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Dean Watson - Sum of Parts CD (album) cover

SUM OF PARTS

Dean Watson

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.73 | 18 ratings

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aapatsos
Special Collaborator
Heavy Prog Team
4 stars ''What's the difference between a Rocker and a Jazzman? A Rocker plays 3 chords in front of 3000 people. A Jazzman plays 3000 chords in front of 3 people.''

The story for Dean Watson is probably somewhere in the middle as he manages to balance his virtuoso skills (Jazzman) with solid structures and catchy riffs (Rocker) and the combination seems to work. This is the fourth release after a number of highly ranked albums; listening to this album one can see why. This is no mere 'bedroom artist' with good ideas, rather an accomplished composer with a clear direction, skill and appreciation of structure; it is not just mastery of the instruments but also character, which is abundantly evident especially in the guitar solos.

There is delightful variation throughout the whole album and constant excitement, always something new, multiple layers of keyboards, clean and distorted guitars and measured soloing. Younger fans of the Rudess/Petrucci collaborations, Neal Morse enthusiasts and veterans of the Allan Holdsworth and Colosseum legacies will find a lot to enjoy.

As for me, I particularly enjoyed the way that Dean changes moods from blues rock ('D Day'), to light jazz ('The Climb') and heavy fusion ('Song for a Day'). 'Afterthought' brings some Focus guitar magic among the more intense beats and darker riffs. It is easy in instrumental albums to fall into a trap of prolonged jamming or repetition, a feature not found here. On the contrary, tracks grow and evolve ' see e.g. the up-tempo closing of 'The Climb' or the shift in 'Capture 1A' from a heavy fusion start to a Alan Parsons-infused mid-pacer.

Despite the efforts to create a solid rhythm section, the use of a drum machine is evident (particularly in tracks where it's ''upfront'' such as in 'Click Clack') and the album loses points on the enjoyment angle as it sounds weak on that front. It would be interesting to see how this album would sound like with a full band and performed live. Other than this limitation, there is very little to stop you from enjoying this excellent piece of work.

4 (-) stars ' recommended

aapatsos | 4/5 |

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