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TEN JINN

Crossover Prog • United States


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Ten Jinn biography
Formed in Los Angeles, USA in 1991

TEN JINN, was formed in the beginning of 1991 by John Paul STRAUSS and Jimmy BOREL. Their first CD, 'WILDMAN', (produced by brothers Ken and Ivor FRANCIS) was recorded during the next couple of years and, after a good deal of delay punctuated by the band doing a good deal of live performance, the record was finally released in 1996. The years between 1993 and 1996 saw a lot of musicians come and go from the band, but by the time they were invited to perform at the "kick-off" party at Baja Prog in Mexicali, Mexico in 1998, the line-up consisted of John Paul STRAUSS on lead vocals and keyboards, Mark WICKLIFFE on drums and backing vocals, Bob NIEMEYER on keyboards and backing vocals, Mike MATIER on guitar and guitar-synthesizer, Matt OVERHOLTZER on bass and Chapman Stick, and Stan WHITAKER in the second guitar spot as a guest performer.

Partially as a result of the performance at Baja Prog 1998, Stan WHITAKER discovered that not only had the fan base for his 1970s progressive rock band, HAPPY THE MAN, not diminished, but had in fact grown and flourished in the underground prog-rock scene. This prompted Stan to get HTM boys back together for a new release. Meanwhile, TEN JINN, off the heady experience of rave reviews for their Baja Prog debut performance, redoubled their efforts and recorded the band's second CD, 'AS ON A DARKLING PLAIN', which was picked up for distribution in America by InsideOut Records and, in Europe, by Sweden Rock Records.

The year 1999 saw a further rise in the band's popularity with performances once again at Baja Prog, this time on the big stage at Teatro Del Estato. The second CD, which had been out just a few months prior, was receiving great reviews, and with a strong live show, as well, the band was invited to headline Prog Day, later that year in North Carolina. The years 1999 and 2000 saw TEN JINN gigging constantly up and down the West Coast from San Diego to Los Angeles to San Francisco. However, Stan WHITAKER was soon to leave the band permanently, and move back to Maryland, where he continued to work with band mates from HAPPY THE MAN on a new CD, as well as with his new band, OBLIVION SUN.

In 2001 the boys were back in the studio again, recording tracks for their third release, 'ALONE', at Ken FRANCIS' studio, Babaji's Cave, when STRAUSS decided to move to Sweden, where the second CD seemed to be doing rather better than it had been in the States, as well as fo...
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SisyphusSisyphus
CD Baby 2018
$12.41
Ziggy Blackstar (A Tribute To David Bowie)Ziggy Blackstar (A Tribute To David Bowie)
CD Baby 2018
$14.53
Alone by Ten Jinn (2004-01-01)Alone by Ten Jinn (2004-01-01)
Musea Records France
$55.38
As on a Darkling Plain by Ten JinnAs on a Darkling Plain by Ten Jinn
Inside Out U.S.
$18.95
$23.88 (used)
wildmanwildman
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TEN JINN discography


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

2.20 | 5 ratings
Wildman
1997
3.78 | 30 ratings
As On A Darkling Plain
1999
2.28 | 13 ratings
Alone
2003
4.16 | 32 ratings
Sisyphus
2017
4.86 | 3 ratings
Ziggy Blackstar - A Tribute To David Bowie
2018

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

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

TEN JINN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sisyphus by TEN JINN album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.16 | 32 ratings

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Sisyphus
Ten Jinn Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Formed in 1991, many progheads became fully aware of Ten Jinn with their second album, 1999's 'On A Darkling Plain'. Lead singer/keyboard player John Strauss moved to Sweden in 2001, and although Ten Jinn released their third album 'Alone', in 2003, that was also the year of their final live show at Draken Theater in Stockholm. John returned to the States in 2004, but then undertook a Master's degree program for music theory/composition, and it took a long time for Ten Jinn to become operational again. But, in 2017, a mere 14 years on from their last album, Ten Jinn were back. Joining Strauss was drummer/bassist Mark Wickliffe, and guitarists Ken Skoglund and Mike Matier, so three of the quartet have been there since the debut while Skoglund was in the band for the previous album so this is very much a continuation as opposed to a brand new band trading under an old name.

'Sisyphus' is an eight-part programmatic work that tells the story of the founder and King of Corinth after whom it is named. Because of affronts to the gods while alive, Sisyphus was condemned in death to spend eternity in Hades rolling a boulder to the top of a mountain, only to have it roll back down each time he completed the task. It was originally conceived as a classical work (for string orchestra and piano), and was then reworked to include rock instrumentation and vocals so that it tied in with earlier albums. The band then started working on shorter songs to get it all up to album length, when the idea was mooted to undertake an instrumental mix which would be more indicative of the original concept. So the album contains just two songs, 26 minutes long each, with one being the instrumental version of the other.

Many bands have attempted, with lesser or greater success, to combine orchestra with rock music, but generally these are approached from the rock side first, with orchestra then added to it. Here the reverse is true, as it was originally a classical piece with rock added. There is no doubt that of all rock bands, the one they have most in common with is The Enid, but there is less pomp, more piano. Also, the vocals are very strong indeed, and the result is something that is modern classical, progressive rock, singer songwriter, symphonic metal, all these things and so much more. For all its complexity, it is also an incredibly accessible album, one that feels wonderfully light even when though there is a great deal happening within it. Strange to think that there were 14 years between this album and the previous one as the band are tight, focussed, moving through multiple styles and facets with ease.

Since this release the band have produced the wonderful 'Ziggy Blackstar' album, which is a tribute to Bowie, and John tells me that he has almost completed writing "Worlds: the Four Worlds of the Hopi Cosmology" which is in four movements (worlds) total running time about 60 minutes. Whether they soon get back into the studio, or hit the festival circuit, is a matter of current debate. Whatever happens, Ten Jinn are back, and very much making up for lost time.

 Ziggy Blackstar - A Tribute To David Bowie by TEN JINN album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.86 | 3 ratings

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Ziggy Blackstar - A Tribute To David Bowie
Ten Jinn Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars It's probably best to let singer and keyboard player John Paul Strauss describe the rationale behind this album. 'During the time we were working on the most recent Ten Jinn release, 'Sisyphus', came the very sad news about the passing of David Bowie. At the time (though we were very busy with working on the album and dealing with the upcoming release in 2017) I suggested to the other Ten Jinn members that as soon as 'Sisyphus' was completed, we should record a David Bowie tribute record before preparing for live shows or recording the next Ten Jinn record, 'Worlds (the Four Worlds of the Hopi)'. While I was very excited about the prospect of playing live again and getting on to 'Worlds' (I even completed the first draft of the score) I felt very strongly about taking this detour in order to pay my respects to an artist, who was probably the single most important influence in my development as a musician in general and vocalist in particular.'

I can't be the only person who never expected an album like this from Ten Jinn. Since their second album, 1999's 'As On A Darkling Plain', they have cemented a reputation as one of the most interesting progressive rock bands around, so a Bowie tribute album isn't exactly what one would expect. There haven't been many progressive bands who have recorded whole albums of covers (Dream Theater of course taking it to the extreme by re-recording complete albums, often very well indeed), let alone of music that us so far away from what one would expect.

What I also found interesting was the track selection, as while of course there are many hits, there are also many missing which one may expect on a collection like this, such as 'Ashes to Ashes', 'Space Oddity', 'Suffragette City', 'Rebel Rebel', 'Young Americans' etc. There is the feeling that here is a very personal collection, one that has a collective cohesiveness which works incredibly well. What I really enjoyed about the album is that although they have stayed close to the originals, they have also allowed themselves to put their own stamp on the songs. They have played it fairly straight, and consequently it has worked exactly as it was supposed to, namely as a tribute.

One of the real stand outs has to be 'Dead Man Walking', which originally featured on the 1997 album 'Earthling'. While much focus will be on the wonderful acoustic guitars, funky percussion or superb vocals, what really makes this such an essential song is the wonderful fretless bass which adds so much class, warmth and emotion to it. Strauss's vocals throughout are exemplary, and the whole band sound as if they have been performing Bowie songs their whole lives, such is the skill and joy they bring to this collection. This is a must for any lover of Bowie, as rarely is his material treated with such care.

 Sisyphus by TEN JINN album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.16 | 32 ratings

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Sisyphus
Ten Jinn Crossover Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars Formed in 1991 by John-Paul Strauss and Jimmy Borel Ten Jinn has seen the band live many line-up changes, but John-Paul is back for this new release. The band has adopted a symphonic style after their first album and in this one they have gone even further in that direction. Strauss has studied in theory and composition which results in this symphonic poem "Sisyphus" composed for piano and orchestra. It's a 26 minutes song close to classical music and they included here the instrumental version which is very logic considering the classical approach in structure and arrangements. If you enjoy the band Enid, you will enjoy this one as well, and won't get bored a minute here.
 As On A Darkling Plain by TEN JINN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.78 | 30 ratings

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As On A Darkling Plain
Ten Jinn Crossover Prog

Review by infandous

2 stars Hilarious!!!

Man, I listened to this album with a friend of mine and I laughed harder than I have in a long time (as did she). Don't get me wrong, this isn't a terrible album. The musicianship is high, the compositions are fairly well thought out and arranged, and the recording quality is pretty good. But man, does John Paul Strauss take himself seriously? In some ways this is almost a parody of prog. An elaborate, grandiose 40 minute epic with suitably overblown titles for each section. Some complex playing and somewhat varied instrumentation. All based on an Ann Rice vampire book. I was expecting something kind of dark and menacing. Instead, I get a fairly bouncy composition, with some darker parts that border on the ridiculous, filled to the brim with Strauss' odd baritone. There is just something about the melodies and vocals on this album that I find humorous. And the pictures in the booklet..........well, lets just say they add to the only enhance the absurdity of it all. Now, most prog heads will notice that Stan Whitaker plays on this album. I really can't imagine what prompted him to do this gig, but it doesn't really matter since it's pretty hard to tell he is on here. The few times where I hear a distinct guitar solo, it doesn't strike me as his better work. The other tracks on the album are quite similar musically to the epic, and are mostly even more ridiculous. I mean, writing a song about a rock? Seriously, the song Rock conveys the inner thoughts of........a rock. Wow. I can only assume this was meant to be funny, which makes me think that maybe the whole album is meant to be funny? If so, they don't announce it.

Anyway, on the whole, this is probably not really worth your time. It can be quite funny, and the music is not exactly terrible. As I said before, these are good musicians who play well together. The compositions, while not varying much in style, are well enough written and sometimes are borderline adventurous (mostly in the 40 minute epic). For myself, I may pull it out again if I need a good laugh. I rate it two stars purely on musical terms, but from what I can tell it is their best album so "fans" probably have it already. If you really just want to take a wild chance on a fairly obscure purchase, or are a rabid Stan Whitaker fan and must have everything he ever played on, then you may want this in your collection. Otherwise, scratch this one off your list.

 Alone by TEN JINN album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.28 | 13 ratings

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Alone
Ten Jinn Crossover Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This album was the first and only one I listened to from that band so far. To describe the music that is played here, well I would call it some kind of AOR stuff merged with a touch of Alternative Metal. Overall it's more rocking than it is progressive. But the point, that the vocal skills of singer John Paul Strauss (who's claiming to be related to the famous Austrian composer family) are obviously not very high even sounding shrill sometimes is putting its value even more down..

There are no real highlights to report about. Songs that are a bit (at least in parts) outstanding of the rest are Legend Of Green, which is an instrumental with keyboards and acoustic parts and How It Goes sounding like a kind of Symphonic Art-Rock blended with Prog-Metal. Of course there some inevitable ballads present like What Are You Gonna Do starting with acoustic guitar and I'll Be There containing a rather good guitar solo.

As a SUMMARY I'd like to say that the material presented on here is definitively not sufficient to recommend this album to anyone with some advanced demands, especially not to people who are into more intricate Prog. There are much better alternatives in Art Rock to this one.

 As On A Darkling Plain by TEN JINN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.78 | 30 ratings

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As On A Darkling Plain
Ten Jinn Crossover Prog

Review by Hibou
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars When I first heard this album, I couldn't quite put my finger on what I found so familiar with it while at the same time it sounded so unique. Blending hard rock, medieval folk and QUEEN-like choruses so shamelessly surely took some guts and I figured I had to grant the CD a few more spins. The results were well worth it as there are mighty strong tunes, here, some solid musicianship and some incredible melodies; even the slightly abrasive vocals fit in somehow (John Paul Strauss sounds like a cross between Michael Sadler and Peter Hammill). Finally, the church organ, the harpsichord and choruses give the album an especially haunting feel.

The best part is by far the epic title track, an 8-piece suite of energetic rock that ends with "Run Away", a track which features a strong SAGA-like instrumental break. I also hear traces of JETHRO TULL and GENESIS on many of these tracks but especially on the bouncy "Byzantine Fire" (reminiscent of "Trick of the Tail"). As for the track "Darkling Plain" itself, it is as perfect a blend of JETHRO TULL and HAPPY THE MAN as you're likely to hear. Come to think of it, I heard HAPPY THE MAN just about all over the album (especially on "I Can't See"), albeit a much rockier version of them.

If you give iit a chance to grow on you, you'll find "As on a Darkling Plain" an arresting album. It assails you with choppy beats and almost gothic vocals, then wraps you up with magnificent symphonic movements. It definitely makes me want to seek out TEN JINN's other material.

 As On A Darkling Plain by TEN JINN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.78 | 30 ratings

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As On A Darkling Plain
Ten Jinn Crossover Prog

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The progressive symphonic rock band TEN JINN was founded in 1991. Their second album, partly influenced by the Anne Rice's vampire books "The Vampire Lestat" and "Queen of the Damned", is released on the Swedish label Record Heaven. Their complex music is a mixture of GENESIS, GENTLE GIANT, GLASS HAMMER, JETHRO TULL,QUEEN, SAGA and SPOCK'S BEARD, with a powerful singer, backed up by excellent backing vocals. The ex-HAPPY THE MAN guitarist Stan Whitaker is doing a guest appearance. The album has strong melodies, an outstanding production with great dynamics, skilful song writing and many instrumental passages. The highlights are the 40-minute title track "As On A Darkling Plain" and "I can't see". This could be a future classic. Highly recommended!

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