Who was Gentle Giant?
Gentle Giant was a progressive rock band that was more influential than famous in its 10-year existence. Their multi-instrumental virtuosity, enthusiasm, and perfectionism made them a very powerful live act throughout the 1970s. Several videos of their performances have survived and are available for purchase. It is clear they were a formidable act to follow.
How many instruments can one group of people play?!
The band rotated a few members, but the lineup with the greatest longevity included:
- Derek Shulman: Lead vocals, saxophone, recorder, keyboards, bass, drums, percussion
- Ray Shulman: Bass, trumpet, violin, vocals, viola, drums, percussion, recorder, guitar
- Kerry Minnear: Lead vocals, keyboards, cello, vibes, xylophone, recorder, guitar, bass, drums
- Gary Green: Guitar, mandolin, vocals, recorder, bass, drums, xylophone
- John Weathers: Drums, percussion, vibes, xylophone, vocals, guitar
How diverse can one group of people be?
They were also incredibly diverse in their musical style. They used hockets, vocal fugues, odd time signatures, elements of medieval music and modern blues/rock within the same song, tension, atonal harmony, and many other techniques that made their music weird.
What you should listen to first
Some of my favorite songs include:
- Wreck and The Moon is Down from Acquiring the Taste
- Experience, The Runaway, and In a Glass House from In a Glass House
- Every song except Valedictory and The Face from The Power and the Glory
- Design, and I Lost My Head from Interview
- The entirety of Three Friends
- The Advent of Panurge, Raconteur Troubadour, Knots, and Think of Me with Kindness from Octopus
The Torch Still Burns
Two of the original members are keeping the band’s music alive with live performances in a lineup called Three Friends. They are excellent! Check out this great performance of Schooldays from, also called Three Friends.
Steven Wilson Remixes
In July 2014, Derek Shulman interviewed with the Huffington Post (scroll to the middle of the long page) and announced the BluRay edition of The Power and the Glory. It is a little surreal reading about Gentle Giant in the news, but here we are. Anyway, the new releases are remixed and remastered by Steven Wilson of the band Porcupine Tree. He’s also responsible for rereleases of several King Crimson and Jethro Tull classics. Very exciting news for weird music fans.
Just a few weeks earlier, Derek did a longer interview with Hit Channel. Cool!