SiX By SiX is the exciting new trio formed by Ian Crichton (Saga), Nigel Glockler (Saxon) & Robert Berry (3; Emerson, Berry, Palmer), and their eponymous debut album is set for release on August 19th, 2022 via InsideOutMusic/Sony Music. This hugely accomplished trio of musicians is also pleased to announce their first single ‘Yearning to Fly’, and you can watch the video now here:
The roots of SiX By SiX can be traced back several decades to when Glockler and Berry were together as part of Yes guitarist Steve Howe’s continuation of the band GTR. Then there’s the Asia connection, where Crichton and Glockler contributed to sessions and recordings, while Berry was the link for his guitarist friend Pat Thrall joining that band.
Time marches on, paths cross and fate brings these three musicians together, born from a conversation with an industry insider in the UK who connected Ian Crichton in the Toronto area with Robert Berry outside San Francisco, who in turn reached Glockler at his home on the south coast of England.
Powered by Glockler’s dynamic drumming, the result is an expansive guitar-driven pallet, paired sonically with the unique flavour of the Crichton/Berry songwriting collaboration, which they are very excited to present on this debut album.
Ian Crichton comments: “Throughout my career, I’ve been very selective about what to get involved in outside Saga and when opportunities have arisen, I have said ‘no’ far more often than I have said ‘yes’. When Robert’s manager contacted me in 2020 and explained what Robert was seeking to do creatively and how my guitar could be central to the musical vision, I was intrigued. Now it’s over 18 months and many Zoom calls later, but crucially Robert, Nigel and I have also spent plenty of time together at Robert’s base in northern California. We’re three experienced players from three different countries, and with our six hands, we’re here to break the rock music mould. SiX By SiX is a band that we’ve built together and nurtured into a unique style that I’m very proud of.”
Nigel Glockler continues: “When Robert and Ian first approached me about becoming part of this band, I felt very honoured to be asked and absolutely thrilled to be working with a couple of guys I’ve admired for a long time. Robert and I first met during GTR days and we’ve kept in touch ever since. My path has crossed with Ian many times on the road over the years, so once the three of us got together in California it was like a meeting of old friends. Musically it immediately clicked and working within the framework of a three piece allows us to branch out in all directions and really push ourselves. I’m best known as the Saxon drummer, but I’ve always been a massive fan of progressive rock – Genesis and PFM are amongst my favourite bands! SiX By SiX is just the beginning of an exciting journey – bring it on!!”
Robert Berry adds: “After working with the genius of Keith Emerson and losing that musical partnership in 2016 following Keith’s death, I faced a daunting question: whether to bring down the curtain creatively or seek something inspiring which would reach new musical heights. My intuition was to lean into a dramatically more guitar oriented direction. But which guitarist is as impressive as Keith was as a keyboardist? At my manager’s suggestion, an incredible meeting of minds, style and future goals was struck with Ian Crichton. Was it luck, timing or destiny? I think it was all three because 3 is my lucky number. Ian and I were determined to keep this a 3 piece band (there’s that number again) and needed a drummer with a similar mindset and who is a solid, heavy hitter. My friend Nigel Glockler was the perfect fit. And with this extraordinary combination of friendship, musicality, and humor, a Brit, a Canadian and an American have come together as the brand new band SiX By SiX.”
Ian Crichton is best known as one of the founding members of Saga, alongside his brother Jim. Saga went on to sell roughly 10 million albums world-wide and continue to perform around the world. As the driving force behind SiX By SiX, Ian takes a cunning turn, in assembling another potent band but one that focuses on his guitar prowess. This time with established players, each with a celebrated past, refined skills, and unlimited potential.
Nigel Glockler began his career in 1980 as the drummer for the British band Krakatoa. In 1981 he found an opportunity with singer Toyah. By the end of the year, he joined metal legends, Saxon. Except for two brief absences, Nigel has been behind his massive drum kit as an integral part of Saxon ever since. His powerhouse drumming is the engine that drives SiX By SiX’s songs forwards relentlessly.
Robert Berry first gained international attention with San Francisco-based Hush, releasing well-received recordings and then touring the USA. In the mid-1980s Berry’s first solo album garnered positive reviews in the most influential trade publications and attracted the attention of several major labels. At the suggestion of one of those labels, Robert moved to the UK to work with guitarist Steve Howe (of Yes fame) along with drummer Nigel Glockler in an effort to revitalize GTR. When GTR stalled, Robert partnered with British rock legends Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer to form ‘3’. With Emerson and Palmer, Robert achieved a top ten charting single and toured the USA. Robert’s melodic sensibilities complement Ian’s extraordinary guitar and Nigel’s signature drumming perfectly.
I can’t believe there are any progheads out there who don’t have at least one copy of the ELP album in their collection, and if they are anything like me then they probably have it on vinyl, a couple of different CD releases as well as the accompanying DVD.
But of course the music which is the inspiration for this album is from far earlier, in fact in many ways it dates all the way back to 1868 when composer Modest Mussorgsky first met artist, architect, and designer Viktor Hartmann, who gave him two of the pictures that later formed the basis of the inspiration. When Hartmann passed away at the age of 39, Mussorgsky was affected quite badly, and this led to him writing the score in just three weeks. However, a version wasn’t published until some five years after his own death, and it wasn’t until the 50th Anniversary of that event that a complete score was produced.
Over the years it has been recorded multiple times, and within the progressive scene, it was, of course, the inspiration for ELP’s 1971 live album.
Now, nearly fifty years on from that, and some 150 years since the original paintings were given to Mussorgsky, we have a new version from German quartet Voyager IV. The line-up is Marcus Schinkel (piano and keyboards), Johannes Kuchta (vocals and drums), Fritz Roppel (bass) and Wim de Vries (drums). That they have been inspired to undertake this piece of work due to the ELP release is never in doubt, as although they do have ten tracks inspired by the original classical work, they also include both Lake’s “Lucky Man’ and King Crimson’s “I Talk To The Wind” which of course also featured Lake on vocals.
In some ways it is an album which confused me quite a great deal, just because they have been inspired by the original score, just as Emerson was, which means that some themes are familiar yet others are quite different as apart from the two numbers already mentioned the rest were all composed either by Schinkel or in collaboration with Kuchta. Also, there is no use whatsoever of guitar on the album (although there are two drummers it doesn’t sound to me as if they are both playing at the same time, although that could be different in concert), plus this is a studio album which has allowed some layering. Then in Roppel they have a bassist who uses a six-string as his instrument of choice, and sounds to me as if he is approaching music from a jazz background and is certainly not content just to be pinning down the bottom end but is adding his own styles and runs.
It is as bombastic as one would expect, but not heavy-handed, and songs such as “Bydlo” are incredibly accessible, exciting and invigorating. It would also be wrong of me not to mention the packaging on this release – as it comes as a hardback digipak containing multiple pages of photos and lyrics, quite something for what I believe is a debut release. This really is the total package, and fans of the original, ELP, Isao Tomita or any of the many other artists who have taken this as inspiration will find much on here to enjoy. Well worth discovering. 8/10
NEW SONG ALERT: Singer/multi-instrumentalist/producer Robert Berry’s new album, “The Rules Have Changed,” will be released under the name 3.2 on Frontiers Music srl on August 10, 2018. The full-length album will feature musical contributions by the late KEITH EMERSON, whom Berry was a bandmate within the band 3. This is the last musical project in which Emerson was involved prior to his untimely passing in 2016.
A preview of the album, the track, “Somebody’s Watching” has been released today. It is available on all streaming services as well as an instant download with digital pre-orders. Hear it here:
The working relationship between Emerson and Berry began in 1987 when former YES (official) manager Brian Lane and Carl Palmer arranged a meeting between the two prolific musicians. The plan was to form a more melodic, song-oriented band, compared to the complex symphonic rock compositions for which Emerson, Lake & Palmer was known, which would allow Emerson, Berry, and Palmer to follow in the footsteps of the success that Original Asia and GTR were enjoying during that period.
The result of that collaboration between Emerson, Berry, and Palmer was the band 3 and the album “… To The Power of Three,” was released worldwide by Geffen Records in 1988. The first single, “Talkin’ ‘Bout” reached #9 on the Billboard charts and the band successfully toured the U.S. to support the album.
With the success of the first release, Geffen urged the band to go back into the studio to begin work on a second album, but Emerson felt uncomfortable with Geffen’s momentum stifling, an inconsistent strategy that ultimately cut the first album’s success short, consequently prompting the band to call it quits. At the time of the band’s dissolution, several songs were already written for the band’s second release with some of the songs later being released on Robert Berry’s solo album, “Pilgrimage To A Point”.
In October 2015, conversations about a new 3 album started between Robert Berry and Frontiers’ President Serafino Perugino as Robert had been speaking to Emerson about releasing the band’s long-delayed follow-up album. Berry relayed those conversations to Emerson and in turn sparked revived enthusiasm from him for pursuing the project. The exchange of musical ideas ultimately paved the groundwork for “The Rules Have Changed.”
After Emerson’s death in 2016, Berry was left with Emerson’s final musical ideas for the project. From old cassette tapes, keyboard parts written over the phone and long discussions between the two friends about style, the framework of the album was set and ready to be brought to life.
After several months of grieving and contemplation about what to do with these co-written songs and musical fragments from Emerson, Robert decided to resume work on the material that was created and craft a record that would ultimately be a fitting tribute to Keith Emerson’s musical legacy and at the same time re-energize and update the musical style started with 3 some 30 years ago.
“Keith and I developed together with a vision of what the new album would be like, explains Berry. “There were many times over the past 30 years since 3 had come out that Keith either played on a session for me or we just talked on the phone. The new album consists of some past 3 writing from 1988, some newly written last efforts from Keith, and some songs written exclusively by me after Keith’s death. “
The final result is “The Rules Have Changed,” a reboot of the original 3 project, centered on Robert Berry’s amazing musical talents.
This is a record that deserves to be heard by every fan of the great Keith Emerson and includes many exquisite musical adventures, which every progressive music fan will be delighted to experience and enjoy.
“Every second I worked on writing, recording, and performing those songs I had one thing on my mind,” says Berry. “The phrase… ‘What would Keith do’…drove me, it guided me, it consumed my creativity. It was so important to me to fulfill our vision for this album. I believe Keith worked through me. I especially felt him with me when I did the solos. The songs we had worked on together but the solos were to be improvised while recording. You will hear his flare coming through on the solos. The solos are played by me, but, at the same time, also by him. I would never say I was even close to being the player Keith was. But I believe you can hear his spirit in the sound and in my playing. I am so proud of this album. I can’t help but think somehow he is proud of the results too.”
1. One by One
2. Powerful Man
3. The Rules Have Changed
4. Our Bond
5. What You’re Dreaming Now
6. Somebody’s Watching
7. This Letter
8. Your Mark on The World
PRODUCED BY: Robert Berry
SONGWRITERS: Keith Emerson, Robert Berry
ARRANGEMENTS: Keith Emerson, Robert Berry
RECORDED and MIXED BY: Robert Berry at Soundtek Studios, Campbell, CA MASTERED BY: George Horn Mastering, Berkeley, CA
INSTRUMENTATION: Robert Berry
ELP Fanfare 1970-1997is a lavishly packaged, super-deluxe, multi-component rigid box set, containing a wealth of ELP treasure showcasing the immense musical talents of Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer.
Fanfare 1970-1997includes a triple vinyl LP of previously unreleased live audio, all the remastered original album CDs, previously unreleased live CDs and BBC archive material, 5:1 album mixes audio Blu-ray, 7” singles, deluxe hardback photo-book with rare photos and extensive sleeve notes, reproduced original tour programmes and poster, and enamel ELP pin badge.
By pre-ordering Fanfare 1970-1997on PledgeMusic you will receive an exclusive bonus CD of the previously unreleased Black Moon – Rough Album Mixes and your numbered Box Set will be delivered as close as possible to the 29th of September, ahead of the general release of 27th October.
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