Jelly Jam, The - The Jelly Jam

Year of Release: 2002
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 096
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:07:00

Sure, it must come as a heavy blow when the project you put on a while ago starts getting successful and then someone decides to leave the band. Normally you'd look for a replacement, yet acting in the domain of progressive rock maybe this gives you a chance to introduce a different approach, experiment even more ... with less. That's exactly what happened with Platypus when, out of the blue, keyboard player Derek Sherinian decided to call it a day and concentrate on adventures on his very own Planet X. The over-productive Ty Tabor thought it was way too soon to stop and thus decided, together with his remaining band mates, to continue as a trio. Which, looking at names like Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience and ELP (to name but three), never has been a problem in the history of rock music. On the contrary, as the trio format enables the music to be more direct, more raunchy, more authentic rock'n roll, or in this case prog'n roll, as I would call it myself.

The opening track "I Can't Help You" immediately illustrates the musical change this threesome has gone through, delivering powerful chords combined with often Beatles-esque harmonies. Just like Lenny Kravitz, Jelly Jam dares to "lend" the odd vintage "lick," as is obvious during "Nature's Girl" where Hendrix teams up with Zeppelin. In fact, Jelly Jam will do their utmost to sound as seventies as can be and they really carry that spark throughout this album. Add to this the often personal lyrics of Ty Tabor, mainly based around his busted marriage and you know you're in for an intensive 45 minutes! All over the album the vocal harmonies make up for the loss of keyboards, delivering a full sound carried more than once by the superb drumming of Rod Morgenstein. The collaboration between the three top musicians goes very well; so well that as we write the review for their third album (including both Platypus albums) the backing tracks for the second Jelly Jam have already been recorded. "Feeling" offers a nice balance between hard sounding guitars and softer approaches, creating a world within a world.

Soft and right on track with some of the King's X material is "Reliving" which, contrary to Dream Theater, holds the perfect mix, so we can enjoy John Myung's bass playing throughout. The song also holds a nice melody and, by means of the distorted guitars, one keeps on wondering why these kind of songs don't get any airplay. This is the kind of song Nickelback could make number one instantly whilst the guitar solo slightly goes back to the heydays of Boston! It also strikes me how Ty gets the chance to explore different guitar sounds on this album, a nice example being the wonderful title track, which sounds like a nice piece of improvisation, a nice (jelly) jam ending in a true frenzy! It's Rod's tasteful drumming which forms the mighty backbone to "I Am The King" segued together with "The King's Dance," or the instrumental sequel to the former "I Am The King." Again Ty gets the opportunity to experiment with his rack of guitar sounds here. The album closes with the longer (9:37) "Under The Tree" which kicks off with some Eastern influences and vocals that could be lifted from the Beatles' White Album. As the music evolves Morgenstein puts a lot of emphasis on the percussive aspect within this song, adding kind of a folky feel to the music, whilst Tabor goes wild on his guitar. Towards the end it's like you're listening to Michael Flatley's Lord Of The Dance on acid whilst once again studio effects comes in to join our threesome.

The Jelly Jam is a bit like Derek Sherinian's Inertia, which is going one step away from the pure, complex, progressive idiom and concentrate a little harder on the true identity of honest rock'n roll. Due to the fact that the Jelly Jam music also contains vocals it maybe makes it even more accessible and easier to enjoy. There's a lot of seventies atmospheres to be found although this ain't the kind of Grateful Dead improvs that go on and on without end, as this album contains ten great tracks, songs which are screaming to be performed live. With one less member to take into consideration, chances that we'll see the Jelly Jam in a venue nearby are, maybe, more realistic than you could have dreamed of!

I Can't Help You (3:01) / No Remedy (4:05) / Nature (0:59) / Nature's Girl (5:12) / Feeling (5:22) / Reliving (4:12) / The Jelly Jam (5:50) / I Am The King (4:38) / The King's Dance (2:11) / Under The Tree (9:37)

John Myung - bass
Rod Morgenstein -drums
Ty Tabor - guitars, vocals

The Jelly Jam (2002)
2 (2004)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: February 23rd 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 881
Language: english


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