Sep 24, 2005 l By DeVon Pierre Jackson
DOJO Featuring Brian Baggett
From the opening song entitled The Vine, Brian Baggett and DOJO immediately captivated me. With the use of an acoustic guitar and some Methenyesque coloring for the background, the melody created a perfectly painted picture of midwestern charm.
The Vine is an excellent example of an easy-flowing groove that keeps you on your toes, with soulful soloing and comping.
The second song entitled Bad Song is where you'll find DOJO taking you on a mysterious journey. At first Brian Baggett solos beautifully over a lush chord progression, as drummer Luke Stone shines with some awe-inspiring cymbal work. Then DOJO turns the corner with a driving rhythm segment, which paves the way for some exciting exchanges with all three musicians.
With a lead tone that has a hint of overdrive and shimmering chordal stabs, you'll find yourself unable to deny the song's pull.
My favorite song on the album is the third song entitled Good Morning. Those two words never sounded so good, powered by the vocal like melody of the main theme. Even though no words are spoken, you can actually hear good morning vocalized by the guitar, with a stroke of melodic genius.
DOJO has a unique way of staying away from the predictable. By focusing on the song's inherent platform for heavy exploration, DOJO doesn't rely on cliched riffs and soloing. Brian Baggett gives you doses of Cream-Era Clapton intensity and then ups the ante by displaying lethal legato lines. The song ends with a masterful bass solo by Brad Maestas that shows his ability create tasteful tone and touch.
The playful beginning of Lunch Time is a nice balance to the scorching come-hither offering that's to come. The rhythm section fills in all the right places with a powerful performance.
The listener is treated to Brian's sax-like lines that could go on for days coupled with an unbelievable emotional depth that's usually reserved for guitarist twice Brian's age!!!
Number 5 and Fun in Harmony finds the band dedicating itself to building deep churning grooves, that will cause many to play them on repeat mode. This template gives the songs texture, which rewards you with a different perspective every time you listen to them.
Perhaps the most thought provoking song is the last one entitled Improvisation 1. If you are looking for proof that Brian Baggett is a guitarist to remember, you can find it here. The song is just Brian alone with an acoustic guitar. A man alone with a piece of wood and some steel, that can take something so simple and deliver an intimate conversation, is something to behold.
Improvisation 1, touches on American music at it's best. With its folk-blues leanings offering visions of life at it's most precious moments, is enough of a reason to purchase this CD.
Music that is visual, emotional, and spiritual, can lead us to places never imagined.
DOJO-Place of the Way is just that type of music. It will stay with you long after the music has ended.
De'Von Pierre Jackson