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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Pablo Embon

Wicked Strings

Review by Gary Hill

While for the most part this is all jazz, there is quite a bit of range here. There are songs that land near Al Di Meola’s catalog. At other points, you might think you are in an old time jazz club. Still other songs land in more fusion territory. The two closers take it in completely different directions. The versatility really helps this flow from start to finish. It’s quite a satisfying listening experience.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Wicked Strings

The guitar soloing here really sets the stage for a lot of what’s to come. We get some melodic and powerful fusion based work. The piano solo is a nice touch, too. This piece really has a great jazz groove.

Learning from the Past
While this is less dynamic and diverse in some ways, it has a lot more meat on its bones in others. The guitar soloing really drives it, and the piece is pure fusion goodness.
Sense of Jazz

This really does have a sense of a bygone jazz era. While there are modern tones, too, this feels very much like old school traditional jazz in a lot of ways.

If I Had Known
I really like this one a lot. It reminds me a bit of Al Di Meola in some ways. It’s definitely more of a fusion vibe with both the piano and guitar creating the majority of the melodic tension. There are some non-lyrical vocals on this, but they might be synthesized. There is a cool synthesizer solo, too.
Love Behind the Scenes
With the piano really leading the way on this cut, it feels like a classic club jazz type of arrangement. I love the horn on this, too.
Rolling On
I really love this song. It has such great melodic tones and a killer groove. This is classic modern jazz.
When They Return
There are no big changes here, just more solid melodic jazz.
First Rain
Much more tied to fusion, this one has a lot of energy and a lot of drama. I’m not crazy about some of the keyboard voicings, though. Still, it has a cool groove and works well.
Bread and Butter
The piano is prominent on this. There are some hints of dissonance here. The percussion is fairly up-front, as well.
Esperanza
This cut makes me think of Pat Metheny quite a bit. It has a great fusion vibe and some classy melodies.
Side By Side
Although there are no big changes here, this is more solid jazz.
Legend of Duduk
This is very Asian in sound and instrumentation. It’s a real change and quite a pretty piece of music.
Save a Dream
The closing cut is a piano solo. It’s effective and has a lot of energy.

 

 
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