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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lorenzo Feliciati - Frequent Flyer (2012)

Band: Lorenzo Feliciati
Country: Rome, Italy
Style: Jazz Fusion/Progressive Rock
Label: RareNoise

It's weird to me that I've somehow fallen into reviewing jazz music because I honestly don't think my thoughts on it could be all that interesting. I'm sure I know about as much about jazz as a regular guy on the street, maybe I like a bit more weird stuff, but I can't say that my references are all that great from the genre. But, I guess since I've somehow fallen into covering it, I better get busy and start listening to more.
Coming into this album, I wasn't really sure what this was going to sound like. Since it's his solo album, I assumed that Lorenzo Feliciati was obviously a talented bassist, not that I can say I've listened to anything with him playing on it beyond this album; but it's like, what kind of album are you going to put together. I mean, it could've been a total bass only album like the one Evan Brewer released last year, but you also could have had a more traditional fusion or jazz record. Now, I don't know if this was done in that old-school way of Feliciati being the leader of a group and them following his lead or if he just brought in session guys to fill out his vision of what he wanted his album to sound like. What apparently came out is a rather varied record, both in ideas a quality. Obviously, the bass is kind of the main feature on here, but it's not like every track is solo after solo of Feliciati basically just wanking off in your face and showing you how talented he is, there are songs on here. There are songs on here where the bass actually takes more of a backseat role and just lets the other instruments, whether it be violin, saxophone, piano, or whatever take the lead for a little while. Though I do question the use of vocals only being used on the closer, Thela Hun Ginjeet, it's not a bad song, it just seemed a bit odd to me. I actually prefer when Feliciati falls back a little bit more.
The variation I spoke about comes, mainly, in style on here, because while there are certainly similar ideas that connect each track, there is quite a large gap in styles on here. You have everything from more modern sounding lounge stuff like 93 or Never Forget which are really mellow and relaxing, actually, and don't sound all that dissimilar from what you might hear in the background while walking around some sort of mall department store or something. I don't mean that as an insult or bad thing, but it's more or less the sort of thing that I tend to associate more with background music than foreground music. Tracks like Riding The Orient Express or Gabus and Ganabes on the other hand feel far more interesting and borrow a bit more from the electric side of fusion or jazz-rock, without really ever succumbing to that sort of sound. I'm also not going to just ignore and pretend that there aren't some tracks on here that feel more like an exercise in bass acrobatics. The likes of Groove First felt, to me, more like Feliciati just showing off, which is all well and good, but while I certainly enjoy music with long winding solos, I usually like it in the context of a song, and these just felt more like the solo had devoured most of what was there. As these sorts of tracks are kind of used throughout the entire album, it's a little hard to kind of get a feel for it on the first few listens, but I've reached the conclusion that my favorite pieces are the ones more akin to fusion and jazz-rock, which also happen to be found at the end of the album. I don't think that has as much to do with me liking heavier forms of music as much as those tracks just didn't feel as taxing to listen to repeatedly.
It's not bad but it really isn't my kind of thing, if you even want to apply any worth to any of the above any way. There are a handful of tracks on here that I think are pretty cool, but there are also those that I just find rather boring and don't really appeal to me. Jazz fans, bassists, and I'd even say fans of prog-rock check this, you might wind up digging this a lot more than I did.
Overall Score: 7
Highlights: Riding The Orient Express, Perceptions, The White Shadow Story

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