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Dixie Dregs - Free Fall CD (album) cover


Dixie Dregs


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.74 | 66 ratings

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4 stars My introduction to Steve Morse came secretly via his appearance on Triumph's final studio effort "Surveillance". I didn't pay much attention to the name of the guest player and it wasn't until almost 20 years later that I found out it was Morse. Now I am familiar with his work on the last four Deep Purple albums and I decided to check out his roots, going back to 1977 with this album. I had no idea what to expect. Rock/jazz fusion guitar and fiddling were on this album. What was I in for?

Musically, the album is really good. These guys know how to play what they play and they do it well. Every member contributes his skill right from jazzy drum rhythms, wicked bass grooves, searing fiddle playing, groovy keys, and of course, Morse's flying fingers on the fret board. There are no vocals. Every track is purely instrumental.

But what kind of music is this? It sounds to me as though the jazz band at my old college donated the tablatures for the music they played to various artists from the Windham Hill New Age/Folk collection (later Windham Hill was Morse's label!), the Rankin Family, the Alan Parsons Project, and some very talented young guitarist. Fortunately for me, I have albums by everyone mentioned above except the jazz band of my old college. Taking a moment to adjust, I was able to appreciate the music on this album. Particular favourites are "Refried Funky Chicken" and "Holiday", but other tracks are good too. There is this wonderful quirky sense of humour in the music when it gets a little wild, but it keeps its shirt tucked in for the more beautiful and sentimental pieces.

As great an album as I think it is, this is not my usual taste and so I really don't listen to it much. There's a bit too much jazz and down home fiddlin' here for me. But as I said, Dixie Dregs do a remarkable job of playing everything they write. Maybe not quite essential, but better than "good".

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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