I originally wrote a bio for Izz on Prog Archives, but I was never very happy with it. I thought I’d try again because this band deserves it.
Izz, from New York, originates with the Galgano brothers. Tom (keyboards, vocals) and John (bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals) grew up listening to music together, so it was a natural step for them to join forces as musicians. John met Greg DiMiceli (drums and percussion) in college, and thus started a domino effect of introductions. Greg begat Brian Coralian (drums and Percussion) and Paul Bremner (lead guitar), and Paul begat Phil Gaita (bass). As musicians do, they all jammed together and eventually Izz was formed (the name taken from one of John’s favorite Mets players). However, Paul was in another band, so he was not yet an official member.
In 1998 “Sliver of a Sun” was released. For the debut, John handled lead guitar, and Phil was on bass. While putting the finishing touches on the album, Tom met Laura Meade and Anmarie Byrnes. The ladies did not join the club right away, but their vocal and compositional talents would come to have a profound impact on the Izz sound later on.
2002’s “I move” saw Phil’s departure, and the permanent addition of Paul Bremner. This also meant that John was now on Bass duty. The core of the band was now set with a strong lead guitariist, and the unusual aspect of dual drummers.
In 2004 the band released a collection of previously unused material called “Ampesand Vol. 1.” It consisted of outtakes from the first two albums, and some live tracks. It was a decent curiosity, but real excitement was brewing with the following release.
The release of “My River Flows” in 2005 really started to turn some heads. The band was very good before, but the addition of Laura and Anmarie, and the growth of the group itself drove them to create their most accomplished work to date. Enthusiasm for Izz grew as the album got more exposure. The live shows were also met with high praise. This culminated with their appearance at NEARfest 2007. I was in attendance that day, and the most common comment was, “Man, I hope they recorded that!” Thankfully they did, and the performance was released simply as “Live at Nearfest.”
Izz is frequently seen on the Progressive Rock festival circuit. They are influenced by the usual classics (Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, The Beatles, etc.), and also modern bands, like Radiohead. There are even those that see a certain pop element in the music, mostly due to Tom Galgano and Laura Meade’s vocals. They seem to have no exceptions when it comes to incorporating styles. It is not unusual to hear Rock, Jazz, Latin, and Funk. This gives them a unique crossover appeal. Kudos are also in order for their contribution to “After the Storm,” a hurricane Katrina relief album.
Once considered neo-prog, further exposure suggested there was something else going on. Some clues might have been the complexity of composition, dual drummers, and full voiced female backing singers (sometimes also taking lead, and would have no problem fronting the band individually). This is what let to the label of modern symphonic. Each album has been released with ever-rising praise.
Izz is currently finishing up work on a new studio album. “The Darkened Room” is set for release in the fall of 2009. So, being that I am writing this in October of 2009, that means very soon.