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Dean Watson - Unsettled CD (album) cover


Dean Watson


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.82 | 52 ratings

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4 stars Unsettled is by no means a jazz rock album in any traditional sense, instead using jazz chord structures as a vehicle for an eclectic array of musical ventures. Dean Watson is a cache of both talent and good ideas, such that it's almost unfair that such gifts be bestowed to one person. He shines as an arranger, a guitarist, and most notably, as a keyboardist. The album takes a minor dip in the middle, but never once gets sour- it is a trove of fantastic and varied music from one talented individual.

"The Encounter" From the opening piece, one might get the impression that this album is firmly in heavy progressive rock territory, with wildly powerful electric guitar, bizarre synthetic tones, and repetitive organ. It's like a three-way train wreck among Ozric Tentacles, ELP, and 1980s Rush- a train wreck that made something unimaginably impressive.

"The Push" However, the album does move closer to jazz rock with a funky, grinding rhythm and fantastic organ work, injecting occasional synthetic flair.

"Out of the Mist" As though unsatisfied with the variance displayed thus far, Watson changes face again, offering a pensive, melancholic and beautiful piece initially featuring multiple guitars creating calming textures and wonderful melodies. It eventually drives close to progressive metal terrain, with chugging guitar and an emphasis on drums.

"Sequence of Events" This is what I imagine a modernized 1970s ELP would sound like- a bed of organ under whirling synthesizer leads, driving drums, and a bit of electric guitar bulking out the sound.

"DIP" After four stellar pieces, "DIP" is one that is merely good. It has a basic, bouncy jazzy premise that moves into smoother alternative rock music- all in all, not bad really, but just not on the same level as everything that has come before. Eerie piano moves into an electric guitar riff before going back into the main riff, this time with a sprightly bit of keyboard soloing.

"The Departure" This lead guitar excursion takes place over dark synthesizer and piano. A tad generic in terms of composition, but it is well executed, and the guitar boasts a remarkable tone. The music adopts an abrupt funky groove toward the end.

"Gray Matter" "Gray Matter" involves a more technical guitar performance over a more traditional jazz accompaniment. Light electric piano and synthesizer also take center stage.

"Orb" The album returns to grandiose keyboard, again pairing jazz fusion with hard rock- a delightfully dynamic work reminding me of Kerry Livgren's instrumental music from the late 1980s.

"11th Heaven Blues" As the name suggests, the album turns toward blues music, but the rhythm itself eschews the traditional chord progressions associated with the genre. Instead, it is up to the lead instruments, the electric guitar and the organ, to do the channeling.

"Still (unsettled )" The closing track is a morose acoustic guitar, piano, and percussion piece.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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