LYLE WORKMAN, Uncommon Measures (Blue Canoe Records). Multi-faceted composer/musician Lyle Workman pulls out all the creative stops for Uncommon Measures, an album of instrumental works four years in the making. The album’s sound is that of a man undertaking a labor of love and making the most of it. The album is based in the hallmarks of progressive rock, jazz fusion, and orchestral works each used to its maximum potential. Anyone capable of creating a light-hearted 9/8 groove, as Workman does to open the album, is completely worthy of our attention and respect. Some of the songs rock, while others are epic soundtrack-worthy pieces. Having drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Matt Chamberlin along with bassist Tim Lefebvre and pedal steel player Greg Leisz only up the musical ante. Workman has found his comfort zone with this release and it’s pretty much EVERYWHERE.
SANDY MCKNIGHT and FERNANDO PERDOMO, San Fernando Blitz ( 2020). A nice piece of prog-pop with an old school college rock vibe is brought forth by the vocals and bass of Sandy McKnight, along with the guitars, keyboards and drums of Fernando Perdomo. The album maintains a steady pace, while the songs are direct and to the point. The playing is honest and passionate with a touch of whimsy. This music is perfect for this duo, who appear to have found a way to keep the arrangements lean, allowing them to make the most of the song at hand without muddying up the works. It’s a fast-paced EP, so don’t let your attention wander!
RICH PELLEGRIN, Solitude (OA2). A pianist with a deft sense of touch and a good feel for melody, Rich Pellegrini goes it alone with this album of improvisations recorded over the summer of 2019. The pieces are relatively short (rarely lasting more than two minutes), but sometimes it doesn’t take long to convey the message. Pellegrini is not as raw or abstract as Keith Jarrett, finding his voice inside comfortable chords and direct single-note melodies. Pellegrini is able to make himself heard without making a lot of noise.
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