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(40:53; Klee Music)
TRACK LIST: 1. Symzonia 3:18 2. Incident in Rio 2:29 3. Solar Monarch 3:43 4. Don and Walt’s Hawaiian Excursion 2:30 5. Land Locked 3:14 6. Passport to Magonia 6:47 7. Another Estuary 3:21 8. September 2:14 9. Masquerade 3:35 10. Spanish Feat 1:57 11. Jazz Hands 2:43 12. The Great Escape 5:02 LINEUP: Neil Campbell - guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion Viktor Nordberg - drums with: Amy Chalmers - violin Jon Lawton - percussion, programming
Prolusion. UK artist Neil CAMPBELL has been active for quite a few years by now, with his first solo album dating back to 2003. He has been an active solo artist and contributor to various projects ever since, with more than a dozen albums to his CV as of 2021. "The Great Escape" is his most recent solo album, and was released through the label Klee Music towards the end of 2021.
Analysis. Instrumental music is what's in store for those who choose to purchase this album, and one centered around the acoustic guitar. Campbell is a highly skilled guitarist, and his ability to create alluring tone combinations and to produce soft, firm but also elegant tones from his instruments makes up a lot of the charm on this as well as the other albums of his I have encountered over the years. Elegance is also a key word here, as every song has a natural elegance to them other instrumentalists as well as composers and arrangers may well envy. He has managed to find good supporting musicians that know how to keep matters finely balanced between being restrained and contributing what is needed for the greater totality, with the drums in particular doing a very good job of this here. Some of the percussion work here is truly sublime too. Otherwise keyboards and strings make occasional appearances, both of them as tasteful and elegant as everything else on this production. While style perhaps isn't the most important facet of a production like this, I suspect that fusion is probably the best manner in which to describe this. We do get some Latin oriented affairs and a couple of other instances where the composition is a bit more aligned towards jazz, but fusion and perhaps acoustic fusion strikes me as the best manner in which to summarize this production as far as genre descriptions are concerned.
Conclusion. Style and genre isn't always all that important, and for my sake I think that this latest production by Campbell is one that for many will be more interesting without focusing all that much on this aspect of the music we are presented with. Tasteful and elegant compositions with the acoustic guitar as a central and dominant presence with a restrained and tasteful execution is how I would summarize this production, and if that sounds interesting and you also tend to fancy instrumental music of this kind with a jazz orientation chances are good that you will find this album to be most interesting indeed. A solid creation, documenting just how compelling music of this kind can be when executed with restraint and a focus on tasteful elegance.
Progmessor: December 2021
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