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Shawn Lane - The Tri-Tone Fascination CD (album) cover

THE TRI-TONE FASCINATION

Shawn Lane

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.05 | 5 ratings

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Gerinski
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I already gave an extensive introduction of Shawn Lane and his music in my review of his first album "The Powers of Ten" so I'm not gonna repeat myself here, to those who would like to have some background I suggest to check that one first. This second solo album is usually rated higher than the first by most reviewers, but for me it's slightly inferior.

Once again, this is not prog-rock in the common sense of the term, and this album even a bit less than the first, since the most experimental and classical side has disappeared, this album is more straight and easier to listen to. I have the edition with 11 tracks. Again we recognize two distinct sets of songs but different from the first album, here the first half contains the hardest and more rocking tracks and the second half the soft tracks. There is not such a clear distinction anymore between "guitar tracks" and "piano-keyboards tracks", here Shawn combines both instruments more evenly although obviously the harder tracks are more guitar oriented. He was supported by a few other musicians in some tracks (most notably some real drums) and it sounds more like a band even if Shawn still played most of the instruments.

The first track "Kaiser Nancarrow" sounds like the good pieces of Steve Vai, upbeat and hard but not too heavy, with drums sounding a bit like Terry Bozzio's. Excellent guitar but a bit too simple rythmic base.

"Peace in Mississippi" is pure 70's hard rock, reminding us of Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Purple or the instrumental parts of early Rush.

"Minarets" is frenzy heavy-fusion, a very good track.

"The way it has to be" is instrumental rock in the style of Steve Morse or the soft tracks from Steve Vai.

"Tri-7/5" is more fusion and uses more keyboards but it's still a rocker.

"Art Tatum" marks the equator or the album dividing the hard and the soft tracks, and is itself none of either, a strange beast with a drum machine which makes it sound nearly like dance acid-jazz and some insane piano and guitar scales.

As from here the album gets soft (not necessarily meaning worse), with "The Hurt, The Joy" being a slow tempo melodic track, fine but dangerously approaching cheesy territory.

"Maria" is even softer, without drums, something like the quiet tracks of Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays or the 90's new age music like Lito Vitale, Shadowfax etc.

"One note at a time" is more upbeat, again with Metheny flavour and a more interesting time signature.

"Song for Dianne" is again a melodic slow tempo tune, and the final "Epilogue Bach" is a very soft adaptation of a J.S. Bach chorale.

Compared to his first album, this one has better drumming and better sound in general, and will appeal more to the harder guitar lovers (the first half), to those who found the most experimental half of "The Powers of Ten" difficult to swallow, and to soft melodic music lovers (the second half). However for my personal taste I find the melodies here less memorable, it's more commercial, and given that both albums are strongly polarized in two different styles, I prefer the polarization in "The Powers of Ten" than the polarization in "The Tri-Tone Fascination". In any case still a very good album, testament of the excellent musicianship of Shawn Lane, and as I said I may be an exception because most people seem to like this one better.

Gerinski | 3/5 |

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