Gabor Lesko’s Latest LP Is Among The Best Of 2021’s New Jazz, Overall Albums

Courtesy: Creativity’s Paradise Music

Multi-talented musician Gabor Lesko is scheduled to release his latest album, Earthway today.  Set for release through Creativity’s Paradise Music, the eight-song record is a presentation that audiences old and new alike will appreciate.  That is proven in part through the diversity in the album’s arrangements.  This will be discussed shortly.  The sequencing of those songs adds its own touch to the album’s presentation.  This will be discussed a little later.  The songs’ production rounds out its most important elements.  It will also be examined later.  Each item noted makes this record unquestionably one of this year’s best new jazz and overall albums.

Gabor Lesko’s new album, Earthway, is a work that his established audience base and those less familiar with his work will find quite appealing.  Audiences who are familiar with Lesko’s catalog will find the album (his eighth) so appealing because as with his existing catalog, the arrangements present so much diversity.  Newer audiences will find it appealing for the exact same reason.  From one song to the next, the 44-minute record presents audiences with something different.  Case in point is the album’s closer, Air (Lost Key Part Two).’  The orchestration features some distinct prog style guitar work on the part of Lesko, as well some equally subtle but powerful ethereal strings alongside a gentle piano accompaniment.  As the song progresses, (that word, “progresses)” it moves more into a Pat Metheny type stylistic approach and sound.  That, against the more prog style first movement, makes the whole all the more engaging and entertaining.  The prog influence here should come as no surprise, considering that Lesko has worked with two prog greats in the form of Tony Levin and Steve Vai.  The return to the more prog sound in the song’s closing minutes gives the song a nice sense of completion in its clear ABA style composition.

On a different note, a song, such as ‘Fiesta’ is a stark contrast to the likes of ‘Air (Lost Key Part Two).’  The song’s title implies a Latin-tinged work, and it does open with a Latin flair.  There is even a subtle flamenco style performance from Lesko at points throughout the song as well as some Samba from the horns.  At the same time though, the arrangement also features a touch of easy-listening style jazz for good measure.  The two styles of jazz could not be more distinct from one another.  Yet somehow, Lesko and his fellow musicians manage here to make the two polar opposites work so well together.  There is even a sort of 80s style sound added to the mix through Lesko’s rock style guitar work, the piano and saxophone line to make things even more interesting.  The whole is completely unlike the arrangement featured in the previously examined song.  That is a good thing, too.  Between the noted performance, those of the drums and bass, the whole of the composition ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own unique fashion.  As an aside, credit would be given where due here (multiple musicians handled bass and drum duties in this record), but this album did not include liner notes.  That is not the say that the album does not have liner notes, but that the copy received by this critic may be strictly a media copy lacking those notes.  Getting back on the subject at hand, this arrangement is just one more way in which the arrangements here prove so important to this album’s presentation.

‘Gently Obsessive’ is one more way in which the diversity in Earthway’s musical arrangements proves important.  This song’s arrangement is just as starkly unlike the album’s other works as they are from one another and the rest of the album’s works.  The gentle, flowing subtlety in Lesko’s guitar work here creates such a mellow vibe alongside the equally gentle piano line and strings makes the song even richer.  As with the album’s other songs, the arrangement here is also enjoyable because of the gradual growth exhibited throughout the course of the song’s four-minute, 33-second run time).  That gradual growth is so subtle that when it is considered with the performances themselves therein, the whole gives the song even more to enjoy.  When the song is considered along with the other arrangements noted here and the rest of the album’s works, that collective forms such a strong foundation for Earthway

For all that the arrangements do for the overall presentation of Earthway, they are just a portion of what makes the album so appealing.  The songs’ sequencing adds its own layer of enjoyment to the album.  As has already been noted, the album’s arrangements vary stylistically and sound-wise from one to the next and even within themselves.  That was taken fully into account in considering the album’s sequencing.  A close listen to the album reveals a clear back and forth of the record’s energies throughout, again from one song to the next and within.  The album opens with two songs that themselves open upbeat, but of course do evolve as they progress.  The next trio of songs is more laid back, at least in their opening segments.  Things pick back up in ‘Push It!’ before relaxing again in the album’s final two songs.  Again that is at least in the opening portions of the songs.  Overall, the album’s sequencing shows great time and thought went into this part of the album’s presentation.  It is still not the last of the album’s most important elements.  The record’s production rounds out those elements.

The production that went into Earthway is important to examine because again, as noted, there is so much going on in each song.  The arrangements progress within themselves.  There are a lot of musicians performing a lot of parts in each song, too.  That means that lots of attention had to be paid to each composition in even its most minute detail.  From dynamics, to the offset of one instrument’s line to another, and even the addition of extra effects to highlight given lines, those behind the boards had a lot to work with.  The result of the painstaking attention to detail in each song is that the album proves appealing as much for its varied content as for the general effect of each song.  Keeping this in mind along with the importance of the album’s sequencing, all things combined make Earthway a work that will appeal widely among audiences.

Gabor Lesko’s latest album, Earthway is a strong new offering from the veteran, multi-talented musician.  It is a presentation that will appeal widely among audiences.  That is due in part to its featured arrangements.  The arrangements in question are so diverse in their sounds and stylistic approaches.  There is jazz influence presented alongside some rock sensibilities, and more from one song to the next.  The sequencing of that diverse content makes for even more engagement and appeal.  That is because it serves to make sure the album did not get stale from one song to the next.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  That is because the production ensures all of the right accents, dynamics, and other elements got all of the right attention at each point throughout the album.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of this album.  All things considered, they make the album one of the year’s best new jazz album and overall albums.  Earthway is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Gabor Lesko’s latest news at https://gaborlesko.com.  

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The Success Of Reza Khan’s Latest LP Is Anything But ‘Imaginary’

Courtesy: Reza Khan Music

Jazz guitarist Reza Khan’s latest album officially releases today.  The 10-song record, Imaginary Road – his sixth album – is a work that new audiences will find surprisingly enjoyable.  At the same time, his established audiences will agree that the 52-minute presentation is just as enjoyable as his existing catalog.  The liner notes featured in Khan’s new album form its foundation.  It is rare for liner notes to prove so pivotal to an album, but this is one of those cases.  The songs themselves are of course just as important to the presentation as the liner notes.  They will be discussed a little later.  The songs’ sequencing puts the finishing touch to the record’s presentation and will be addressed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they prove Imaginary Road’s success is anything but imaginary.  Yes, that awful pun was intended.

Rez Khan’s sixth full-length studio recording Imaginary Road is a positive new addition to his existing body of work.  That is due in no small part to the album’s liner notes.  The liner notes serve well to form the record’s foundation.  That is due to the information that Khan points out in the notes.  He explains that the album was spawned from a trip that he and his band mates took to Spain.  He explains in his notes that a performance the group presented at a club there led to this record’s creation, noting, “The result as you hear this new record is that you will feel that live energy, syncopation, and “feel-good” vibe well preserved and represented throughout.”  That is important to take into consideration as listeners take in each composition.  Speaking of the varied compositions, Khan also provides some brief but concise background on each song within the album’s liner notes, which are printed inside the packaging.  As listeners begin to listen through Khan’s new album, they can refer back to those explanations, which will certainly help enhance the listening experience for any listener.  That in itself is one more example of why the physical object will always have a place in an increasingly digital age.  Audiences rarely if ever get that something extra when they download albums and singles.  Having the whole of that background for the album and songs collectively – again – forms such a strong foundation for the record.  Building on the foundation even more is the songs themselves.

The songs featured in Imaginary Road are important in that they are their own original works that still carry Khan’s familiar stylistic approach.  That approach, is easily likened to works from the likes of his contemporaries, such as Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour, and Wes Montgomery.  Case in point is the arrangement featured in the early entry, ‘Neo Funk.’   Yes, the song opens sounding like that music that people get while they are on hold with whatever company, but to the positive, as the four-minute-plus composition continues, it does pick up at least a little.  The guitar solo, horns, and keyboard collectively do harken to works from Metheny.  One could even argue that some of the guitar work late in the song is comparable to that of the one and only Carlos Santana.  If that is not reason enough to go through this song, then nothing is worth it.  Luckily though, the whole, again, makes the overall composition that enjoyable.

‘It’s Happening’ is another example of how the album’s featured songs make for their own enjoyment.  The slight Latin-tinged approach to the work pairs with Khan’s familiar easy listening/light jazz approach to make the song in whole so much more enjoyable.  Pianist Matt King’s flowing performance throughout the song adds even more to the work, too.  When it is set alongside drummer Maurizio Zottarelli’s syncopated rhythms (yes, there’s that syncopation of which Khan noted) and the strings and bass line, the whole becomes its own unique addition to the album.  Once again, the whole bears Khan’s familiar stylistic approach, but is overall its own unique musical presentation, proving once more, the importance of the record’s featured songs.

‘Midnight Runner’ is another example of the importance of the album’s featured songs.  The liner notes point out that the song is meant to echo the thoughts and emotions that people go through in the middle of the night, trying to get back to sleep.  It is something to which so many listeners can relate.  The mixed emotions are translated so well through the guitar work and the subtle piano runs.  The addition of the sounds of the night (crickets chirping, etc.) and the strings adds even more to that impact.  The impact of all things considered here is lasting.  It serves as one more example of what makes the album’s musical content important to its presentation.  When it and the other songs examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the overall content in this case proves even more why the album in whole is a positive new offering from Reza Khan.  It is not the last of the record’s positives, either.  The songs’ sequencing puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.

The sequencing in Reza Khan’s new album is important to address because there is a clearly thought out course in examining this aspect.  The record starts off in upbeat fashion in ‘Waiting for the Sky,’ but gradually pulls back until it reaches the very relaxed ‘I See Stars,’ the record’s third song.  That relaxed energy carries over through ‘La Liason’ before slightly picking back up over the course of the record’s next three songs, eventually peaking as it reaches ‘It’s Happening.’  ‘Somewhere East’ and ‘Imaginary Road,’ the record’s closer, carry that energy on to finish out the album.  What this shows, again, is a clearly defined sequencing meant to ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  It placed the transitions in the song’s energies at all of the right points, keeping the album’s pacing fluid, in turn.  The effort here succeeds, too.  When the success of this element is considered with the impact of the record’s songs and it liner notes, the whole of the album proves to be even more of an overall success.

Imaginary Road is a successful new offering from established jazz/easy-listening guitarist Reza Khan.  That is proven in part through the album’s liner notes.  The liner notes form a solid foundation for the record with its brief but concise background on the album’s creation and the meaning behind the record’s featured compositions.  The songs themselves prove appealing because they continue to exhibit Khan’s trademark stylistic approach while still presenting listeners with their own unique identities even with those styles in mind.  The songs’ sequencing rounds out the album’s most important elements.  The clearly defined changes in the songs’ energies that is evident through the sequencing ensures the record’s pacing remains stable from start to end, while also giving audiences different sounds and feelings in each song.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Imaginary Road.  All things considered, they prove the album’s enjoyment and success is anything but imaginary.  Imaginary Road is available.  More information on the album is available along with all of Reza Khan’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.rezakhanmusic.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RezaKhanMusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rezakhanmusic

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Logan Richardson Releases His Latest LP This Week

Courtesy:  Blue Note Records

Courtesy: Blue Note Records

Saxophonist Logan Richardson will release his latest full-length studio recording this week.

Logan Richardson will release Shift, his latest full-length studio recording this week. The album is Richardson’s first for Blue Note Records and his third overall full-length studio recording. It comes a little more than six years after his most recent album, 2008’s Ethos. That album was released via Inner Circle Music. Richardson brought enlisted one of the biggest names in the jazz industry today for the record in guitarist Pat Metheny for the record. In discussing joining Richardson for Shift Metheny noted Richardson’s talent and his overall vision that impressed him most about working with him. “While he is unquestionably one of the best new alto players to emerge of his generation, it is his overall artistic vision that impresses the most,” he said. Also on board for the project are pianist Jason Moran, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Nasheet Waits.

Shift will be available in stores and online this Friday, February 26th. It can be pre-ordered online now via Amazon and iTunes. It boasts ten original compositions from Richardson and a cover of Bruno Mars’ ‘Locked Out Of Heaven.’ Audiences that pre-order the album now will get the album’s lead track ‘Mind Free’ immediately. The song is also streaming in full online now via YouTube and other streaming services. Audiences can also check out the album’s trailer online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbieGieGfGk&feature=youtu.be.

Richardson will tour in support of Shift beginning March 12th in Vincennes, France. His current tour takes him to a handful of venues throughout Europe in March and April. There is also a planned date in New York, NY on May 20th at Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club. All of the latest updates on Richardson’s tour is available online now along with all of his latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.loganrichardson.global

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/loganrichardsonworld

 

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Veteran Acts Dominate 2015’s Top New Live DVD/BD Recordings List

This week marks the last full week of 2015. It’s a little tough to grasp that there are only eleven days left in the year. But it’s almost time to bid a fond farewell to this year. And even as the year’s final days tick away, there is still plenty of work left to do in turns of examining the top titles from the entertainment world. Phil’s Picks has already done quite a bit of that, delving into the top titles of the music world’s top titles. There’s still some ground to cover in that realm while beginning to transfer over into the year’s top new DVDs and Blu-rays in each of their different own areas. Keeping that in mind, what better way to start making that transfer than to look today at the year’s best new live DVDs and Blu-rays. The year’s best new live CDs have already been tackled. And as previously explained, in many cases, some DVDs and Blu-rays are actually released separate from their audio-only counterparts even today, and vice versa. That justifies a separate category for the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays. That being the case, here, for your reading pleasure dear readers, is the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Live DVDs and Blu-rays. As always, the Top 10 titles make up the main body of the list while the bottom five are no less important. They each receive honorable mention for a total of fifteen titles. Enough rambling. Here, again, is the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Live DVDs and Blu-rays.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW LIVE DVDS AND BLU-RAYS

  1. SLASH FT. MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS – LIVE AT THE ROXY 09.25.14

 

  1. TESSERACT – SCALA

 

  1. AEROSMITH – AEROSMITH ROCKS DONINGTON

 

  1. GEORGE STRAIT – THE COWBOY RIDES AWAY

 

  1. THE WHO – LIVE AT HYDE PARK

 

  1. SHANIA TWAIN – STILL THE ONE: LIVE IN VEGAS

 

  1. ERIC CLAPTON – SLOWHAND AT 70: LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

 

  1. THE ROLLING STONES – LIVE IN LEEDS 1982

 

  1. THE ROLLING STONES – LIVE AT THE TOKYO DOME 1990

 

  1. LYNYRD SKYNYRD – PRONOUNCED L LEH-NERD SKIN-NERD & SECOND HELPING

 

  1. PAT METHENY – UNITY SESSIONS

 

  1. WHITECHAPEL – BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE

 

  1. TASTE – WHAT’S GOING ON: LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT

 

  1. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE – LIVE AT FINSBURY PARK

 

  1. DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES – LIVE IN DUBLIN

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Metheny’s “Unity Sessions” Live Recording Will Unify Fans

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Pat Metheny is one of the most talented and accomplished musicians in the jazz community and the music community in whole. That of course goes without saying. He has spent the better part of his adult life crafting what is some of the most original and creative music that the jazz community and music community in larger part have ever had the pleasure of hearing. This applies not just to Metheny’s albums but to his live recordings as well. And his latest live recording (<—->) The Unity Sessions proves that without a single doubt. The recording, available now on DVD, Blu-ray and digital platforms, it is one of the best of those categories to be released so far this year. The main reason that it proves so enjoyable is that it is a live recording that isn’t necessarily live in the traditional sense. It isn’t the first time that Metheny has taken this route with his live recordings. Nor is he the only act to take this route, either. Regardless (<—->) The Unity Sessions still proves through its semi-live setting to be another enjoyable recording from Metheny. It is just one reason that the recording proves enjoyable for Metheny’s fans, too. The concert’s set list, which features selections from Metheny’s 2014 album Kin (<—->) and other previous Metheny albums, is another reason that the recording proves so entertaining. Last and just as important to note of the concert’s positives is its production values. Considering the concert’s intimate setting the people behind the cameras (and in front of the editors) had plenty to work with even as small as the stage seemed. Some of the shots ended up being surprisingly stunning in their simplicity while others did an equally impressive job of capturing the emotion of the recording’s featured songs. That will be discussed later. The work of producer/editor Steve Rodby put the finishing touch on the production crew’s expert work to make for a recording that any Metheny fan will agree is yet another great recording from Metheny and Eagle Rock, and also one more of this year’s best new live recordings within its category of recordings.

(<—->) The Unity Sessions is yet another great recording from Metheny and Eagle Rock, and also one more of this year’s best new live recordings within its category of recordings. The main way in which it shows this is through its general presentation. While it is a live recording it is not necessarily a live recording in the traditional sense of the word. Metheny and company performed the set presented here at 5 Angels Theater in New York in 2014. The catch is that there was (apparently) no audience in attendance at the recording of the group’s performance. It was just Metheny and his band mates from the Kin (<—->) recording sessions. It’s not the first time that Metheny has ever taken such an approach with his “live” recordings. And he’s not the first artist to ever use this approach either. What sets this performance of sorts apart from those other recordings (both from him and other settings) is that it actually was recorded in a live venue. The venue in question just didn’t have anyone there to take in the concert. That makes watching the concert feel that much more special for every fan because it makes fans feel as if they are the only one there, enjoying a concert just for them. It makes the performance all the more special for every fan. And it is just one element of this recording that makes it one that every fan will enjoy. The recording’s set list is another important piece of the whole that makes (<—->) The Unity Sessions such an enjoyable recording for fans.

The general presentation of Pat Metheny’s new “live” recording in itself forms a solid base for its overall viewing experience. As important as it is to the recording’s overall viewing experience, it is hardly the only element worth noting here. The songs chosen for the performance are just as important to its whole as the overall presentation. Audiences will note that of its fifteen featured songs, roughly half of the presented set list is taken from Metheny’s 2014 full-length studio offering (<—->) Kin. The eight tracks that make up the remainder of the recording’s set list come from his 2012 album Unity Band, his 2000 album Trio 99 – 00, 2005’s collaboration with Ornette Coleman Song X and 2000’s 80/81. The ‘Medley’ and performance of Cherokee are special additions to the recording’s set list. In other words, the majority of the songs presented here are more recent material. While it obviously is not a career-spanning performance, that does not take anything away from the performance. The musicians’ talent and stage presence makes every song wholly enjoyable in their own right with the set list in whole being a collection of songs that will keep every viewer engaged regardless of their familiarity with Metheny’s body of work. Taking this into consideration it shows in full just why the set list that makes up the body of this recording is so important to its viewing experience. It still is not all that makes the performance such an enjoyable experience for fans, either. The work of those behind the cameras, audio boards, and editors is just as important to the whole of the recording as the show’s set list and its overall presentation.

Both the general presentation of (<—->) The Unity Sessions and its featured set list are important in their own right to the recording’s overall viewing experience. While both are undeniably important to the whole of the recording, neither would be of any importance without the work of those charged with capturing the performance by Metheny and his fellow musicians, and those charged with handling it in post production. Being that the performance was actually recorded in a live venue without an audience is hugely important to the camera crew and those behind the audio boards. Having no bodies to soak up the sound and no one to limit the ability of the cameras to move around in the intimate setting opened up the options for director Matthew Beighly. He could have the cameras move wherever he wanted without worrying about obstructing anyone’s view. It resulted in some great shots such as in ‘Come and See.’ Metheny sits alone on stage with his rather interesting guitar/sitar hybrid, with the light pouring in from behind drummer Antonio Sanchez’s drum set. Sanchez is not there to obstruct the light. So having so much darkness around him and that one giant mass of light pouring in from almost behind him makes for such a big impact. The slow pans and mix fades at other points throughout the recording do just as much in their own right to highlight the intended emotional impact of each song. Just as impressive as the work of the show’s camera crew and director is the work of audio techs Pete Karam and David Oakes. Karam and Oakes expertly handled the openness of the venue with the result being a sound that when coupled with the equally expert work of the camera crew, makes for an experience that will deeply move any of Metheny’s fans. The final product, handled by Rodby in post production is a recording that is perfectly edited with its fade outs, fade ins, audio levels and other elements. It shows in the end to be a recording that is well worth the watch especially for that precision. The work of those behind the cameras and computers, coupled with the concert’s set list and its overall presentation, makes the show in whole a recording that every one of Metheny’s fans will enjoy and will agree is one more of the best of this year’s new live DVDs and Blu-rays.

(<—->) The Unity Sessions is one of the best of this year’s new live DVDs and Blu-rays. That is obvious in examining the recording’s general presentation. It’s not the first time that Metheny has given fans a rather non-traditional live recording. That’s not a bad thing, either. That’s not to say that an audience is a bad thing. Rather it makes the concert feel more special for fans, as if it is a performance just for them. The set list, composed mainly of Metheny’s more recent material makes it even more interesting. That is because the featured songs show that Metheny is still just as talented today in his ability to compose new, original works as he was so many decades ago. The work of those charged with capturing Metheny’s performance and putting the final touches on it before it hit store shelves is just as impressive. It makes this concert one that will assuredly keep fans and audiences in general completely engaged from beginning to end. Of course for all of the importance of these elements, one would be remiss to ignore the recording’s companion booklet and bonus interview. Both elements add even more insight into the group’s performance in their own right. All things considered (<—->) The Unity Sessions proves in the end to be a recording in whole that while not a traditional live recording is still a live recording nonetheless and one that is one of the best of the year’s new live DVDs and Blu-rays. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Eagle Rock, Pat Metheny Team Up Again For Metheny’s Latest Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment announced recently that they have teamed up to release Metheny’s latest live recording this fall.

Eagle Rock Recording will release Pat Metheny’s latest live recording The Unity Sessions on Friday, September 18th. It is not the first time that Metheny and Eagle Rock have worked together on his ive recordings. Recordings including: Speaking of Now Live (2003), The Way Up Live (2006), The Orchestrion Project (2012), and We Live Here Live in Japan (2013) have all been released via Eagle Rock Entertainment. Now Metheny has added The Unity Sessions to that list. Originally recorded at 5 Angels Theater in New York in 2014, will be released on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital platforms and features performances from Metheny’s Grammy Award-winning recording Unity Band, 2014’s KIN (<– –>) recording, and other hits from Metheny’s storied career. The complete track listing for the recording is listed below.

Track Listing:
1) Genealogy
2) On Day One
3) This Belongs To You
4) Roofdogs
5) Come And See
6) Kin
7) Born
8) Rise Up
9) Adagia
10) Sign Of The Season
11) Go Get It
12) Cherokee
13) Police People
14) Two Folk Songs (1st)
15) Medley

As an added bonus, Eagle Rock Entertainment has also included with this recording an in-depth interview filmed with Metheny and his fellow musicians before they took the stage for their performance. Pricing information for the recording will be announced in the days to come. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Metheny’s Orchestrion Project Is An Amazing Experimental Performance

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Nearly two decades ago, a little company known as Animusic created its very first ever animation.  That animation was titled, “Beyond The Walls.”  The release of that animation spawned the release of the even bigger animation, “Pipe Dreams.”  When these original computer generated pieces were created, they were little more than the realization of a group of individuals’ dreams.  Fast forward sixteen years, and a handful of releases later, and those dreams have actually become reality thanks to musician Pat Metheny and a group of inventors.  Sure the inventions used in his new project aren’t exactly like those presented in Animusic’s videos.  But the similarity in style is striking.

Metheny’s new Blu-ray and DVD presentation of The Orchestrion Project has made the dreams formed in the Animusic DVD’s a reality to an extent.  While Metheny didn’t make the machine operated musical instruments, he made himself to be a one man band as he operated everything around him with little more than the push of a pedal.  That the machines in those videos would be inspiration for something real and physical is amazing.  That they actually work is even more incredible.  And that Metheny was able to control so many different instruments while playing his own guitar without missing a single note or beat is beyond words.  It makes him a virtual one-man-band.  At a time when so much music has become watered down and generally lacking in originality, Metheny’s own musicianship combined with this vast array of machines and instruments makes this performance one of the most original of this year, if not the single most original of the year.  From the gentility of ‘Sueno con Mexico’ (I dream with Mexico, roughly translated) to the equally interesting ‘Improvisation #2’ to the five movements of the performance’s title song, this experimental jazz recording is a recording that every musician should experience at least once, regardless of which genre one prefers.  This recording just goes to show the genius of both Metheny and the individuals behind the musical machines presented with him.

The musical performances presented in The Orchestrion Project are the main highlight of this release.  Though as is the case with any home DVD and Blu-ray, bonus features can add to or detract from said presentation.  The Orchestrion Project is one of those cases in which the bonus features enhance the primary feature.  Of those bonus features included in the DVD and Blu-ray, the “Interview With Pat Metheny” is the most insightful.  Audiences will laugh a little bit hearing Metheny exclaim that this recording was the strangest thing that he’d ever done.  Sure, he was going out on a limb.  But as anyone will see from the performance, that proverbial limb held strong.  He also adds insight in his interview as to what exactly an “orchestrion” is.  He goes into something similar to music theory in discussing this.  This is something else that any well trained musician will appreciate.  Along with that discussion on semi-music theory, Metheny also discusses his reasoning for wanting to embark on this project, and even the potential of future releases such as this.  The nearly twenty-minute interview adds so much to what viewers see in the disc’s main feature.  Together, they make for a live performance of a completely different type.  It’s a live performance that any true music lover will enjoy.

The Orchestrion Project is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online direct via Eagle Rock Entertainment’s website, http://www.eagle-rock.com

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