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Proteus biography
Founders of PROTEUS were drummer Sergio NESPOLA and bass player Grant AUSTIN after the break-up of their previous band TREEBORN in 1978. they started to run auditions for musicians for this new band until they came upon the keyboard player Bryan ZERCHER who also introduced them to guitarist Ole RIISE; thus forming the original quartet. While working on their album Infinite Change, they performed their first live appearance as an opening act for Stanley TURRENTINE at the Park West in Chicago. The overall positive audience response at that show motivated them to play some of the recorded tapes in their unfinished state on air at WXFM 106FM radio, which later on got them an executive producer in Dave FREEMAN. Also, during the final preparations on the album, FREEMAN was the one to call the bassist Bill DICKENS to perform a bass solo for one of the tracks. After Infinite Change was released in 1980, the band looked like it had a bright future until AUSTIN and RIISE left the band, and some time later ZERCHER decided to pursue medical school, thus leaving music business behind him. NESPOLA kept PROTEUS alive until it's last live appearance at Chicago Fest in 1985 with numerous reformations of the band that didn't record any more material. Infinite Change itself is a bit of a rarity with originaly released 1000 copies that might interest those seeking a simplified version of RETURN TO FOREVER or MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA.


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PROTEUS discography

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

3.07 | 6 ratings
Infinite Change

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

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

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Infinite Change by PROTEUS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.07 | 6 ratings

Infinite Change
Proteus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. With a name like PROTEUS and the title being "Infinite Change" I was expecting a very plastic sounding album since it was released in 1981. Not so. This band was out of Chicago and featured one of the many drummers(Sergio Nespola) Italian band PANNA FREDDA went through before releasing their one album "Uno" back in 1971 which I like a lot. Filippo Carnevale was the drummer on that studio album and the liner notes which I'm looking at right now doesn't even mention Sergio but talks about the many drummers they used naming four of them but not Sergio. Apparently Sergio moved to New York from Italy eventually making it to Chicago where he would be based. Interesting stuff.

They were a four piece releasing this one studio album. We do get guest horns(sax, trombone and trumpet) along with rhythm guitar on "Steppin Out" along with guest sax on the closer. The first half of the album is killer, I mean that opener "Mandala" along with "Afternoon Affirmation" are fantastic! The guitar or synths are the soloing instruments much of the time and the bass and drums really add a lot. Memorable melodies, just a treat to hear the first half. Even "Dance Of The Moonchildren" while not quite as good as the other two songs on the first half it's interesting as the wind blows to open and we get bells and experimental sounds early on. Nasty bass too. Great sounding side one but then we get to side two and I have to exclaim "What happened?". The guitar style changes to that Disco one along with the synths. So disappointing. Hard to believe actually. The horns sure don't help either on "Steppin Out" or the sax on the closer. Just a very disappointing ending to a very promising beginning with this album.

It still bugs me that they had to deteriorate to that commercial sound on side two but it may not bother some of you fans as much as me, worth checking out for side one alone.

 Infinite Change by PROTEUS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.07 | 6 ratings

Infinite Change
Proteus Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Who actually knew that this unknown Chicago-based Jazz Rock act featured a former drummer of Panna Fredda?Yes, Sergio Nespola was born in Rome, Italy and was a self-taught drummer, making his career baby steps with Panna Fredda, before going on tour with the American Soul/Pop band The Four Kents.Even if having met with several members of New Trolls, Goblin, Balletto Di Bronzo, Formula 3, Rovescio Della Medaglia and Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Nespola decided that the best for him was to move to the USA in mid-70's, landing in New York and later relocating to Chicago.His first band there was Treeborn and upon their disbanding he and bassist Grand Austin formed Proteus (around 1978), recruiting keyboardist Brian Zercher, who brought along his friend Ole Riise on guitars.Proteus released a private album in 1981 titled ''Infinite change'', featuring a bunch of guests on sax, trumpet, congas and trombone.

Proteus played a technically efficient Jazz Fusion with some very good bass lines and several connections to the classic sound of RETURN TO FOREVER, these were the tropical tunes, airy interplays and synth-based atmospheres, while the 80's secured the addition of a strong Funk flavor in their music.They were not good enough to compete with their idols, but at least they performed a passionate and intelligent Jazz Rock/electric Fusion, not becoming extremely slick or ending up to be cheap immitators of RETURN TO FOREVER.They showcase a mood for neurotic blends of edgy synthesizers with fast guitar soloing, propably some of the best moments of the album are based on these characteristics.But they also offer more laid-back and conventional tunes, pretty radio-friendy, in order to have some decent local airplay.Even these tracks are pretty nice with breaks and tempo variations, Riise prooves to be a great guitarist and keyboardist Brian Zercher was quite a talent, maybe the use of synths becomes a bit excessive throughout and I would prefer a little more electric piano pinches, but you can't have it all.The virtuosic stuff is great, beautiful instrumental interactions and some lovely tunes in the process, I just dislike some of the funkier material on the B-side.

The album was pressed in 1000 copies, sold at local stores, and the band was a frequent visitor of the local radio speakers.Nespola found himself alone in the line-up shortly after the album's release, but decided to keep Proteus alive with new members and Jazz veterans entering the line-up.The band dissolved finally in 1985, after performing live at the local Chicago Fest.

Interesting Jazz Rock, I wish all period bands of the style could adapt the 80's fashion in the same way Proteus did.Solid executions, some great synths and fantastic guitar and bass work.Recommended.

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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