Morgan Agren, Henry Kaiser, Trey Gunn
(2011 - 7d Media - UK)
Three huge names in the progressive music world come together for an improvised recording of sometimes blistering, sometimes twisted, sometimes odd slanted rock, and always forward thinking music. Most anyone would assume that with these three musicians, the result would be both tremendous and a feast for the ears. You’d all be right! There’s many moments of brilliance throughout. This has a lot of different textures and dynamics with no time to get bored.
The first cut is a 22+ minute butt kicker right off the gate. Imagine the best blend of King Crimson, Massacre, and Tera Melos, with and each of the three individual identities standing out with each tune. If you have any fears about this being an all spontaneous collaboration of songs, then rest assured this is way beyond anything remotely like some of the disjointed or endless indulged records you might have heard in the past. Remember who these guys are, and how many years they have in the most creative kind of music ever. Trey Gunn in King Crimson and dozens of session works, Henry Kaiser who has recorded with a huge range of iconic greats like Richard Thompson, Fred Frith, John French, David Lindley, Zakir Hussain, and so many more, and then supreme drummer Morgan Agren who worked with Frank Zappa in his teen years, and is famous for Mats/Morgan (a powerhouse progressive jazz/rock/avant/anything goes band). He has also been one of the busiest session drummers in the world the last few years. He was named number one fusion drummer in 2010 for Modern Drummer Magazine Readers Poll. So if you didn’t know these guys before, now you know a bit of history and capability of each.
This is their first time together and with the results, it might not be the last. They were brought to a music education conference by Thomas Olsson (from the progressive band Isildurs Bane) at the IB Expo in Sweden in March 2011. On their final day of the Expo, the three musicians had some free time before their sessions, and they got together and recorded the foundation for this CD. Once back home, Kaiser put together some rough mixes and in the end, each musician was impressed with what they heard. So we are gifted with ‘Invisible Rays’. With Trey Gunn on touch guitar and bass, Henry Kaiser on guitar, and Morgan Agren on drums and zither, you have a giant sound and set of songs that keep the mind busy and the lips smiling. It’s actually hard to believe they sound so composed on all eleven songs, but the years they all have that has crafted their skill, pays off on the spot. It shows that these three masters truly love their music. If you want to hear some scorching lead guitar work (as well as some tasty rhythm guitar), some great tap guitar work with superb bass, and some blazing fast drum work, then this has it.
We can thank Kaiser for pushing the idea and making it all a reality. Music like this doesn’t just occur, it has to made with the passion and commitment of creative souls with the talent to produce great things from just the spur of the moment. I can’t really give this recording enough exact words to adequately describe it in total, but I think I’ve painted a loose picture, which is what the trio used to make this release. A loose canvas turned into a fabulous work of art. Recommended for the adventurous and those who love great progressive music! It’s super!!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson - November 27, 2011