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William Maxwell

Cardinal Points

Review by Gary Hill

 A solo album from Tempest bassist William Maxwell, this disc covers quite a bit of musical range. The material here ranges from solid prog to fusion. Leanings which can be heard in different points of the CD range from Genesis to Rush to Bruford Levin Upper Extremities and Tony Levin solo work. Maxwell is joined on this disc by his friend Michael Manring, among others.

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Track by Track Review
The Big Bird
With an early section based in a mellow prog fashion, this cut is sedate, but not boring. It suddenly explodes into a harder edged fusion oriented segment for a short time, then drops back to the mellower ground that made up the beginning.
Not Tonight I Have A Headache
Feeling a lot like an early Genesis take on a ticking clock, this is a great ethereal piece.
Sweet Dreams
A pretty acoustic guitar solo, this one is brief, but entertaining.
Early Morning Rising
A great dramatic prog texture starts this cut. As it begins building, it is in a wonderfully inspiring jazzy way. After a time it jumps to a stuttering sort of arrangement that feels just a little like Rush. Then a joyfully toned fusion oriented jam ensues.
The Gold Rush
With an intro that is an acoustically based jam, this one is frantically paced at times. As the intro ends and the song proper ensues, the style is in a nice prog fusion sort of mode. It calls to mind Bruford Levin Upper Extremities at times.
Cardinal Points
Title track material, this is more sedate styled fusion oriented music. The bass takes the number for a while as this cut moves in ethereal fusion directions. It calls to mind the solo work of Tony Levin at times.
Sonata in D (Scarletti)
This acoustic performance of a classical sonata is quite effective.
Carol From An Irish Cabin
Haunting tones start this one, and it begins building in a pretty tonal manner. The cut is delicate and quite effective.
Bassically Country
Well-named, this one is a countrified bass guitar dominated jam. It is a very interesting change of pace and includes a brief nod to "Dixie".
Every Time
Another sedate number, this one is another that feels a lot like something from a Tony Levin album.
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