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Latest album release

Ziggy Blackstar
A Tribute to David Bowie

October 5th 2019, CD's and digital release

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We already got some great reviews!

Prog Archives, Kev Rowland
Power of Prog, Peter Skov

TEN JINN BIOGRAPHY

Progressive rock band, Ten Jinn, was formed in the beginning of 1991 by John Paul Strauss and Jimmy Borel. Their first CD, Wildman, was recorded during the next couple of years and, after a good deal of delay punctuated by the band doing a good deal of live performance, the record was finally released in 1996. The years between 1993 and 1996 saw a lot of musicians come and go from the band, but by the time they were invited to perform at the “kick-off” party at Baja Prog in Mexicali, Mexico in 1998, the line up consisted of John Paul Strauss on lead vocals and keyboards, Mark Wickliffe on drums and backing vocals, Bob Niemeyer on keyboards and backing vocals, Mike Matier on guitar and guitar-synthesizer, Matt Overholtzer on bass and Chapman Stick, and Stan Whitaker in the second guitar spot as a guest performer. 

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Partially as a result of the performance at Baja Prog 1998, Stan Whitaker discovered that not only had the fan base for his 1970s progressive rock band, Happy The Man, not diminished, but had in fact grown and flourished in the underground prog-rock scene. This prompted Stan to get HTM boys back together for a new release. Meanwhile, Ten Jinn, off the heady experience of rave reviews for their Baja Prog debut performance, redoubled their efforts and recorded the band’s second CD, As on a Darkling Plain, which was picked up for distribution in America by InsideOut Records and, in Europe, by Sweden Rock Records.

The year 1999 saw a further rise in the band’s popularity with performances once again at Baja Prog, this time on the big stage at Teatro Del Estato. The second CD, which had been out just a few months prior, was receiving great reviews, and with a strong live show, as well, the band was invited to headline Prog Day, later that year in North Carolina. The years1999 and 2000 saw Ten Jinn gigging constantly up and down the West Coast from San Diego to Los Angeles to San Francisco. However, Stan Whitaker was soon to leave the band permanently, and move back to Maryland, where he continued to work band mates from Happy The Man on a new CD, as well as with his new band, Oblivion Sun.

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Mark Wickliffe

In 2001 the boys were back in the studio again, recording tracks for their third release, Alone, in LA; however, Strauss moved to Sweden, where the second CD seemed to be doing rather better than it had been in the States, as well as for personal reasons. It was at that time, Strauss teamed up with Ken Skolund, who took over Stan Whitaker’s guitar duties, and with the CD partially in-the-bag by the LA crew, the recording, mix and mastering was completed at Skoglund’s Studio, “Sound Control Sweden” (located in the Swedish countryside) just a few hours drive North of Stockholm. Alone was released on Sweden Rock Records in 2003 and, once again, John was out gigging with another line-up; this time with a group of Swedish musicians included Skoglund as the main axeman.

Strauss returned to the States a few years later in 2004, contemplating a reunion with the LA line-up ca. 1996-2000, but decided first to go to graduate school to get an M. M. (Masters of Music) degree in theory and composition, which he received in 2010 from West Chester University in Southeast Pennsylvania. The culmination of this was a symphonic poem Sisyphus (composed for piano and string orchestra). Shortly after receiving his Masters degree, Strauss did a several-year homesteading stint after which he returned to music and reworked Sisyphus for the band, as their fourth release. Appearing on the record were band members John Strauss, Mark Wickliffe, Mike Matier and Ken Skoglund, along with several guest musicians. Initially available only as a download as of January 2017, this marked the band’s first release in 13 years; under the auspices of Melodic Revolution Records (MRR) CDs were also made available in May 2018. 

May 2018 also saw the simultaneous release by MRR of Ten Jinn’s fifth studio album Ziggy Blackstar: A Tribute to David Bowie (recorded during “downtime’ between January 2017 and January 2018) to honor the passing of a musical giant, who left his, not insignificant, mark on popular culture. After being received surprisingly well in the Prog-Rock world, in 2019, the band decided it was time to begin preparing for a return to the live stage. Between August 2019 and February 2021, Strauss was flying to LA about every two months to rehearse with most of the Ten Jinn line-up from the Baja Prog and ProgDay performances of 1999 (including Wickliffe, Strauss, Matier and Overholser); however, without being able to coax Niemeyer back into the “fold” the band was in need of a second keyboard player to help recreate their signature “symphonic sound.” This came in the form of Matt Brown, who was also playing keys for another Prog band (AmuZeum), along with Wickliffe and Matier.

The rehearsals continued through February 2020 and, simultaneously, the band began writing material for sixth studio album (inspired by the 1907 novel, The Iron Heel, by Jack London about an Oligarchy taking over the United States). By the time of the final February 2020 rehearsal, the band had a solid 90-minute set gig-ready (including Sisyphus and select material from the first three records), and also shot the live footage for the release of their video for, I’m Afraid of Americans, from the Bowie tribute album. This came to an abrupt halt, however, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unable to get together in-person, Ten Jinn continued to write and record material for the sixth studio album, while Strauss also finished the first draft for the planned seventh release, Worlds: the Four Worlds of the Hopi (a 60-minute piece in four movements inspired by the Hopi creation mythology/cosmology). Meanwhile, Skolgund was busy in Sweden putting together the video footage for the “Bowie” video, which was available on YouTube as of October 31, 2020. All through 2020, the boys were recording their parts and sending files back and forth between LA and Philly. The current plan is to release a “single” in early 2021 and the entire album in mid-2021. Although no specific release date is currently being discussed for Worlds, the record is scheduled to be ready for public consumption some time in 2022.