Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Red Queen to Gryphon Three/Raindance
Genres: Folk, Rock
1997 two-on-one reissue from Castle of their third & fourthalbums, originally released on Transatlantic in 1974 & 1975,respectively. Released during their heyday as the openingband for Yes' tour, each features the original... more »
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1997 two-on-one reissue from Castle of their third & fourthalbums, originally released on Transatlantic in 1974 & 1975,respectively. Released during their heyday as the openingband for Yes' tour, each features the original line up ofRichard Harvey, Brian
A rare perfect marriage of rock with classical music
woburnmusicfan | Woburn, MA United States | 02/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the 70s, progressive rockers kept trying to combine classical music with rock. Remember ELP's "Pictures at an Exhibition"? These attempts were mostly dismal failures, because it was nearly impossible for rock musicians to duplicate the big sound of an orchestra without sounding pompous. On this album, the obscure group Gryphon had greater success by using a chamber music approach instead. For what it's worth, they also managed the best use of bassoon you're ever likely to hear in a rock context.This is a gorgeous, though wildly uncommercial, album. Four instrumentals, each 8 to 11 minutes in length (in later albums, commercial considerations forced them to add vocals). Each musician's contribution can be clearly heard in the mix at all times. Much of the music has a timeless feel, perhaps due to the background in medieval music of recorder/keyboard player Richard Harvey and bassoonist Brian Gulland (on "Second Spasm", they share a brief passage on archaic krumhorns). Gulland and guitarist Graeme Taylor had a hand in writing all the pieces, and also share the bulk of the lead melodies. The entire album is strong, with "Lament" a particular highlight."
Gryphon: No Myth
Ryle Shermatz | Cedar Rapids, IA | 02/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must offer my first hand commentary as one whose very first concert experience was going to see Yes on their "Relayer" tour in '74. No opening act was specified, but as the lights went down and the arena filled with smoke, Gryphon took the stage, and (as the Brits say) "Gobsmacked" us with an almost complete live rendition of "Red Queen to Gryphon Three." Notwithstanding the fact that this was still the pinnacle of the progressive era and that the audience was VASTLY more receptive to something unusual than it would be today, consider what an out-there risk Gryphon was. Totally instrumental music, and what the hell is that thing that guy is playing? I bet only half the packed fieldhouse (Iowa City, IA) recognized it as a bassoon.
Nevertheless, Gryphon absolutely held us in the palm of their hands with obvious instrumental chops and DRAMATIC soundscapes blending punchy electro-rock with the English folk influences (we came to discover afterward, when we went out to order their LP's) that dominated their recordings prior to "Red Queen." No matter how stoned we were, we ALL remember their finale when Richard Harvey got out his recorder and led the band in some English sea chantey we all recognized but none could name--the band started mid-tempo and then sped the thing up to near light-speed, and had the crowd swinging from the rafters before they closed to thunderous applause!
And Yes was pretty damn good too, I must add. Certainly one of the BEST concerts I ever attended.
But back to Gryphon. The "Red Queen" CD is one of the twin peaks of their career, the second being their far more traditional prog-rocking "Treason." EVERY track on "Red Queen" represents the fullest realization of leader Richard Harvey's ideal of a modern, rock-oriented "chamber ensemble." The entire quintet is totally on the same page with Harvey, and who among us rock fans could have imagined what a bassoon could be capable of!?! I speak only in half-jest to say that Brian Gulland takes the world championship for Rock Bassoon.
If you can find it at a fair price, "Red Queen" will more than reward you with a totally unique approach to instrumental progressive rock that offers lasting pleasure to listeners with the tolerance for something different. Allow me also a sentence here to extol their later fifth album, "Treason," much more mainstream in the sense that drummer Dave Oberle stepped forward as an AMAZINGLY agile singer, and with some ace songwriting & lyrics by Harvey and friends created a true unsung milestone of progressive rock. I hope that easy internet distribution to a worldwide market will spur some entreprenurial connoisseur to step forward and make both these recordings easily available to a legion of admirers who have yet to discover and treasure them."