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TRACK LIST: 1. Crossing Neverland 4:16 2. Two Miles to Ana Lese 4:17 3. Walk in November 3:11 4. Watching the Cloud Factory 4:23 5. Skeleton Jack 4:09 6. If I Can Learn to Fly 5:01 7. Stovie 4:45 8. Butterflies 5:41 LINEUP: Mike Grande – guitars Adam Reich – bass Rob Racalbuto – drums Eddie Perelman – piano
Prolusion. Mike GRANDE is a New York based guitarist, who has been honing his craft for more than 20 years. In earlier days he was active in various bands and performed live, while in later years being a guitar teacher and session musician has taken up more of his time. "My Dash between the Numbers" is his debut album, recorded in his own studio.
Analysis. One of the more challenging tasks a guitarist can take on these days is to release a self-made, self-released instrumental album showcasing the skills he or she has when it comes to playing, arranging, producing and composing. Not because it is such a difficult task in itself, but the sheer amount of releases of that kind that have been made in the last 20 years or so is staggering. The challenge is to produce something that stands out from the crowd, to develop a distinct sound or style that makes fans of this kind of music sit down and take notice. Mike Grande is not able to achieve just that, at least not on this release. There's no doubt that he is a capable guitar player. On the 8 compositions chosen for his debut album he gets to show that he's a gifted musician able to play in a variety of styles. One asset in particular that is showcased is his skills in performing melodies, in styles ranging from slow and mellow ballads to hair metal influenced tunes. While soloing, which in this case as well as most others in this genre is a dominating feature, there's a good connection between the guitar and the foundation for the tunes, bass, keyboards and drums. The soloing follows the basic melody lines rather well, and when improvising there's still a good connection between Grande's playing and the performances of his backing musicians. Floating keyboard segments are ideal for showing off some tight harmonic playing; and on a few tracks this particular skill is indeed explored. Grande is just as capable of following his own foundation in these songs though, with acoustic guitar licks, mellow drawn-out chords and dampened guitar riffs all utilized as additional foundation for the guitar to play upon. My overall impression is that this is a CD showcasing Mike's abilities to perform in a variety of styles rather than focusing on technical skills, with rhythm guitar and solo guitar segments both performed in a relaxed and unobtrusive manner. The compositions themselves come across as run of the mill tunes though. Nothing surprising one way or the other, predictable pieces performed by steady and solid musicians. None of the tracks are really weak ones, neither are they captivating to such an extent that they stand out from the crowd. It's a likeable release; no more, no less.
Conclusion. If melodic guitar-dominated instrumental music with one foot in hard rock and the other placed in the lighter side of heavy metal sounds like a good thing, then this one might be worthwhile to be checked out further. And as the CD is available for free from Grande's website, this is a release that anyone is given the chance to easily check out further.
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