Saturday, 20 May 2017

US progressive band Radio Piece III

It turns out our old friend apps wrote up Radio Piece III well and quite accurately on rateyourmusic:

US Prog/Fusion trio,which started as an Avant-Garde/Jazz combo in 1976, but developed into a Progressive Rock band over the years. The original line-up featured keyboardist Tom Makucevich, drummer Richie Kuchta and bassist Tom Goroff. The line-up changed numerous times with only Makucevich being a stable member and the band performing either as a quartet or a quintet. By mid-80's Radio Piece were shortened back to a trio with Makucevich accompanied by Larry Benigno on keyboards and drummer Larry Mastroni. The first self-titled album of the band was released in 1984 on Radio Star Records. A very short but also very cohesive work, ''Radio Piece III'' clocks at just over 33 minutes, but it is an exciting work for all keyboard fanatics and lovers of the Fusion sound. With dominant work on analog synths, minimoog, vibraphone and Hammond, the band presents a unique style, often influenced by Canterbury bands with a humorous edge like The Muffins with plenty of double keyboard attacks and some great solos and breaks around. Some nice grooves by the rhythm section are interrupted by the massive virtuosic playing of keyboards, while the use of minimoog adds sometimes a very symphonic flavor in the style of Tony Banks. Other good reference points are Percy Jones' Tunnels and Canadian band Uzeb. The mix of the album is great and helps the listener identify the best out of each instrument. If you enjoy keyboard-based Fusion with light Canterbury and symphonic elements this work should probably be your next addition.

He didn't however review the next instalment, the 1987 cassette Tomato Pie Blues, which in my opinion was fantastic, and superior, but Tom takes up the baton and empty seat here in this musical chairs / relay race wildly mixed metaphor:

Heavily Canterbury influenced with irreverent lyrics and metronomic workouts. A little thin sounding for the style, but more meaty than most albums from 1987. Well worth the time to seek out a copy if you're a fan of the style. Early French TV is another pointer.

Actually I was quite shocked that Tom never reviewed them exhaustively for his cd reissue blog as this is fully in his wheelhouse.  Subsequently no one bothered to review the CD album Tesseract and Monuments, which was just as good as the previous work, and which most out there probably already have in their possession.  But I can leave it up to everyone out there to decide, right?  Except that we can't share the CDs for too long, as you all know.  (The second album was in fact officially reissued on CD too as you can see here in their discography, though I'm not sure if that means it can be bought anywhere out there in the real world --that's a separate issue.)

But back to the music.  The first album suffers a bit from unevenness in my opinion, with too much commercially compromising AOR tendencies, the best composition in my opinion being the Plants:

Oddly enough, perhaps because they completely gave up on commercial success, the next cassette was totally out-there progressive keys a la ELP / Egg (Dave Stewart group) instrumental magic, and it came zooming a hundred miles an hour out of the gate with the first track called Flag:

I love the way the composer here has absolutely no limitation with regards to tonic key/chord rules, showing zero respect for any kind of overall tonality (a hallmark of Dave Stewart too, way back when).   And I was quite pleased to hear that the title track of Tomato Pie Blues has nothing to do with either the (insipid) blues format, or, tomato pies.
Last track of the cassette repackages the (fantastic) Hallowe'en Suite of the first album.

Thirdly, Tesseract, which probably everyone already knows, continues along the same insane vein, as demonstrated by the grandiosely Rabelaisian Gargantua:

Wow.  Pretty magnificent to hear.

It should also be mentioned that the latter two works, like the above song, have a huge indebtedness to Frank Zappa's style of orchestral compositions played by slightly wacky pretend-woodwinds, etc., on digital keyboards (e.g., Holiday in Berlin).

Many thanks to everyone for collecting these for my and your enjoyment...


  1. Radio Piece I

    Radio Piece II (limited time)

    Radio Piece III (limited time)

  2. Your chronology is whack. WTF?

  3. JR,thanks dude,I really creative and weird records!!

  4. Hi
    Thanks for this amazing music !

  5. FirstBourne Thanks for the Blog,
    FirstBoure is a five piece arena rock/power metal band from Boston, MA with guitarist Mike Kerr, vocalist Adrienne Cowan, bassist Ven Thangaraj & guitarist Jimmy Olivera