The Music Of JC Harris

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet


A compendium of musings on music and this business we call show

Two Roads

Why all the classical jazz? Sting. Pete Townshend. Keith Emerson. What do prog guys do when they grow up?

Roger CortonSpeaking as a fan, one of the most common questions that gets tossed around is “Why is JC always (to use your expression) banging on about classical this and classical that?

JCHIt’s a fair question. I think about that whenever I see any news of a progressive rock ‘elder statesman’. And I always come back to this Lenny Bruce bit where he’s this old Irish priest who says, “Aye lad, there are two roads ye can go down. The good rrrroad and… the baaaaad rrrroad.”

RCOK, what’s ‘the good road’?

JCHNo, man. Yer talking to “Mr. Negative” here. Ask me what the bad road is first.

RCFine. What’s the bad road?

JCHThe bad road is to keep doing the same shit until yer seventy years old and playing at the WampumVille Casino. Even if it was once ‘classic’, after a […]


Classical music has gone from unlistenable to unchanging to sonic wallpaper. But it sure is relaxing. Conlon Nancarrow. Anna Meredith. Phillip Glass. Anna Thorvaldsdottir. Danny Kaye. White Christmas.

Roger CortonTo quote from your last e-mail “Music is purposely dull these days and has been for the past forty years. Speaking of ‘dull’, are you feeling re-energized?

JCHNice lead-in. I’m getting back there. Being sick is so boring. And as I wrote, that pretty much describes serious music for the past forty years. It’s the aural (a-u-r-a-l) equivalent of Ambien®.

RCOuch. Ironically, in our last rant, you railed against trying to do classical music in a populist way. It seems like you’re never satisfied.

JCHYou just figured that out? Here’s a question: when someone says “Modern Classical Music”, what are the first sounds that come into yer mind?

RCI don’t know exactly, but I can picture myself covering my ears.

JCHExactly! You’re imagining dissonance. Somewhat punishing to listen to. Like […]

This Kind Of Rhapsody Makes Me Blue

In which we discuss ‘covers’ and what kinds of Prog does JC absolutely hate? Liquid Tension Experiment’s cover of Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue. Performance vs. real Music. ELP’s Toccata vs. Pictures At An Exhibition.

Roger CortonYou sent me this video clip of Liquid Tension Experiment’s cover of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue. I’ve seen it. I’m sure most of the fans have seen it. Or if they haven’t they’re familiar with both the players in LTE and the original Rhapsody In Blue.

JCHThis is a large part of what drives me nuts about ‘prog’…

RCOK, so before you get all fired up, let’s be clear from the start that this is not really a ‘discussion’ so much as full rant mode.

JCHHopefully not. Well, maybe. OK, damn it to hell… YEAH! (laughs).

RCAt least you’re honest about it now. That shows some personal growth. But before going into any details, I want to understand why oh why […]

The Final Ten

JC’s Not Ten Progressive Rock list. These are albums that nobody would mistake for progressive rock; records where another genre tried to stretch out and incorporate other styles just like ‘prog’ and did so in a masterful way. They are each very influential within their genre and should be on every progressive rock listener’s radar.

Roger CortonYet another list? Brother, we’re going from extreme no-fun opera to all lists, all the time. What’s up?.

JCHWell first of all, who doesn’t love a TRILOGY! And second of all, these are records that were, for me, what progressive rock was trying to do: start from point a, incorporate point b and end up with something completely different.

RCCompletely different like Monty Python?

JCHCompletely different like the difference between a fruit cake, where you can see all the individual bits, technically a ‘colloid’, and a compound, something genuinely new.

RCThat’s hard. One of the most tired clichés in my opinion has to do with ‘bringing […]

An Out Of Body Experience

Sick days so not much real news. Things you never knew about your sinuses. Total Recall.

Roger CortonSo you were sick last week?

JCHI still get these congestion things.

RCI thought the surgery fixed all that years ago?

JCH(Raucous laughter)

RCAnd there’s nothing to be done?

JCHNot really. Now after I had the surgery I’d go to the ENT guy and he pulls out this monstrous snake and put like eight inches up yer snoot. It just doesn’t seem possible. And then literally four or five or even six ounces of green goop sucks out into this accordion glass collector you…


JCHNo, it’s great. It feels great. I tell ya, what I want is the home version of that Total Recall gizmo. You know, where he says “Push real hard!”

RCI know exactly what you’re talking about.

JCHNo, no, it’s so damned satisfying when you get that crap […]

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