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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pamela Fleming

and Fearless Dreamer - Climb

Review by Gary Hill

Pam Fleming's second CD, Climb continues with the progressive rock rooted firmly in jazz fashion that her first disc presented. The disc is a fairly sedate one, but a definite winner. This lady shows that she has class and has surrounded herself with killer musicians. The disc should be a treat for both fans of jazz and fans of jazzy prog. Many of the tracks presented on the disc are tributes (one to her mother, two in honor of 9/11 and two for a fellow trumpet player whom Fleming used to spend time with). With a growing musical legacy that stands up this well one can expect to hear a lot more from Fleming and her band.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Say Goodbye
Horn starts this and moves it into a smooth jazz ballad type melody. This is slow moving, but quite pretty. Although lyrics are listed for this one, it is an instrumental.
Slimy Business
A rather reggaeish texture makes up this jazzy bluesy rocker. This instrumental is a great retro textured jam.S
Forward Sign In A Backward Time
Coming in funky and a bit off kilter, this is a cool mid-tempo rocker. The arrangement is the first one to show a prog rock sensibility, albeit understated as it is. The chorus has a sound that takes motown textures to a prog rock sensibility. This one is a positive leaning and very intriguing composition.
Angel of Adventure
This one is a powerful and beautiful tribute to Fleming's mother. It has a strong anthem rock ballad texture with definite jazz stylings. This also shows off certain classic prog modes at times.
More Than Anything
This instrumental starts in a mellow mode with the promise of a beauty to come. It unfolds slowly and gradually into a pretty ballad. This is a bit like some of Tony Levin's solo work. It is gentle and haunting.
Another instrumental, this starts playful and has a reggae type beat. This is a fun composition with a great groove.
Early Morning
According to the liner notes this track is sort of a precursor to the one that follows and documents a certain September morning in New York City. This is a gentle and sedate cut that includes perhaps equal parts prog and jazz. It is a short one.
Climb - The Morning After
The liner notes on this say "Remembering September 11, 2001. It happened to us all. I saw the smoke. I smelled the electric burn. I felt the Souls in the ashes. This melody rose upward." This song is a beautiful and melancholy jazzy prog rock instrumental tribute that can certainly bring tears to the listener's eyes. This is incredibly powerful!
Curious Stillness
This is a pretty piano improvisation by Jim West.
Lose My Mind
This is another powerful ballad in its early segments. It becomes more energetic at times and comes across as a jazzy prog ballad that rocks out at times.
Lester Floats In
This track, paired with the one that follows it, are written as a tribute to Flrming's fellow trumpeter the late Lester Bowie. This one is meant to float in, and in a Crimsonish prog fashion it weaves around in a discordant fashion. Eventually it slides into the final track of the album.
Lester's Blues
This jam is a great blues number, upbeat and old school in texture, and Fleming's trumpet just wails. It is a classy way to end a cool disc. They wander into more Crimsoid jamming later This in fact dissolves into chaos to end.
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