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Adam Sivitz

Under a Blueberry Moon

Review by G. W. Hill

Adam Sivitz is the drummer for the rock band Mercury. That information might make a listener anticipate hearing a rock album with a lot of percussion with this, his new solo release. Such an assumption would be partly correct. The music here is very percussion based, but it is not really rock. Instead the sound is more like a cross between world music and mellow jazz. It is also very effective and entertaining.

This disc is highly recommended to drummers and other percussionists. Jazz and world music fans will also find a lot to enjoy. Still, anyone with an interest in stretching musical boundaries and hearing new sounds would like this journey. It’s familiar and still exotic, but always thrilling and captivating. It’s under progressive rock here because we generally put fusion there, and with the world music in the mix, along with Sivitz’ rock pedigree, it seems the most logical place for it to land.

Track by Track Review
Under a Blueberry Moon

The title track opens the disc tentatively. It feels both symphonic and atmospheric at first. Percussion heralds a new direction, but it still rises up rather tentatively. The composition feels very much like a cross between world music and melodic jazz or fusion. It does a great job of getting the listener into the right zone to appreciate the rest of the set.

Baba Yaga
The rhythm section opens “Baba Yaga” and there is a bit crunchier edge to the number. Still, it drops back to sounds that are even mellower than the opener at times. While the first track had a relaxing texture, there is a distinct tension to its successor. The rhythm section really drives it and the cut feels related, but has a much wider musical palate.
The First Sun
This combines the energy of the previous tune with the more melodic jazz nature of the opener. The result is a track that seems to lie somewhere between those two piece.
Song for Sendai
“Song for Sendai” is more dramatic while lying in a territory that’s decidedly mellower. Tuned percussion provides a lot of the melody and there is symphonic or soundtrack like element to the piece. It’s arguably one of the most effective compositions of the whole set. Interestingly enough, despite its mellower style, one of the most rock oriented bits of the whole disc is heard in the guitar solo near the end.
Poppy Orange
There’s a real bouncy vibe to “Poppy Orange.”  While much of the track is based in world music, there is also a bit of a jam band texture to parts of it. It definitely feels like “road music.” It is good time sounds all the way.
Mime Riot
Dramatic and powerful, “Mime Riot” has a lot of symphonic music in its arrangement, but there is also plenty of jazz. It’s another that’s a contender for best tune here. It is one of the most dynamic.  
Peace March
This has some gentle melody and a lot of world music built into it, but it’s also one of the most purely percussive tune on show. In fact, large sections feature no melody instrumentation and even when melody is heard, much of it is produced by tuned percussion. There is definitely a tribal or island kind of texture to the track. It’s fairly mellow and rather relaxing, despite having a well developed rhythmic element.
And the World Jogged On
World music and jazz merge on “And the World Jogged On.” The bass that pushes forward on various sections of the piece is particularly noteworthy. A lot of this feels similar to some of the fusion that was so common in the 1970s.
Infrasonic
This is another that’s mostly percussive. It has the most purely world music sound of the whole set. Still, there’s enough fusion there to keep it from landing purely in the world hopper.
Olympia Place
Piano is rather prominent on the closing number. It’s the balladic “Olympia Place.” While there are still definite percussive elements, the track is one of the mellower and most purely jazz-like tracks on the whole disc. It presents a satisfying conclusion to the album.
 
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