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THEO

Crossover Prog • United States


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THEO biography
THEO: Formed by world reknown keyboardist Jim ALFREDSON (ORGANISSIMO, DIRTY FINGERS, Janiva MAGNESS, Greg NAGY BAND, ROOT DOCTOR), THEO harkens back to the keyboard-centric superbands of the 1970s like YES, GENESIS, and EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER, but with a distinctly modern and bold approach.

ALFREDSON is joined by bassist Gary DAVENPORT (805 BAND, Janiva MAGNESS) drummer Kevin DEPREE (SOUND IS RED, Greg NAGY BAND) and guitarist Jake REICHBART. The eponymous debut album features six tracks including an epic 30 minute opening suite.

Jim ALFREDSON is best known for his work with acclaimed jazz trio ORGANISSIMO and is considered among the best Hammond organists working today. As Downbeat magazine wrote, ?ALFREDSON is a remarkable organist who seamlessly synthesizes several generations of keyboard influences?? Keyboard magazine, in reviewing ORGANISSIMO?s album Alive & Kickin?, wrote that ALFREDSON ?successfully walk[s] the line between complex and accessible??

With THEO, ALFREDSON brings his considerable musicianship to bear on his first love, progressive rock. As ALFREDSON explains: ?I grew up listening to Peter GABRIEL, GENESIS, YES, JETHRO TULL, KING CRIMSON, GENTLE GIANT? all the classic prog bands. I even made my own prog ?album? when I was 16 that I passed out to friends and family. But then I was bitten by the jazz bug and dedicated the next 17 years of my life to figuring out that music. Surprisingly, that education paved the road back to progressive music, back to my love of synthesizers and exploring different musical forms. I feel like my musical journey has brought me full circle.?


THEO also represents a return to the concept of the keyboardist as a vital and irreplaceable part of the group, rather than a mere sideman. ?Most prog these days is metal-based,? says ALFREDSON, ?and there?s nothing wrong with that. But I feel like it?s past time keyboardists get our due again. My primary influence is Tony BANKS ; his melodicism, his understatedness, his lyricism, and his use of timbre. There?s a time and a place for flashiness and there?s a time and place for subtlety. THEO is a manifestation of that belief. It should be about the song first, putting that song within a certain atmosphere, and then exploring.?

THEO?s intrepid and dynamic music is paired with auspicious lyrical themes of corporatization, consumerism, loss of innocence, exile, and the obsession with celebrity. Lead vocals are handled by ALFREDSON him...
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THEO discography


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

3.69 | 26 ratings
The Game Of Ouroboros
2015
4.06 | 23 ratings
Figureheads
2020

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

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

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THEO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Figureheads by THEO album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.06 | 23 ratings

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Figureheads
THEO Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars THEO is a group to be reckoned with. Jim Alfredson, its leader, has been working since the beginning of this millennium on a jazz and blues side by bringing the Hammond, his instrument of choice. He worked alongside greats like Janiva Magness and Thornetta Davis. He returns to his prog sources with which he began at the age of 16 to deliver a sound border between nostalgia on reminiscences of King Crimson, ELP, Yes, Gentle Giant and especially Genesis of which he says he is a fan of the first hour. The now with epic songs like Beggar's Opera, Flower King or Spock's Beard and the place given to the keyboard as a reminder that it is the underground instrument which gave the letters of nobility to the progressive movement. "Pathology" symphonic intro zen just to bring a hard-heavy-prog sound to King Crimson, then break jazzy with synths and other keyboards; title on trepanation, the brutality of the sound referring to it with the notes; long, playful instrumental sequence which passes very quickly, a sign that Jim is indeed a virtuoso; very nice guitar solo which gives back the starting place to the keyboard. "Man of Action" on a personal view of his life in his native country, a figurehead as the album title suggests? the Pink Floyd intro is astonishing as in the opening of "The Trial"; then a basic tune which you have to wait for the synth solos to feel the emotion as at the halfway point where the nod to Genesis is quite palpable; Monolithic variation on the piano then reassembled with a more nervous guitar solo la Gilmour coming to put a little madness to this title where breaks follow one another without stopping. "The Garden" a more cheerful, playful title on the end of the disease, love as a cure; title giving the place of front- man to the keyboard, either in piano, or with its various more or less vintage synths; a track to listen to one evening for a well-deserved rest, the notes flowing in a limpid manner like a musical waterfall. "Portents & Providence" starts off with a Banks tune on "Duke", keyboard filling all frequencies; in the 2nd part a solo on the basis of "Domino" where we see his admiration, energetic rhythm with acoustic guitar and jazzy percussion, country moment then the keyboard and hard guitar solos which leave in controlled and energetic improvisation. From prog to keyboards, verses-choruses embellished with numerous nervous guitar solos, symphonic and classical keyboards, Tom McLean from Haken boosting two of the four titles, this is what you can attend, mixing genius tunes with emphatic tunes.
 The Game Of Ouroboros by THEO album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.69 | 26 ratings

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The Game Of Ouroboros
THEO Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars Theo was a project put together by keyboard player and singer Jim Alfredson in between tours. It took three years to get it all recorded, but given he normally only had between October and February to work on it perhaps that isn't surprising, as he not only supports musicians in jazz and blues fields but also has a jazz trio himself, Organissimo. For this project be brought in Gary Davenport (bass, fretless bass, Chapman Stick), Kevin DePree (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Jake Reichbart (guitars) along with a couple of guests for the title song, Greg Nagy (12-string guitar) and Zach Zunis (lead guitar). The album is divided in two, with the first three songs combining together to create one concept piece (which reminds me of "We Are Sane" in terms of storyline), and then three more lengthy standalone.

This is crossover progressive rock with some symphonic and neo tendencies here and there and is very easy to listen to and enjoy from the very first time of playing. The keyboard sounds are interesting, as Alfredson has made a name for himself in jazz circles for playing a Hammond and he makes liberal use of it on this album, which all by itself gives much of the music an early Seventies feel. "Creatures of our Comfort" is heavily influenced by the funk and even disco scene: it certainly does not seem as if it is a recent release. Other sounds are from the Eighties and combined with the musicianship of Davenport makes for a fairly interesting album. Released at the beginning of 2015, one wonders if there is a new one on the horizon, as this mix of pop, prog and other elements are certainly fun, albeit sometimes just a little too commercial and bland. Worth seeking out.

 The Game Of Ouroboros by THEO album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.69 | 26 ratings

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The Game Of Ouroboros
THEO Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band THEO is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Jim Alfredson, who appears to be a better-known name in jazz circles than he is in rock music. "The Game of Ouroboros" is his first attempt at creating a progressive rock album; it was released through the German label Generation Prog Records following a three-year long creation cycle.

Theo has released a rather stunning debut album with "The Game of Ouroboros". The futuristic first half and the standalone compositions in the second half all explore different varieties of vintage, '70s-oriented progressive rock, and do so in an accomplished and well thought out manner. Alfredson's jazz background does shine through, as jazz-oriented details are a recurring feature throughout, but while this is a much used flavoring it is still just that. The main dish here is progressive rock, and it is a very well made one at that.

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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