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AMBROSIA Popular Music and Rock Singers

Book or Hire pop, rock musicians Ambrosia

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there was a legendary rock band that hailed from the planet Los Angeles. More precisely, four gents burst from the seams of Torrance, San Pedro & Huntington Beach, Harbor City to anoint the world with Americanized prog music (at the time the province more typically of Europe and, specifically, England) and clean, thinking-man’s pop/rock. Later, they would become synonymous with the smooth West Coast sound so ubiquitous of the Southern California music scene. And a natch for the sanitized mellow rhythm & blue-eyed pop sound so, well, popular in that era, what with their astonishing blend of multi-layered vocals.

Many today THINK they know of Ambrosia, clinging to love song memories of their youth, but they’d be missing a HUGE piece of the Ambrosial story. This versatile thinking-man’s band filled with musician’s musicians is equally at home with lyrics from Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”, more precisely the Bokonon’s 53rd Calypso (source of the lyrics to “Nice Nice, Very Nice”) and Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland, more precisely its included whimsy “Jabberwocky” (source of the lyrics to “Mama Frog”) . Even the poet e.e. cummings’ poem “somewhere i have travelled” inspired the song and title of the 2nd LP. Hardly the fodder for pop stardom, eh?

In fact, Ambrosia would, indeed, become well-known for a handful of soulful soft-rock radio hits spanning the late ’70s and early ’80s. And often get conflated into the same sonic miasma populated by groups such as Orleans and Air Supply. But, discriminating listeners knew from the gitgo that Ambrosia were far, far more complex and talented than these peers. To quote the Illinois Entertainer from 1980, “With Pack, Puerta and Drummond sharing writing and singing credits, Ambrosia can claim instrumental and vocal prowess enough for ten bands.” Indeed!

This juggernaut could interact with gospel choirs and full orchestras with ease, and pull in various & diverse odd bits of musical flavorings such as a Russian balalaika ensemble or the legendary 6,600-pipe Skinner pipe organ from UCLA’s Royce Hall. Throw in a darboka here a bifonic zeet there, add glockenspiels, bicycle spokes, bass forgs, lotus pods, 300-year-old Javanese water gongs, various Chinese & Latin percussive gizzies and even sheet metal and a girlfriend’s stomach and the euphonious smorgasbord has been served!

There was this relatively new-at-the-time categorization of music called progressive rock (aka art rock or even the misnomer avant garde, which really was a whole nuther musical nut to crack, WAY more outré, like performance art and the like) or, more informally, prog. Highly visible English bands like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, ELO, Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Renaissance & King Crimson as well as European faves like Gong, PFM, Amon Duul, Van der Graaf Generator, Can, Camel and Soft Machine defined the genré but there were American bands sprouting across the pond as well. Bands like It Bites, Ethos, Styx, Kansas, Happy the Man, Utopia &….all the way on the Left Coast….Ambrosia with their fun & fresh eclectic mix of classical, jazz, r&b, folk, rock, you name it.

This is the band that Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Zubin Mehta took under his wing and brought to the world as the boys transformed from their Clearasil days to their Lagavulin days. And brought in such luminaries as Grammy-Award winning classical engineer Gordon Parry and the then non-household-name, rock engineer Alan Parsons noted for his work on Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and the Beatles’ “Abbey Road”.

Their collaboration with the latter morphed into a semi-regular gig as cameo players with the Alan Parsons Project and in fact they were essentially had another hit for which they seldom get credit. They were 90% or so of the band behind the airplay standard “The Raven” from APP’s debut “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”. Add to that a number of excellent, if obscure, soundtrack leading cuts from movies such as “Arthur”, “Inside Moves” and “Coast to Coast” and you’ve got way more than meets the “Aye”.

Yet they were too fast for the room, a band ahead of its time, they sought out a better label deal, moving from the tiny 20th Century (a large film company, but records? Not so much) label to the behemoth Warner aegis. And with that, a decidedly handled (can you say American Idol?) gravitation toward a more commercial style. Double-edged sword, that. It can get one’s name up in lights but it can also maroon one into some parochial cultural pigeonhole.

And so, one of music most creative exciting & bright heartbeats flashed on the soundscape and then flickered away in the mind’s ear of America’s hoi polloi. They didn’t even last a decade on the airwaves or on the charts. But their stout musical spirit and skill merited a MUCH longer stay on the public musical consciousness.

Mere fistfuls of fans scattered to and fro both in the lower 48 and abroad rabidly, faithfully maintained that just IF they could “hang in there”, the sophistication of the aural body politic would catch up or at least the pendulum of musical style would swing their way.

Well, 30+ some odd years after their splash onto the scene and a brief cessation of activity from the mid-’80s to the mid-’90s, the band is STILL kicking tunes and taking names. Three of the original quartet of Joe Puerta, Burleigh Drummond & Christopher North remain, as they and frontman David Pack had differences of opinion over musical direction and sought different paths. The newest iteration of Ambrosia boasts the edgy, youthful shredding of Doug Jackson on lead axe, the seasoned jazz ‘n’ jam-tinged stylings of long-time band collaborator David Lewis (Shadowfax) on second keys and the “newest” addition, Shem von Schroeck, a 12 year veteran of the Ambrosia vocal Mixmaster.

Though you might see them tour your local club or concert stage (they play all venues), basically playing the fans’ favorites from the past only tantalizingly peppered with the occasional newer riff, do NOT count these guys into that great pantheon of dinosaurs from the baby boomed decades that can’t seem to grok that their sonic ice age has come. Nope, The creative and founding core of Ambrosia, even in their fifties, has STILL got their vocals and instrumental chops and can play the petunias off kids half their age. Now looking towards the new millennium with a fresh POV and the years of hard knocks underpinning their songwriting, the world can expect a more potent, contemporary and sophisticated sound from this sextet.

We can help you book and hire any popular music group, rock band, or pop singer. We can provide you outstanding entertainers, musicians, bands, or singers of any type. Please call 888-655-4575 today. We are not the exclusive agency of any artist on this site.

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