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TRACK LIST: 1. Tribute to 7:46 2. Dreaming 6:13 3. Aquarium 6:48 4. The Rain in Paris 6:59 5. Black Coffee 6:11 6. Free Fall 5:58 7. GB 4:40 8. The Chicken 4:40 9. Sea Horse 7:13 10. Thanks John 4:25 11. E-Blues 2:18 LINEUP: Vitaly Popeloff Ц el. & ac. guitars Evgeny Popeloff - keyboards Vladimir Badirov - drums Rovshan Farmanov - bass Aziz Khalmuradov Ц keyboards With: Several additional musicians
Prolusion. Vitaly POPELOFF is a guitarist and songwriter from Uzbekistan who started out playing in various bands in the early С90s. In the last few years he has been a member of Fromuz, as well as being one of the most sought after studio musicians in Uzbekistan. His first solo album "Pure Fiction" was released in 2005.
Analysis. On this album, Popeloff takes the listener on a multi-faceted musical journey. A multitude of styles are explored, and the contributions of different musicians from one track to the next enhance the level of variation to the different compositions. To make sure that the album is seen as a whole rather than a collection of mixed songs Popeloff has used a simple but effective technique - sounds and samples connect one tune to the next, giving this instrumental release a conceptual setting, enhancing the feel of the listener partaking in a musical journey with a distinct start and finish. Tribute To kicks off with samples of opening fanfares and passages from various movies, then calms down to a mellow passage where dark-tinged keyboards dominate, and finally continues with a jazz-rock-tinged style, slowly evolving from a slightly staccato structure to a flowing melodic structure, sounding pretty similar to early Joe Satriani in style in the process. Dreaming is a mellow jazz rock tune, where the sax and guitar have individual soloing segments before merging in the last part of the track. Aquarium is a slightly more energetic jazz rock piece, this time with the addition of flutes in some segments of the composition. The Rain in Paris explores a more traditional jazz landscape, with acoustic guitar and trumpet being the dominating instruments. On Black Coffee Popeloff takes us back into a jazz-rock musical landscape, with atmospheric guitar soloing and some careful keyboard work weaving a lush and dreamlike melodic tapestry. Free Fall is a more energetic composition, with guitar soloing over slick guitar riffs creating a style similar to early Joe Satriani again, but with the addition of keyboard textures to make the atmosphere smoother and slightly symphonic in nature. GB (To Miles) features sampled talking, and some seamless interplay between acoustic guitar licks and trumpet soloing. This lush and mellow jazz composition fairly much sounds like a tribute to Miles Davis, as its title suggests. The Chicken (To Jaco) is a much more energetic offering, with funky guitar licks, brass bursts adding depth and variation, a solid bass line as the foundation and some stylish blues-influenced soloing in an arrangement that can be described as jazz-tinged blues or blues-tinged jazz in style. Sea Horse is dominated by a vibrant, driving bass line, with two layers of acoustic guitar licks and a third layer with guitar soloing on top. Violins are added as the track evolves, further enhancing the dreamlike qualities of this reflective symphonic jazz rock tune. Thanks John is a much more lively composition, with Latin rhythms, brass instruments, non-lyrical background vocals, funky bass line and soloing on Rhodes as well as guitar - in a tune that wouldn't have been out of place on any of the classic releases by Carlos Santana. E-Blues (Remark #12) ends the album with an intense acoustic guitar-based blues workout, steadily increasing in intensity as the composition advances. Vitaly Popeloff excels in creating fascinating melodic structures on this jazz-rock dominated release, with mood and atmosphere as the main focuses. He's a highly skilled guitar player, but thankfully he restrains himself from showing off his technique and skill all the time, instead concentrating on creating memorable moods and good songs. Unlike many other artists, he also saves the best tracks for the end of the album, the last four compositions here being the best tunes on this high-quality release.
Conclusion. The main emphasis on jazz rock on this release obviously makes this album most interesting to fans of this particular style, but admirers of skilled melodic guitar playing should take note of this recording as well. This is a high class release, well worth checking out and highly recommended.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 30, 2008
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