The Jelly Jam
Inside Out Music America / Century Media, 2002
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/29/2003
When confronted with a CD from a group named The Jelly Jam, my reactions were immediate.
Reaction number one: "What the hell is this ?!?" spoken out loud.
Reaction number two: Ignoring the disc for several months.
Basically the same lineup as the prog-rock supergroup Platypus (less keyboardist Derek Sherinian), the trio of guitarist/vocalist Ty Tabor (King's X), bassist John Myung (Dream Theater) and drummer Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs) plows through a set which is intensely listener-friendly and well-written and executed. Coming up for adjectives to describe The Jelly Jam might seem to be a sticky situation, but there's no denying the end result is sweet.
Chances are this disc could easily be mistaken for a King's X release, if not for the noticeable absence of Doug Pinnick. Myung seems perfectly happy to remain in the background for much of this disc, acting more as the foundation which allows Tabor and Morgenstein to branch off at will.
But never do any of the compositions feel like they're spiraling out of control. Nor do they take on a musical smugness or feel like someone's showing off. Instead, you're left with some solid rock music with a progressive bend to it.
Tracks such as "Nature's Girl," "Reliving" and "I Am The King" all are solid proof that these three prog-rock veterans are indeed masters of their craft. Tabor's layered vocal harmonies have a natural sound to them, much like his vocal work with King's X. And when the group gets down to some serious jamming, as they do on the title track, they make sure to keep things very interesting indeed.
Even though these three musicians have a recorded history, one can't help but admire how they're able to leave their other band personas at the door and just allow themselves to get caught up in the unique sound of The Jelly Jam. The more I listen to this disc, the more I appreciate it - and the more I wish I had discovered it sooner in the ever-growing "to be reviewed" pile.
Go ahead, indulge yourself. Have some of The Jelly Jam. In fact, splurge and listen to it numerous times. You'll still feel good about yourself (and prog-rock) in the morning.