature and even genre skipping is actually quite beautifully done but after a couple of minutes of instrumental wankery, the band adds some funny lyrics which breaks immediately takes the album into a silly nary a care mood. After that rollicking roster of unorthodoxy, the album takes on a more serious mood with the following "A Bit Of Music By Me" which sounds more like classic Gryphon at its peak with beautiful folk motifs laced with the sultry sounds of woodwinds and of course that classic crumhorn!

After another prog folk winner in the form of "Percy the Defective Perspective Detective" the album showcases another stylistic shift with the Celtic folk ballad style of "Christiana's Song" which unfortunately derails the fun made all the more so by several songs of this style punctuating the jocular festivities and prog folk dynamism. "Suite For 68" starts off as an oom-pa-pa polka waltz but finds resolution in a sombre crumhorn fueled folk melody. "The Brief History Of A Bassoon" brings back the humor with Dave Obele providing vocals singing about being a tree! "Krum Dancing" is also mined from GRYPHON's distant past with meideval and Renaissance flavors teased out into prog folk splendor. "Normal Wisdom from the Swamp. (A Sonic Tonic)" follows suit but in the end, there are just too many gosh darned sappy Celtic ballads on this one! The closing "Parting Shot" ends up sounding more like an Irish James Taylor than anything remotely GRYPHON.

Ultimately GET OUT OF MY FATHER'S CAR comes off as a bunch of aging hippies blowing off steam rather than an attempt to craft a serious progressive folk album in the vein of the 70s output or even the lauded comeback "Reinvention." The playful and oft ludicrous humor is actually quite refreshing in a genre that is renowned for taking itself too seriously but the album is bogged down by several earnest tracks that dwell too much on traditional Celtic folk sounds. In the end GRYPHON should've just made a really funny comedy album in the spirit of the title because those are the tracks that work the best here. Tracks like "Christiana's Song," "A Stranger Kiss" and "Forth Sahara" for example just seem like an insipid tribute to Clannad or some other long lost folkies from the late 60s. A good enough album for sure but inconsistent and a step down from the beautiful "Reinvention." Hopefully this was just a fluke and the band has a few zingers left in them.

 Gryphon by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.39 | 247 ratings

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Gryphon
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by Lupton

5 stars Predictably, Prog fans tend to zero in on Gryphon's third album "Red Queen To Gryphon Three" with its combination of instrumental doodling and lengthy tracks and total absence of vocals and general sense of seriousness.The group's eponymous debut is by far their most enjoyable partly because of the musicians refusal to take any thing they do too seriously while still displaying serious musical chops. And make no mistake- all four musicians are absolute virtuosos. Richard Harvey is a phenomenal recorder playe as displayed towards the climax of the album's opener- Kemp's Jig,Brian Gulland is an expert on the crumhorn and his wayward accompaniments add to the creative whimsy.Guitarist Graeme Taylor playing is extremely tasteful throughout and is almost jazzy in places especially on "The Astrologer".Dave Oberle plays an assortment of drums while taking on most of the vocal duties. While the album is dominated by the group's quirky takes on medieval and Renaissance tunes they also incorporate their own medieval inspired instrumentals. The best of these by far and by far my favourite track on the album and infact my favourite ever Gryphon track is "Juniper Suite". I remember being totally smitten when I first heard this wonderfully intricate Prog Classic (yes that is Prog with a capital P)and have never stopped enjoying listening to it. It is a shame that the group were almost impatient to abandon the quirky approach of the first album although the final Transatlantic album saw them recapturing some of the magic of their debut. A wonderful album. A full 5 stars
 Red Queen to Gryphon Three by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 679 ratings

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Red Queen to Gryphon Three
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars The English lads got on the peak of their progressive driven folk as they equalled contemporary progressive rock with their folk renaissance past. Apart from the classical music instruments, the band mastered also the 70's instruments, especially multiple 70's synthesizers. Textures in the 4 long songs are fantastic, layer after layer and undisputed experimentation are on full display. Keyboards, crumhorn and bassoon take the first seat. Bass guitar is also pretty good. You won't find another better example of the renaissance progressive rock with this mix. The good thing is that the band refrained from singing to keep focus on instruments - that won't held true on the next album. Also, look at the marvellous front cover. I am happy I finally acquired an original CD years after hearing it for the first time on the progressive rock radio. A highly recommended album for those who prefer solid composing and playing over abundance of aimless soloing.

 Raindance by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.29 | 231 ratings

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Raindance
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Raindance was my first experience of Gryphon, having known the band only from hearing them on progressive rock radios. I like the cover sleeve of the album a lot and bought at a prog-rock festival. The album is quite accessible, varying between folk, prog and pop-rock. Due to some light poppy tracks like the cover of "Mother's nature son", parts of "Fontinental song" and Camel-like "Don't say go", this album won't deserve more than 4 stars. The folky parts are represented mainly by the short fourth track, then "Ormolu" and the last folk-prog epic track. The band has become more progressive than folk which may be a welcome change to most progheads. Apart from the use of exotic folk instruments, I particularly adore the vast array of keyboard sounds like clavinet, glockenspiel, organs etc.

Highlights are the second symphonic track "Raindance" that creates great keyboard textures thanks to synths, Moog and organs. Also nice sounds of storm and rains. The instrumental section in "Fontinental version" compensates for the sloppy poppy part. Keyboard sections are excellent but acoustic guitars are well arranged, too. "Wallbanger" is a nice marching song but not too original apart from nice clavinet playing in the end. "(Ein Klein) Heldenleben" is a definite highlight with grandiose motives and all instruments being folky and epic. Look how a complex epic can be composed without having to be virtuoso. There are so many instruments and various ideas that it may sound incoherent - however you simply have to give it numerous listens. Keyboards, guitar and flute are at the top of their game. Only Gryphon can craft such original epic based on folk and progressive elements.

 Red Queen to Gryphon Three by GRYPHON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.15 | 679 ratings

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Red Queen to Gryphon Three
Gryphon Prog Folk

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars GRYPHON are a London-based Prog-Folk band who are best-known for their unique blend of medieval and Renaissance Folk music, combining classical themes and proggy elements. They released five albums during the Progressive Rock decade of the 1970's:- "Gryphon" (1973); "Midnight Mushrumps" (1974); "Red Queen to Gryphon Three" (1974); "Raindance" (1975); & "Treason" (1977). The band reached something of a stalemate in the 1970's because they were never quite able to achieve commercial success, but they're now experiencing a well-deserved revival, thanks to the arrival of the Internet. Buoyed up by the renewed interest in the band, Gryphon released the aptly-titled comeback album "Reinvention" in 2018, their first album in over forty years.The chess-themed album we have here, "Red Queen to Gryphon Three", with its distinctive album cover, is probably the best-known of Gryphon's six albums. There are four movements in this instrumental Prog-Folk concept album based on the game of chess, so let's make the "Opening Move" now with the 10-minute-long opening piece of music.

Thrusting a pawn forward to the centre of the board with the bold "Opening Move", you could be forgiven for thinking this is YES when you hear the dynamic opening chord sequence. This is an energetic and adventurous keyboard piece which also features a bassoon. Imagine the grand symphonic sound of YES with a bassoon player included and that's the powerful piece of music you have here. There's also a gentle flutey middle passage to give the music a medieval banquet atmosphere, although this impression doesn't last for long, as the music slowly builds up into a crashing crescendo of sound for the dramatic finish when the slightly discordant chords reminds one of some of Van Der Graaf Generator's more experimental works. It's a powerful "Opening Move" to this musical game of chess with a striking "pawn storm" of sound in the centre of the board, designed to grab the listener's attention right from the outset.

Onto the second movement now with "Second Spasm", which opens in traditional medieval feast style with the sound of a crumhorn. You can almost picture Robin Hood and his Merry Men dining with Maid Marion at an exotic banquet with a lavishly-laid-out table. There's no time to dine on a feast though, as we're in full proggy mode just one minute into this 9-minute-long piece, when there's an outbreak of dynamic (and very modern) keyboards to spoil the medieval party atmosphere. The music returns briefly to the flutey medieval theme of a banquet hall, and then we hear the sound of a slow marching rhythm in which gallant knights might have marched into battle in old days of yore. The finale transforms into a powerful quick-march, which brings to mind intrepid medieval knights jostling and jousting on the battlefield to save a beautiful fair maiden's honour in time-honoured tradition.

Side Two opens with the third movement: "Lament". It's an 8-minute-long, three-piece-suite, opening to the harmonious sound of a bassoon and the crumhorn floating along on a gently melodic wave of sound. The acoustic guitar and rhythm section reminds one of the Prog-Rock band Renaissance, which seems somehow appropriate, as Gryphon's unique blend of musical styles is loosely based on the Renaissance music of the Middle Ages. In fact, this music wouldn't have seemed too out of place if it HAD been played in Henry VIII's time, although there would have been no power source to plug the modern electronic keyboard into. Putting that minor detail aside though, the middle section of the suite is a really laid-back mellow groove, but try not to get too laid-back as there's an uplifting and unrestrained grand finale to this Renaissance-style (in both senses) musical extravaganza. This is the kind of flutey folky Renaissance music you could picture yourself listening to at a medieval banquet attended by gallant knights and lusty wenches dining on a suckling pig, whilst being entertained by jolly jugglers and merry magicians, although you're more likely to hear this music played now at a 21st century medieval banquet revival night.

It's "Checkmate" now for the fourth and final movement on our chess-themed Prog-Folk album. This medieval style Prog-Folk instrumental will transport you back in time to the Renaissance court of Henry VIII where gay (in the old sense of the word) wandering minstrels and court jesters entertained the King. The music might have the flutey sound of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, but it's actually the antiquated crumhorn and a recorder that gives the music a Renaissance feel to it. In modern times in England, this is the kind of jolly Folk music that Morris dancers might prance around to, looking slightly ludicrous wearing bell pads on their shins and waving sticks and handkerchiefs in the air, although to be honest, most sensible people in England would go out of their way to avoid Morris dancers. Anyway, back to the music at hand. The music's not TOO folky, because there's enough prog elements included here to keep the prog-heads entertained, including staccato stop-start changes of tempo and an outbreak of Rick Wakeman-style keyboard virtuosity for the sonorous grand finale to this 10-minute Prog-Folk epic.

If you're in the mood for some proggy Folk which conjures up images of gallant knights rescuing fair maidens in distress, then this might be just the album for you. Some of the music on this unique album might sound folky and medieval, but it's given a proggy 20th century upheaval.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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