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FOLLOWING THE UNKNOWN

Jam It!

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Jam It! Following The Unknown album cover
3.75 | 19 ratings | 11 reviews | 26% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. Following The Unknown (10:10)
2. Sea Breeze (7:16)
3. Through The Forest (6:30)
4. Mountain Of Solitude (9:33)
5. Avalanche (7:24)
6. Into The Mist (5:07)
7. Random Name Hero (12:22)

Total Time 58:22

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- Alexey Vostrikov / drums
- Dmitry Medvinsky / bass
- Konstantin Ilin / guitar
- Roman Savelyev / keyboard

Guest Musician:
- Szendőfi Balázs / bass solo

Releases information

Self Released Digital Download

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JAM IT! Following The Unknown ratings distribution


3.75
(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
26%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
47%
Good, but non-essential (26%)
26%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

JAM IT! Following The Unknown reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars This Russian band play a instrumental fusion music that is a mix of Jazz, Rock and Metal at a rather slow pace which gives the music a lighter atmosphere than those who are in the Prog Metal fusion camp like Planet X. The music is more in the style of Spaced Out with emphasis on the Jazz side. The production, musicianship are top notch and Konstantin Ilin's guitars are offering many styles and moods while the rest of the band are not to forget with a lot of space left to the piano and keyboards of Roman Savelyelv. The title track "Following the Unknown" and the last track "Random Name Hero" display some of the most exquisite music here with the typical complex rhythm changes of the Prog Rock style. "Mountain of Solitude" is not without influence from the dreamy side of a band like Camel. "Avalanche" is a more Planet X style with more Metal parts. If you like fusion instrumental music of Rock , Jazz and Metal that is not very heavy with skillfully playing, you will enjoy this.
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars originally written for www.jazzmusicarchives.com

Three decades ago one great Russian rock musician sung "It's time for retirement, I'm tired to be an rock'n'roll ambassador in non-rhythmic country...". It was pretty much a pose though - in a country under strict Communists control rock music has been banned,but at the same time it was absolutely dominating religion of younger generation, far ahead of Orthodox Christianity or Communism dogmas.

Things changed a bit during these decades - rock isn't under the ban in today's Russia(at least till it doesn't criticize ruling regime too openly) and it's hardly a new religion anymore.But the country is same "non-rhythmic" - centuries of cultural history with absolute domination of melodic/emotive content against any rhythmic elements in folklore are too influential legacy to accept fast changes even in modern time.Then it's not strange at all that instrumental rock bands aren't national heroes there, even more - it's a small miracle that time to time Russia gives to the world classy instrumental rock music.

Few years ago it was Alko Trio - excellent heavy fusion collective, that silently faded away without any notable recognition. Jam It! are a new generation quartet,based in most European of Russian cities - St.Petersburg.

Guys mention Dream Theater and related projects as their main inspiration,and one can hear it - as well as many other influences in quartet's music. Complex, well played and technically no-nonsense,it contains 80s heavy progressive metal tradition, but (for good) doesn't misuse aggressiveness and heaviness as main components, oppositely - it sounds surprisingly light (but far not lightweight)and bright.

Tunes (probably coming more from classical legacy than from rock) and jazz fusion influences are obvious, and as a result whole album represents perfect balance between complexity and accessibility, rock energy and jazzy improvisational creativity,melodic and rhythmic.

Being a step ahead from classic Dream Theater early works in sense of modernity, quartet is obviously influenced by 80s King Crimson angular rhythmic constructions and their renown "loud/silent" repetitive shifts.

But most of all their music attracts by its immediacy and even freshness - in this field Jam It! are way ahead from many still active "big names" and their influences,who often sound tired to death with playing what they are playing again and again.

And at the end - excellent cover art, distancing musical content from classical progressive metal tradition towards more modern aesthetics, perfectly fits to their music.Bravo!

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The third album from this Russian band. Originally inspired by Dream Theater, the group began adding more jazz influences into their music while remaining a quartet of guitar-bass-keyboards-drums. The sound of this album is a mix of fusion and prog metal. The title track is based on a piano melody at first with some guitar soloing. Then a slightly more symphonic part. Ends in a more prog metal manner. "Sea Breeze" has what sounds like a flute melody but it might just be a keyboard. This track is equal parts fusion and melodic metal. "Through The Forest" opens with some funky bass, then jazzy keyboards and guitar join in. Mellows out a bit towards the middle.

"Mountain Of Solitude" begins in a more symphonic way without drums. The majority of the track is melodic jazz rock with metal-isms in the guitar playing. Starting around 5 1/2 minutes is a bizarre guitar solo. Atonal and avant-garde compared to the rest of the music. "Avalanche" starts out very jazzy but eventually turns very metal. "Into The Mist" has the most acoustic guitar on the album. The last and longest track "Random Name Hero" also begins with a funky bassline. Funky prog metal turns into melodic prog metal. Equal parts fusion and prog metal for awhile.

Stays closer to fusion while going in a symphonic direction. Features a great bass solo towards the end. Overall, a great sounding album with lots of interesting music. Nice interplay between the guitar and keyboards. Recommended to those who enjoy the heavier end of modern fusion. I'll give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

Review by LearsFool
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This album by an aptly named band is, in the simplest terms, an instrumental jam prog outfit. Even a cursory listen to this most recent album of theirs, however, reveals quite a bit of depth. The album as a whole jams on a mix of standard prog and fusion, achieving a blend that already is unique, but also takes time to include other elements here and there to enhance the overall flavour. The record opens with a long title track that exchanges the band's usual sonic mores with spacey sounds. This is followed by "Sea Breeze", which is built around playful sounds that give way to heavy, almost metallic riffs backed by keys and even the same playful chimes. The album shows a bookended nature when the eclecticism picks back up on "Into The Mist", which allows room for acoustic guitar, and finally closing number "Random Name Hero" proves an especially metallic piece, driven by a sweet bassline and ending in a fury that includes screaming keys not unlike what Keith Emerson used to unleash. Overall, this is an especially unique album that fans of instrumental prog should really look into.
Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Although labeled here as jazz rock/fusion, Jam it - an instrumental band from St. Petersburg, Russia - has much more influences than just that of jazz and fusion, even if those two are definitely very strong here. You could add heavy metal, symphonic prog, avant guard and even neo prog melodies to the mix. The result is one of the most interesting and exciting all instrumental groups I have heard in a long time. There are only four musicians here (guitar, bass,drums and keyboards) and it´s hard to believe that they did it all without any other addition than a friend who played a bass solo. What really impress me the most are the terrifci songwriting skills and their great tightness as a band. Their dynamics are simply awesome, with a kind of energy and brightness that even non fusion fans will love to listen. I think they should have been labeled eclectic prog,for eclectic they are!

Following the Unknown is their third CD. A very well produced album (every instrument is right on spot and you can hear everything crystal clear). There are seven tracks providing a little less than an hour fo great music, but you´ll think it´s much shorter, for the songs are all excellent and they won´t bore you a single moment. It´s hard to compare than with any other band I know, but it´s obvious King Crimson is a big influence (Avalanche, for instance, is pure King Crimson around the time of Starless and Bible Black). Still, they did a fine job in both respecting their roots and producing a very personal sound. My favorite track is the 9 minute Mountain Of Mist because of their symphonic rock traits, but the whole CD is a joy to hear.

Rating: 4.5 stars. Highly recommended!

Thanks to Nikolaj for advising me about Jam It!

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars JAM IT! is a band from St. Petersburg, Russia. A quartet, with Alexey Vostrikov playing drums, Dmitry Medvinsky playing bass, Konstantin Ilin playing guitar, and Roman Savelyev playing keyboards, and special guest musician Szendőfi Balázs (bass solo). Despite being classified as a Jazz Rock / Fusion band here in Prog Archives, their music has several musical influences, predominantly from Progressive Metal music. It sounds to me like all the members are trained musicians. All play very well their respective musical instruments.

This, their third studio album, has the following instrumental musical pieces:

'Following the Unknown': a Jazz-Rock musical piece with some "Arabian" musical scales (I think) and very Progressive Metal musical arrangements, with the band playing several changes in rhtythm, plus some heavy distorted guitars and synth solos.

'Sea Breeze': a more 'conventional' Jazz-Rock Fusion musical piece, but also with Progressive Metal Rock arrangements.

'Through The Forest': another Jazz-Rock/ Fusion influenced musical piece, which makes me remember a bit the musical style from STEVE MORSE / THE DIXIE DREGS. With some very good keyboards 'atmospheres'.

'Mountain Of Solitude': a more 'conventional Rock' guitar musical piece, with the predominant use of less distorted guitar playing. It is maybe the less 'complicated' song in this album, but with also some changes in rhythm.

'Avalanche': it starts with some drums and bass solos. A more heavy musical piece, it is also very Jazz-Rock / Fusion in musical style. With very complicated drums playing in some parts.

'Into The Mist': it starts with some acoustic guitar playing. A very much Jazz-Rock/ Fusion musical piece, with a guitar and a keyboard playing similar melodies at the same time in some parts.

'Random Name Hero': the heaviest song in this album, and the best in my opinion, with a lot of changes of rhythm and Progressive Metal music arrangements. With a very good bass solo maybe played by special guest musician Szendőfi Balázs.

This is a very interesting energetic instrumental music album. I think that despite some Progressive Metal musical influences, the Jazz-Rock / Fusion influences are the most important influences in this album. With a lot of tempo changes, this album as a whole is never boring or 'dark'. Very well recorded and mixed. The cover art is also good. This is very good band from Russia. They sound like they rehearsed a lot, and it also sounds like this album was done with a lot of care and dedication.

I give a 4.5 stars rating for this album.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams
3 stars At first I've got interested in their combo's name "JAM IT!", and the next moment amazed at their jazz rock with obvious tendency toward heavy texture (actually I assumed they would be a Heavy Prog outfit).

Their ability of composition along with improvised phrases and skills to manage tunes might have got concentrated and squeezed into this album needless to say. Konstantin's heavy guitar riffs tend to go excessively forward, without any suspicion upon the basis of their strict, splendid, supra-neat rhythm section formed by the bassist (Dmitry) and the drummer (Alexey). And yes, Roman's keyboard movements are really gorgeous and romantic.

Dealing with simple (one by one) but pretty complicated melody lines drenched in multiple rhythmic appearances makes us shout the word "excellent" and feel their instrumental technique and their musical compounding sense both perfect indeed ... Just as if King Crimson's Larks Tongue would meet Next Order. On the other hand, their superiority upon building sound architect is quite different from musical innovation or progressiveness.

For so-called typical rock quartets with strong intention to do improvised music aggregation there is not so many choices but to play in the same vein of improvisational / experimental vanguards. It's beyond criticism. And let me say I have massive hope they will be able to create more of innovation and completely JAM IT! This "Following The Unknown" is no doubt my favourite stuff, and stumbling upon such a superb one is really my pleasure.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team
5 stars Unusually well-produced jazz fusion from Russia. Though Russia is supposedly cursed with a lack of attention (or care) for rhythmicity, the drummer here, Alexey Vostrikov is quite steady, disciplined, and creative. His supposed influence from Mike Portnoy has rubbed off well. For me, however, the centerpiece of this quartet of tightly matched musicians is guitarist Konstantin Illin. His technical skill is enhanced by his creative sensibilities, allowing him to sound like some kind of cross between blues legend Luther Allison and jazz legend Allan Holdsworth. Bassist Dmitry Medvinsky and keyboardist Roman Savelyev play excellent roles in support of the machinations of the two "leads" in this band. All in all, the music and composing are very, very solid--and the songs are performed very tightly. Though some reviewers have noted the metal/Dream Theater or the 80s King Crimson influences to this music, I am not as convinced--though song 5. "Avalanche" does possess many of the shifts and angularities and rhythmic guitar and drum interplay one might expect from those kinds of influences. The presence of a strongly independent melodic sense throughout takes me out of DT-KC territory. Even the chord progressions--often quite fast and complex--are surprisingly melodic. The music produced by these guys stands on its own; they are their own force, not an imitator or clone of someone else.

1. "Following The Unknown" (10:10) opens with a 1970/80s familiarity and simplicity, but then a volume- and twang-bar-treated electric guitar proceeds to take us deep into guitar heaven. What a solo Konstantin unleashes for over a minute! Then around 2:15 things shift--they slow down to give the rhythmtist a chance to shine (though no real soloing--this seems to be Alexey's way: to surprise and express in his syncopated, intuitive and creative percussion-scapes). by the 4:30 mark the band has played around, woven something together, before a little axe solo and a wonderful NIL-like section unfolds. I'm also thinking "Fromuz" with this one. The melodic flow of this one doesn't quite make sense to me but I can certainly appreciate the 'theory' behind the compositional flow. Nice introduction but nothing mind-blowing (except for the opening guitar solo). (8/10)

2. "Sea Breeze" (7:16) continues to put on display the band's complex and tight tempo and chordal changes-- but, though impressive, this is nothing so very new or exciting. Yet. (8/10)

3. "Through The Forest" (6:30) opens a bit like a CORVUS STONE song, rockin' bluesy with the COLIN TENCH guitar sound. It goes through a few shifts over the simple bass line and stumbling drum line. This is, for me, the "breakout song" in which the band shows some of its uniqeness. There are interesting tempo and key shifts, interesting keyboard choices and passages, and frequent melody shifts as well. The duplicated keyboard-guitar riffs in the fifth minute are awesome--and they're followed immediately by some awesome power chords before a piano-based section takes over. Soon bass and drums kick up a groove over which the guitar and piano rip. Awesome song! My third favorite on the album. (9/10)

4. "Mountain Of Solitude" (9:33) is the first song in which I feel as if the band members have set up a goal or study of an idea--as if they are practicing some concept from music theory. A relatively slow tempo song, the band amps up the volume around the 3:45 mark--with Konstantin's guitar, of course, taking the lead--but not for long, as the song quickly returns to 'tude mode though with increasingly heaviness--building toward a guitar harmonics bridge at the five minute mark that precedes another classic bluesy pitch-bending and chord-interspersed guitar solo. Stevie Ray would be proud! I love the collective control and discipline exhibited in this one. Alexey is awesome in the background! I'd love to see him and Gavin HARRISON or Vinny COLAIUTA trade punches! (9/10)

5. "Avalanche" (7:24) opens with an Alexey solo establishing the mixed-meter tempo. The rest of the band soon arrive and eventually establish some nice, complex melodies through chordal progression and instrumental interplay. Really interesting! Konstantin almost gets unleashed a couple of times until the fourth minute when tempo and mood downshift to something very pretty and simple--but not for long! A heavier expression of this same slowed down section establishes itself before alternating back and forth with the pretty section. But then, surprise, some awesome djenty guitar and bass open the door for some odd drum soloing by Alexey. Konstatin's guitar soon tries to take the lead but Alexey seems to fight him for it! Awesome! Alexey is going crazy as the band launches a new almost RPI-like section up to the end. Great song! (9/10)

6. "Into The Mist" (5:07) opens as a kind of gentle chordal and rhythmic etude. By the time the song gels into its second round of the study after the first "chorus" their is some significant and beautiful development. Starting at the 2:15 mark the song begins to amp up with some amazing bass and guitar play (as Alexey lays back). When Konstantin hits some amazing notes at the end of the fourth minute the ''tude' feels as if it is building, gradually filling all of the "empty" space that the opening section had displayed to the point that it is very full, but not too busy or loud by the end. It all works wonderfully! A top three song for me. (10/10)

7. "Random Name Hero" (12:22) This is the song whose surprising chord progressions are surprisingly melodic--even replete with delightful Asian tendencies. A true West-meets-East contrivance. I love it! It starts out rather mundanely but by the second minute unfolds into a wonderfully entertaining and engaging song. By the six and seventh minutes enough interplay has been displayed to allow the individuals to go on to some nice soli--bass, keys, and awesome classic rock-like blues guitar. Roman's keyboard support throughout this one is, I have to admit, quite extraordinary. And Alexey's military-founded rhythmics are, of course, in a league all their own. Wow! Another top three song. (10/10)

An incredibly tight display of teamwork with many usually brief displays of individual brilliance (most often by the guitarist and drummer), JAM IT! is definitely one of the surprise bands and albums of 2015. So glad our vigilant Russian spy Nikolaj keeps me informed as to the goings-on on the Russian front!

In my opinion this is a masterpiece of progressive rock (jazz fusion). This album is DEFINITELY highly recommended--it would be an excellent addition to any prog music lover's album collection!

Review by GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Though I primarily listen to progressive rock from the 1970's I do dare to venture out occasionally. What I find is often music of the most remarkable kind. There is an abundance of genial, bold and exciting music to be found, even for an old beggar like me. When I was approached and asked if I would be interested in reviewing Jam It!'s album I felt happy to do so and though it has taken me some time to write this review I have, nevertheless, enjoyed the music in the while.

The music of Jam It! is totally instrumental and evocative. There are elements of hard rock (or metal, if you wish), jazz, a thin slice of funk and genres in between. I suppose they have been listening to the likes of Return to forever and Weather Report quite a bit.

The title track is a good example of what to expect. A gentle, almost oriental beginning with a heavily distorted guitar taking the lead. The track holds several sections of music. From the calm and soothing to the harsher hard rock. This is a fantastic track and the musicians really get a chance to shine and show their skills. The varied and skillful musicianship continues throughout the album and leaves me impressed and joyful.

I have always had a mixed relationship to instrumental music. While I have come to understand that I really do enjoy it, I still enjoy the occasional vocal contribution. I love lengthy instrumental excursions but find that my mind starts to wander off the musical field when it is all instrumental. At least that is sometimes true. This album is such an elaborate and skilled work and I do appreciate it. Having said that I still wish at least one song held vocal parts, just to break off this completely instrumental work of art, providing a totally different kind of experience.

My want for a tiny bit of vocals is really nothing to get hung up. This is brilliant musical and showcases some of the contemporary flair and competence shown by musicians within the field of progressive rock. Since I adore jazz-tinged progressive this appeals tom e and if you at all are interested in contemporary jazzy prog rock I think it would do you good to check this band out. They really do make the most delicious cocktails of prog. Easily four stars.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Once again I feel satisfied for the recommendations that I receive via web. This time, I was asked by Nikolaj (who already introduced me to the amazing Pandora Snail) to listen to another Russian band whose music would not let me down, this band was Jam it! A band whose music was unknown to me but that right now I appreciate a lot, simply because the music is great. So Jam it! Is a four-member band that was formed back in 2006 inspired by Mike Portnoy and Dream Theater's music; they have so far released 3 studio albums being Following The Unknown the most recent one, released in 2015. The music can be easily categorized as jazz fusion, and though it does have some metal-like or heavier tunes, I can say this album does not sound like Dream Theater of its offshoots at all.

It features seven songs making a total time of 58 minutes. The opener is "Following The Unknown", an amazing progressive-jazz-fusion song with an outstanding guitar work, though I must say the four members create awesome music, all playing their instruments doing their best but working for the band, so it is evident that at least musically speaking, they get on well each other so the result is pure bliss for the listener. This is a solid song that perfectly works as the opener for this album. "Sea Breeze" is a bit friendlier, I mean, the sound is catchier for prog fans and even for pure jazz fans. After a couple of minutes the song introduces heavier tunes that talks about that influence bands such as Planet X could have had on Jam it! This is a nice song but not my favorite of the album.

"Through the Forest" is a great track, exquisite jazz fusion more in the jazzy side than in the metal one, definitely, with even some 70s nuances that remind me mainly of Dixie Dregs. Great bass lines and amazing drums, complemented of course by the "leading instruments" such as guitar and keyboards. "Mountain of Solitude" is a longer track, reaching almost the 10-minute mark, this one is not that bombastic like the opener, here the sound and rhythm are softer, much softer but enjoyable as well; and though later it progresses and implement new nuances and atmospheres, I think there is something missing, so I could never fall in love with this track.

In "Avalanche" the instruments that caught my attention at first were drums and bass, but mainly drums and that is something not common on me, I actually use to give less importance to drums because they are not my favorite instrument, so when I notice it from the beginning is because they must be awesome, just like they are in this song. I like how the band makes those nice changes, from a soft melodic tune to heavier and rockier moments, all played with delicacy and ambition, always taking care of details. This is one of my favorite tunes here. "Into the Mist" is a softer and shorter track, but man, it is a delicious one. Here its delicacy matched with me, so since the very first time I listened to it I loved it. Music for my senses!

And finally the longest one: "Random Name Hero". A progressive metal / jazz fusion epic with several contrasts, passages that go from soft nuances to heavy and powerful textures. Here I love the work of keyboards and how the band dedicates every single minute of the song to bring different experiences, passages that might tell a story guided by the lead instrument in turn and by the intensity of the sound. Of course, the guitar riffs are also amazing, so it was a great decision to finish the album with this epic track, summing up the best face of Jam it!

The album is wonderful, the musicians are incredibly talented and since I first listened to the album I like it overall, however, I think there are some uneven moments, some passages that I did not love and that in a bad day, I might skip (it has not happened, but might happen), which is why I will give this album 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Enjoy it!

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Prog Team
3 stars

I feel incredibly fortunate at present, as I am being introduced to many Russian progressive rock bands, and here is yet another that has passed me by in the past that I am grateful to hear now. Formed in St. Petersburg in 2006, they have been operating as an instrumental outfit since 2010 and this 2015 release was their third (and latest) album. The quartet of Alexey Vostrikov (drums), Dmitry Medvinsky (bass), Konstantin Ilin (guitar) and Roman Savelyev (keyboards) are obviously influenced by the jazz rock fusion boom of the Seventies, but here it is firmly within the realm of progressive rock, and there are also some metallic influences which bring it right up to date. There should also be a special mention here of the treatment of the drums within production, as it often feels that instead of four instruments being blended together, that it is three plus one. The drums and cymbals are vibrant, bright and direct and given the versatility and musicianship being displayed by Alexey there is a major impact on the overall feel of the album.

Normally one would expect the rhythm section to be more controlled in this style of line-up, but here just Dmitry has the that role, with Alexey doing his thing, and then Konstantin and Roman both taking it in turns to provide melody and lead lines. It certainly never feels like a self-released album, as it is vibrant and fresh, never too self-indulgent but twisting and changing in a manner that is always interesting and fascinating. The metallic approach that is brought to bear at times is never too over the top or intrusive, but has a part to play in creating dynamics and emotion. Overall this is an enjoyable album that is well worth discovering.

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