Press release for THEO

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Big O Records (Lansing, MI) is excited to present the debut album by the new progressive rock band THEO. Formed by world reknown keyboardist Jim Alfredson (organissimo, Dirty Fingers, Janiva Magness, Greg Nagy Band, Root DoctorTHEO harkens back to the keyboard-centric superbands of the 1970s like YesGenesis, and Emerson Lake and Palmer, but with a distinctly modern and bold approach.

Alfredson is joined by bassist Gary Davenport (805 Band, Janiva Magness), drummer Kevin Depree (Sound Is Red, Greg Nagy Band) and guitarist Jake Reichbart. The eponymous debut album features six tracks including an epic 30 minute opening suite.

Jim Alfredson is best known for his work with acclaimed jazz trio organissimo and is considered among the best Hammond organists working today. As Downbeat magazine wrote, “Alfredson is a remarkable organist who seamlessly synthesizes several generations of keyboard influences…” Keyboard magazine, in reviewing organissimo‘s album Alive & Kickin’, wrote that Alfredson successfully walk[s] the line between complex and accessible…

With THEOAlfredson brings his considerable musicianship to bear on his first love, progressive rock. As Alfredson explains: “I grew up listening to Peter GabrielGenesisYesJethro Tull,King CrimsonGentle Giant… all the classic prog bands. I even made my own prog ‘album’ when I was 16 that I passed out to friends and family. But then I was bitten by the jazz bug and dedicated the next 17 years of my life to figuring out that music. Surprisingly, that education paved the road back to progressive music, back to my love of synthesizers and exploring different musical forms. I feel like my musical journey has brought me full circle.

THEO also represents a return to the concept of the keyboardist as a vital and irreplaceable part of the group, rather than a mere sideman. “Most prog these days is metal-based,” says Alfredson, “and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I feel like it’s past time keyboardists get our due again. My primary influence is Tony Banks; his melodicism, his understatedness, his lyricism, and his use of timbre. There’s a time and a place for flashiness and there’s a time and place for subtlety. THEO is a manifestation of that belief. It should be about the song first, putting that song within a certain atmosphere, and then exploring.

THEO‘s intrepid and dynamic music is paired with auspicious lyrical themes of corporatization, consumerism, loss of innocence, exile, and the obsession with celebrity. Lead vocals are handled by Alfredson himself. Usually relegated to background duties, Alfredson‘s surprisingly flexible baritone voice shifts from soaring muscularity to intimate falsetto and everything between. “I think that may be the most notable aspect of this project for my long time fans,” says Alfredson. “Those that know me only as an instrumentalist and background singer will hopefully be pleasantly surprised.

THEO is scheduled for a November 17th, 2014 release on Big O Records.

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THEO – Game of Ouroborus (excerpt)

Here is an excerpt from the first song on the album of my new progressive rock project, THEO.

Featuring myself on keys and vocals, Gary Davenport on Chapman stick, Kevin Depree on drums and background vocals, and Jake Reichbart on rhythm guitar. Special guest Zach Zunis plays lead guitar on this cut. This is about half of the song; it fades out at the beginning of the middle section, before the reprise.

THEO is a project I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and is, in many ways, a return to my roots. I grew up listening to Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes, ELP, The Beatles, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, and many more progressive bands, as I discussed in this previous article. And I still love that music and the textures and emotions it encapsulates.

Please consider becoming a fan on FB via this link:

THEO Facebook Fan Page

Also sign-up to the newsletter on the official THEO website.

THEO Official Website

I will be launching a crowd-funding campaign soon for the release of this project. Thank you for your continued support!