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Quinn Sternberg

Cicada Songs

Review by Gary Hill

The music here lands under prog at MSJ because it's largely fusion, and we generally put fusion there. That said there are plenty of classic jazz moments. I love how different songs seem to focus on different instruments to some degree. Quinn Sternberg plays bass on this, and one might expect that that instrument would get the lion's share of the attention, but this is more of an ensemble creation, despite the name under which it's released. Call it what you like, but this is solid music.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
June
Percussion brings this in. The cut grows out with a classy jazz arrangement from there. This gets into more fusion-based zones as it starts really exploring the space. There is so much going on with some definite experimental vibes at play.
Cicada Song
This gets into more fusion zones right out of the gate. It's another classy musical journey with plenty of style and drama. There is some particularly crazed jamming built into this beast.
Alter Ego
While everything about this killer tune is top-notch, I'm particularly enamored with the bass work here. It dances around in some pretty great ways, while the rest of the instruments paint their fusion pictures.
Remember the Birds
While not a big change, this is another solid fusion number that has some great work in the mix.
Porch Cat
This comes in with a mellower, dreamy kind of groove. It eventually works out to more of a full jazz arrangement, but it is still a slower piece.
Insomnia
More of a powerhouse jazz fusion romp, I think the horn playing really steals the show on this cut. That said, it's a matter of degrees because everyone really shines on this thing.
What a Day
Coming in mellow and restrained, this works out slowly from there. The percussion has a very up-front role on this number. The piano gets pretty crazed, and there is almost a King Crimson feel to some of this.
Ami's Lullaby
A more melodic and mainstream jazz piano texture starts this cut. This works out into a jam that's a little more on the full jazz (less fusion) vibe. It's melodic and potent. It also makes for a satisfying closer.
 
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