Keneally, Mike & Beer For Dolphins - Dancing

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Exowax
Catalog Number: 2401
Format: CD
Total Time: 79:56:00

In the late 80s and early 90's Mike Keneally was the guitarist for Frank Zappa's band. That should tell you a whole hell of a lot about this man's talent. If that doesn't, consider some comments from reviewers: "Mike Keneally is a staggering talent..." (, "Mike Keneally is an absurdly talented musician" (Slamm), "There are few (if any) players out there possessing both his advanced level of chops and such a brilliantly twisted sensibility" (Guitar One), "Anyone with half-an-open-ear can't help but be astounded by this clever, multi-faceted soul." (Alternate Music Press), "Listening to Keneally solo is like watching The Simpsons -- you wonder how so many ideas can be compressed into such brief, beguiling choruses" (Guitar World), "One of the year's 10 best albums!" (San Diego Union-Tribune).

I think you get the idea.

Keneally has played with everyone from Screamin' Jay Hawkins to Frank Zappa, from Buckethead to Steve Vai, and he's absorbed all those experiences (especially Zappa's) into a style that defies categorization. I guess I'd have to say that this album is mainly progressive jazz with a strong rock influence, combined with touches of Queen, Jeff Beck, and Steely Dan. The keyword here is "progressive," however, because this album goes so many places, so fast, and so cleverly, that it almost makes you dizzy. (For Keneally's progressive credibility, it might be appropriate here to mention that Keneally appears on the Giant Tracks album, a tribute to Gentle Giant on which Keneally performs all the vocals and instruments on the track "No God's a Man.")

The first couple of tracks are straight-ahead rock, with a few proggy bits thrown in here and there. While these first two songs are great, by the end of the second you may be asking "What's the big deal?" With track 3, a Queen-like a cappella track, you begin to hear some cool stuff happening. With track 4, which sounds like a bizarre cross between Rush and Joe Jackson, you know that you're in for a ride. From then on, you move from one tasty treat to another, as Keneally and his band hit you with a set of tracks that reveal the influences but still retain a sound of their own.

For example, Keneally has no trouble giving Jeff Beck the Nod with his song "We'll Be Right Back," which starts out sounding like Echolyn but ends with a guitar solo that you'd swear was Jeff Beck himself. Keneally also presents an eerily accurate send-off of Frank Zappa's bizarre and ground-breaking guitar style in the short instrumental "The Brown Triangles," the title of which is surely a spoof on the Zappa song "The Black Page."

From then on the music leaps from Satriani-like guitar heroics to moody acoustic numbers, from Steely Dan style jazz pop to Zappa-ish avant-garde fusion. This album goes everywhere and does it so masterfully that somehow it all comes out as a cohesive whole. Pick this CD up, and prepare to be amazed.

Live In Japan (4:46) / Ankle Bracelet (4:35) / Poo-Tee-Weet? (0:42) / Backwards Deb (5:35) / We'll Be Right Back (8:16) / Joe (4:45) / Pretty Enough For Girls (6:47) / Taster (4:51) / Dancing (2:53) / Selfish Otter (4:15) / Only Mondays (2:03) / Lhai Sal (2:23) / Mystery Music (2:26) / Brown Triangles (2:13) / MM (0:31) / I Was Not Ready For You (3:20) / Ragged Ass (4:16) / Skull Bubbles (3:58) / Friends And Family (3:56) / Kedgeree (7:12)

Mike Keneally - guitar, vocals
Bryan Beller - bass
Jason Harrison Smith - drums
Evan Francis - alto sax, flute
Chris Opperman - trumpet
Tricia Williams - percussion
Rick Musallam - guitar

Mike Keneally - Hat (1992)
Mike Keneally - Boil That Dust Speck (1994)
Mike Keneally and Beer For Dolphins - Half Alive In Hollywood (1996)
Mike Keneally - The Tar Tapes Vol. 1 (1983-1991, released 1997)
Mike Keneally - Giant Tracks (1997) (HyberNation Gentle Giant tribute album compilation)
Mike Keneally and Beer For Dolphins - Sluggo! (1997)
Mike Keneally - The Tar Tapes Vol. 2 (1982-1991, released 1998)
Mike Keneally - Nonkertompf (1999)
Mike Keneally and Beer For Dolphins - Dancing (2000)
Mike Keneally - Wooden Smoke (2002)
The Mike Keneally Band - Dog (2004)
The Mike Keneally Band - Guitar Therapy Live (2006)

(Plus Appearances with other artists include Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Nick D'Virgilio and many more)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: February 19th 2001
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum

Artist website:
Hits: 805
Language: english


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