Ten Jinn, named after a 2nd century Chinese philosopher, was formed in Los Angeles in 1991 by keyboardist/vocalist/composer John Paul Strauss.
The band was made up of five other members: drummer/multi-instrumentalist Mark Wickliffe, keyboardist Robert Niemeyer, bassist/keyboardist Matt Overholser, guitarist Mike Matier and Stan Whitaker of Happy the Man
, who has made many guest appearances with the band over the years. Many of the members of the band were multi-instrumentalists, playing a variety of musical roles beyond their primary place in the band. Musicianship, in fact, was a primary force in the band, whose strong musical skills made possible the variety of elements that Strauss
threw in, from classical to jazz to rock. Their debut album, Wildman, issued in 1997, showed the influence of bands like Marillion
and Gentle Giant
, while adhering to several pop standards -- the songs were mostly written in 4/4 time and hovered around the four minute mark, eschewing the prog tendency towards the extended jam. Their second album, As On a Darkling Plain, issued by Century Media in 1999, kept the strong musicianship and the pop esthetic and encased it within a deeper intellectual framework. The album is a song cycle written around two of Anne Rice's books, The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned and follows Lestat through the story arc of the two books. While psychological inquiry and literary references were not new for Strauss
(he was a psych grad from Villanova with a specialty in antisocial personality disorder), As On a Darkling Plain represented his most developed musical concept yet. ~ Stacia Proefrock, Rovi