Red Bazar - Connections,
Originally self-released in 2008, the debut from Red Bazar featured the trio of Andy Wilson (guitars), Mick Wilson (bass, keyboards) and Paul Comerie (drums). Of course, since then the trio have become a quartet with the addition of Peter Jones while the band have also increased their profile, so in 2020 they decided to revisit the debut and re-record it for their fifth release. I must confess that I have only heard their previous two albums, the ones recorded with Peter, so the first two as a trio are new to me so cannot say how much has been changed. But given the impact Peter has on every band he is involved with I would have thought it would be considerable, and I am sure that playing these songs is concert has seen quite a departure from the original debut which is why the decision was made to re-record it.
Remember, these songs were originally written and developed by a trio, and I expect keyboards were used here and there but were not a major part of the overall sound, and if that is the case then there has been significant change as while for the most part this is a guitar-driven progressive rock album, there is no doubt that keyboards also have a significant part to play within. They are indicated within ProgArchives as being crossover and that is probably accurate as even though they are instrumental the music is incredibly melodic, and while they touch into areas such as heavy prog and jazz, this is where they rightly belong. Andy often provides the melodic lead, and he has a wonderful touch, allowing the guitar to be the singer while ensuring he always stays within the boundaries, so he is honest with the music as opposed to using it as a vehicle for any self-gratification. ‘Fallen Tears’, with its delicate piano underlay, is nothing short of beautiful, and when the rhythm section comes in it is taken to a whole new level.
Overall, this is a wonderfully melodic instrumental progressive rock album which surely will find a whole host of new fans who (like me) missed the original the first time around. Well worth discovering.