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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Lena Bloch & Feathery

Rose Of Lifta

Review by Gary Hill

At MSJ we put fusion under progressive rock. It just seems to fit. So, the question becomes "what is fusion?" I don't think there is a clear answer, but I know it when I hear it. I think the majority of this fits under that heading. Whether you agree or not, this is a compelling and particularly effective release.

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Track by Track Review
Promise Of Return
Bass starts the track and the album. Piano rises up after a time, and then other instruments follow. This becomes a dramatic number with traditional jazz, world music, fusion and classical music all seeming represented here. It's a killer track that calls to mind some of the best work from the jazz greats of bygone eras, while also feeling fresh and experimental. There is some particularly crazed piano work on this thing. At nearly ten-and-a-half minutes of music, this is an extended piece, and they put that time to good use, really creating some powerful passages. I love how it seems to come back around with the world music infused section late in the track.
Mad Mirror
A mellower piece, this really has a retro vibe to it. You can almost see the smoky jazz club environment. Yet, this is also experimental and a bit freaky at times.
New Home
The piano is particularly intense on this track. The number has plenty of dynamic range and is packed full of lots of magic. This is another extended piece of music. There are some pretty cool passages and explorations here. This seems packed with discovery and passion.
Climbing Rose Of Lifta
This comes in tentative and rises gradually. It's another extended piece. The balance between mellower and louder on this is pretty wide ranging. It's another effective cut.
Old Home
Bass starts this track and holds it for some time, working through a cool solo. Piano eventually takes over from there. Other instruments join gradually. This becomes quite the cool fusion exploration with some particularly powerful musical passages.
Mahmoud Darwish
This is perhaps a bit stranger than some of the rest here. There is a sense of danger to it. It gets pretty crazed before it's finished.
Wintry Mix
What a killer piece this is. It has a great blending of old-school and modern jazz. It also has some particularly powerful musical passages.
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