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Jeremy (USA, proto-progressive albums)
Overall View


Discography:

1994 - "Open Your Heart" (48 min, "JAM")
****

1998 - "Solid Rock" (67 min, "JAM")
****+

2000 - "La Musica del Peregrino" (74 min, "Astral")
****

2003 - "Pop Dreams" (46 min, "JAM")
****+


1994 - "Open Your Heart"
(48 min, "JAM")
****

1. Tear Down the Walls 4:40
2. See Through Your Disguise 4:30
3. Nowhere to Run 3:30
4. Fire In My Eyes 6:47
5. Trail of Tears 2:03
6. Meadows 2:12
7. I Can't Live Without You 3:03
8. Let's Go Up 3:00
9. Too Late Tomorrow 3:27
10. Open Your Heart 7:32
11. Sunny Day 4:20
12. Darkness Fades Far Away 2:37

All music & lyrics: by Jeremy. 

Line-up:

Jeremy - electric, acoustic, & bass guitars;
various keyboards; vocals
Dave Dietrich - drums & percussion

Produced & engineered by Jeremy Morris.

Prologue. All those who read the review of the new Jeremy album "Kingdom Come" know that it was 25-th official album by this talented composer and musician. With this album, "Open Your Heart", I begin exploring the proto-progressive side of Jeremy's creation, which, as I think, should be also remarkable. Since we regard as proto-progressive (at least) the creation of such bands as Be-Bop Deluxe, Procol Harum, Roxy Music, etc, etc, I see the exploration of Jeremy's proto-progressive legacy really justifying. Note: the albums that I am going to review in this section will be rated from the 'progressive' standpoint of view.

The Album. ... And it turned out to be that "Open Your Heart" is really a good album. Furthermore, I would rate it as a very good album if only both of the closing tracks of it would not look like being an extra material taken from some of Jeremy's archives. Stylistically, both of these tracks, Sunny Day and Darkness Fades Far Away, represent nothing else but the Rhythm-and-Blues based songs that, for example, were typical for the early creation of The Beatles. But then, all ten of the first tracks on the album that, taken together, last 41 minutes (which is enough for a real full-length album), are truly remarkable. Despite the fact that these ten compositions look quite motley from a 'stylistic' standpoint of view, all of them are very tasteful, original (i.e. not marked with any 'signs' of influences), and, moreover, contain some of the so-called progressive ingredients. If not to count the last two tracks on the album, there are five different categories of songs are present on "Open Your Heart". What's especially interesting is that the songs that form these categories aren't randomly intermixed among themselves, but follow each other. Before describing them, I have to say that the vocal and instrumental parts are balanced well on all ten of these tracks. Each of the first four of them: Tear Down the Walls, See Through Your Disguise, Nowhere to Run, and Fire In My Eyes, contains, in addition, from one to three of the lengthy instrumental parts. (However, the talk about the best track of this album is yet to come.) The structures of both of the album's opening tracks, Tear Down the Walls and See Through Your Disguise, consist for the most part of heavy elements. The soaring vocals, very fast and virtuosi solos of electric guitar, as well as varied interplay between them and solos of bass: all of this is always accompanied by slow, heavy and strong, riffs of electric guitar and the powerful drumming. In other words, the first two tracks on the album represent the proto-progressive Hard Rock songs of a high quality. If, just for example, you are familiar with both of the latest albums by Dio, "Angry Machines" (1996) and "Magica" (2000), you can get a general idea what Tear Down the Walls and See Through Your Disguise are about. Apart from a few of the vocal parts, all of which are very tasteful, each of the following two tracks on the album, Nowhere to Run and Fire In My Eyes (3 & 4), contains three different instrumental parts. The modernist solos and passages of synthesizer and interplay between them and various, fluid and harsh, solos of electric guitar play a prominent role in the instrumental arrangements of both of these songs. Relatively, some parallels can be drawn between them and such Genesis's songs as Keep It Dark (from the "Abacab" album, 1981), Silver Rainbow (from "Genesis", 1983), and Lands of Confusion (from "Invisible Touch", 1986). In any case, both of the said songs are more progressive than any of those that are featured on Asia's albums "Alpha" (1983) and "Astra" (1985). Trail of Tears and Meadows (5 & 6) were performed without the rhythm-section. Both of them consist of diverse interplay between classical passages of acoustic guitar and synthesizer (a virtual string ensemble, to be precise). However, while Trail of Tears, which features a short vocal part, is just an excellent acoustic ballad, Meadows doesn't contain any repeats and is nothing else but an instrumental piece of Classical Academic Music. The passages of classical guitar are there simply fantastic. All three of the following songs, I Can't Live Without You, Let's Go Up, and Too Late Tomorrow (7, 8, & 9), sound like being the 'heavy' counterparts of Nowhere to Run and Fire In My Eyes (3 & 4), both of which I have already described. Finally, it's time to point out the album's title track (10). Open Your Heart is not only the best track of the album, but also a real progressive gem. It's clear (at least for me) that this remarkable work, which is a real culmination of this album, should have been the last track of it. Open Your Heart features the

Summary. Despite the fact that the contents of "Open Your Heart" are more than radically different from any of the Jeremy albums that are 'officially' regarded as progressive, I find this album even a bit better than "Salt the Planet" (1999). So, in my view, this review should be the first part of the Overall View on Jeremy's progressive creation. As for the other proto-progressive albums by Jeremy, we'll see what happens...

VM. July 9, 2002


1998 - "Solid Rock"
(67 min, "JAM")
****+

1. Solid Rock 7:22
2. I've Been Rejected 3:37
3. I'm Leaving 4:07
4. Hard to Hide the Pain 5:37
5. I Want to Stay With You 5:36
6. Big Brain 4:38
7. Stop Hurting Each Other 6:17
8. Can't Stop Loving You 5:07
9. Tell Me the Truth 5:37
10. Looking for You 3:57
11. Need You Now 4:17
12. Breaking My Heart 10:37

All tracks: by Jeremy Morris.

Line-up:

Jeremy - vocals; electric, acoustic,
& bass guitars; keyboards
Dave Dietrich - drums & percussion

Engineered & produced by Dave & Jeremy.

Prologue. "Solid Rock" is another album by Jeremy, the review of which must be placed within the Overall View of progressive creation of this well-known multi-instrumentalist.

The Album. A real solid Rock is presented on this album, which, IMHO, is better not only than "Open Your Heart" (see the first review) and "Salt the Planet", but also "Kingdom Come", which does not feature any progressive killers, unlike "Solid Rock". Generally, the stylistics of this album can be described as a strong, tasteful, and very energetic proto-progressive Hard Rock of the English school of the genre (which, as most of you well know, was more than merely different than the American one). Although the music by Jeremy is almost always distinctly original, precisely half of the songs that are featured on "Solid Rock" (there are no instrumental pieces on it) are structurally close to those by the famous Scottish band Nazareth in the second and third phases of its history. (By the way, Nazareth is probably the most popular Hard Rock band in the ex-USSR. Also, this is the only of the foreign bands that is really touring all over the CIS and from year to year.) For instance, I've Been Rejected and I'm Leaving (tracks 2 & 3), will undoubtedly be loved by those who, like me, appreciate Nazareth's "Hair of the Dog" (the hang-over? I believe I am correct here), which is regarded as one of a few of the truly classic Hard Rock albums everywhere in the ex-USSR (i.e. including Baltic countries where I was a frequent visitor back in the second half of the 1980s). Apart from the heavy, inflammatory, and positively hypnotic riffs and harsh solos of guitar, Looking For You and Need You Now (10 & 11), feature also several solos of synthesizer and, in that way, they're structurally close to Nazareth's songs from "2 X S" (1982). The weakest songs on the album, Hard to Hide the Pain, I Want to Stay With You, and Big Brain (4, 5, & 6), are about a blend of Hard Rock and AOR, - the pseudo style that was 'presented' on the worst album by Nazareth, "The Catch" (1984). Without these songs, "Solid Rock" would have consisted of a solid Rock from the first to the last note, and the playing time between these notes would've been equal to 52 minutes, which is certainly more than enough for a full-fledged album. (I wonder why Jeremy tries to fill up some of his CDs to the full via adding there a few simple songs even despite the fact that these songs openly conflict with the album's basic material. However, in any case, I'd better listen to an AOR-ish Hard Rock than most of the Neo wannabes, not to mention "sound sculptures", "sound designs", etc, the creators of which are very persistent in that the progressive reviewers to regard such absurdities as the works of the genre.) Now, it must be said that all five of the remaining tracks are original in every parameter, i.e. even structurally. The following three songs, Stop Hurting Each Other, Can't Stop Loving You, and Tell Me the Truth (7, 8, & 9), are excellent by all means. The first two of them are about a real progressive Hard Rock, though Can't Stop Loving You, apart from the heavy riffs and virtuosi solos of guitar and bass, contains excellent and truly symphonic solos and passages of synthesizer. By the way, effective contrasts between the slow riffs and high-speed solos of electric guitar are quite typical for "Solid Rock". Of course, the drumming by Dave Dietrich is as good on this album as always. Tell Me the Truth is an excellent Hard Rock ballad of a dramatic character. However, this is not only one of the most original and complex ballads I've ever heard, but also is probably the heaviest ballad in the history of the genre, though the symphonic passages of synthesizer are present on it as well. However, the best songs on the album are its opening and closing tracks, Solid Rock and Breaking My Heart. The first of them features five different vocal parts and the same number of different instrumental parts. It's a real masterwork of progressive Hard Rock. Nevertheless, Breaking My Heart, full of a dark, tense, and dramatic atmosphere, is the most unique, complex and, thus, intriguing composition on the album. The classical passages of acoustic guitar are here wonderfully interwoven with overall g

Summary. Honestly, I would be happy if Jeremy would always work in this very style. Certainly, first of all, I mean the stylistics of the music that is present on Breaking My Heart, which has become my favorite among all the other works by Jeremy that I've heard. The same words I can say with regard to the album as a whole. Frankly, having excluded those three AOR-like tracks that follow one after another (4, 5, & 6) when programming my CD player, I'll listen to "Solid Rock" more often than any of the other albums by him. Perhaps, Jeremy does not even suspect what is the genre where his greatest talents can be displayed. Otherwise he would have hardly included any of the aforementioned three songs in this excellent album.

VM. August 16, 2002


2000 - "La Musica del Peregrino"
(74 min, "Astral")
****

1. Open Your Heart 7:36             
2. Neverending Friend 3:58
3. Love of My Life 2:49
4. When I Realize 3:05
5. No More Looking Back 6:47
6. Take a Look Into My Eyes 6:20
7. Who do You Love 4:27
8. Vision 2:15
9. Only With You 1:42
10. Celestial City 3:37
11. Still in Love With You 3:58
12. He'll Never Let You Down 4:18
13. Will You Turn Me Away 3:09
14. Be Careful 3:01
15. Don't Break My Heart 3:16
16. Best I Can 3:36
17. Home Tonight 3:47
18. When You See Her 3:48
19. Temporary 1:57

All music & lyrics by Jeremy Morris.
Produced by Jeremy.

Line-up:

Jeremy - electric, acoustic, & bass guitars;
keyboards; vocals
Dave Dietrich - drums 

Guest musicians:

Guillermo Cazenave - electric guitar (on 8)
Bill Morris - trumpet (on 17)

Prologue. Stylistically, this album is very motley and contains several tracks that are really unnecessary here, which, though, is typical for all of the non-conceptual albums by Jeremy. Soon however, I hope to receive from Jeremy his previous album (of 2001), which consists of instrumental pieces performed mostly on an acoustic guitar (like those Steve Hackett albums "Bay of Kings" and "Momentum"). The review will be at the last page of the Overall View on Jeremy's progressive creation (1994-2002) until he releases a new album.

The Album. Above all, I must say that nine out of the nineteen compositions that are present on "La Musica del Peregrino" aren't progressive. Neverending Friend and Love of My Life (tracks 2 & 3) are unoriginal and quite simple ballads a-la The Beatles with an orchestra. Take a Look Into My Eyes, Who do You Love, Don't Break My Heart, and When You See Her (6, 7, 15, & 18) are rather original ballads, but they're as simple as both of the previous ones and, in addition, full of repetitions. Still in Love With You, He'll Never Let You Down, and Home Tonight (11, 12, & 17) are original yet too ordinary Hard Rock songs that (of course!) are completely out of the predominant stylistics of this albums. Though the presence of the trombone solo on Home Tonight makes this song a bit more interesting than both of the others. I am more than merely wondered why this heavy 'Three' was included in this album, the structures of which are either purely symphonic or those that are typical for the Art-Rock-like ballads. Taken together, these nine tracks last almost 37 minutes, i.e. almost a half of the album's total time, which is 74' & 28''. Whereas all ten of remaining ten tracks, with a total playing time being equal to 37 minutes (which is quite enough for a full-length album) are excellent, at least. In that way (and despite the fact that the album is quite listenable as a whole), I am inclined to describe here only those ten songs on the album that are progressive. What's interesting is that only one of them, the album's opening track *Open Your Heart, features the rhythm-section. (*This special rendition of the song of the same name from the self-titled album of 1994 sounds way different than the original, as well as that of Celestial City.) Be Careful and Temporary (14 & 19) were performed without drums, and all seven of the remaining tracks without the rhythm-section at all. Another interesting aspect of the best ten tracks on the album concerns their stylistic characteristics. Five of them, namely When I Realize, No More Looking Back, Only With You, Will You Turn Me Away, and Temporary (4, 5, 9, 13, & 19), are the high-quality Classic Art-Rock ballads. The first one third of both of When I Realize and No More Looking Back (4 & 5) feature diverse, truly classic passages of acoustic guitar. Jeremy's singing joins them in the middle of both of these songs. The remaining one third of each of these ballads consists of varied interplay between lush, orchestral-like passages of synthesizer and those of acoustic guitar. On Only With You (9) Jeremy sings to the accompaniment of beautiful interplay between passages of acoustic guitar and piano. Apart from a few of the vocal parts, Will You Turn Me Away (13) features the excellent fluid solos of electric guitar, strings-like passages and clavier-like solos of synthesizers, rhythms of acoustic guitar, and passages of piano. On Temporary (19) are present very original interplay between the mid-tempo solos of bass guitar and slow passages of synthesizer, and also a brief vocal part. The contents of the remaining five tracks are either about a blend of Classical Music and Classic Art-Rock, as in the case of Vision and Celestial City (8 & 10), or Symphonic Art-Rock with elements of Classical Music on Open Your Heart, Be Careful, and Best I Can (1, 14, & 16). The bright passages of piano, synthesizer, and acoustic guitar and interplay between them are present on both of the latter of these ballads, Be Careful and Best I Can (14 & 16). However, the first of them features also the solos of electric and bass guitar. It seems to me that Open Your Heart (1) is the only composition on the album that was performed with a real orchestra instead of synthesizer's string ensemble. With the wonderful passages of lots of strings and those of synthesizer, excellent solos of electric, acoustic, and bass guitar, and a very diverse and tasteful drumming, this song sounds richer than any other track on the album. Apart from a few of the instrumental parts, it features five vocal themes, all of which are different among thems

Summary. At least to me, it's clear that I have to go fifty-fifty when programming this CD and listen to another excellent 37-minute album by Jeremy. Though, the excellence of this and the other non-conceptual albums by him at his concept albums is more than doubtful, of course. Yes, it is not that easy to take the duties of a composer, performer, and producer alone. Anyway, while I am satisfied, at least, with compositional and performing characteristics of all of Jeremy's non-conceptual albums, if I were in his shoes and could return to the past, I would have produced each of them differently.

VM. September 19, 2002


2003 - "Pop Dreams"
(46 min, "JAM")
****+

Synopsis. The discography of one of the most fruitful Solo Pilots of Prog (or to Prog) Jeremy consists of progressive albums and those with a more accessible music usually alternating with each other. Here we have his new output "Pop Dreams", the contents of which are proto-progressive in nature (while its progressive 'brother' will be released in a few weeks). The lineup is typical for Jeremy's proto-progressive creation and features a traditional tandem of Mr. Morris on vocals, bass, electric & acoustic guitars, e-bow, mandolin, sitar, piano, synthesizers, drums, and percussion and Dave Dietrich on drums with a few guest musicians on additional guitars, drums, and vocals. The album consists of fifteen songs ranging from two to six minutes, most of which are penned by Jeremy. Among the four renditions of songs written by other authors, the last two tracks on the album: Andy Scott's Dream On (from Sweet's excellent "Level Headed", 1978) and Lennon / McCartney's Good Night are familiar to me and are especially great. Most of the songs on "Pop Dreams" are rhythmic, and two out of the three ballads here, including the said Dream On, were performed without the rhythm section. The album is very light and warm, and is full of majestic, beautiful, and genuinely sincere melodies and the immediately recognizable spirit of the 1960s. There are some bits of the early American 'Psych', but on the whole, the album sounds as the nostalgia for early Beatles. No, this is neither a clone nor imitation of music of the most legendary Rock band - this is the best of the Beatles-inspired albums I've ever heard. If you still aren't enough intrigued, go to Jeremy's website (see below) and listen to mp3s.

VM: September 30, 2003


Related Links:

Jeremy & JAM Records


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