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(33:13, JAM Recordings)
TRACK LIST: 1. Desert Dreams 2:25 2. Green Fields 2:35 3. Timeless 3:45 4. Secret Garden 1:30 5. Child's Play 2:34 6. Sand in the Sun 3:56 7. New Day Rising 6:00 8. Happy Daze 2:04 9. Story Time 2:35 10. Is There Anybody Out There 1:41 11. Horizons 1:47 12. Sunset 2:21 SOLO-PILOT: Jeremy Morris - acoustic guitar
Prolusion. JEREMY Morris is a US based musician and one of the most prolific artists associated with prog music still active today. After his 1984 debut he has released more than 30 albums, mostly instrumental, exploring various styles of progressive rock and beyond. "New Day Rising" was released in 2007 on his own Jam Recordings label.
Analysis. Some might ask why a release such as this one gets a review at a website dedicated to progressive rock. Apart from cover versions of two songs written by progressive rock acts, here performed as instrumental tunes on acoustic guitar, there's hardly much progressive about instrumental acoustic guitar music, is there? Personally I'm not that concerned about such issues, but for those that might be I'll have to say that I understand reservations in that regard. For some, progressive music is all about complexity in structure as well as in soundscape, and the use of several instruments for some is a must to fulfill the criteria of the term progressive. And, aye, there's not too much rock music as most would classify it on this release either, and although there are not too many instances of changes in style and pace in each composition, the music is complex enough to fulfill the demands of the progressive idiom, at least as I see it. Jeremy Morris excels at finding intriguing and memorable melodies; all the tunes on this release witness that. The compositions, whether influenced by folk, classical, jazz or rock, are all fascinating and intriguing, where the main emphasis seems to be to convey a certain atmosphere and mood, and with less focus on showcasing technical abilities. Closer listening will reveal just how complex some of these compositions are though. In addition to exploring one or more musical themes in each of the compositions here, shorter melodic fragments are explored as part of the main melody; patterns lasting no more than a few seconds are inserted and repeated in the main melody. At times this miniature theme will be explored in numerous slight variations, but always coming back to the original miniature theme from time to time. This additional element is what makes these tunes so fascinating to listen to as well. The nuances added to the overall soundscape by those brief melodic themes see to it that the individual melodies never get tedious or repetitive, as there is always some slight difference in the texture keeping the listener attentive. The inclusion of cover tunes by Pink Floyd and Genesis, apart from being interesting to listen to performed solely by acoustic guitar, also serves another purpose – it's after listening to these two tunes that you really appreciate how complex Jeremy's own compositions are.
Conclusion. With a number of very good compositions and quite a few superb ones, this is a release easily recommended to anyone interested in instrumental albums with the sole emphasis on acoustic guitar. Fans of some of Jeremy's cited major influences – Steve Hackett, Steve Howe, Anthony Phillips, Gordon Giltrap and Leo Kottke – should also find this release to be of interest.
OMB: April 19, 2008
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