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Uli Jon Roth
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Uli Jon Roth
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Uli Jon Roth
8.00 p.m


  ‘METAMORPHOSIS’ is the title of a new state-of-the-art production by ULI JON ROTH.

Featuring Uli on guitar, together with his own creation, ‘SKY ORCHESTRA’, Roth produced a truly monumental album. Recorded in his studio, ‘SKYLIGHT MANOR’ in Wales, the album contains an ingenious version of the complete ‘FOUR SEASONS’ by ANTONIO VIVALDI as well as an original new concerto by Roth which is entitled ‘METAMORPHOSIS CONCERTO’.

U.J.R.’s precise rendition of Vivaldi’s timeless masterpiece on the guitar is only feasible because of the unique Instrument, his ‘SKY GUITAR’. U.J.R. invented this by now legendary instrument in order to obtain nearly twice the tonal range of a conventional guitar. This means that it enables him to play in the highest registers of the violin range as well as that of the Cello.

ULI JON ROTH is renowned for his soaring, singing melodies performed with a rich and expressive range of tones. This is coupled with a dazzling, but never blatant technique and an unrivalled mastery of expression on his instrument.

"...No one has done what Uli has done before him... and no one will in the near future, because what Uli has played on this album Is not of this world..." according to the first reactions by his record company.

U.J.R. & SKY ORCHESTRA premiered the album on September 17, 2003 at the Bedford Shakespearian Theatre In London, In front of an audience of journalists and friends. The stage was beautifully decorated to create a tasteful renaissance atmosphere and the audience was treated to a moving musical journey through time.

On this occasion Uli received a special honour by Europe’s only Rock & Pop Museum, which is situated in Gronau, Germany and will be officially opened in 2004.

The director of the museum, Andreas Bomheuer, presented Uli onstage with an engraved plaque made from stone and officially inducted him into the museums ‘WALK-OF-FAME’, in recognition of his services to music. "ULI JON ROTH belongs to those musicians, who are utilizing their talent and their virtuosity in order to break down boundaries. He is an artist who re-invented the electric guitar."

‘METAMORPHOSIS’ has recently been released in Japan and will be released in the USA on February 24 through SPY-USA. The press and media in both guitar / rock and classical readership have been all 5***** reviews. The BBC have reviewed the album and are making it album of the month on the release date. Europe will follow in late summer 2004.

'LEGENDS OF ROCK' was the name of a unique three-hour classic rock extravaganza, hosted by
the musical visionary and guitar genius ULI JON ROTH.
Due to the phenomenal success of the 'Legends of Rock' headlining appearance at the
Donington festival in 2001, the decision was made to take the 'Rock Legends' format out on
the road.
With an All-Star line-up of incredible musicians from rock history, 'Legends Of Rock'
promises to be one of the most exciting live events around today.

JACK BRUCE, the legendary Cream bass/vocalist, will be performing in SPIRIT OF CREAM - a
celebration of the music from the original Supergroup alongside Uli Jon Roth and ex-Jethro
Tull drummer Clive Bunker.
Spirit Of Cream features unbelievable renditions of many classic Cream songs and will be
the closest, most authentic representation of the true spirit of that band since 1969. An
unmissable event for all fans of the golden age of classic rock.

GLENN HUGHES, the former Deep Purple legend, is known simply as ''The Voice Of Rock". An
incredible vocal talent, universally acknowledged as of one of the most astonishing voices
in rock history - he will be joined by Uli for some amazing versions of classic Deep
Purple material from his time in the band. Glenn will also feature strongly in the
All-Star Grand Finale.

Due to a dislocated shoulder sustained in Mexico, MICHAEL SCHENKER will no longer be able to tour.

Uli Jon Roth's music is a widescreen, technicolour journey. He is one of the few artists whose musical vision is not only everchanging, but also moving ever upwards, to new heights of musicality, composition and refinement. These CD's are a testimony to that vision; each record can be viewed as a separate peak in a mountain range - once scaled, a new loftier height comes into view, and so the journey begins again. Each recording project presented its own unique challenge to him at the time, and just as in any natural progression, each plateau had to be attained before the necessary understanding and knowledge could be assimilated to enable Roth to move on to a higher level.
'Earthquake' sounds remarkably fresh for a record that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. This was the first major peak in the evolution of Uli's musical vision; everything, so far, had been leading to this point of artistic expression. The elements that had made him such a revered guitarist in the Scorpions, were fully revealed on this album, and because he had total control over the concept that was Electric Sun, he was finally climbing the mountain, rather than just skirting the base of it. To my ears, at least, Scorpions tracks such as 'Fly To The Rainbow', 'The Sails Of Charon', 'Catch Your Train', 'Polar Nights' and "Yellow Raven", were all vital steps on the journey, but 'Earthquake' brought all of the shafts of light that made up Uli's musical and spiritual being together, and focused them into a single beam of pure energy. The Hendrix influence was very strong throughout - for me, nothing else by any other artist comes close to capturing that elusive Hendrix spirit, as this. It's the space between the notes, that 4th Dimension, that separates it to this day from the others. This huge leap, both artistically and spiritually, was helped by the incredible inspiration and support of Uli's then girlfriend, Monika Dannemann. Meeting Monika in 1976 had a profound effect on Uli, and with her visionary nature and astonishing artistic flair, she inspired Uli to follow his spiritual path, to really let his soul speak, to fly....
Uli would be the first to point out 'Earthquake's shortcomings - particularly the vocals - but due to the nature of the whole Electric Sun ethos - the freedom of the three-piece format - it would have been nigh on impossible to just slot in a vocalist and expect it to work. I personally feel that it was a necessary step in Uli's musical evolution to write and sing the vocal melodies, as it was the first step towards an understanding of vocal composition. This would ultimately lead to the melodic sophistication of his future compositions. (In defence of the vocals, I would also add that the message of the lyrics connects on a deeper level - with Uli utilizing his Dylan-esque narration - than if the songs had been sung by some kind of rock frontman).
The music though was, and still is, something else. Tracks such as 'Electric Sun', 'Japanese Dream', and the beautiful 'Lilac', combine the Hendrix spirit with an innovative classical ornamentation, unique to Roth in both sound and style. There are many high lights, guitar-wise, on Earthquake, but the incredible solo on 'Still So Many Lives Away', with its unprecedented precision and effortless fluidity, would grace any album. This track in particular, caused shock waves throughout the guitar world. Lest we forget, this was 1978, and Uli was already utilizing so many of the techniques that the rock-guitar fraternity would discover in later years; arpeggios, exotic scales and modes, string skipping, etc., were all part of the Roth arsenal at this point. Eddie Van Halen may have turned the guitar world on its ear when he came on to the scene, but Uli was already light years ahead of the pack.
The track 'Earthquake' was a guitar tour de force; written in October 1977 - well before he left the Scorpions - it contains incredibly innovative guitar work, fuelled by passion and grace. It simply soars, propelled by a dramatic intensity that would be chaotic in the hands of a lesser musician. It builds to a stunning climax, and as the final sound shimmers into the distance, the listener is left breathless and stunned.
In terms of technique, composition and production, the 'EARTHQUAKE' album went as far as Uli Jon Roth could take it with the resources at hand. The cover, painted by Monika, and the lyrics, both helped to create a mood of spiritual awareness that would permeate all future compositions and releases by Uli.
'FIRE WIND', recorded in 1980 was the next milestone. The striking cover-painting by Monika complimented perfectly the power of the music within, and was later to become a classic Roth image among collectors. This second ELECTRIC SUN album contains amazing guitar work throughout - the performance on 'Cast Away Your Chains' again demonstrates just how wonderfully fluid and eloquent a soloist Uli is. 'Indian Dawn' features some incredibly emotive and expressive improvised soloing over the end section's Uni-vibed rhythm guitar. This illustrates another remarkable aspect of Uli's playing; whether improvising or playing a composed, note-for-note solo, he always plays with the same degree of intensity and passion, and with the same unique, melodic flair.
'Fire Wind' was the last album of Uli's to have that deep Hendrix aura around it; after this, the classical side of Uli's musical nature would be the dominant, guiding force. Indeed, the last track on 'Fire Wind' - 'Hiroshima' - was in a way the culmination of that whole Hendrix vibe, and Uli would agree that it was his strongest composition in that vein. It brought together, in one track, all of the Hendrix-inspired aspects of Uli's playing, from the heavy groove of the main riff, the delicate, shimmering fourths of the 'Tune of Japan' section, to the simply majestic theme of the 'Lament', with its spellbinding, heartfelt guitar fade-out over a magical theme played in octaves. This was always an emotional high point of the Electric Sun concerts, and Uli dusted it off and re-arranged it for inclusion on the recent G3 tour, to stunned and appreciative audiences. This piece seemed to be the last chapter in that style for Roth. He had taken it as far as it could go, and now new and loftier peaks beckoned....
Due to various contractual problems related to his departure from the Scorpions, Uli didn't release a new album until 1984's "Beyond The Astral Skies". This represented the apex of his musical endeavours thus far - here was sonic architecture of the highest calibre. The compositions were grander, more majestic, more symphonic than before, and the music expressed a heightened spiritual quality, in comparison to its predecessors. By this time, Uli had widened the framework of Electric Sun to feature his keyboard playing as well as additional vocalists. The three piece sound that had been the mainstay of his music up to this point, was thus put to rest... and in its place arose, phoenix-like, a more articulate orchestration.
Uli had been taking classical singing lessons, which enabled him to further expand and enhance his compositions with complex, choir-like vocal arrangements. This album was the first peak in a new musical mountain range; the classical side of Uli's music was now to the fore, and this new path would lead him ever deeper into the realms of classical composition. The innovative combination of these new elements gave the music a far greater orchestral quality, and the stunning cover - again painted by Monika - reflected perfectly the deep spiritual nature of the music within. The music on 'Beyond The Astral Skies' is ingeniously structured, with a stream of unique textures and emotions flowing through the pieces. Uli plays all of the keyboards on the album, and, using them in a manner akin to that of a painter, embellishes the compositions with vibrant new colours. 'Beyond The Astral Skies' triumphs as a whole, complete, integrated work. The beautiful, philosophical lyrics are supported exquisitely by the transcendent power of the music.
Return', with its shimmering soundscapes of angelic grace, is a personal favourite of mine, and 'I'll Be There' is a simply astonishing arrangement, featuring a guitar solo that is as breathtaking as it is bewildering - an unparalleled combination of impeccable construction, precision, and seemingly effortless execution.
The track 'I'm A River' was a real turning-point in terms of creating a sound painting. The combination of acoustic guitar, cascading lead-guitar and multi-textured production, gives the listener a real sense of being on a musical journey; while covering a lot of new ground, it manages to be both multi-facetted and subtle in its construction. The overall effect on the senses is simply uplifting and revitalizing - how Uli manages to achieve this within the space of five minutes is remarkable... The torrent of notes from the lead guitar flows with a true feeling of water in motion.
'Astral Skies' also contained an extraordinary piece of music in the magnificent 'Eleison - Son Of Sky'. This was a pivotal composition, as not only did it encompass, and expand upon, the best elements of Uli's rock/classical fusion; it also heralded a new direction. Another summit had been attained with this sublime opus.
During this time period, Roth began to realize that the journey he had started with Electric Sun had reached its destination with the Astral Skies album; he now felt the need to open up a new musical chapter by adopting an all-out symphonic approach, which was free from the limitations of the rock genre.
Although there was an eleven year gap until his next official release of 'Prologue To The Symphonic Legends", Uli was far from unproductive. In 1986, he had written the majority of material for an intended fourth Electric Sun album. However, due to a lack of necessary funding, Roth found himself unable to take these songs beyond an initial demo recording stage.
One of these demo-tracks - 'Amadeus' - is included in this set as an insight into the semi-symphonic vein of the music at this point. The main theme of this instrumental was inspired by the famous movie about Mozart, and ironically, although evoking images of Vienna in the winter time, it was actually written by a poolside in sunny California during the Electric Sun tour of the US, in 1985. This unusual piece of music represents a kind of watershed in Roth's musical development for several reasons; Amadeus was to be the first piece which Roth fully orchestrated for a traditional symphony orchestra, to be played in conjunction with drums, electric bass and guitar. On this demo-recording, Uli attempted to emulate the genuine orchestra sound as closely as possible with the limited means available at that time - which meant that he had to play all of the orchestra instruments manually on his DX7 synthesizer and Prophet sampler. Furthermore he recorded some genuine violin overdubs and then blended the whole together. Later on, in 1993, Amadeus would become the first of Roth's pieces to be performed by a real symphony orchestra.
Amadeus was also the first recording which fully featured the legendary Sky Guitar. This instrument was designed by Roth himself, in order to overcome once and for all what he felt were the stifling limitations of range imposed on his musical vision by conventional guitars; an aesthetic marvel, it finally enabled Uli Jon Roth to comfortably play full notes in the high register of the violin, an area which was only previously accessible in his dreams.
1988 saw the realization of a long held musical ambition for Roth, with the composition of the 'Sky Concerto'. This was a large scale concerto for Sky Guitar and Orchestra, and although it was never recorded, due to the vast funding necessary to do justice to such a work, it was a hugely important learning experience for Uli. He had again widened his artistic boundaries, and had successfully overcome the many difficulties of large scale composition. Uli chose to write the guitar parts with ruthless disregard to the technical limitations of the instrument...with only one small problem: half-way through the writing of the Concerto, it began to dawn on Uli that even the Sky Guitar would not be able to cope with the enormous technical demands of this music. The ingenious solution he found was to add a seventh string to the Sky Guitar, in order to faciitate certain arpeggios and to increase the instrument's range to a virtual six octaves. The creation of this incredible guitar was another vital artistic landmark for Uli, but sonically, he took it a stage further by designing an amazing new pickup called 'Mega-Wing' together with his friend John Oram. Unlike any other pick-up available, it enabled Uli to create a rich, warm, yet three-dimensional sound - unique to Roth. He now had the full spectrum of colours with which to paint his musical landscapes.
The latter part of the '80s saw Uli developing his martial arts, yoga and painting skills, and by this time he was also an accomplished pianist. As a compositional tool, the piano was seen by Roth as being far superior in comparison to the guitar, which he has claimed on more than one occasion to be an extremely un-logical instrument.
So... in 1991 he dashed off the magnificent 'Aquila Suite' for solo piano. This consisted of 12 dazzling arpeggio concert studies, which, in typical Rothian fashion, pushed the limits of piano technique to new heights. These truly inspired masterpieces are a further example of Roth's underlying principle of never displaying empty virtousity for its own sake. Each note within the pieces has meaning, a substance that goes beyond the technique needed to perfectly execute this music. 'Aquila Suite' flows effortlessly, and although computer enhanced to achieve immaculate clarity, there is nothing mechanical in the overall feel.
The listening experience is one of almost hypnotic beauty.
The next big challenge was just around the corner; after having been invited to play a series of highly successful Jimi Hendrix tribute concerts in 1991, Uli was approached by the organizers of the 'International Festival Of The Guitar' to write an orchestral piece to commemorate the opening of the borders in Europe. Initially, starting out as a ten minute overture this composition soon developed into Roth's first full symphony - 'Europa Ex Favilla'.
The score was completed just in time for the world premiere in Liege, Belgium, which took place in April 1993. The frame work for this televised concert, broadcast under the banner 'Symphonic Rock For Europe', was a three-hour extravaganza, directed by Uli Jon Roth. The music consisted of well-known classical master pieces, arranged by U.J. Roth for orchestra, choir, band and Sky Guitar on the one hand - and original Roth compositions, on the other. Several of these pieces were later recorded for inclusion on Uli's next release - 'Prologue To The Symphonic Legends'.
Due to the great success of 'Symphonic Rock For Europe' - and the ensuing recognition - Uli found himself with a host of offers for a new recording contract. It is a remarkable attribute of Roth's, that he can risk everything on the turn of a card, and come out on top; his career, since leaving the Scorpions, has been filled with such risks - risks that most people would shrink from - yet Roth knows when the bell of Destiny is sounding, and he trusts to his intuition to guide him in these matters.
Under the title 'Sky Of Avalon' - which is more a term for the philosophical and ideological concept of the project than a band name - Roth began to develop his cycle of Symphonic Legends. Simply put, the 'Symphonic Legends' are a musical genre unique to Uli; feeling stifled by the strict adherence to form in conventional classical music, Roth wanted to create a new genre that was a genuine combination of previously unrelated musical forms - symphony, concerto, opera, choral, rock - that could freely interchange and merge into one, seamlessly. Uli began work on the first Symphonic Legend under the title of 'Soldiers Of Grace'. Tragically, during the recordings, Monika died. Compelled to honour her in a way befitting to such a unique, inspirational individual, Uli decided to write a major composition dedicated to her memory, titled 'Requiem For An Angel'.
Rather than abandoning his recent recordings, he utilized this music as the foundation of what was to become a massive, two-part Requiem Symphony. This moving work is currently being completed by Roth at his own Skylight Manor Studios in Wales.
The 'Prologue To The Symphonic Legends', included here, is exactly that - an introduction, a taster, if you like, to the new musical landscapes being explored by Uli Jon Roth. These compositions represent Roth at his most imaginative, emotive and inventive. The guitar playing soars to previously unscaled heights. Several pieces on the 'Prologue' are being reworked and refined for inclusion on the 'Requiem', and when this album is released in the Millenium, it will be the crowning achievement to date, in a career of ever evolving magnitude.
Having had the priviledge of hearing - make that experiencing - the Requiem first hand, I feel that it will be a landmark in musical vision and virtousity; even in its unfinished form the power and sheer majesty of the music is startlingly evident. Superlatives cease to be adequate at this point for attempting to describe the guitar-playing; in terms of technique, composition and tone - for the tone of the guitar on the Requiem is an aural masterstroke - Roth is now at his apogee, exploring the farthest, uncharted regions... Wielding the Sky Guitar like some some modern-day Excalibur, his playing has literally crossed over into another dimension. The solos that I have heard have left me awestruck; my illusions about what was previously possible on the guitar have been shattered. The technique is unbelievable; the phrasing and composition are simply astounding, and yet the solos are so immediate in their direct effect, so absolute in the purity of their existence.
These are the things that separate Roth from the rest. His playing is always so melodic, so beautifully constructed that his guitar lines could be played on a piano or violin, for instance, with no loss of compositional quality. This is because Uli's leads are not solos in the typical sense of the word - they are intrinsic, melodic statements contained within a larger composition, and always integral to the whole. As such, they are constructed in the same manner in which a classical composer would write an instrumental part for a soloist. Even at high volume, Uli always utilizes his inimitable mixture of elegant, tasteful - but also intense and passionate - sense of phrasing. He never resorts to clichés, or the repetition of familiar patterns, in his use of the instrument. There many guitarists who play ostensibly fast, and it is only when you scrape off the veneer and go beyond the histrionics, that the lack of any real musical substance is painfully evident. And this is why Uli stands alone; because the deeper you delve into his playing, the greater the rewards unearthed by the listener. His melodic invention and incomparable command of the guitar, reveals a musician who is a true law unto himself.
Uli Jon Roth has always followed his own path; the journey is filled with twists and turns and like a river, it has many tributaries - but the goal is always in view....
The journey to Avalon is never easy, and it is the spirit of the Eternal Quest that illuminates Roth's music.
Let him take you there....


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