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Jeff Green - Jessica CD (album) cover


Jeff Green



3.42 | 20 ratings

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3 stars Ireland-based US composer and musician Jeff Green has been an active performer since the mid 80's or thereabouts, first and foremost as a member of various tribute bands. "Jessica" is his first solo production to my knowledge, and was self-released in 2009 from what I understand.

Music is an intriguing concept. Historically regarded as one of the finer arts, but in modern times and especially in more recent times it has lost stature. A form of entertainment is a common description, and many talk about music consumption. But even those who disregard the artistic credibilities of music, at least the more popular varieties of it, it is still a vital part of most people's lives. Some enjoy listening to music intently and with concentration, others prefer to have unobtrusive noise in the background while busy with something else. It is a part of everyday life for most, and a part of life that means something special for some. To a certain degree one might describe the art of music creation in similar terms. Some do it as an occupation because they are good at it, the creation of music their chosen 9 to 5 occupation. To others it is a hobby, and to some it is a vital part of life. For the latter a needed aspect of reality, a way to overcome too many creative impulses or deal with emotions good or bad. Or all of these combined. It would appear that for Jeff Green, at least to some extent, might best fit into this latter category.

This due to the very nature of his first album. A concept album more than a decade in the making, dealing with thoughts, emotions and reflections on a subject personal and painful: The birth of his daughter Jessica, who was, as doctors so neutrally describe it, stillborn. A human life that flickered out before it had even begun. But rather than a harrowing, highly personal catharsis this album appears, at least to my ears, to be one dealing with the second phase of the aftermath of such a traumatic experience: Reconciliation. The music presented mostly stay clear of the melodramatic, intense emotional excursions as I experience it. But is filled with dampened, bitter melancholy and introspective moods. Reflections if you like, given the shape and sound of music.

By and large "Jessica" is very much a guitarists album as seen from a purely musical perspective. Wandering guitar licks and the occasional riff constructions underscoring a dominating guitar solo a central and recurring approach, the latter either blues-tinged in a manner not too different from the likes of David Gilmour or melodic but more intense of a more generic rock or hard rock variety. Nothing fanciful or innovative, but good, old fashioned melodic guitar soloing as they made them back in the 70's and early 80's. But an additional trait is the extensive use of keyboards, and more often than not in a style that most would describe as symphonic. Gentle, dreamladen textures close to the brand of this music that made Camel a career, but also with some nifty organ and guitar interactions that should satisfy fans of good, old Genesis. With occasional flirts in the direction of Pink Floyd. The keyboards generally have more of a subservient role however, and only occasionally will they take charge to dominate in a more expressive manner. As such I'd suspect that those who commonly enjoy bands described as Neo-Prog might enjoy this album to a grater extent than those whose heart and soul of musical enjoyment is stuck amidst the giants of 4 decades ago.

As far as quality goes, "Jessica" is a well produced and well performed affair. Mostly instrumental, and it is the compositions of that nature which are the most compelling creations too in my opinion. At best the combination of underscoring guitars, the motif explored by the guitar solo and the symphonic textures blend into intriguing and even occasionally energetic numbers. Still a few sizes shy of true perfection as far as my personal taste buds go, but highly enjoyable nonetheless. Other efforts tend to be more of the pleasant variety for me, nice songs and generally enjoyable but without managing to make a grand impact. Which is the case for most of the compositions that contain a lyrical message too, the emotional impact of these creations being a textual one to a much greater extent than musical.

As I always make my thoughts on an album based on the musical content alone, existing fans of this production might be slightly disappointed with my overall score for this disc. But when that is said, I'd recommend "Jessica" as a fine acquisition for those who generally enjoy Neo-Progressive rock, with those who enjoy vintage symphonic rock just as much as guitar-based instrumental hard rock a crowd also likely to find this production to be an enticing one.

Windhawk | 3/5 |


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