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Tom Guarna

Spirit Science

Review by Gary Hill

We generally land fusion under the progressive rock heading, and I'd definitely consider this fusion. Whether you agree with that classification or not, you'll find this to be a particularly effective set of instrumental jazz. There is a lot of variety here and a good range. Each musicians gets to showcase their art at different points along the road.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
The Trion Re
Drums bring this in, and the band launch out from there with some smoking hot fusion. While everyone puts in amazing performances, I'm particularly impressed with some of the killer guitar soloing on this thing. It brings some real magic. The drop back to piano is a nice touch, bringing the piece into more traditional jazz zones for a while.
Platonic Solids

I dig the cool almost trippy groove that the keys and horn bring as this gets underway. The number evolves as it continues, but electronic keyboard elements remain a big piece of the musical puzzle. There is more spacey weirdness (in a great way) later. This is quite a ride.

The Genesis Pattern

This is a real powerhouse, screaming hot jazz jam. Some of the piano playing on this is particularly magical, but the guitar really steals a lot of this show. I dig the percussion workout later in the track, too. This number is one of my favorites here, really. Everything just gels so well.

Spirit Science

Intricate guitar that makes me think of Al Di Meola leads this number out of the gate. The tune evolves into a melodic and fairly mellow fusion jam from there. There is a cool bass break later in the track that lends some sedate magic to the number. The synthesizer stuff later is classy, as well. This makes me think of what you might get it you merged Pat Metheny's music with Di Meola's in a lot of ways.

Two Circles

Coming in rather sedate and subtle, this builds out from there. This really becomes quite a cool ride. It features some pretty killer melodic guitar soloing, too. Be sure to listen for the bass work. It's definitely noteworthy. The piano playing is exceptional, as well. This just an all around strong fusion number that really grows as it works through.

A Reflection in a Reflection (for Kofi Burbridge)

This is a mellower cut. It starts in a piano-based movement and evolves from there. This is in some ways a bit of a respite.

Metatron's Cube

This is an energized cut with some real tension and style built into it. There is a lot of drama and "oomph" to this thing. It's a highlight of the set. It's a number that merges more mainstream jazz with fusion nicely.

Source

Another that starts in mellow territory, this cut has an intriguing vibe to it. It is the most sedate piece here, but the guitar weaves some magical tapestries of sound. Horn takes command around the halfway mark.

Lullaby for Lena

Another sedate tune, there is a bit of a bouncy playfulness to this number. This is classy, but I'm not sure I would have ended the set with two mellower songs - or even put these two together in the running order.

 

 
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