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The word "legend" gets thrown around lightly these days - pick up virtually any piece of promotional material for virtually any new artist, and you'll be greeted with paragraph after paragraph of hyperbole, assuring you that you're about the hear the next big thing.
In the case of Cairo, though, things are different. We are not here to convince you that Cairo is about to set the world on its ear. Rather, we are simply here to remind you of how important the work of this band is, and why it matters to you. The music will speak for itself.
In a way, the title of their new CD Time of Legends is a telling one - we are certainly in the midst of a great renaissance in progressive music, the "second golden age," if you will. Cairo, for their part, were one of the instigators - one of the first bands released on Magna Carta, they were one of the bands that fueled the hearts and minds of countless offspring.
The Cairo lineup has changed slightly - the band is now a three-piece, consisting of keyboardist Mark Robertson, vocalist Bret Douglas, and drummer Jeff Brockman. A handful of guest musicians - guitarists Luis Maldonado and Brian Hutchison, and bassist John Evans - round out the instrumental delivery of Time of Legends. "Former members just decided to pursue other musical interests, and then once they left we just decided to continue as a three-piece, and use sidemen, since the Bay area has so many talented players," according to Robertson.
As before, the music of Cairo is heavily centered around the keyboard. Mark Robertson, who writes most of the music for the band, is a fantastic player in the grand prog tradition. Lovers of Yes, ELP, Genesis and the other great keyboard-centric bands of the first golden age will fall instantly in love with Time of Legends.
And the songwriting style on this album, while still consistently Cairo through and through, is a bit more approachable to the prog-novice than the band's earlier work. While still retaining the complexity, intricate arrangements, and vintage progressive sounds that made Cairo one of the most respected bands of the second golden age of prog, the songs here also sport melodies and constructs that are accessible to listeners outside of the progressive community.
"The recording equipment we used on this CD is far better," says Robertson. Indeed, the sound on Time of Legends is brilliant and vibrant, allowing every note, every tone of the band's vision to reach the ears undiminished. It is a true audiophile recording.
The progressive world is a hotbed of outstanding vocalists, and Cairo singer Bret Douglas easily holds his own in this outrageously talent-filled genre. His tone is smooth and confident, and has matured greatly in the past few years; listen to that note he hits on the ten-minute epic "The Prophecy" (no need to tell you where - you'll know it when you hear it). It's one thing to be able to hit high notes, but quite another thing to hit them with the level of finesse and elegance that Douglas brings to his delivery.
In every respect, from every angle - from lyrical construction to arrangement to instrumentation to final performance - Cairo is one of the class acts of the modern prog world. Slip this disc in your player, turn down the lights, pop on the headphones, and relish living in a time that will surely be remembered as legendary.
Cairo has released 3 CDs on the Magna Carta label, Cairo (1995), Conflict & Dreams (1998), and Time of Legends (2001).
Click here to read more about Cairo's new CD, Time Of Legends.
Time of Legends 
Conflict and Dreams