Wave Mechanics Union is a recording project orchestra with nearly thirty contributing musicians. The debut CD, Second Season, features progressive and classic rock reimagined as jazz. Supported by a full-scale jazz orchestra, vocalist Lydia McAdams performs repertoire from Yes, Rush, The Who, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Police, Led Zeppelin, and more. The striking arrangements by Ryan Fraley and Ralph Johnson show a deep love for both big band jazz traditions and the layered density of progressive rock.
"Real, full-bodied, intelligent, contemporary, big band efforts... W.M.U.'s version of the 1972 Yes gem Heart of the Sunrise really knocked me flat. That's a very difficult song to cover as it is so ever-shifting, lengthy and busy."
—Jenifre Tarkus Kayoa-Benaqeraj,KEOL 91.7FM
"Second Season by Wave Mechanics Union is one of the most fun and solid discs I've heard this year and in a long time. The group covers 'Progressive & Classic Rock as Jazz'. The arrangements are superb, the song selection's brilliant, the musicianship top shelf and the vocals by Lydia McAdams right in the pocket. ...for me, "Second Season" hits everything right on the money.
—Russell Haines, WWSP 89.9FM
"I've been trying to wrestle the Wave Mechanics Union version of Killer Queen out of my head for a week now and can't. That CD has prompted some fun calls. Try it if you're that way inclined."
—David Beckett, WWPV 88.7FM
Has anyone had a chance to really listen to this CD? Very interesting on different fronts. The concept of taking rock material and arranging for jazz isn't new but what they do here in my opinion... on several tracks... is outstanding. Totally fresh and forward thinking arrangements on these rock mainstays. We will play four...The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," Zeppelin's "The Rain Song"(Wonderful arrangement) King Crimson's "Elephant Talk" and the Yes classic "Heart Of the Sunrise." It will make for fascinating jazz radio IMO. Certainly check it out.
—Jae Sinnett, WHRV 89.5FM
AUGUSTA, GA - Those in search of some adventurous sounds could do well by picking up the latest by Wave Mechanics Union. With a full-scale jazz orchestra, Wave Mechanics Union offers a stunning display of the power of classic and progressive rock n roll bleeding through the soul of stylish jazz.
Built on a smooth section of rhythmic force, this record propels listeners through the worlds of music at a phenomenal pace. A creative collaboration formed by composers Ryan Fraley and Ralph Johnson along with vocalist Lydia McAdams, Wave Mechanics Union is propulsion of sound and melody vibrating throughout space.
Particular highlights include an amazing cover of Pink Floyd’s “The Great Gig in the Sky,” a powerful melody-infused rendition “The Rain Song,” and the smashing, high-spirited powerhouse “Killer Queen.” Within this transformative sound, songs from the likes of Rush, Yes and even Sting find new life and newly inspired spirits. Furthermore, the record itself is worth having simply to hear what may well be a better than the original tour de force in the form of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
In a beautiful infusion of talent, the classics are reborn in the power of Wave Mechanics Union.
—J. Edward Sumerau, Metro Spirit
"Second Season: Progressive and Classic Rock as Jazz, a new CD released on October 1, 2008 by Wave Mechanics Union, interprets the works of classic rock and progressive bands Yes, Rush, The Who, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Police and Led Zeppelin, to name a few, and gives them the ultimate jazz makeover.
Assembled from almost 30 musicians from Indianapolis, Nashville and Los Angeles, this project is absolutely top notch. When I closed my eyes, I swear I could hear the smooth and silky stylings of Ella Fitzgerald with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Vocalist Lydia McAdams exemplifies the very essence of jazz singing and the arrangements of Ryan Fraley and Ralph Johnson left me speechless in how they transformed guitar, bass, keyboards and drums into a full jazz orchestra.
I played this CD recently at a cocktail party and turned the volume up just enough so that other guests could just barely hear the vocals. I stood back in the corner to watch the reaction and was amazed. Between the people mouthing the words, to the giggles, to the heads turning to the toetapping, everyone in the room could not believe what they heard. Aside from the popularity of the original tracks, these new arrangements easily caught the attention of the party guests.
Here's a collection of fresh and modern jazz arrangements on 11 classic rock tunes. The selections are familiar tunes from 11 different bands...The Who, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush, The Police, Beatles, Sting, King Crimson, They Might Be Giants, and Yes. The jazz versions take nothing away from the originals...the melodies are just as familiar as in the original recordings...but there's a whole new level of jazz instrumentation with brass and reeds, cool and more complex jazz rhythms, and soaring vocals. The album is a very creative treatment on some already great tunes. So if you like your cool jazz...and, hey, you also like classic rock...you're gonna love this album!
Second Season (HX Music), the title of which is taken from Led Zeppelin’s “The Rain Song” (covered here in an excellent arrangement), gives these classic songs a fresh set of clothes to change into, not only showing their love of the material but also how fine these musicians are. Wave Mechanics Union are a trio that collaborate with a wide range of musicians, including horn players and a string quartet so their sound is full and rich to the point of no return. ...To have [these songs] performed with a woman singing them is a welcome chance, especially upon hearing the war chestnut “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (The Who) or “Killer Queen” (Queen). They even get into Rush’s “Available Light” to where you might not even recognize it as a Rush song. For those who were raised on these songs, the jazzy approach may sound like something Norah Jones would be comfortable in doing, but McAdams voice’ is stronger and perhaps more comforting. One of the album’s defining moments has to be their cover of Yes‘ “Heart Of The Sunrise”, which truly sounds like something you’d hear on a high school band album if high school bands were this cool and skilled. Screw the Airmen Of Note, this is Wave Mechanics Union!
Some songs are given the instrumental treatment. The Beatles‘ “Eleanor Rigby” features an arrangement that makes it sound like something you’d hear on a Stan Kenton (who is referred to in the liner notes) or Johnny Harris album, while Pink Floyd’s “The Great Gig In The Sky” could have been destroyed if the upbeat (!!!) arrangement featured vocals and fortunately it doesn’t.
It’s a jazz album with a twist, one that is actually good without it being predictable.
—John Book, Run-Off Groove #225