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Prog Rocks: The Roundtable 2014

Our annual round table once again pulls together prog’s great and good for a meeting of minds. Up for discussion this year is, well, prog’s ongoing meeting of minds…

Collaborations: that’s the theme for this year’s round table discussion. It brings together Steve Hackett, Peter Hammill, Kavus Torabi, Arjen Lucassen and Thomas Weber, head of InsideOut Music. The location? The HMV store in London’s Oxford Street, where we’ll get a fascinating insight into the crucial area of progressive musical alliances, chaired by Prog editor Jerry Ewing.

JERRY EWING: “This is the fourth annual Prog Rocks round table, and we’re talking about collaborations. What leads people who play music across the progressive spectrum into working with so many different musicians outside of what would be seen as their parent group?”

STEVE HACKETT: “Maybe a certain aspect of progressive music is that it’s a spin-off from jazz, where the travelling saxophone player would often get up and blow with the local band. That idea of loose collaborations also comes with the blues, where any musician can sit in with any other. But it’s really a jazz tradition.” 

PETER HAMMILL: “I think you have to go back to before underground music, which became prog, existed. This movement was formed by a disparate group of people who wanted to do something different, with a degree of seriousness. They still wanted to be mega stars, naturally, but these people usually came together with wildly different influences. So, in one band you’d normally have one person into jazz, one into blues, plus there would also be a classical musician involved. And everyone’s style would rub off on everyone else, so any band would be a great melting pot.” 

SH: “I remember with Genesis, you had one guy into big band stuff, another more into church music. What was wonderful was that you could have European church harmonies with American syncopation. So it had to be collaborative. And this led to what we now call progressive music.”

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