The Prog World Orchestra ‘A Proggy Christmas’


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#993 in the Series) is The Prog World Orchestra, A Proggy Christmas

This is one of those releases you want to share with everyone in the season of sharing. Granted the older folks at the Holiday might not like it, more probable they don’t get it, but this easily the best Christmas release I have heard since Jon Anderson’s 3 Ships and that was more than 25 years ago.

There are 10 things that set this apart from every other Holiday record you have heard before, and those are the ten songs that are contained here. Before you suggest this is in the spirit of the Trans Siberian Orchestra, and before I throw a snowball at you for thinking that, this a collection of progressive rock superstars having a blast and making music you don’t only have to listen to in December.

“Joy to the World” gets the project started and going and it never stops from there. The next number, “Little Drummer Boy,” is one of the best pieces from one of the best drummers on earth, Mike Portnoy. Even though he is Jewish, he drums as though he was one of the disciples.

The next piece is one of beauty words will not do justice. Although I would have loved to hear Neal Morse bless us with his vocal interpretation of “O Holy Night,” here it plays brilliantly as an instrumental with acoustic, piano and strings. This is a must hear for all, young and old alike and the relatives will be bugging you to put this on their ipod after your Christmas gathering.

Next is one you have to make sure your seat belt is securely fastened as the brilliant minds that put this together also blended two holiday, Halloween and Xmas, with a little song they title “Frankinsence.” I have listened to this over and over again and I am amazed at the speed of sound this song produces. It is a combination of a collage of traditional Christmas songs with Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein”  it makes for 3:52 of the most delicious indulgent near psychotic music that will remind of the first time you heard King Crimson.

If you have enough energy left to listen to the rest of the songs, they are all good, and all done with just the right combination of incredible guitar drums, bass and keys with light vocal. The final cut is another combo, “Silent Night” and the Transatlantic classic “We All Need Some Light.”

This is one very cool album and not just for headbangers or hard rockers. There is a very artistic approach to these songs as none drag on and all have more than the holiday theme in common, they are awesome. Guest shots include The Steve Hackett and the rest of the lineup is similar to what you find when you listen to stuff from Neal. By the way I had to miss his live show in Chicago this past fall which was to support his latest solo effort, Momentum. Stuff your favorite friends stocking with that if you can because he has once again, out done himself. Merry Christmas Mr. Potter, and Happy New Year to you. In jail.

John Driscoll, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Track Listing

  1. Joy To The World
  2. The Little Drummer Boy
  3. O Holy Night
  4. Frankincense
  5. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
  6. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
  7. Carol Of The Bells
  8. Home For The Holidays
  9. Shred Ride – Sled Ride/Winter Wonderland
  10. Silent Night/We All Need Some Light


  • Bass – Neal Morse (tracks: 3-9), Pete Trewavas (tracks: 10), Randy George (tracks: 1, 2)
  • Drums – Mike Portnoy (tracks: 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10), Neal Morse (tracks: 6),Todd Morrel (tracks: 3, #8)
  • Guitar – Paul Bielatowicz (9), Roine Stolt (1 [Solo 1+Main], 10), Steve Hackett (tracks: 1 [Solo 2])
  • Guitar [Solos] – Steve Morse (tracks: 2, 5)
  • Guitar, Keyboards – Neal Morse
  • Keyboards, Guitar, Saxophone – Bill Hubauer (tracks: 4)
  • Strings – Chris Carmichael (tracks: 1, 5, 7)
  • Trumpet – Steve Patrick (tracks: 2, 5)
  • Vocals – Neal Morse (tracks: 2, 5)

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Posted by Larry Carta

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