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(42 min, Unicorn)
TRACK LIST: 1. Yin Yang Boogie 4:27 2. Road Warrior 3:56 3. Determined 4:39 4. Deadline 3:35 5. American Fields 3:12 6. Morning Train 5:28 7. Wherever You Are 3:53 8. Highland Hip Hop 4:13 9. Transatlantic 4:17 10. The Least You Can Do 4:29 LINEUP: Daryl Stuermer - guitars, bass Leland Sklar - bass Mark Torroli - drums Brad Cole - keyboards Luis Conte - percussion
Prolusion. The name of Daryl STUERMER is well known to most if not all prog lovers, since the career of this American guitarist and songwriter has always been linked with star artists. His guitar work is an essential part of each of the first four albums by Jean-Luc Ponti (1975 to 1978); during the next 14 years Daryl was a staff member of Genesis's concert lineup (which also included drummer Chester Thompson); finally since 1982 he has been a permanent participant of all the studio and live projects of Phil Collins.
Analysis. Mr. Stuermer's activity as a solo performer spans already 16 years. He has several outings issued under his own name, the latest of which, "Rewired", is a sort of "Best of" compilation featuring some of the musician's most favorite solo creations, all being newly edited and remastered. Subtitled as "The Electric Collection", "Rewired" is a set of ten instrumental pieces most of which are positively electrifying indeed. It is no surprise that Daryl's longstanding collaboration with all the said famous artists has not gone without leaving a trace regarding his solo work. Yin Yang Boogie, Determined, Transatlantic and Deadline, all combine rockingly energetic guitar-driven Fusion with what I see as quasi symphonic post-Art-Rock, the echoes of '80s and '90s Genesis being clearly audible within the sections with quieter arrangements on each of the former three, now evoking Tonight-Tonight-Tonight or Abacab, now Keep It Dark or No Son of Mine. Co-written by Collins and Stuermer, The Least You Can Do is a lush refined ballad which has a similar Genesis-like pop-art sound throughout, whilst Morning Train, where the guitar sounds almost like a violin (as if Daryl is playing it with a bow), could've been right in place on any of the '90s creations by Ponti. Just like the previously mentioned piece, Wherever You Are reveals no pace changes. This is a traditional blues ballad and is the only track on the disc where the music is slow throughout. Standing out for its catchy guitar solo running all through the cut, Road Warrior associates with both Fusion and the so-called "guitar hero" style, though elements of the latter can probably be found on each of the tracks. My favorite tunes on the album would be Highland Hip Hop (rooted in a traditional Gael music) and the Flamenco-inspired American Fields, on both of which Daryl shines as an acoustic guitar player.
Conclusion. For the most part both rather groovy and repetitive, this music is not Jazz-Fusion, nor it is even traditional Jazz Rock either, but is melodic mainstream Fusion - at least overall. I wouldn't like to be improperly understood however. "Rewired" is high-quality music made by a true professional, but for a progressive mind this creation is of no value. I only hope that this, Unicorn Records' most commercial release to date, will yield a profit to this great label so that they continue gladden us fans with their more typical productions in the future.
VM: February 9, 2006
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