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GENTLE GIANT

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Gentle Giant biography
Formed in the late 60's by the Shulman brothers, GENTLE GIANT is known as the paradigmatic progressive rock band. With an uncomparable musicianship, they went as far as no one ever did into unexplored grounds in the progressive music, navigating over dissonant 20th-century classical chamber music, medieval vocal music, jazz and rock. The multi-instrumentation capabilities of the musicians gave such dynamic to their music, which set parameters to a whole coming generation up to these very days. They explored Moogs, Mellotrons and Fender Rhodes usage with such majesty! Not to mention other instruments like oboes, violins, cellos and horns among others.

The band was able to come across the 70's maintaining an outstanding level on their music, altering their style over the years and keeping the quality as only a few bands were able to do. Among their magnificent discography, all the albums from "Acquiring the Taste" through "Playing the Fool" are essential progressive rock releases (with the possible exception of "Interview"). This portion of the band's career would see a fittingly grand conclusion on the live "Playing the Fool" album. What more is there to say about these masters of progressive music?

Compilations Albums: Numerous collections and greatest hits albums have appeared over the years.

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Three Piece Suite [Blu-ray]Three Piece Suite [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray
ALUCARD RECORDS 2017
Blu-ray$16.09
$16.08 (used)
In A Glass HouseIn A Glass House
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$5.00
$7.22 (used)
Three FriendsThree Friends
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$9.55
$9.91 (used)
The Power And The Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) [CD/Blu-ray Combo][Deluxe Edition]The Power And The Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) [CD/Blu-ray Combo][Deluxe Edition]
Alucard 2014
Audio CD$14.62
$14.75 (used)
Free HandFree Hand
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$7.43
$5.00 (used)
OctopusOctopus
Remastered
Alucard 2011
Audio CD$6.73
$6.99 (used)
Octopus (Remixed by Steven Wilson)Octopus (Remixed by Steven Wilson)
Alucard 2015
Audio CD$9.84
$9.83 (used)
King Alfreds College 1971King Alfreds College 1971
Import
ALUCARD UK 2009
Audio CD$12.99
$18.88 (used)
The Missing PieceThe Missing Piece
Remastered
Alucard 2010
Audio CD$3.67
$7.38 (used)
Gentle Giant -  Gentle Giant/Acquiring The TasteGentle Giant - Gentle Giant/Acquiring The Taste
Import
BGO 2015
Audio CD$10.56
$10.55 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Power & The Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) - Gentle Giant (Vinyl Used Very Good) USD $18.94 Buy It Now 2h 35m
The Power and the Glory by Gentle Giant (Vinyl, Jul-2014, Alucard) USD $17.99 Buy It Now 4h 10m
1978 - GENTLE GIANT - Giant For A Day - Press Advertisment - Poster Size USD $11.86 Buy It Now 5h 14m
Gentle Giant - Pretentious Vinyl LP UK 1st Vertigo Press EX+/NM Best Greatest USD $39.55 Buy It Now 9h 39m
GENTLE GIANT Octopus UICY-9029 CD JAPAN 2000 OBI USD $84.10 Buy It Now 11h 25m
Gentle Giant Live ~ Playing The Fool ~ EX+ 1977 2X Vinyl LP's SKBB-11592 USD $11.99 Buy It Now 11h 37m
Octopus [Digipak] by Gentle Giant (CD, Sep-2011, DRA) USD $7.45 Buy It Now 12h 11m
GENTLE GIANT - "OCTOPUS" - VERTIGO SPACESHIP 6360 080 1972 ITALY - EX+/NM USD $26.38 [0 bids]
12h 25m
VERTIGO LABEL: Gentle Giant Freedom 1971 UK Poster size Press ADVERT 16x6 inches USD $13.12 Buy It Now 12h 30m
GENTLE GIANT-giant for a day '78 UK LP ORIG+INN+MASK. PROG.GEM USD $32.97 Buy It Now 14h 38m
Rock 2-Disc Lp Gentle Giant Live: Playing The Fool On Capitol USD $4.99 [1 bids]
15h 21m
Gentle Giant ?- Gentle Giant / Acquiring The Taste COLLECTOR'S CD! FREE SHIPPING USD $20.00 Buy It Now 15h 30m
GENTLE GIANT-THE POWER AND THE GLORY-JAPAN CD+BLU-RAY AUDIO J50 USD $39.50 Buy It Now 16h 11m
GENTLE GIANT-OCTOPUS-JAPAN CD+BLU-RAY J50 USD $39.50 Buy It Now 16h 55m
Gentle Giant Original Capitol Prog LP 1977 USD $12.00 Buy It Now 17h 36m
JOHNNY CASH GENTLE GIANT OF COUNTRY MUSIC UK COMPILATION 2x33rpm LP VERY GOOD USD $3.96 [0 bids]
17h 38m
Gentle Giant-Three Friends/Octopus CD NEW USD $14.80 Buy It Now 17h 39m
GENTLE GIANT- IN A GLASS HOUSE (35TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION) BONUS LIVE TRACK USD $5.00 [0 bids]
17h 48m
Gentle Giant The Missing Piece Psych LP Vinyl NM Capitol ST 11696 USD $6.99 [0 bids]
17h 49m
Gentle Giant 'The Power and The Glory' Psych LP Vinyl VG+ Capitol ST 11532 USD $6.99 [0 bids]
17h 49m
Gentle Giant in'terview Psych LP Vinyl NM Capitol ST 11532 USD $6.99 [0 bids]
17h 49m
GENTLE GIANT in'terview Anniversary ADVNCE TST PRESS PROMO DJ CD 2005 BONUS TRK USD $24.99 Buy It Now 18h 9m
USED (VG) Don Williams In Ireland: The Gentle Giant In Concert (2016) (DVD) USD $40.61 Buy It Now 18h 19m
ACQUA FRAGILE cd 1976 ITALIAN PROG for fans of PFM Genesis Gentle Giant Yes USD $6.99 Buy It Now 18h 44m
Johnny Cash Gentle Giant of Country Music Double Vinyl LP Sun Label 1970 USD $14.49 [0 bids]
18h 47m
GENTLE GIANT, AMONGST THE DARKERS - RARE LP TAKRL 1983 USD $45.00 Buy It Now 19h 10m
Yusef Lateef - "The Gentle Giant" INSANELY RARE 1972 MONO PROMO PRESS NEVER COM USD $149.99 Buy It Now 19h 14m
GENTLE GIANT three friends Japan MINI LP SHM CD USD $39.99 [0 bids]
19h 29m
GENTLE GIANT acquiring the taste Japan MINI LP SHM CD USD $39.99 [0 bids]
19h 31m
Gentle Giant - Champions of Rock CD Free UK P&P USD $3.28 [0 bids]
19h 37m
GENTLE GIANT -- FREE HAND superb prog '75 album on remastered 2009 CD USD $3.94 [0 bids]
20h 3m
? M- BEAUTY '70 ORIG ? GRACIOUS ? 1st ? MELLOTRON PROG King Crimson Gentle Giant USD $38.00 [10 bids]
20h 9m
Gentle Giant Free Hand LP ST-11428 1975 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 20h 53m
GENTLE GIANT UK LP 1970 Self Titled Vertigo 6360020 EX Vinyl USD $40.00 [0 bids]
USD $60.00 Buy It Now
21h 35m
Gentle Giant - Octopus- SHM-SACD Super Audio CD Japan Complete USD $51.57 Buy It Now 21h 39m
GENTLE GIANT: SuperStar compilation w/booklet - Italy USD $7.99 [0 bids]
21h 47m
GENTLE GIANT~THE POWER & THE GLORY~RARE ORIG '74 UK WWA LP w/GIMMICK COVER~NM USD $14.00 [0 bids]
21h 52m
Gentle Giant Playing The Fool Double Vinyl LP USD $8.00 [0 bids]
22h 7m
GENTLE GIANT - THREE FRIENDS - JAPAN SHM MINI LP CD USD $62.95 Buy It Now 22h 58m
GENTLE GIANT - THREE PIECE SUITE [9/29] * NEW CD USD $17.99 Buy It Now 23h 16m
Live In Stockholm 1975 - Gentle Giant (CD Used Like New) USD $11.53 Buy It Now 23h 28m
Gentle Giant Amongst the Darkers Behind the Few LP NM/NM Live 1975 Prog ELP USD $25.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant Playing the Foole A Stake in the Heart LP NM/NM Live 1975 Prog ELP USD $25.00 Buy It Now 1 day
CD-Gentle Giant-Experience~very nice 70's Prog USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
CD-Gentle Giant-Live Rome 1974~heavy Prog Psych USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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Genesis Live Yes Peter Gabriel Phil Collins ELP Marillion Gentle Giant Camel USD $4.99 [1 bids]
1 day
Genesis Seconds Out Yes Peter Gabriel Phil Collins ELP Marillion Gentle Giant USD $4.99 [0 bids]
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Yes Yessongs Genesis ELP King Crimson Gentle Giant Rush Camel Jethro Tull USD $4.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Don Williams In Ireland: The Gentle Giant In Concert - Deluxe Limited Edition CD USD $21.07 Buy It Now 1 day
King Biscuit Flower Hour by Gentle Giant (CD, Jan-1998, King Biscuit Entertainm. USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant - Free Hand/ Interview (CD 1998) 2 Albums 1 Disc USD $39.55 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant - Three Friends (CD) AAD Mastering USD $10.54 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant - Live Rome 1974 (CD 2000) USD $5.26 Buy It Now 1 day
GENTLE GIANT Gentle Giant Limited Edition Vinyl Gatefold LP Sealed King Crimson USD $41.20 [0 bids]
1 day
Gentle Giant-Live in Stockholm '75 CD NEW USD $20.13 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant The Missing Piece 1977 1st Wally Press EXC Ultrasonic CLEAN USD $14.40 Buy It Now 1 day
"7"-Gentle Giant-Spooky Boogie/Words From..70'S PROMO ORANGE VINYL USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SIMON DUPREE & BIG SOUND:(Early Gentle Giant)Broken Hearted Pirates-U.K. 7" Demo USD $98.98 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant The Missing Piece their 9th LP 1977 Capitol ST-11696 Vinyl VG+ USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
GENTLE GIANT Octopus VERTIGO LP RARE SPACESHIP LABEL 1975 UK PRESSING 6360080 USD $46.15 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant - The Missing Piece - Capital - SN 16046 USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant 1977 Capitol 2 LP set Gentle Giant Live - Playing The Fool USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant 1977 Capitol LP The Missing Piece USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant- The Power and The Glory, original 1974 vinyl lp record by EMI USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
GENTLE GIANT GIANT FOR A DAY ORIGINAL ADVERT 16 X 12" POSTER SIZE 30 SEP 1978 USD $17.13 Buy It Now 1 day
GENTLE GIANT CD ACQUIRING THE TASTE [1971]. EARLY VERTIGO 1990 CD ISSUE UK PROG USD $6.58 [0 bids]
1 day
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GENTLE GIANT - FREE HAND (WITH INSERT UK 1ST PRESS 1975 CHRYSALIS LP) USD $39.55 Buy It Now 1 day
GENTLE GIANT-LIVE AT THE BICENTENNIAL CD w/original ticket stub from the show! USD $15.00 [0 bids]
1 day
GENTLE GIANT - PLAYING THE FOOL (1977 UK DOUBLE CHRYSALIS LP) USD $23.73 Buy It Now 1 day
GENTLE GIANT - Experience (2001 7 trk LIVE CD album) Derek Shulman USD $5.26 [0 bids]
1 day
GENTLE GIANT Free Hand ST11428 Vinyl Record 1975 Ex+/N/M USD $8.48 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant - Power & the Glory (Steven Wilson Mix) [New CD] UK - Import USD $19.83 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant-Octopus- prog psych rock 1972 no barcode, cuts USD $4.99 [1 bids]
1 day
GENTLE GIANT Playing the Foole A Stake in the Heart 1975 American Tour Takrl LP USD $29.97 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant Acquiring the Taste Original 1971 Vertigo LP EX Prog Gatefold USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Gentle Giant - Power & the Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) [New CD] With DVD, Del USD $17.57 Buy It Now 1 day
Gentle Giant - Power & the Glory (Mixed By Steven Wilson) [New CD] With DVD, Del USD $16.00 Buy It Now 1 day
GENTLE GIANT Power And The Glory 8 Track Tape RARE USD $16.88 Buy It Now 1 day
GENTLE GIANT I'm Turning Around 7" VINYL Dutch Chrysalis 1977 B/W Just The Same USD $15.88 Buy It Now 2 days
GENTLE GIANT I'm Turning Around 7" VINYL German Chrysalis 1977 B/W Just The USD $15.88 Buy It Now 2 days
GENTLE GIANT Giant For A Day LP VINYL German Chrysalis 1978 10 Track With USD $24.19 Buy It Now 2 days
GENTLE GIANT S/T LP VINYL UK Swirl Vertigo 1970 7 Track Gatefold Sleeve Matrix USD $269.31 Buy It Now 2 days
VPI Clean VG++ Gentle Giant Pretentious UK Vertigo 9286 947 LP USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Gentle Giant Free Hand SHM MINI LP CD JAPAN + DVD Audio Quad Mix TOCP-95085 USD $89.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Gentle Giant Interview JAPAN NEW SHM MINI LP CD + DVD Audio Quad Mix TOCP-95086 USD $85.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Gentle Giant - Endless Life [New CD] USD $7.57 Buy It Now 2 days
Gentle Giant - Endless Life [New CD] USD $15.96 Buy It Now 2 days
GENTLE GIANT S/T CD Japanese Vertigo 2000 7 Track Japanese Edition In Gatefold USD $28.34 Buy It Now 2 days
GENTLE GIANT Playing The Fool CD European Caroline 1996 11 Track (Alug014) USD $11.73 Buy It Now 2 days
GENTLE GIANT THREE FRIENDS - CD ALBUM COLUMBIA AAD USD $6.58 Buy It Now 2 days
GENTLE GIANT In A Glass House LP WWA Rec. WWA-002 1973 UK VG++ TEXTURE COVER 7C USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents GENTLE GIANT SRCS-8583 CD JAPAN 1998 OBI USD $83.12 Buy It Now 2 days
Gentle Giant Giant For A Day + Insert & Inner UK vinyl LP album record CHR1186 USD $38.18 Buy It Now 2 days
Gentle Giant Octopus - Spaceship label - EX vinyl LP album record UK 6360080 USD $71.15 Buy It Now 2 days
Gentle Giant Gentle Giant - Spaceship label vinyl LP album record UK 6360020 USD $104.13 Buy It Now 2 days
GENTLE GIANT - THREE PIECE SUITE [9/29] * USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $15.50 Buy It Now 2 days
GENTLE GIANT IN'TERVIEW... original 1/2 page magazine Trade Press Advert # USD $6.58 Buy It Now 2 days
Gentle Giant I'm Turning Around 7" vinyl single record UK CHS2160 CHRYSALIS USD $14.44 Buy It Now 2 days

More places to buy GENTLE GIANT music online Buy GENTLE GIANT & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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GENTLE GIANT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GENTLE GIANT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 1061 ratings
Gentle Giant
1970
4.26 | 1321 ratings
Acquiring The Taste
1971
4.11 | 1084 ratings
Three Friends
1972
4.30 | 1685 ratings
Octopus
1972
4.36 | 1469 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.30 | 1364 ratings
The Power And The Glory
1974
4.28 | 1312 ratings
Free Hand
1975
3.75 | 654 ratings
Interview
1976
2.93 | 483 ratings
The Missing Piece
1977
2.29 | 413 ratings
Giant For A Day
1978
2.75 | 374 ratings
Civilian
1980

GENTLE GIANT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 390 ratings
Playing The Fool - The Official Live
1977
3.57 | 23 ratings
In Concert (BBC Radio 1)
1994
4.12 | 55 ratings
Out Of The Woods
1996
2.41 | 33 ratings
The Last Steps
1996
4.13 | 55 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
1998
4.05 | 26 ratings
Out Of The Fire
1998
1.89 | 16 ratings
In A Palesport House
1999
4.14 | 41 ratings
Totally Out Of The Woods
2000
1.98 | 18 ratings
Live Rome 1974
2000
2.28 | 14 ratings
Interview In Concert
2000
1.79 | 10 ratings
Artistically Cryme
2002
3.74 | 22 ratings
Experience
2002
1.47 | 6 ratings
Endless Life
2003
3.92 | 10 ratings
Missing Face
2003
1.95 | 13 ratings
Way of life
2003
2.25 | 8 ratings
Prologue
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
Playing the Cleveland
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live In New York 1975
2005
3.00 | 5 ratings
Santa Monica Freeway
2005
3.39 | 20 ratings
King Alfred's College Winchester
2009
3.89 | 25 ratings
Live In Stockholm '75
2009
3.93 | 23 ratings
Live at the Bicentennial
2014

GENTLE GIANT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.63 | 185 ratings
Giant On The Box
2004
4.26 | 92 ratings
GG At The GG
2006

GENTLE GIANT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 1
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Original Studio Gentle Giant - Vol. 2
1974
3.46 | 18 ratings
Giant Steps...The First Five Years 1970-1975
1975
3.13 | 4 ratings
Pretentious For The Sake Of It
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Circling Round The Gentle Giant
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Il Grande Rock
1991
4.39 | 54 ratings
Edge of Twilight
1996
3.12 | 61 ratings
Under Construction
1997
4.28 | 34 ratings
Free Hand/Interview
1998
3.21 | 31 ratings
Scraping The Barrel
2004
4.23 | 21 ratings
I Lost My Head - The Chrysalis years (1975-1980)
2012
2.14 | 12 ratings
Memories Of Old Days
2013
5.00 | 7 ratings
Three Piece Suite
2017

GENTLE GIANT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Rock Power
1971
4.62 | 13 ratings
Prologue
1972
4.50 | 16 ratings
In A Glass House
1973
4.34 | 22 ratings
The Advent Of Panurge
1973
4.42 | 12 ratings
The Power and the Glory
1974
3.33 | 6 ratings
Give It Back
1976
3.00 | 6 ratings
I'm Turning Around
1977
3.75 | 8 ratings
Two Weeks in Spain
1977
4.10 | 10 ratings
Just the Same (live)
1977
2.40 | 5 ratings
Mountain Time
1978
1.50 | 7 ratings
Thank You (edit)
1978
3.25 | 4 ratings
Dando Vueltas
1978
3.17 | 6 ratings
Words from the Wise
1978
2.33 | 3 ratings
Underground
1980
2.20 | 5 ratings
All Through The Night
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
In A Power Free In'terview
2009
1.00 | 1 ratings
The Power And The Glory
2010

GENTLE GIANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Three Friends by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.11 | 1084 ratings

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Three Friends
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars An immature but still amazing Gentle Giant: 8/10

After the successful experiment of ACQUIRING THE TASTE, which denoted that the prog crowd would warmly embrace GENTLE GIANT's peculiar music and acquired the taste for it (that's the pun and objective of the album's title after all), there was no barrier that discouraged the band from further exploring their potential and wildest ideas. GENTLE GIANT wanted to try something new, namely, a concept album, and their first bid was THREE FRIENDS. Its concept is based on, well... three friends; as they grew older they grew further apart socially and even ideologically (for instance, the first friend values physical work while the latter prefers intellectual, leadership roles). There's no doubt the storyline is weak and feebly constructed, but it was more an experiment on how to create a concept album rather than trying to output a masterpiece. This is visible as the concept is barely linked to the music. Subsequent efforts (IN A GLASS HOUSE, THE POWER AND THE GLORY) would depict heavy interconnection between them both, creating a conceptuality that would transcend the "lyrical plane" and be perfectly reflected in the song structure and its instrumental interludes. To make it shorter, the "concept" part of THREE FRIENDS is crude, rudimentary. That detail is crucial to understand why THREE FRIENDS didn't achieve, for me, the status of a masterpiece.

But, in terms of enjoyability, all that stuff really doesn't matter. THREE FRIENDS is still a GENTLE GIANT album, and although I'm not sure whether it is an evolution or regression compared to ACQUIRING THE TASTE, it's pretty fun still. The tracks offer several multilayered solos - just like GENTLE GIANT always does, after all - focused on the keyboards; more precisely, on the organs (heck, never before I have listened to a GENTLE GIANT album with SO MUCH organs). It's eclectic as you'd expect, with some highly dynamic instrumental parts, but there's also a lot of calmer moments (not bad, but I'd rather have more of their typical complex and amusing technical jams). GENTLE GIANT is, apparently, not fully matured - at least from a progressive perspective - as there is still a big influence from blues and hard rock in their music in counterpart to their emblematic "genre neutral" style that would later become the norm. The blues is especially visible on the first part of Working All Day and the hard rocking Peel the Paint, which features four minutes of Gary Green freestyle-soloing a la Jimi Hendrix. Of course, this isn't a complaint, neither a reason why this isn't proggy because duh it's GENTLE GIANT and they are, by default, proggy (at least until FREE HAND).

Overall, it's a great album, not their best, but definitely far from their worst, or from being universally bad for any matter. Bluesy, hard-rockin'. A sturdy album.

 In A Glass House by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.36 | 1469 ratings

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In A Glass House
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nš 135

'In A Glass House' is the fifth studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1973. It became with 'Octopus' as one of Gentle Giant's most popular albums. 'In A Glass House' is another conceptual album. Its concept is very original and strange and is allegedly based around the idea that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Curiously, the album begins and ends with the sound of breaking some glasses. It was the band's most directly and psychological effort ever. 'In A Glass House' is probably their most ambitious work, with four lengthy songs as 'The Runaway', 'Way Of Life', 'Experience' and 'In A Glass House'. With it, they delivered another masterful work.

'In A Glass House' represents a very important landmark in Gentle Giant's musical career because it marks the definite departure of one of the three Shulman brothers and former member Phil Shulman. He left the group because he was burnt out and discouraged after some problems with the public, especially after the difficult live concerts done by the band when they supported a live tour of Black Sabbath, and so, he had realised that the lifestyle of a touring musician was damaging his family life. Instead of finding a replacement, the remaining band members decided to continue just as they were. So, 'In A Glass House' became the first Gentle Giant's album released by the group after the departure of Phil Shulman. John Weathers even sustained that they became a stronger band after Phil left Gentle Giant.

The line up is Gary Green (6 and 12 string guitars, mandolin, percussion and alto recorder), Kerry Minnear (vocals, keyboards, tuned percussion and recorder), Derek Shulman (vocals, alto and soprano saxophones and recorder), Ray Shulman (vocals, bass, acoustic guitars, violin, trumpet and percussion) and John Weathers (drums and percussion).

'In a Glass House' has six tracks. The first track 'The Runaway' written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman is a song with an extraordinary and surprising beginning where the band seems to break some glasses. This is a very rich song with rich varieties of styles and textures, extremely melodic but is also at the same time complex and very creative. This is an extraordinary track, one of the best tracks ever released by them and a perfect way to open the album. The second track 'An Inmate's Lullaby' written by Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman is a completely different song from its previous track. It's an avant-garde and strange song especially performed by drums, xylophone and vocals. This is probably the most experimental song on the album, it isn't particularly melodic and we need some time to be familiarized with it. The third track 'Way Of Life' written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman is a song with driving rhythm, fast tempo and tempo changes all over the track. We may say that this is another progressive experimental song with some extremely beautiful and melodic moments and at the same time it has also some strange musical parts. It's a very solid and variable song with melody and improvisation at the same time. This is a truly Gentle Giant's track. The fourth track 'Experience' written by Kerry Minnear, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman is another extraordinary song, very inventive and with a very complex musical structure. Basically, this is a perfect example of Gentle Giant's medieval complex sound, but the song comprises also many others and varied forms of music. The song is also rich of wonderful vocal harmonies. This is probably the most complex track on the album. The fifth track 'A Reunion' written by Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman is the smallest, simplest and most calm song on the album. It's basically a soft acoustic ballad that reminds me a quartet in the classical music. It's a fine and emotional song with beautiful melody, but it seems be dislocated on this album and is probably the weakest track on it, despite its beauty. The sixth and last track is the title track. 'In A Glass House' was written by Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman and is the lengthiest song on the album. It's another excellent composition with great harmony between all musical instruments. The chorus performed by the four singers is also of superior quality. It has also a hard rock section with a memorable guitar riff, in the second part of the song. This is a great track that closes magnificently this amazing piece of music.

Conclusion: 'In A Glass House' is a very important album after their two great masterpieces 'Acquiring The Taste' and 'Octopus'. 'In A Glass House' is also a very important album because it was their first album without the participation of one of the Shulman brothers. Phil was one of the main composers of the band. It's interesting to note that the quality of the music performed by them hadn't lost nothing and probably even improved a bit. Probably, I agree with them when they said that Gentle Giant continued with Kerry Minnear and Ray Shulman writing great stuff and that probably they became a stronger band after the departure of Phil Shulman. So, 'In A Glass House' is without any doubt one of the greatest prog rock albums from the 70's. It's with 'Acquiring The Taste', 'Octopus', 'The Power And The Glory' and 'Free Hand' one of their best works, and all of them are some of the best prog rock albums ever made too.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Octopus by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.30 | 1685 ratings

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Octopus
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nš 134

'Octopus' is the fourth studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1972. The symphonic sound of their second and third studio albums was partially abandoned in 'Octopus', which has at sometimes traces of hard rock and folk rock too. It became the band's hardest rocking album until that date. It maintained the Gentle Giant's distinctive broad and challengingly integrated styles, with one of the highlights being the intricate madrigal styled vocal workout 'Knots', whose lyrics are taken from various verses of poetry from the R. D. Laing's book, edited with the same name.

'Octopus' marked also a new change in the line up of the group. It marked the change of their drummer Malcolm Mortimore who replaced their former drummer Martin Smith on their previous studio album 'Three Friends'. He left the band and was substituted by John Weathers. This was also the last album of the band to feature Phil Shulman. This new line up of the group coincides also with what is generally considered the best musical period of the band. It's also interesting to note, that in 2004, Ray Shulman commented that 'Octopus' was probably Gentle Giant's best album.

The line up is Gary Green (guitars and percussion), Kerry Minnear (vocals, keyboards, vibraphone, cello, Moog and percussion), Derek Shulman (vocals and alto saxophone), Phil Shulman (vocals, saxophones, trumpet and mellophone), Ray Shulman (vocals, bass, violin, guitar and percussion) and John Weathers (drums, percussion and xylophone).

'Octupus' has eight tracks. All songs were written by Kerry Minnear, Phil Shulman, Derek Shulman and Ray Shulman. The first track 'The Advent Of Panurge' is a song strongly influenced by jazz music, full of energy, with varied melodies and different singing styles. It's apparently a chaotic song where all instruments seem to be played in different directions. Which is more impressive in this music is that in the end we have a song with an excellent harmony. The second track 'Raconteur, Troubadour', differently from the previous debut song, is a song with some medievalism influence, although it explores different types of music. It's a song where the violins and cellos reign and guide all the music. Once more it's a song with great vocals and is also very well accompanied by an excellent keyboard work. The third track 'A Cry For Everyone' is a completely different song. This is the first real rock song on the album. It's a very energetic song with an excellent melody, stunning vocals, a great guitar riff and it has also great keyboard work. It became a legendary and classic Gentle Giants' song. The fourth track 'Knots' is the less accessible track on the album and is also one of the most complex and intricate songs ever composed by them. It's an avant-garde song that explores a cappella vocal style by the four vocalists. This song is a perfect example how is good and astonishing the vocal work of this incredible group. It's true that this is a very difficult song to hear, but this is truly a great piece of music. The fifth track 'The Boys In The Band' is the only instrumental track on the album. It's a relatively complex and a fast jazz musical composition with different rhythms and tempos. It's a song very well arranged with some excellent solos by keyboards, guitar and saxophones. Again, we are in presence of a magnificent track. The sixth track 'Dog's Life' is one of the simplest songs on the album. It's an explorative song with the use of varied and really strange and weird musical instruments. It's a funny piece of music with classical orchestration and beautiful vocals. The final result is very good, nice and truly unique. The seventh track 'Think Of Me With Kindness' is the song which gives us the simpler, quiet and beautiful moment on the album. It's a song with a simplest and beautiful tune and where the singing is honest, simple and sincere with good musicianship. It's a soft piano based ballad where the theme is beautiful and that provides us some really nice musical moments. The eighth and last track 'River' is the longest song on the album and is a strange song but is also, at the same time, a melodic and a fascinating track. Basically, it's a rock song that flows progressively by different themes. It's a very experimental song which use a lot of studio effects like moving the sound from speaker to speaker. It's without any doubt a strange track but it's also, for sure, a perfect way to conclude this excellent album.

Conclusion: 'Octopus' represented my introduction to Gentle Giant's music in the distant 70's years. I'm very happy that my baptism in the progressive rock has been made with bands and albums like this one. 'Octopus' began a series of four studio albums, all followed, and all absolutely stunning. They make part of one of the most beautiful and brilliant pages ever written in the progressive rock music. I don't know really if Ray Shulman was right when he said that 'Octopus' was probably the Gentle Giant's best album. Personally, 'Octopus' is only my fourth choice. Sincerely, it seems to me that I prefer 'In A Glass House', 'The Power And The Glory' and 'Free Hand'. However, this option is only a matter of my personal taste. 'Octopus' is in reality a truly masterpiece and one of the best albums ever made, because it has strong songwriting, great composition, excellent musicianship and a perfect overall performance.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Free Hand by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.28 | 1312 ratings

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Free Hand
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

5 stars As the early boom of progressive rock waxed and waned in a relatively short period from 1969 to 1975, many bands came and went or transmogrified into ever increasing commercial arenas that sacrificed their earlier ambitions, however through it all GENTLE GIANT continued to crank out albums that continued to hone their prog rocking skills to new heights despite flirting with the more accessible song structures that were slowly simplifying the defining qualities that made prog rock, well so bold and daring. By the time 1975 arrived when they released their seventh album FREE HAND, the two remaining Shulman brothers had steered their creative outfit into prog rock the pinnacle of prog refinement successfully retaining their perfect marriage between brutal prog complexities and pop hook sensibilities.

After more than paying their dues and striking a friendship with Jethro Tull on the extensive touring circuits, this British band scored a contract with Chrysalis Records in the UK but found their most successful charting album on the US Billboard charts (#48). Gone were the long bouts with dissonance and in was a slightly more accessible sound with the most sophisticated of production values mixed in quadrophonic but nevertheless still dressed up with the unmistakable GENTLE GIANT-isms such as their polyphonic instrumental gymnastics, folk laden vocal fugues and heavy modern rock resonating side by side with renaissance anachronisms. However by this time, the band was a fully fueled prog rock machine churning out one addictive tune after another with all the excepted prog soaked outbursts of ambition.

Taking a lighter approach from the more political charged "The Power And The Glory," FREE HAND found the band at their most commercial crossover potential without sacrificing one little bit of all those luscious idiosyncrasies that made the band stand out from the pack. With catchy, even funky riffs as on the opener "Just The Same," GG proved they could adapt their unique time signature frenzies to the most contemporary sounds of the era but in the end composed music that sounds timeless in nature. While steeped in hard rock guitar riffs that connect the band to the burgeoning prog rock scene that was in the process of giving way to less ambitious musical genres, GG found a way to transverse both sides of the fence.

Despite constructing much easier to follow overall song structures, somehow GG exploited every available option to unleash their magic. "On Reflection" comes off as a somewhat catchy little tune but in a short timespan runs the gamut of vocal harmonic fugues in playful interlude with Kerry Minnear's plethora of impressive keyboard runs with plenty of time signature outbursts that should kill any sense of continuity but actually serve to heighten the sense of adventure with an impressive eclectic collection of instruments trading off including the harp, cello, violin, viola, vibraphone, glockenspiel and the list goes on. GG effortlessly exhibits some of the best musicianship prog rock has to offer with their exhaustive fusion of rock, jazz, folk and Baroque classical into sensual yet aggressively angular melodic hooks.

As with any GENTLE GIANT album, you really have to go into it on the band's own terms in order to appreciate FREE HAND. Despite being laced with easily digestible hooks the band still finds the perfect marriage with escapades into the unconventional instrumental and harmonic bombast. While their newfound catchiness was the perfect gateway into the following less sophisticated albums that would find the band fizzle out in irrelevance, FREE HAND is the point where they found all their trademark attributes in the perfect balance and the most recommended starting point to explore the utterly unique musical universe that the band had spent the early 70s constructing. Yet another masterpiece in a long string of outstanding musical gems.

 Giant For A Day by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.29 | 413 ratings

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Giant For A Day
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Caleb9000

1 stars I wish that there was a 0/5 stars option so that I could express my contempt for the absolute trash that is this album. What truly baffles me is the fact that it came from Gentle Giant, a band who is known for its masterful compositional skills, which are able to manifest in their music while there is still plenty of emotion and soul. This album has soul, but it's the same kind that every other radio-rock album has. Cheesy vocal harmonies... check. Predictable vocal melodies and predictable music in general... check. Stupid, pretentious lyrics pretending to be meaningful... check. Guitar work that was stolen from other artists... check. A song called "Words From the Wise" that literally sounds like a carbon copy of "We Built This City"... check. A sellout band... quadruple check.

I actually struggle often to remember a whole lot of the music on here, despite the fact that I've listened to this album multiple times. What surprises me even more is that I can't remember things despite the fact that they stole from songs that have been ingrained into my head. Perhaps the vocals do this. They fail at being catchy so much that it is downright embarrassing. The simple tone of the vocals doesn't suit the music, as it did previous material from this band.

I'm aware that this is a very short review that hardly describes the music, but there is hardly anything to describe, as this album has little to no character of its own. Other pop-rock albums of the late 1970s could be described in a similar manner. This album is an absolute travesty against man and beast alike and because it failed to achieve the commercial success that Gentle Giant was looking for, the band split up. Possibly for the better, as I would hate to imagine them continuing and having this music as their main legacy.

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1364 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Caleb9000

5 stars This is an album that uses a formula that many have used years later, for the worse more often than the better. Many bands in the progressive genre tend to try to blend as many different instruments as possible, but not really caring as to what is being played on said instrument, resulting in pretentious music. This is an album that uses the formula correctly, but doesn't get too chaotic for its own good. Rather, it takes a unique approach to each instrument while still blending them together to create a common enough atmosphere to create emotion. "Proclamation" has a rather nightmarish atmosphere while maintaining a groovy-enough rythym to keep a casual listener interested.

Speaking of casual listeners, there is even a dance-type song on here (The Face), though it is so oddly structured and disjointed that one cannot think of any movement to make. But it is still highly enjoyable, due to the melody that is played on a violin that resembles funk, but keeps the classical touches of old. In fact, there are often different genres that are reflected by each instrument on an independent bases, but they all keep the progressive rock overtones to keep things to their roots without going into an over-convoluted mess.

Gentle Giant has been known for their "medeval" approach to vocals, but that aspects comes much more into play here than it does on any other album. In fact, the accent of the vocals almost sounds Scottish, which makes sense, considering the vocal melodies quite strongly resemble medieval Scottish music (there are no bagpipes on the album), while still maintained a blues/soul-rooted twist. They are also rather intricate, making a fair amount of use of the vocalist's range is quite a short amount of time, without sounding like Opera or ancient Middle-Eastern music (not bashing those genres at all).

While their previous album, "In a Glass House" may have been more complex, the melodies on each album were a bit derivative at times and they didn't branch out into other genres like this album does. This is a difficult album to listen to at first, but as times goes by, the album can be appreciated for the masterpiece that is is. This is an absolute landmark in progressive rock history from an underrated band that deserved credit that some other bands simply did not. There are no flaws what so ever, and there is no moral flaw in buying it with your money (or streaming for free).

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
1.00 | 1 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

— First review of this album —
1 stars The first time commercial correctness struck prog: 1/10

By 1974, the year GENTLE GIANT wrote & released THE POWER AND THE GLORY, they had a respectable "cult-follow" but still were commercially unsuccessful. The band was partially disappointed to this, but WWA was simply devastated. They demanded the lads to write some singles which would be commercially approachable, and so they did - they wrote three, and as Derek Shulman (one of the multi-instrumentalists of the band) recalls it, "This song's the worst". Indeed, it is.

The Power And The Glory is a highly complex synthpop. That's it. It is a two-minutes long synthpop song twisted on GENTLE GIANT's viewpoint. In a certain way it is MUCH more appaling than the band's dreaded later albums because those were fruits of a thorough, complex process, whereas this aberration was given life on the apex of their paradigmatic creativity. It is an absolute offense to everything GENTLE GIANT represents, and to prog rock as well. It's by no means a bad song, it's just contextually dread. There's Proclamation played live in 1977, which is a really great gig by the way, but that isn't enough to recompose a GENTLE GIANT connoisseur after the atrocity heard.

This review is meaningless as I can suppose no one really gives a damn about this curious little eponymous track. But if you do... well, you can take a look by searching it on YouTube (yes, it's available there). But please, don't buy it. Every time someone buys The Power And The Glory single, a Shulman sibling dies. Stop exterminating the Shulman species. Stop buying bad singles.

 The Power And The Glory by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.30 | 1364 ratings

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The Power And The Glory
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars One of the most complex albums Gentle Giant released, which of course means one of the most complex albums released: 10/10

I'll begin this review with a note (which includes two recommendations): this review is mostly a meta-musical (or 'musicological' if you like fancy names) & contextual analysis than an album review properly said. If you're looking for some commentary about the history of the album or maybe what it represents in GENTLE GIANT's history, it's spot on; if instead you're looking for an album review properly said I highly recommend reading corbet's (who succinctly describes the record) and Peter's (where the concept is greatly explained as well as what each song sounds like) reviews. The review title is actually a paraphrase excerpted from corbet's review which in my opinion explains pretty briefly... everything a newbie needs to know about GENTLE GIANT.

The Shulman brothers' multi-instrumentalist upbringing was fruitful, as in 1970 they founded the legendarily innovational GENTLE GIANT. Throughout their career, they consistently progressed on their musical approach, every time exponentially increasing the complexity. Phil Shulman left the band prior to an Italian tour in 1973. As Gary Green recalls it, "There was too much stress being on the road and the family. Plus the brothers were having a bit of a difficult time". Coincidentally or not - in no way I'm undermining Phil's importance to the band - it was precisely after his departure that GENTLE GIANT released one hell of a complicated production: IN A GLASS HOUSE, followed by their most groundbreaking and challenging release, THE POWER AND THE GLORY, and paradoxically, the decline of the insanely ingenious era of the band.

GENTLE GIANT were the masters when it comes to conceptual albums: they are able to weave connections between the subjective idea the album proposes and the materialistic evidence. It's a no-brainer that the band members had ease in constructing the most unimaginable sounds, so it probably wasn't difficult technically to create the aforementioned link. The way each song develops, as well its position and significance to the album, is carefully constructed - for instance, you'll see a shift in the music when the conceptual mood swings, this example being particularly visible on Proclamation.

I mentioned the tranquility the band had with constructing technically complex songs. Well, if you think about it, the explanation is rather simple. All members were excellent musicians - the Shulman brothers were raised in an environment where they contacted countless instruments and developed musical ability since always; Kerry Minnear was graduated from the Royal College of Music with a Composition degree (sounds classy! Because it is); John Weathers (the drummer and only lad with a fixated role) was a seasoned and virtuoso player; and Gary Green was... just plainly badass, really - therefore there were fewer moorings that chained their music to mediocrity (or simplicity); if something insane was brought up, everyone could play it. In this way, the multi-instrumentalist ambitions could soar sky-high without fears of the personnel being unable to reach the equally skyrocketed demands. Spoiler: the ambitions DID soar sky-high.

Well, in this album GENTLE GIANT constantly sculpts their music on the most bizarre, unintuitive but still amazing shapes, with terrifying odd time signatures that are actually common time and chaotic polyrhythms that feel as fluid as common time. We observe constant experimentation without losing enjoyability, in a form that, although completely chaotic, is still easily identifiable as music, with normal instruments, normal sounds, made by normal people, to normal people. It feels natural, and not some sort of madman's highly pretentious crazy wankery. Since ACQUIRE THE TASTE it was widely known that GENTLE GIANT's objective was to "expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with the one thought - that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating". No release is truer to their motto than this one, and for that matter, I consider this their magnum opus l album and the highest point of their career. Indeed, the climax.

... but climaxes are followed by calmness; in the same way the tranquility of open, blue skies, soothes the oceans after a devastating storm. Their following release, FREE HAND, is much more commercially attractive and different from THE POWER AND THE GLORY. I'm not arguing the album is bad, but just that it's pretty much the post-climax conclusion, or, to make myself short, not as good. Their creativity peak was over, and the successful syncretization between radio-friendliness and relative experimentality connoted that they were looking for 'em pounds - something that Gary Green agrees on me. However, this is a tale for some other moment...

 Acquiring The Taste by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.26 | 1321 ratings

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Acquiring The Taste
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nš 119

'Acquiring The Taste' is the second studio album of Gentle Giant and was released in 1971. The dissonant counterpoint, the nearly eponymous debut peculiarity that made them renowned, has their first appearance in 'Acquiring The Taste'. On this album, each of the six musicians, alternatively, played different instruments, with a massive use of electronic keyboards that gave a nearly symphonic feature to the album. With this album Gentle Giant begins the incredible versatility of their music which explores many various genres, ranging from jazz, blues, hard rock, experimental, classical and medieval, but always in the root of the tasteful progressive rock music.

The line up on the album is Gary Green (vocals, 6 string guitar, 12 string guitar, 12 string wah-wah guitar, donkey's jawbone and cat calls), Kerry Minnear (vocals, electric piano, organ, mellotron, vibraphone, Moog piano, celeste, clavichord, harpsichord, tympani, xylophone and maracas), Derek Shulman (vocals, alto saxophone, clavichord and cowbell), Phil Shulman (vocals, alto and tenor saxophones, clarinet, trumpet, piano, claves and maracas), Ray Shulman (vocals, bass, violin, viola, electric violin, Spanish guitar, tambourine, 12 string guitar, organ bass pedals and skulls) and Martin Smith (drums, tambourine, gongs and side drum). Paul Cosh (trumpet and organ), Tony Visconti (recorder, bass drum and triangle) and Chris Thomas (moog programmer) are additional musicians that appear on the album.

'Acquiring The Taste' has eight tracks. All songs were written by Kerry Minnear and the three Shulman brothers. The first track 'Pantagruel's Nativity' is one of my favourite songs of the album and became a classic Gentle Giants' track. It's a song with continuous music and a nice melody. It has beautiful keyboards very well combined with a powerful and great guitar work. What is most impressive on this track is the use of so many musical instruments such as saxes, vibraphone, celesta, harpsichord, tympani, trumpet, clarinet and so on. The second track 'Edge Of Twilight' is one of the most avant-garde musics on the album. It's a very dark music with short vocal line, nice to hear and with a good explorative musical work. The third track 'The House, The Street, The Room' is another avant- garde music with nice melody and the exploration of strange sounds. This is one of the heaviest songs recorded by the band that at some times reminds me the typical apocalyptic sound of Van Der Graaf Generator. The fourth track is the title track 'Acquiring The Taste'. It's a very short instrumental track, another avant-garde and explorative track with some nice and catchy musical moments despite its length. The fifth track 'Wreck' is probably with 'Pantagruel's Nativity' one of the two best tracks on the album. It's a strong song with the fantastic and typical vocal harmony of the group with great and interesting musical passages especially the keyboards and guitar passages. This song reminds me 'Argus' of Wishbone Ash. The sixth track 'The Moon Is Down' is another interesting song that starts very slow but that develops into a more energetic sound. It's another song with nice and good exploratory musical passages and with a beautiful vocal work. The seventh track 'Black Cat' is the calmer song on the album but with more experimental musical passages. It has some good and interesting musical moments but it seems to me the less inspired song of the album and the weakest song on it. The eighth and last track 'Plain Truth' is a solid rock song with the typical Gentle Giant's guitar work and also with good vocal harmonies. It's probably the most accessible track on the album, the less complex and the more traditional, and less typical of them. Still, it's a solid closer for this interesting, great and surprising work.

Conclusion: This album represents a giant's step into their music, relatively to their previous eponymous debut studio album. 'Gentle Giant' represents probably their less complex musical work and it's for sure their most hard and heavy rock album. By the other hand, 'Acquiring The Taste' represents, for me, the most experimental, most discordant and most avant-garde album, in all their musical career. This album has everything that characterized Gentle Giant's music, the fusion of several and different musical styles such as rock, blues and jazz, the influence of the renaissance and medieval music and the prolific use of multi musical instruments. It's interesting to note, that in the sleeve text, the band made their declaration with the objective of defining what they wanted to do in the music: ''Acquiring The Taste' is the second phase of sensory pleasure. If you've gorged yourself on our first album, then relish the finer flavours (we hope) of this, our second offering. It is our goal to expand the frontiers of contemporary popular music at the risk of being very unpopular. We have recorded each composition with the one thought - that it should be unique, adventurous and fascinating. It has taken every shred of our combined musical and technical knowledge to achieve this. From the outset we have abandoned all preconceived thoughts of blatant commercialism. Instead we hope to give you something far more substantial and fulfilling. All you need to do is sit back, and acquire the taste''. And this is all really true.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Gentle Giant by GENTLE GIANT album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.91 | 1061 ratings

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Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant Eclectic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nš 118

'Gentle Giant' is the self titled debut studio album of Gentle Giant. Their music tried the most daring fusion of jazz, classical and rock. The band was formed by Schulman brothers who had before joined some blues band in Glasgow. The major point of strength of the sextet were Kerry Minnear's electronic keyboards, the guitar playing by Gary Green and Philip Schulman's winds. Besides their complex scores, their sound differed from other bands especially for Derek Schulman's singing, so aseptic that in some way resembles Conservatory's solfege and Gregorian chant.

So, the line up on the album is Gary Green (backing vocals, lead guitar, 12 string guitar and flute), Kerry Minnear (lead vocals, backing vocals, keyboards, some bass, cello, synthesizer and some tuned percussion), Derek Shulman (lead vocals, backing vocals and some bass), Phil Shulman (lead vocals, backing vocals, saxophone, trumpet and recorder), Ray Shulman (backing vocals, most bass, violin, some guitar and percussion) and Martin Smith (drums, percussion and xylophone). Paul Cosh (tenor horn on 'Giant') and Claire Deniz (cello on 'Isn't Quiet And Cold?'), are additional artists that appear on the album as guest musicians.

'Gentle Giant' has seven tracks. The first track 'Giant' written by Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is a fantastic begin to the album. This is a truly classic progressive Gentle Giant's song very dynamic and creative. I love the way how the guitar is played and the great keyboard work made by Kerry Minnear. This is one of the best moments on this album. The second track 'Funny Ways' written by Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is a song completely different from the previous one. It's a mellow song more classic and acoustic with an extraordinary exploration of several musical instruments, some classic and acoustic which are fantastically married with the others, electric and more modern. It's also in my humble opinion a song with a relatively complex musical composition. This is a perfect example how these guys were absolutely unique. The third track 'Alucard' written by Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is, if you have noticed, 'Dracula' spelled backwards. This is an atypical song of the group because is more a hard rock influenced song. It's relatively complex and has some interesting and good instrumental musical passages and with disturbing vocals. However, this never was one of my favourite songs on the album. The fourth track 'Isn't It Quiet And Cold?' written by Kerry Minnear is a very mellow song that reminds me The Beatles and some stuff of early King Crimson's albums. The song is performed in an unplugged style with strange and delicious parts performed especially by violin and cellos. This is a song very simple and despite being a song with a very soft and nice melody this isn't one of my favourite tracks on the album too. The fifth track 'Nothing At All' written by Derek Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear is the biggest song on the album and is really a truly surprising track. This is another atypical song of Gentle Giant and it has practically everything. The song begins as a soft and nice acoustic ballad with melancholic harmonies, in the middle it grows as a hard and heavy rock song, then comes the curious drum solo by Martin Smith, so typical on the albums of those times, curiously with the piano of Kerry Minnear adding some nice melodies on the background and finally the song ends with the initial soft and beautiful acoustic ballad. This is one of the strangest, original, curious and interesting songs ever composed by the group, a real must. The sixth track 'Why Not' written by Kerry Minnear is in my humble opinion another high point of the album. This is a heavy Rock'n'Roll song a little bit dark and frantic with some calm and nice passages. It's worth of noting the appearance for the first time in their music, of the clear influence of the medieval music, which isn't surprising because this is a song of Minnear and he is a musician strongly influenced by those music. The seventh track 'The Queen' is a rock version of their national anthem 'God Save The Queen'. It's a short version arranged by Derek Shulman, Phil Shulman, Ray Shulman and Kerry Minnear. I've nothing special to say, unless that it reminds me Queen who did it five years later on their fourth studio album 'A Night At The Opera', a version that I personally prefer.

Conclusion: Who usually read my reviews on Progarchives, especially those who are about Gentle Giant, know that I'm a big fan of the group. Gentle Giant was one of the pioneer bands of progressive music and was also one of their biggest and best representatives. And about the album, 'Gentle Giant' is an excellent debut album. It's probably their less complex musical work and it's for sure their most hard and heavy rock album. But, we mustn't forget that this is an album of 1970 and therefore one of the first progressive rock albums in prog rock history. However, this album already have some of the main characteristics of their music like the avant-garde and experimentalism, the fusion of rock, blues and jazz, the influence of the renaissance and medieval music and the prolific use of the multi musical instruments.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Thanks to Ivan Melgar M for the artist addition. and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates

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