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Keaggy, Levin and Marotta Present "The Bucket List" Aged To Perfection

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Sure - Keaggy, Levin and Marotta - might sound like a law firm but the music they make is so good it should be illegal. On The Bucket List the veteran performers make a strong case for album of the year. In fact, for the three legends it could be considered the release of a lifetime and it's one that's been worth waiting for.

The Bucket List featuring the Keaggy, Levin and Marotta trio is out now.

For many years, we have been followers of Phil Keaggy, the world renowned guitar guru well-known for his signature stylings, fast licks, melodic sensibility and angelic vocal range. So it is hard to believe that it was over a decade ago that we were present for a bucket list moment in the making. It was at Calvary Temple in Wayne, New Jersey on Friday January 12, 2007, when Phil was in town for a make-up performance of a weather-related cancellation from the previous month - and make up he did. After a solid solo set Keaggy revealed an unannounced improvisational jam with bassist Tony Levin and drummer Jerry Marotta!

Both Tony and Jerry have played with a long list of popular musicians and they are regular members of Peter Gabriel's touring band. Talk about a power trio teeming with talent. Phil switched to a bright red Parker Fly and they moved into a creative interpretation of "The Pink Panther Theme" before pouring their expertise into more experimental terrain drizzled with blues and funk tones. Phil and Tony were watching each other to determine the direction of the flow, which kept getting hotter as they found their groove.

At one point, Tony who was wearing long fingers, plucked and taped the thick strings of his instrument crafting unusual sounds from his bass. Jerry was potent without being overpowering, adding percussion and sound effects such as birds and bells to the mixes. During the three song set Keaggy used the JamMan adding some of his signature loops to the mix. Phil summed it up well with "wow" echoing what we were thinking paired with the hope that more would come from this cool collaboration.

Phil Keaggy and Tony Levin get down to jamming in 2007 in New Jersey.

Fast forward to 2019 and we could barely contain our excitement when we heard that Phil Keaggy, Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta (KLM) would release their debut record The Bucket List on January 11th!

Apparently, the genesis of this album traces back to when the trio first met in Woodstock for an impromptu jam session that lead to a live show and a whole lot of improvisation left in the can. Over the years the material was revisited and reworked then left to age in the barrel a little bit longer resulting in the flavorful, 12 original instrumentals on The Bucket List.

The crisp, clean production by Paul Grimsland allows the sounds to be distinctive yet collectively dynamic. The music is diverse allowing each artist to shine. Phil has many standout moments as does Tony and Jerry. The group's imaginative interactions explore vast expanses of funk, jazz, prog and rock. This polished platter is everything we could have hoped for after that magical moment back in 2007 and like any fine spirit The Bucket List has been aged to perfection! The only problem with this historic release - everything else will pale in comparison.

A glimpse at the first Keaggy, Levin and Marotta jam in 2007.

Related Links: For more information on KLM and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Phil Keaggy | Tony Levin | Jerry Marotta | KLM on Bandcamp


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