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Chris Letchford - Lightbox CD (album) cover


Chris Letchford


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.73 | 6 ratings

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4 stars Like the satisfied feeling of watching a John Oliver Last Week Tonight segment and knowing someone out there is fighting the good fight, listeners can be inspired and pleased to know that there are some musicians out there doing the same -- promoting exceptional skill and instrumental composition above the influx of regurgitated pop music flooding our secular world at an alarming rate, resulting in the acceptance of mediocrity by the general public as the norm. The music of the young Chris Letchford and the band Scale The Summit prove not having a vocalist does not necessarily mean a band should throw in the towel for having wider recognition and getting higher profile shows. Scale The Summit, through hard work and destined individual chemistry, has been able to open for acts like Cynic, Periphery, and Between The Buried And Me. Chris is more than the sum of just shred metal-based guitar playing in Scale the Summit. In fact, it's probably a mistake to classify Chris solely as a dent or metal player with this solo release. The music he crafts offers the listener a wondrous musical journey -- and for guitarists, a wealth of study in rhythmic variation, fresh phrasings and a keen sense of melody. On Lightbox, he offers these musical sensibilities in a lighter, jazz/fusion-type setting, allowing him to explore and invoke new dynamics, like space and tone, into the music.

Chris' vivid and clean electric guitar tone is stunningly majestic and blends exquisitely well with the piano, reminiscent of Al di Meola, but with his own charismatic feel. Bass whiz of the new guard, Evan Brewer, contributes to the compositions in a mighty fashion (and for those who are not aware of Brewer definitely check out his solo album, Your Itinerary). Both the drums and piano provide tasteful support without overpowering the music. The drums still retain a solid fusion rock backbone and offer up some tasty beat displacements more in the math rock vein.

The crisp music on Lightbox is poignant, the selected tracks are well-defined with purpose, differentiating this music from true jazz, however. There is no swinging, triplet feel on the drums, or solo explorations over comped instrumentation, placing emphasis on melody and tight, shorter arrangements with every note in it's place. Progressively structured in the same vein that Dean Watson and Special Providence approach their song arrangements. It's a great collection of songs that will hopefully provide die hard rock & metal fans a gateway to see if fusion and jazz music will appeal to them.

What's more, it's young, creative musicians like Chris and Evan that are encouraging the next generation of players not to confine themselves to playing just one genre of music. Much like my 5 star rating for Kiko Louerio's Universo Inverso, this reviewer was blown away and thrilled with Chris's softer, fusion-tinged compositions that offer just as much complexity as the technical metal world he's been revered for. However, there's a more fascinating emotional range and maturity present in this music. Mentoring instructors at music schools around the globe teach the philosophy that music is a conversation between the artist and the audience. In that regard (as I'm getting older) it's more satisfying listening to Chris' music now that it isn't screaming at me.

Wishful concert pairing: Special Providence (for the more metal side) or Dewa Bujana (for a jazzier ride).

buddyblueyes | 4/5 |


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