Grammy-nominated progressive-pop band Ambrosia, famed for hits like “How Much I Feel,” “The Biggest Part of Me,” “You’re the Only Woman (You & I)” and “Holding on to Yesterday” in the ’70s and ’80s, will serve up a tasty set of hits and deeper tracks at the Canyon Santa Clarita Friday night, Nov. 2.
Joe Puerta, Chris North, David Pack and Burleigh Drummond formed Ambrosia in L.A.’s South Bay in 1970. Blending their myriad rock, blues, world, classical, progressive and literary influences, they created a new sound.
The music attracted collaborations with of Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., and renowned British producer Alan Parsons, who helmed sessions for Ambrosia eponymous debut album and “Somewhere I’ve Never Traveled” in 1975-76. Both earned Grammy nominations for Best Engineered Recording.
Ambrosia went on to score another three Grammy nominations, heavy radio play and sold-out gigs around the world. When the group took a hiatus in 1984, Puerta joined Bruce Hornsby & The Range, played on “The Way it Is,” and picked up a Grammy in 1987 when the group was named “Best New Artist.”
Several years ago, Ambrosia co-founders Puerta (bass, vocals), North (Hammond B3, vocals) and Drummond (drums, vocals) reunited, and expanded the band’s lineup, adding Doug Jackson (guitars, vocals), Mary Harris (keyboards, vocals) and Ken Stacey (acoustic guitar, vocals).
“We decided a long time ago to expand the group to six, to cover all the sounds we created on the records,” Puerta said. “It’s quite an arsenal.”
Ambrosia’s Canyon Santa Clarita set “will combine the hits with a good sampling of our progressive catalog, and maybe a new song or two,” he said, adding that Ambrosia intends to hit the studio in December.
“Our first two albums with Alan Parsons were more focused on progressive music,” Puerta said. “In our early stages we were compared to bands like Yes and Genesis. So, we’re going to do some of our most-requested songs from that era, like ‘Nice, Nice, Very Nice,’ ‘Drink of Water’ and ‘Make Us All Aware.’
“And as a little tribute to Bruce (Hornsby), we’ve been playing ‘The Way it Is,’ because it’s another massive hit and everybody just lights up,” Puerta said. “It’s a lot of fun for us to play and has a great lyric. I really enjoy singing it.”
In just a couple of years, Ambrosia will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
“It’s remarkable to still be doing this and have fans still lighting up,” Puerta said. “When our fans hear these songs again live, it just triggers synapses in the brain because these songs were part of their soundtrack growing up. From the stage, we just see a sea of smiling faces.”
Keep up with Ambrosia at ambrosialive.net.
Find the Canyon Santa Clarita on the ground floor of the Westfield Valencia Town Center. Get tickets at the box office 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, by phone at 888-645-5006, or via TicketMaster.com. For more info, visit WheremusicmeetstheSoul.com.