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Topic ClosedEmily Bezar for eclectic prog

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Emily Bezar for eclectic prog
    Posted: September 23 2014 at 17:03
I would like to suggest Emily Bezar for eclectic prog or possibly crossover prog although I personally think eclectic is probably more appropriate. She has been making music since the nineties and deserves more attention.


Do you call it Jazz, Art-rock, Fusion, Cabaret, Modern Opera? Emily Bezar’s prismatic music defies convention around every unpredictable curve. Her intricate songs are rich with jazz harmony and classical vocal precision but they flirt with pop structures and burn with the intensity of rock. They are honest and true, full of passion, elegance, conflict and order. She has sung Mozart and Ravel, Weill and Joni Mitchell, Gershwin and Sondheim, but she’s most at home in the sound world she creates around her own voice -- some alchemic and magical combination of these influences.

Raised in California, Emily played classical piano as a child, but lived a carefree beach lifestyle soaked in everyone from Streisand to Earth Wind and Fire, Weather Report and the Clash. As a teenager she discovered the electric organ in a friend’s basement and, armed with a Beatles book, began to develop her rhapsodic keyboard style. She went on to the Oberlin Conservatory to study opera but was soon lost to the lure of the subterranean electronic music studios. Returning to California after Oberlin she continued to experiment at Stanford University’s famed computer music center, producing a piece that won an award at the Bourges Electronic music competition in France. But it was during a two year stay in Zurich, Switzerland in her early 20’s that she began to put together her own small studio and forge the songs that would finally fuse the diverse strands of her musical upbringing.

Soon after arriving back in San Francisco in the early 90’s she joined the acclaimed art-rock band The Potato Eaters and found herself performing on the city’s biggest stages. The Potato Eaters would release an EP, "I Thought I Heard You" and a live album, "Wreckless", but it wasn’t until 1993 that Emily stepped forward with her own fully-formed musical vision: her debut solo album "Grandmother’s Tea Leaves." GTL was her unrestrained response to years of academic music study and the astringent esthetic of much post-WWII classical composition. More like a collection of lyrical arias and tone-poems than a song album, it earned her comparisons to Kate Bush and Keith Jarrett.

But Emily needed to amplify the insistent rhythms in her new songs and in 1996 she formed a band to record her second album, "Moon in Grenadine". A song cycle about marriage and permanence, MiG was part chamber-jazz, part rock-opera interspersed with some of her most delicate solo piano-vocal songs. It would be called one of Stereophile Magazine’s 1997 "Records to Die For" and inspired one critic to call it "an album that puts the listener into a luxurious world of pure sonic beauty."

In 1999, after the birth of her first child, she reassembled her band to record what would become her most rock-infused album, "Four Walls Bending". Melding jazz fusion, progressive rock and electronic soundscapes, she spun soaring melodies against a backdrop of churning guitars and intricate analog keyboard parts. Lyrically, FWB explored her identity as a new mother and the powerful urge to protect a precious creation. A Downbeat Magazine review awarded it four stars and called it "textured, haunting art-rock" that "beautifully synthesizes elements of new music, jazz and pop."

With her 4th album, "Angels’ Abacus," written while Emily was living in France from 2001-2003, she produced her most operatic and ambitious work to date. This is music as architecture, as crystalline objects in time, with no agenda but its own sensual and complex beauty. Her voice, emotionally vivid but with a sheen of elegant reserve, glides and leaps over a landscape rich in electronic nuance and sparkling jazz-tinged piano. Her songs are kinetic and never languish, surging from delicate to intense, from open simplicity to opaque density, but always ravishingly melodic.

"Angels’ Abacus" is a meditation on love and faith in all of their ecstasies and in their doubts. In the title track she imagines an angelic conference discussing the fate of her and her lover. “This isn’t about renewal and redemption. It’s about wondering if there's someone keeping score on you up there and you’re just trying to cling to the next rung. It’s about conscience and the gravity of decision in life and love....wondering does every action negate the last or does it all add up? And I’ve always been consumed by the inner struggle between my reason and my intuition. I think it’s an intriguing paradox that an agent of faith, the angel, would be calculating our souls’ destiny.”

2008's "Exchange" is her 5th self-produced album of uncategorizable, emotionally compelling music and it is her most fearless exploration yet. If this is a jazz vocal album, then her musical references are an elusive, moving target, suggesting as much early 70’s electric fusion as tin-pan alley. If this is a classical vocal album, analyzing whether it is post-post-minimalism or pre-pre-Schoenberg is a hard study. And if it is Art-Rock, well then you’ll have to find some room on the shelf between Hatfield and the North and Kate Bush’s early albums, but that won’t quite be the right spot either.

It’s easy to hear the progression from her previous albums all through this massive 72 minute, 10-song collection. Bezar’s sparkling horn charts for “Heavy Air” and “Climb” recall the perky jazziness of 1996’s Moon in Grenadine, now expanded to sophisticated arrangements of more depth and color. The nocturnal monodrama “Winter Moon” might be her most confident foray into classical song-form since Grandmother’s Tea Leaves. “Saturn’s Return” and “That Dynamite” are intense and dynamic prog-fusion arias, with all the weight and drama of the critically acclaimed Four Walls Bending, the album that established her as an unlikely but undeniable presence on the modern progressive rock stage. And “Strange Man”, the liquid, psychedelic centerpiece of Exchange, may be the most obvious link back to the ambient electronics of Angels’ Abacus. But as it grooves and morphs into a bubbling, alien-landscape outro, it’s clear this is like nothing Emily has done before and the door opens into a new dimension that she sounds eager to explore.

In November 2011, Emily released "Fooled By Yesterday," her first album to feature her interpretations of some of the iconic jazz and classical music that influenced her in her early years as a musician forging her own personal style. Also, for the first time, Emily presents piano and electronic improvisations, a dimension of her musical personality that she had kept private until now. This is also her first download-only release and the first to be accompanied by an extended essay about her creative process: "Musings of a Mesolimbiac."

Samples of her music can be found here by clicking on album cover:

http://www.emilybezar.com/music.asp

https://myspace.com/emilybezar/music/songs

Main website: http://www.emilybezar.com/


Edited by Prog_Traveller - September 24 2014 at 13:04
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 27 2014 at 17:12
Come on guys. She's been around for 20 years(if not longer)and is way more prog than Tori Amos for crying out loud. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 27 2014 at 17:36
A quick skim through this album

http://emilybezar.bandcamp.com/album/exchange

tells me this may be a valid suggestion
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 28 2014 at 09:50
Listening now.  Voice takes a bit of getting used to, not being rock oriented.  I can see this in Crossover.  It's eclectic, but its not Eclectic Prog, as it were...  Crossover Jazz, but not Jazz Fusion as we know it here.  But I definitely recommend everyone give it a listen!
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Frank Swarbrick
Belief is not Truth.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2014 at 13:25
Bump.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2014 at 13:51
It's being evaluated in crossover. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2014 at 14:08
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2014 at 23:32
Ok. Thanks for the update. I have no personal stock in the outcome but I do think she's talented and definitely deserves to be included on this site.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2014 at 17:31
I don't think all her albums are prog but e.g. "Four Walls Bending" is a definite fit for this site
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2014 at 17:52
How many Tori Amos albums are prog?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2014 at 18:16
^ no idea if you ask me.Embarrassed

It was just an observation and in favour of your suggestion.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 03 2014 at 18:37
Well there are probably artists with quite a few albums on here that aren't true prog that are listed in prog related or crossover. Even bands like YES and Genesis have albums that are not really prog in the truest sense of the term. It depends on how picky you want to be with these labels. I mentioned Tori because while she is talented I don't consider her prog and yet she is on this site. What I have heard by Emily is much more prog.

Edited by Prog_Traveller - October 03 2014 at 18:38
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 04 2014 at 08:21
This is a great suggestion of great musical artist, which Emily Bezar really is.  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 09 2014 at 12:29
Cleared in Crossover. Thumbs Up
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2014 at 11:13
Great news - we are having one hour of Emily's music from her back-catalogue with Emily on chat at 18:00 UK time / 19:00 CET on the radio tonight Big smile

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2014 at 12:07
I'm listening Thanos. Thumbs Up For some reason though I always get an uninvited download (Whotube.zip) as soon as the main Justin Case Prog Radio website loads - which I have to block with my Internet Security program - so I use the TuneIn link to hear your shows: http://tunein.com/radio/JustIn-Case-Prog-Radio-s167784/. Embarrassed
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2014 at 12:28
^ thanks, will check that!!
"Prog-gnostics" show - every Saturday 8-10pm UK time on http://www.justincaseradio.com, the first progressive radio in Greece
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 17 2014 at 13:05
Maybe just a problem with Internet Explorer (I am using the now outdated IE9 browser with a Vista laptop) - I tried the site again using Chrome on the same computer and it didn't happen, but with IE9 every single time I get the same warning that this 'potentially annoying download' is being initiated. Ermm
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 27 2014 at 15:47
Thanks. She deserves to be on here.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 28 2014 at 04:28
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