Archive for November 10th, 2009

Lawson Rollins – Espirito

Many believe that the arts mirror what is happening in the world and if that is the case, perhaps Lawson RollinsEspirito serves as a monumental soundtrack to the unification of our disparate cultures. The guitarist’s epic thirteen-song collection, to be released January 19th by Infinita Records, which is distributed by Baja/TSR Records, serves as the very definition of World Music with its seamless multicultural mélange of sound, style, composition and performance by musicians reflecting such culturally rich locales as Spain, Brazil, Cuba, Persia, Afghanistan, India and the U.S.

Rollins wrote the compositions for the album, his second solo release, which he produced with Shahin Shahida (of the Persian-American World Music group Shahin & Sepehr) and Dominic Camardella (3rd Force, Ottmar Liebert). Preceding the album release at radio will be “Moonlight Samba,” a sensual groove with an enchanting melody along with dexterous guitar soloing by Rollins, classy muted trumpet swatches, and dreamy vocals from Brazilian icon Flora Purim and her husband, master percussionist Airto Moreira.

Espirito evolved from Rollins’ critically-acclaimed debut disc, Infinita (2008), made by the same production trio and the same core ensemble consisting of Purim, Moreira, Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat (Shadowfax), Afghan vocalist Humayun Khan (harmonium), Jeff Elliot (trumpet), Randy Tico (bass), and Dave Bryant (drums, percussion). As grandiose as Infinita was, Rollins was determined to elevate every aspect of the 66 minutes of music on Espirito by stretching his wanderlust further outside his comfort zone, weaving a greater unifying theme throughout the compositions, assembling an even more diverse cast of players from all over the world, and utilizing a larger spectrum of sound captured in maximum fidelity.

Three of Infinita’s tracks – “Café Jobim,” “In Motion,” and the title track – scored major radioplay, and Espirito is primed with radio playlist possibilities. Songs like “Rumba del Sol” and the title track are festive, fun and celebratory. “Return to Rio” is whimsical while “Blue Mountain Bolero” is an exotic romancer. “Cape Town Sky” is constantly changing tempo while a gorgeous contemplative melody hovers radiantly above the horizon. The album concludes with “The Caravan Trilogy” – “Migration,” “Shadowland” and “Into the Light” – a poetic passage through time and geography spanning music’s migration from east to west starting in India and passing through Persia, the Middle East, Spain and onto the New World.

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I Happened To Hear 11/2009

This 5-track EP taken from the album of the same name comes from Christian singer, composer, pianist and producer Eric Copeland. It contains the lyrically very clever ‘The Jazz in Me’ which grows on me the more I hear it with a vocal delivery reminiscent of Michael Franks, and some scatting.

There’s a funkier feel on ‘My Steps are Ordered’ with some very nice piano sounds. ‘Come to Me’ is a mellow piano-led song with gospel undertones and surely has the potential to be a radio hit – I wish the guitar/vocal scat break had been a bit longer…

The Latin feel on the vocal ‘Have Thine Own Way’ is enhanced by the sweet acoustic guitar. The elegant production on this song lets the Christian lyrics speak for themselves.

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