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Nektar 

With Caravan. Wednesday, September 22, at the Agora Theatre.

To scores of fans, Nektar remains the most unsung hero of '70s progressive rock. Though it never achieved the prominence of Yes, Genesis, or Pink Floyd, the band is still considered by its fans every bit the equal of those prog-rock icons -- in sheer inventive energy, if not high-profile virtuosity.

Formed in Hamburg in 1969, the band recorded regularly through 1980. Personnel changed over time, but their most highly regarded work stems from '71 through '75 and features the original four: singer-guitarist Roye Albrighton, keyboardist Taff Freeman, bassist Mo Moore, and drummer Ron Howden. The spacey album Journey to the Centre of the Eye is hailed as a psychedelic masterpiece on par with Syd Barrett-era Floyd. More in tune with prog-rock convention is 1975's ambitiously arranged Recycled: relentless quick-change orchestrations spiked with darting keyboards and morphing textures that rise above sheer cleverness. Several reunions and solo projects have been waxed in recent years. Evolution, due out next month, features the band's first new material since 1980 and three of the original four, plus new bassist Randy Dembo.

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