Glass – Emergence

Glass – Emergence

As a Pacific North Westerner, I do like to highlight the wonderful music that comes from our Northwoods. Everyone is aware of the ‘Grunge’ Scene, Jimi Hendrix, The Kingsmen, Dave Matthews, Quincy Jones, and the multitude of legendary artists who have called this wonderful place home. Emanating from the shores of the beautiful, Victorian-home decorated landscape of Port Townsend (one time contender for the Cross-Continental Railway – they lost out to San Francisco), surrounded by the Straits of Juan de Fuca which filter the Pacific Ocean to the Puget Sound and Seattle, the band Glass produced the area’s first progressive music back in the 1960s.

Glass began life as The Vaguest Notion, inspired by a Jimi Hendrix concert at the Seattle Center Coliseum, on September 6th 1968, but not as much by Hendrix, rather the opening act, The Soft Machine. The guitar-less power trio truly amazed their ears and it wasn’t long before they decided to write similar music. Glass have an impressive back catalogue of seven earlier releases, dating back to 2001, the first year they were able to secure a recording contract, despite playing live since the late 1960’s.. I am currently in search of their earliest work, No Stranger To The Skies.

Alongside Soft Machine, Glass, and specifically guitarist Jeff Sherman, were influenced by Procol Harum. Jeff recounts this story: “In 2004 drummer Jerry Cook put on Progman Cometh. He hired Procol Harum as one of the headliners! We got to meet Gary and the guys. The inimitable Mathew Fisher had just re-joined again. Got to stand behind him on stage about ten feet away while he played that incredible solo on Shine on Brightly.”

And so to the band’s current album, Emergence. The title track sounds like an awakening from the past, bringing the band’s passion and sound forward into the future, featuring Greg Sherman’s piano, guitar synth, and Mellotron. It is followed by Double Down Syndrome, another excellent instrumental built on dynamic, warm keyboards and synthesizer patterns, using drum and keyboard beats to build an unexpected rhythm, as the synth plays wildly creative mixtures over the top. Each song telepaths a different feeling of motion and forward progress.

Meanwhile, For You (But You Were Sleeping) is a smoother jazzier song, complete with romantic tenor saxophone from Steve Carr. Finally in this opening salvo My Regret is a solemn affair, Jeff using Fender-Rhodes piano to create bass, violin, and string sounds with keys to help develop the mood, Greg’s Mellotron providing highlights.

Across the album the core trio fully utilise a full array of keyboards and textures; Europa Reborn has the essence of a famous Kansas song, 7 returns to more familiar territory while Ritual is full of Jerry Cook’s drums at the opening before the instrumental takes off, with Jeff Sherman digging deep into the bass guitar as Greg Sherman dazzles with Clavinet and guitar synth.

Elsewhere, Foucault’s Dream, dedicated to the 20th Century philosopher, invokes memories of early King Crimson, whereas similarities to some of Yes’ early music can be detected in Ultraverse – Quadradextrous and the synthesizers on Eye of the Needle will take you back to the formative years of ELP, Yes and Rick Wakeman.

The album is not entirely instrumental, Mantra 4 is probably the best track on the album, featuring Dylan Sherman, Jeff’s son, who not only plays drums, but adds his voice to the synthesized sound. Eternally features lyrics and vocals sung by Jerry and Carrington MacDuffie and features Thaddus Franklin on electric guitar and trumpet. Finally, Jungle Boots is an instrumental composed by Hugh Hopper, who also plays synthesizer bass.

Dedicated to the memory of the fine musicians who’ve passed away in the last few years, Emergence is an excellent introduction to Glass, providing proof that there are still some artists using complex synthesizers and electronic keyboards from the golden era of prog. Glass was the first Washington based band to use Mellotrons and modern synthesizers – and these tracks are excellent examples of the intricate electronic music that used to be commonplace during the 1960s and early 1970s. I urge you to get this album and retrace their musical legacy, as I am currently…

01. Emergence (3:14)
02. Double Down Syndrome (3:49)
03. For You, But You Were Sleeping (4:25)
04. My Regret (3:19)
05. Europa Reborn (4:57)
06. 7 (3:54)
07. Ritual (3:08)
08. Farewell to Arm (4:16)
09. Foucault’s Dream (4:19)
10. Eternally (3:46)
11. Ultraverse Quadradextrous (4:30)
12. Eye of the Needle (4:29)
13. Mantra 4 (7:29)
14. Jungle Boots (1:45)

Total Time – 57:20

Greg Sherman – Keyboards, Mellotron, Roland A-90 Electric Piano, Korg 01/W (Piano & Guitar Synth), Acoustic Piano
Jeff Sherman – Guitar, Bass, Fender-Rhodes Piano
Jerry Cook – Drums, Voice (track 10)
~ with:
Hugh Hopper – Synthesizer Bass (track 14)
Dylan Sherman – Voice & Drums (track 13)
Carrington MacDuffie – Voice (track 10)
Thaddus Franklin – Electric Guitar & Trumpet (track 10)
Steve Carr – Tenor Sax (track 3)

Record Label: Musea Records
Catalogue#: FGBG 4994
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 5th January 2018

Glass – Website | Facebook