- Dreams of Peace
By S. Zekovitch
Over two decades ago, numerous eclectic
styles of rock were in the midst of development, as a result a hybrid of
both rock and jazz elements fused together forming a new breed of music,
known as fusion. Fusion featured traditional jazz-style instruments that
incorporated (trumpets, trombone, saxophone, and flute) which played rather
delayed and improvised melodic lines. With the essence of rock a great
deal of guitars and percussions (that including keyboards and synthesizers)
also attributed to its success and helped in pushing it into the mainstream
However, with every success always come
skepticism. The controversy that shrouded the jazz/rock fusion was accentuated
by the younger generation of musical artists who happily embraced towards
the stylistic and sound ideals that of popular music in the 1980s, but
left jazz traditionists to question any of their knowledge of earlier jazz
traditions and its many evolutions. Even though with new booming interest
in jazz, it didnít quite examine or take any real notice at its roots.
As a result, a new dichotomy generated within the jazz community splitting
those who held strong allegiances to jazz traditions in one corner and
rock/pop tradition enthusiasts in the other.
In the end, everyone recognized their role
in music history and the new generation came to a new found respect
for those who had preceded them, yet remained excited of the prospects
that surrounded. Many of the fusion artistsí background was not necessarily
always in jazz, but of rock. As time gradually progressed many fusion
artists became deeply immersed in their art that they continued to innovate
their sounds using every element available in both genres if not equal.
And one of those artists who helped lead fusion to the forefront was a
brilliant guitarist by the name of Stanley Jordan.
Synonymous with rock, the electric guitar
had always been the genreís insignia until Stanley Jordan came along and
turned it into a unique jazz expression. With the usage of amplification,
Jordan was able to formulate a touch maneuver on the fingerboard of the
guitar, which allowed him to play more complex contrapuntal lines which
is not normally possible on a guitar. By using both hands to press the
strings to the fretboard , he is adequate enough to create individual notes
without ever having to pluck the strings. With the amplifications to accompany
the sound already their was no need of pressure applied. The led other
guitarists to re-examine the guitarsís capabilities
Unlike his previous solo projects, this
album is much more laid back and simply different than his usual works.
After having heard the first track, ďTell Me Something,Ē Dora Nicolosiís
voice reminded of the vocals from the Final Fantasy Series soundtrack,
which was rather plain, yet sweet in a romantic sense when accompanied
with the wispy strings to set the mood. Stanley Jordan is featured on all
the tracks and the style ranges in a great variety from folkish to razzmatazz.
What can I say heís just a cool cat.
At times I found it very hard to fully
describe this album without thinking of something unintentionally humorous.
The overall content was simply smooth, but not the best of Stanley
Jordanís work. There was not much of a presence in vocal except for a few
exceptions. Embarrassingly I shall try to illustrate the sound, but forgive
me if I do not elaborate well enough. It reminded me of either elevator
music or a flick with some beatnik as the hero. On the other hand, I jokingly
commented to a good friend recently that the album sounded like a cheesy
70s porno flick. Oh well, maybe I wasnít too far off or was I? I
guess Iíll never know because Iíve never seen one nor plan to anytime soon,
simply an innocent assumption I suppose.
The flaws on the album was actually trying
to distinguish who Novecento was because there was so much collaboration
that their individual sound was practically drowned out or to be more precise
assimilated with the other jazz artists who had preceded them. Then again
itís hard to find original or cutting edge music these days. Nonetheless,
I give them credit for staying true to new age jazz, but I give more
points to Stanley Jordan because he is a fusion legend and he still has
his skills in tact. Though Stanley Jordan is better off as solo artist
if you ask me.
There were a lot of cameos scattered throughout
the entire album. Of all the names I was more familiar with Guy Barker
(flugel horn) because Iíve heard a few of his collaborations heís done
with Dizzy Gillespie, the great bebop trumpet player, Danny Gotlieb
(drummer) because he was in Joe Beckís Trio back in the days, and the rest
of the lineup seemed rather vague from memory. As for recommendations,
this might not fly so well with rock fans because itís too laid back. Sorry
Stanley, but this album was just plain elevator music. Great for relaxing,
but not exciting as I had hoped it to be. As a result, Iím sad.
- Dreams of Peace
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