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Tony Levin - Pieces of The Sun CD (album) cover

PIECES OF THE SUN

Tony Levin

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 18 ratings

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Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars Jazz fusion, Levin style

Tony Levin is well known as a bass virtuoso in progressive music. Whether it's his insane work with King Crimson, his great work with Peter Gabriel, or his genius contributions to the more recent supergroup Liquid Tension Experiment, Levin has certainly left his mark as one of the more influential bassists today. Another addition to his impressive resume is his prolific solo career, whether it is with his 'band,' his side project 'Stick Men,' or any of his other bass-heavy projects. On this album, Pieces of the Sun, Levin exemplifies the eclectic style he has shown throughout all of his various bands and projects, with each song featuring a different flair of his unique career. From the dark to the peppy to the jazzy to the funky, the album contains a huge blend of great features.

The most obvious characteristic that stands out about this album is the eclectic blend of styles Levin uses to craft his songs. Whether it's the almost metallic yet upbeat and jazzy opener 'Apollo' or the pop inspired but still dark 'Dog One' (which is taken from a Peter Gabriel session he played in), the album has a huge blend of styles to make this album truly unique. The album has an overall very jazzy feel, with his obvious fusion influence, inspired by his various jazzy projects such as Bruford Levin Upper Extremities and others, really shine through to give it a nice funky feel.

Musically, the album truly shows that Levin knows his stuff. His masterful control over melody, harmony and overall communicatory instrumentation is truly fantastic all over the album. His use of a wide variety of instruments, from an acoustic guitar trio to his numerous basses to numerous stringed and synthesized instruments really adds a nice harmonious touch to the music. I find it great how he incorporates so many of his influences into each individual track, from funk in 'Tequila' to eclectic rock like his days in King Crimson into 'Blue Nude Reclining' (which I believe is a reference to his side project BLUE as well). Overall, his mastery of the music he plays truly makes this album a gem, with cinematic touches adding an exciting flair and melodic grace truly accenting the album to make it a great progressive jazz showing.

My absolute favorite track on the album and probably one of my favorite jazz rock tracks is the title track of this album, which is actually how I found this album (thank you YouTube). Musically, this is easily the most genius track on the album. Highly syncopated, the rhythms compliment the melody in an almost dissonant way, as a tribal feel rotates around screeching guitar solos and pulsing bass lines (in which he uses his epic 'funk fingers,' which are essentials drumsticks he attaches to his fingers). The song is a slow build, and when it releases, it transforms into a LTE-esque funk marathon, with bass exploding forth from the speakers and the whole band conforming around him to make a truly amazing song.

Overall, this album is truly great. With fantastic instrumental performance (well, the whole thing is basically instrumental) and a superb mastery of an eclectic style, Levin has output a fine album, full of memorable tracks and wonderful moments. In the end, this is truly a gem of jazz rock music. 4 stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |

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