"The Invited Guest" - In which we finally bring TWR’s look at Steve Hackett’s collaborative efforts right up to date.

In the never ending quest to document Mr Hackett’s ceaseless collaborative efforts, I bring this feature to a conclusion - for the time being with the most recent offerings which have appeared.

Steve’s involvement with Djabe goes back to the early 2000’s and he has been a regular contributor to their albums and live shows ever since. Down And Up extends that involvement with Steve contributing to several tracks here and the accompanying DVD shows him equally content on stage with the band. Not everyone’s cup of tea, Djabe’s music certainly takes Steve off in an unexpected direction!

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Djabe - Down And Up. Gramy Records GR -109

Another offering from the Hungarian jazzers, Djabe and one which features several items of interest for Hackett fans. The album includes a DVD of several festival performances and among these is a real gem: a live performance of Last Train To Istanbul from Steve’s Out Of The Tunnel’s Mouth album which is worth the entry price alone!

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Djabe - In The Footsteps Of Attila And Genghis. Gramy Records GR -094

A concept album put together by Magenta main man, Rob Reed, this one features a veritable who’s who of today’s prog illuminati. A thought provoking and emotional album, one which works its way into your mind gradually rather than by pummelling you with incessant prog, this one is an editor’s favourite with or without Steve’s contribution to it.

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Kompendium - Beneath The Waves. 7 Stones Records TMRCD1012

Amanda’s name is well known to Hackett fans thanks to her ongoing presence as part of Steve’s live and recording band. Here we have an all too short EP of tracks which showcase her talents proving that Amanda has music in her blood. OK, she is Steve’s sister-in-law these days but family associations aside, this is an excellent debut effort and I for one can’t wait for her first proper album.

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Amnanda Lehman - Shadow (EP)

A DVD release this one, capturing the celebrations for Djabe’s fifteenth anniversary - hence the title. Steve is special guest again and he contributes to several tracks by the band as well as featuring in performance of several of his own and Genesis’ finest moments in another enjoyable release.

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Djabe - 15 Anniversary Concert DVD Gramy Records GR -096

Another get together of prog alumni here with an altogether excellent and highly enjoyable effort. When musicians of this calibre get together, the talents can sometime overshadow the end results, but not here and this album is one which any self respecting prog fans should have in their collections.

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John Young - Lifesigns

The more observant among you might spot several gaps in this feature. No, worry not dear readers, age has not befuddled your editor’s mind. Those albums which are not mentioned here have already been reviewed in previous editions as part of the regular “Musician’s Corner” feature of TWR and so do not really need to be mentioned here again, do they? Anyway, on with the show…

Touchstone’s front man, brings us his first solo album next. For those of you not old enough to remember, Captain Blue was one of the characters in the animated Captain Scarlet children’s series from the 1960’s but the music is anything but dated. Modern prog with an edge. Steve’s contribution is restricted to yet another marvellous guitar contribution on Soaring To The Sun.

Rob Cottingham - Captain Blue (No Catalogue Number)

I have to admit that until I heard this recording, I had never heard of Finlay Morton but this is as marvellous a slice of melodic rock as I have heard in a long time. Steve puts in another delightful performance with some almost Everley Brothers styled guitar phrasings but that is simply the icing on a delightfully well formed cake and I for one will be tracking down the album from which this marvellous song is taken.

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Finlay Morton - Do You Believe In Ghosts? (CD Single)

Ayreon are one of the big hitters of today’s modern prog scene and this massive two disc effort demonstrates many of the things that personally put me off today’s prog scene. There is musical excellence here, that really goes without saying when you look at the cast of musicians which appear on it - our hero included, obviously! However, the end result is bombastic, and overblown. Much of the music itself although of excellent quality sounds incredibly dated to my ears which is disappointing and the concept itself is bloated and really does nothing for this listener although I am sure there are many fans of this style of prog who will burn me in effigy for uttering such heresies but there you go, it’s merely an opinion folks.

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Ayreon - The Theory Of Everything. Inside Out 0666-2

And that brings the story of Steve’s collaborations right up to date - we think! Thanks again to Paul Gibbon for getting the ball rolling and for all the material.