All began after the 1978 dissolution of a Chicago band called “TREEBORN”. SERGIO NESPOLA, drummer, and GRANT AUSTIN, bass player, decided to join forces to create a more advanced Rock-Jazz Fusion Group. After auditioning many musicians, they finally met BRYAN ZERCHER (the Keyboard man with the basement full musical toys), and Bryan also introduced guitarist OLE RIISE. That was it. The original quartet was formed. After analyzing the music trends and putting them through their tests, SERGIO NESPOLA made the promise to the rest of his group that he “I’ve been there before” and would take them all back. This began the long, hard-earned dedication to making PROTEUS / INFINITE CHANGE. It was a well-balanced recipe that reminded of a simplified RETURN to FOREVER, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA format, with lots of personal chops and colors. JAM Productions engaged Proteus to make their first live appearance at the PARK WEST concert opening for STANLEY TURRENTINE sponsored by WGCI RADIO 97.5 FM in CHICAGO. The crowd was very impressed that an opening act band could perform such a great set. The show inspired Dave Freeman to start playing the unfinished record tapes live on WXFM 106FM CHICAGO. Dave Freeman started receiving many requests to hear Proteus music at Jazz Radio Station. He began to play it more often and eventually decided to be their executive producer. The album was being recorded at STUDIO West recording studio in Chicago. However, there were some issues (such as a better bass solo in “Dance of the Moon Children”), so the Buddha of Bass Bill Dickens was brought in to perform the task according to Dave Freeman’s instructions. The Proteus sound reached its peak. The 1980 album was finally available in Chicagoland. It was also receiving respectable airplay on many radio stations, including a special WXRT concert. Interviews were given by Mark Ruffin, WDCB Radio, and WNUR Radio (Tish Mercer), giving the impression that Proteus was about to break the barriers and move into a bright future. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT After the original four members were disbanded, Ole Riise, the guitarist, and Grant Austin, the bass player, left the group. Bryan Zercher, the keyboardist, decided to go to medical school, leaving behind the music and the band. Sergio Nespola made the decision to keep Proteus afloat and reformed it five times, with top Chicago musicians such as Rob Wlilliams (guitar), Tim Tobias (keyboards), Bill Dickens (bass) until its last appearance at Chicago Fest 1985. Proteus’ album Infinite Change is now a collectible item. There were only 1000 copies of the record. It was also never reprinted. from

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