Although so often rather unfairly relegated to the “novelty act” region of the classic rock world, Jethro Tull is one of the most enduring bands to have emerged from the late 1960s and early ’70s progressive rock melee. By blending elements of Celtic folk, classical, world music and heavy rock, Tull’s main brain, Ian Anderson, became lord and master of his own idiosyncratic domain within the world of popular music.
The end result of Anderson’s bloody mindedness? A body of work that smacks of radical invention, consistent excellence and unfailing integrity. Which is not to suggest that Anderson and Tull’s music – dense, challenging, progressive and tinged with decidedly British, Monty Python-esque humor – is for everyone. It’s not. But for those who have delved deeply into it, that music has been a dependable friend.
Tull as we once knew it is no more. Anderson has assembled a new band that operates under his own name, and longtime Tull cohort guitarist Martin Barre now fronts an eponymous ensemble. The adventurous Jethro Tull spirit endures, however, and is amply evident in Anderson’s latest effort, the conceptually unified prog-rock throwback “Homo Erraticus.” Anderson’s current world tour, dubbed “The Best of Jethro Tull Performed by Ian Anderson,” finds the songwriter leading the new band through twin sets of music, the first focused on the “Homo Erraticus” material, and the second delving deeply into the Jethro Tull catalog.
The tour stops at the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Arts in Amherst at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $69.50, $59.50 and $49.50 (box office, Tickets.com).
– Jeff Miers