Rob Lavery: Solo Journey
This is a fascinating and oft times invigorating album: it’s literally ‘All Over The Place’ – and I mean that in a very positive sense – but it also, because of the sequencing of the songs, comes across as a really enjoyable cohesive whole. Equally eye opening (well, Ear opening actually) is the diversity of musical influences that permeate these 9 delightfully different tunes: I hear everything/everyone from rambunctious jazz fusion monsters like John McLaughlin & Larry Coryell, sinewy guitar lines like those of Pat Martino right through exuberant and wild Frank Zappa sounding material. (Yeah: Good Fun!)
Another facet I found interesting is the writer/player’s compositional approach and the arrangements (these are all originals). At one point I was thinking of noting that the structure of the album reminded me a little of how McLaughlin interspaces deep, contemplative laid back songs between his barn burners— but in all candor (and I guess I’m allowed to say this since Mr. Lavery plays nearly all the instruments on the CD) I can’t help but feel that this artist wrote his playbook concerning ‘how to play the Studio’ itself based on the legacy of a certain Mr. Joe Zawinul.
Now, while I’d recommend playing this from beginning to end since – as I’d noted – the entire series of songs congeal beautifully into a single whole, it’s also worth mentioning that this album delivers a diverse variety of complimentary grooves and fires to suit any mood: if you’re looking for something orchestral and (yeah, I have to say it) genuinely pretty, The Highlander, Everything We Like and In Accordance to Your Dreams will satisfy your needs: plus these lyrical tunes provide some of the most rocking guitar lines on the album. If, on the other hand, you’re hungry for upbeat, burning songs to send you into orbit there are the Zappa-esqe Gland War, The Waylock and The Wedge Factor.
— Then there are the songs I just don’t know how to label. Take Atonal Wanderer for instance: it begins in such a blissful, laid back groove, only to become a launching pad for some of the most scintillating guitar playing on the CD. Killer! And I Am You Are, which starts off in a 5/8 sophisticated latin Fusion groove before before bopping’ into some insanely lyrical straight ahead jazz guitar which *then* morphs into the kind of blazing rockish burning (what a tone!) most rock guitarists simply dream of being able to pull off.
(Frankly, I don’t know how to categorize this playing; is it rock/jazz/fusion? I’d say all of the above. Suffice it to say that – considering this gent’s blistering technique – it’s evident those fingers of his can execute any thought that comes into this guitarist’s head, and his playing proves that head is full of enervating and stimulating ideas. This album makes it quite apparent that here’s a man who’s been listening to *all* kinds of music all his life.)
I’m shying away from a track by track analysis here: I can’t help but feel I’d be doing this fabulous music an injustice.
— Need I say that I strongly recommend you folks find out for yourselves (and that I hope the next album is a LIVE one)?!