Samples (The Other Side)
Zed - You Are Here. 2008 private
The Other Side - A Higher Vantage Point. 2008 private
These two albums both involve Alan Mallery, a very talented keyboardist and sax player from Denver, Colorado. I first met Alan on the old AOL chat boards back in the mid 1990s, and since we both lived in Denver at the time, it didn't take long to meet personally and build a friendship. A few years later, and Alan was invited as a charter member to our Gnosis Project. I later moved back to Texas, but we've maintained contact over the years, and recently Alan was kind enough to send me both of the albums he released in 2008. Are my reviews biased? Heck yea, they are! Alan is truly a great guy, as steady as they come, and anything I can do to help him - I will. So there.... you can ignore any possible objectivity here. Despite that, I truly do think both albums are excellent, and I would feel that way no matter what. But I felt obligated to give full disclosure anyway. Both albums are very different in style, yet I enjoyed them equally.
For Zed, here's what I wrote on RYM a couple of months ago: Well it may have been released in 2008, but its sound and heart are clearly 30 years back in time. This is the tried and true fusion sound of 1978. All the instruments have perfect clarity, and there's a slight funkiness to the beat. Edgy electric guitar, 70s era synthesizers, and saxophone hold down the melody lines and soloing chores. Zed fit comfortably on the train from Kraan to Weather Report. If late 70s instrumental fusion is your bag, then you can't go wrong with this fine Denver, Colorado based ensemble.
For The Other Side, we have a group more geared to what I believe is Alan's true passion: Progressive Rock. Seeing that there is one song that is a tribute to Peter Bardens, and given the instrumental synthesizer-keyboard (and sax) focused progressive sound, one can easily say The Other Side is heavily influenced by prime era Camel. And while I think that may have been the primary goal, The Other Side come across like a couple of late 70s German bands who successfully created a similar attempt. Perhaps on a more superficial level, I was reminded first of Rousseau. As a deep diver I recognized that, perhaps unwittingly, The Other Side have provided us with a modern interpretation of Trilogy's "Here It Is", an album I've praised mightily in the past. So Alan, I think I'm giving you some backhanded compliments here - yet given my own crazed disposition - that's high praise indeed.