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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Darryl Way


Review by Gary Hill

You really can't go wrong with a Darryl Way project. He's one of those musicians who you can count on for quality. You will find some range of style from release to release, but the quality is always there. This new set showcases instrumental music that takes the listener on a journey. Given that most of us are currently at home, at least as I write this review, that seems particularly relevant today. The music here encompasses jazz, fusion, classical and rock as major influences, but at various times there are nods to things like jam band sounds, southern rock and country, surf guitar, Latin music and more. All in all, this is an enjoyable and entertaining trip.

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Track by Track Review
Downtown LA
Drums bring this in, and the jamming ensues from there. The cut has a lot of Allman Brothers styled jam band sound. There is a bit of a punky edge to it, too. Yet, this also has some country built into it at times. Electronic textures and fusion are on display, as well, Overall, this is energized and a lot of fun.
There is a clanking sort of industrial percussive element as this starts. Violin and other elements join to create a powerful symphonic prog arrangement as the number works outward. This number works into some killer fusion zones as it continues. There are also hints of space rock. The violin is such a great melody delivery system on this number. This is a real powerhouse.
The Stars
Trippy, and suitably spacey, elements bring this into being. Violin rises up with a very classical vibe as it moves outward. After moving through this sort of spacey movement for a time, it shifts to more of a pure fusion jam from there. It makes me think of both Jean-Luc Ponty and Al Di Meola a bit. The number takes on a bit more of that space rock element as it moves forward and continues to evolve.
The Wild West
In some ways this feels a bit like soundtrack music to an old Western. Of course, that's the reason for the title. There is more of a dreamy kind of "high art" element on display here, though. It has a shift to an "action segment" styled bit later that feels even more like soundtrack music. The piece works through a number of different themes and modes along the road.
A Rainy Day In Vienna
This has a cool rock meets fusion vibe to it. There is some tasty guitar work along with magical violin playing. It does have a bit of a soundtrack vibe, too.
The Restless City
This is a real powerhouse that is part classical, part fusion and part rock music. It's a classy tune, too. It's a fairly short one.
Riviera Blue
Based on some Spanish guitar work, the Di Meola reference is on display here, too. It gets more instruments added to the mix as it intensifies and grows. Some of those Latin elements remain throughout, though. This does work into more jazz territory as it continues.
Antigua Bay
I love the prog rock meets surf guitar and fusion concept to this cut. Then again, I'm a big fan of surf guitar. Some of this makes me think a bit of some of Steve Howe's solo work. There is a good balance between more powered up and mellower stuff here. It has some tasty guitar work, too.
Freedom Road
There is some solid guitar work built into this thing. The cut has a real traveling kind of vibe. Rock, Spanish guitar and fusion all seem to merge here. We get the sound of a motorcycle in the mix later. This really does have an open-road vibe to it.
Mystic Mountain
With neo-classical stylings, this number is a dreamy, yet soaring piece. It features both prominent violin and guitar in an enchanting arrangement. It leans toward the mellower end of the spectrum, but has plenty of passion and power within that.
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