Perhaps, it’s a tad untimely for FOCUS to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary in 2021, given that their first line-up got formed in 1969, but who cares, really, when there’s a cause and a way? While the collective’s "Anthology" provided the chance to look into the past, “Focus 50: Live In Rio” – another box set, scheduled for release on April 30th – offers a look into the future, despite the fact that the concert set captured here was recorded in 2017. The 4-disc collection has not only this show, presented on two CDs and Blu-ray, but also a CD titled “Completely Focussed” which gathers all the numbered “Focus” pieces – each of the group’s albums, bar one, contain such a track – recut by today’s collective during lockdown.
It was on October 12th, 2019 that the mighty RENAISSANCE – solely led now by the eternally young Annie Haslam – marked their five decades of intermittent existence with a magnificent performance in “The Keswick Theater” in Glenside, USA. Recorded in all its glory, the show has been prepared for release for some time, but the partially crowd-funded document got deferred to finally see the light of day on April 30th, 2021 – only in the Old World, though, with the Americas seemingly having to wait some more. Still, the not-too-originally titled “50th Anniversary – Ashes Are Burning: An Anthology – Live In Concert” is worth the wait if only to witness the presence of the ensemble’s co-founder Jim McCarty on “Island” and the titular epic, and of a small orchestra, as well as for the set list which runs the band’s entire lifespan.
It’s been known for some time that Dave Greenslade, the keyboard player and vital part of COLOSSEUM was having some health issues, and now the venerable musician is going to retire. Greenslade’s replacement, to be officially announced soon, will be the very much experienced Nick Steed whose recent recordings with NS5 and THR33 – respectively, "Feeling For The Blues" and "Thr33" – and previous studio work with orchestras made him perfect for this role.
It’s been more than two decades since Franco-Turkish proggers ASIA MINOR released their second, and last, LP, “Between Flesh And Divine” from 1980, and although the ensemble reformed back in 2013, it’s taken them some time to record its follow-up. To be released on January 29th on CD, in paper sleeve, and vinyl “Points Of Libration” – whose teaser is below – features two founder members, singing guitarist Setrak Bakirel and flautist and guitarist Eril Tekeli, as well as three latecomer musicians. The group’s style remains the same, if updated, though.
It might be difficult for a regular aficionado to imagine yet connoisseurs never had any doubt that Morgan Fisher‘s “Miniatures” concept – realized with the help of like-minded, adventurous spirits, such as Robert Wyatt, back in 1980 – would be influential four decades on. Far removed from what the keyboard player did in MOTT THE HOOPLE and even the prog-oriented MORGAN, the album’s whopping 113 tracks, and its second volume, all extremely short, can’t help but still impress the listener. Among his listeners have been Alan Davies, Barry Lamb and William Hayter who, in lockdown and all, came up with a tribute project called “Miniatures 2020” where one-minute pieces are delivered by a good hundred of artists – from virtually unknown, if utterly remarkable, to luminaries like VDGG’s David Jackson and CURVED AIR’s Sonja Kristina, HENRY COW’s John Greaves and CARAVAN’s Geoffrey Richardson – two keepers of the Canterbury vibe, Dylan Howe and THE RESIDENTS, the last collective a participant on the original LP.