CalProg 2007 Performers

Puppet Show Frogg Cafe
Spiraling Rudess/Morgenstein

The seed was planted for the Rudess/Morgenstein Project one evening at a sold out Dixie Dregs performance in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the middle of the set, a power failure shut down the guitar, bass and violin rigs leaving only the keyboards and drums unaffected. Disaster seemed imminent. What followed instead was a blistering, ten minute drum/keyboard power-duo jam which brought down the house. This event marked the beginning of a unique musical collaboration between keyboard virtuoso Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) and drumming legend Rod Morgenstein.

Audio Excerpts
(6MB MP3) Complete Live Song (10MB MP3)
Official RPM Website

Jordan Rudess Website / Jordan Rudess Myspace
Rod Morgenstein Website
Drummer World Video

Frogg Cafe  

(New York)

Players:        James Mullen (keyboards, saxophone)
                        Steve Uh (guitars, violin, vocals)
                        Bill Ayasse (violin, mandolin, vocals, percussion)
                        Andrew Sussman (bass, cello, vocals)
                        James Guarnieri (drums and percussion)
Frogg Cafe
is a 5-piece band from the New York metropolitan area making music that incorporates elements of Zappa-esque progressive rock, pop melodicism and fusion jazz. Frogg Café’s music is also peppered with an appealing variety of other flavors including latin music, bluegrass, modern chamber music and avant-garde/experimental. Their energetic live shows feature extended flights of group improvisation that would draw grins from any hardcore jam-band fan.    

The members of this unique group are Bill Ayasse (electric violin, mandolin, vocals), James Guarnieri (drums), James Mullen (keyboards, saxophone), Steve Uh (guitars, violin, vocals), and Andrew Sussman (bass, vocals). Frogg Café studio albums also exploit the considerable talents of a regular supporting cast of guest musicians, who supply trombone, marimba, flute, and additional percussion to their colorful and highly textured arrangements.  

Frogg Café is proud to announce the official release of a live double-CD titled The Safenzee Diaries on April 10, 2007.  This new album features fourteen songs and over two hours of live music spanning from 2004-2006.  This collection of music features somewhat of a crossover appeal into the jamband and jazz markets.  The Safenzee Diaries captures a band that is internationally renowned for their live performances at their absolute best in a virtuoso display of showmanship.  This comes on the heels of the success of Frogg Café’s studio release Fortunate Observer of Time (2005).  Other discography includes 2001 self-titled debut Frogg Cafe (currently available as a re-mastered edition with a live bonus track), Noodles (2002) a straight improvisational album which captures a snippet of a four-hour jam session in the studio, and Creatures (2003).  

The real Frogg Cafe experience comes when you witness this band performing live! Frogg Café tours extensively year-round. In the past two years, they have performed at The Knitting Factory (NYC), Towne Crier (Pawling, NY), Lizard Lounge (Boston), Nectar’s (Burlington, VT) where Page McConnell of Phish sat in on keyboards for a tune, Orion Sound Studios (Baltimore, MD), NEARfest (Northeast Art Rock Festival, PA), Prog in the Park Festival (Rochester, NY), and the NJProghouse Series (NJ).  Frogg Café is also proud to announce their performance slot at CalProg in Whittier , California this May. 

Frogg Café has spent the past year entertaining the prog and jamband fans alike.  One year ago, Frogg Café was joined by Page McConnell, of Phish, on keys, for a scorching version of 2001 (Also Sprach Zarathrustra).  Other recent projects include extensive gigging, including Bellstock, a jamband festival in Upstate New York, opening up for Ryan Montbleau, and signing on with 10 Tornado Records.

Frogg Café has shared the stage with noteworthy rock artists Page McConnell of Phish, Ryan Montbleau, Proto-Kaw featuring Kerry Livgren of Kansas, Dave Mason, the Dude of Life, and The Flower Kings. Legendary ex-Zappa percussionist Ed Mann took up the mallets for the 2004 Zappanale Festival in Germany

Audio Excerpts  (6.5MB MP3)

(New Jersey)

As its name implies, Spiraling has never been a band that's comfortable sitting still. The band's restless passion and energy infused every track on its adventurous debut, Transmitter, and came across with even more fire and purpose on its spirited follow up, Challenging Stage. On the strength of these recordings, as well as an ambitious touring schedule that has brought it from New York to L.A. to Tokyo, Spiraling has developed a devoted worldwide following. Known for its captivating live show, Spiraling continues to hook both critics and fans with a distinctive brand of synth-driven rock that fuses infectious pop hookery with punk-rock fire, new-wave finesse, and prog-rock precision.

At the center of things is front man Tom Brislin, a keyboard prodigy whose instrumental acrobatics had previously won him a spot touring with legendary super group Yes. On stage, he attacks his keyboards with a fervor reminiscent of the way Pete Townsend used to attack guitars (he stops short of smashing them, though). And like Townsend, he's developed a reputation as a sophisticated and thoughtful composer who is able to make the most of an explosive rhythm section; the passionate musicianship of guitarist Marty O'Kane, bassist Bob Hart, and drummer Paul Wells lends an electric sonic intensity to Brislin's heartfelt lyrics and melodies. But the comparisons and verbalizations have to stop there, because Spiraling's is a sound that defies comparison and easy categorization. Just listen...

Spiraling Audio Excerpts (7MB MP3)
Spiraling - A Face For Radio (complete song MP3)
-Transmitter - The Connection (complete song MP3)

Official Website
Spiraling MySpace Page

Players:        Chris Ogburn - guitars
                    Sean Frazier - vocals
                    Mike Grimes - keys
Chris Mack - drums
                     Craig Polson - bass

Intricate arrangements, incredible drumming, innovative bass/ guitar/ keyboard interplay, and imaginative vocals all begin to describe Puppet Show – a group of musicians hailing from the heart of Northern California’s “Silicon Valley”. Formed in 1994, the band soon became regular performers in the Bay Area music scene, routinely playing in local living rooms, clubs, music festivals, and the odd corporate event. The group garnered critical acclaim for their live performances at several of these local concerts including standout gigs at East Bay Prog Day in 1995 and headlining the inaugural Exposé Concert Series event in 1996. Positive response from these early gigs propelled Puppet Show to the next level, convincing the group it was time to go into the studio and record an album.

Puppet Show’s debut album “Traumatized” was released on the Kinesis label in 1998. All the songs were written, honed, and gig-tested over several live performances and the album captures the powerful energy of the group. “Traumatized” is very much a group effort with everyone in the band contributing to the songwriting. The tunes combine fluent melodic work with odd meters and strong vocals and, as a bonus, come complete with multiple sections, instrumental breaks, a solo or two, quiet and loud parts, and occasional snoring.

Internet support, positive concert reviews, and word-of-mouth recommendations allowed Puppet Show to enjoy a live reputation impressive enough that, even prior to the release of their first album, they were invited to play at the prestigious Baja Prog festival in 1998! An excerpt of Puppet Show’s performance at Baja Prog was subsequently released on the Musea label. The band’s great showing in Mexico and positive response to “Traumatized” gave Puppet Show the opportunity to perform at another festival in San Francisco, ProgFest 1999.

After a great start, the future of the band began to look uncertain. In late 1999 it appeared as if various otherwise-positive life events might deal a fatal blow to Puppet Show. “Real” jobs took members away from the Bay Area. The band geographically split up. People got married and had kids. A few drummer changes transpired. Despite the setbacks, and through long periods of little progress, the band persevered and worked through the many obstacles encountered during the writing and recording for the follow-up release to “Traumatized.”

At long last, in 2006 the band completed recording their second album. The music on this upcoming new album expands upon the sound and direction the group established with “Traumatized” and additionally benefits from a far superior recording process. As with “Traumatized,” all the songs on the new album are co-written by all members of the band and the new tracks still contain the keyboard/ guitar interchanges, expressive vocals, and intricate rhythms for which the band is known. Learning from the mistakes made recording the first album, Puppet Show strived to make the new album superior both musically and sonically. The latter goal was achieved by enlisting the help of mixer and producer extraordinaire Terry Brown and Genie Award winning producer/ mastering engineer Peter J. Moore who respectively mixed and mastered the long awaited follow-up album. Look for the new album to be released in early 2007. If you remember the band from before, Puppet Show is back! If you’ve never heard of them, Puppet Show is here! Either way, we hope everyone enjoys the results.

Puppet Show represents the collective musical vision of five individuals: Sean Frazier on vocals, Mike Grimes on keyboards, Chris Mack on drums, Chris Ogburn on guitar, and Craig Polson on bass guitar.


Puppet Myspace