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Orpheus Nine began as a solo project by Jason Kresge, whose onstage persona inspired one fan to dub him “prog’s Phantom of the Opera.” Envisioning eclectic, keyboard-driven music, Jason created pieces that served up piano, organ, and synthesizer as aggressive lead instruments. After a period of experimentation, he teamed up with drummer Daniel Nydick in 2005, and the two spent a few years further developing their style. The result: modern progressive rock with infusions of classical, jazz, metal, and electronica.

By 2011, the duo had expanded to include bassist Tony Renda and guitarist Matt Ullestad. This lineup enjoyed a brief run together before scheduling conflicts forced a temporary hiatus. Daniel’s departure led to the 2012 arrival of drummer Mark DeGregory.

The New Jersey-based quartet emerged with an “instant classic” (ProgArchives) in 2017’s Transcendental Circus. While the centerpiece is its six-part, nearly-22-minute title track, O9 deftly balances virtuosity with emotion and melody in every one of the album’s “beautifully crafted songs” (PROG). Listeners to this “very impressive debut” (Progression) have cited elements of ELP, King Crimson, Rush, Saga, Styx, Genesis, Frank Zappa, Gentle Giant, Spock’s Beard, The Flower Kings, Yes, Marillion, and Return to Forever — yet any past influence quickly yields to the fresh sound of a band focused on future possibilities.

A standing-room-only NJProghouse concert celebrated the 9/9/17 release of Transcendental Circus. The album has garnered rave reviews, with PROG magazine declaring that “Orpheus Nine are among the best bands ploughing this ageless furrow.” In fall 2018, they performed at the ProgStock Festival.

Orpheus Nine

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