“Live In New York 1975” by Gentle Giant

Artist: Gentle Giant
Title: “Live In New York 1975”
Label: Glasshouse UK
Release Date: 7/26/2005
Genre: Progressive/Avantgarde Rock
Rating: 3.5/5

Recorded on October 3rd, 1975, Live In New York 1975” presents Progressive meets Avant-garde Rock pioneers Gentle Giant delivering a knock down set for a very appreciative crowd at the White Plains Music Hall. It’s actually an officially released “bootleg” which was recorded and it sounds fantastic when it’s compared to other such recordings of its type. The musicianship is tight in the band and it comes across very clearly on the surprisingly sound production that this has. Perhaps this was a sound board recording, or the result of several carefully placed microphones because I have heard official live albums that didn’t sound half as good as this “bootleg” did. The oddity comes in why an incomplete set of material has been released as opposed to a full recording of the show which has to be in the archives that this came from somewhere. If you are already a Prog-Rock aficionado and have some level of experience in Gentle Giant and their experimentation for the betterment of the genre this might appeal to you based on is historical place in the bands career. However this is hardly the place for a new listener to begin their own journey.

Yes the six tunes that comprise this recording are strong songs in the bands catalog but a new listener is better served by finding the full album’s “Free Hand” and “In A Glass House” first to better prepare them for the adventure that surely lies ahead. “So Sincere” and “Free Hand” are among the best offerings on the CD and with only four more choices to make it’s rather safe to say that the full product is a good one. As you listen you can appreciate the level of skill that the guys possessed on their instruments and just how fluent they were on all of them. The lineup on the recording for the unaware are Derek Shulman (vocals), Kerry Minnear (keyboards), Ray Shulman (guitars), Gary Green (guitars) and John Weathers (drums). The great thing that I took from this was the reminder of how far ahead of the pack this band was in terms of how a tune was composed and what directions they allowed it to take when executing it. There are time signature and tempo changes galore everywhere you turn and I am not only talking about those standard easy changes in ¼ time, I am speaking of the really unconventional stuff that pushed the envelope in their very avant-garde display of music. While this is a fine piece it might be more for the fan who must have every release, outtake, or rarities CD for their collection. I could be wrong, but as mentioned only a few sentences above, there are a couple of full albums that would be much more the rewarding experience over this release. Choose your course wisely.

Track Listing:
1. Cogs in Cogs
2. Funny Ways
3. The Runaway/Experience
4. So Sincere
5. Free Hand
6. Just the Same

Official Website: http://www.blazemonger.com/GG/
Official Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentle_Giant

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