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Steve Tibbetts - Yr CD (album) cover


Steve Tibbetts

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Tibbetts' second album, Yr, is probably the album that every proghead has heard of and clearly the album's reputation has reached many different music circles. Released for the first time in 80, this album will get another release in 83 with a better artwork and legend has it a different mix (although I was never able to get this confirmed).

Unlike his debut album, Yr, Tibbetts is having a whole group with him that include both Marc Anderson and Tim Weinhold on percussions, this album is still in the same direction as his debut broadly influenced and still not easy to categorize. Because of this, Steve Tibbets is generally regarded as a fusion musician, but not in the jazz-rock sense of the word. You can hear there are still some Oregon traces in his music (the folk orientations of many of his tracks), but it is also much more than that because of the electrical dimension of the music and some downright rock moments, and although not mentioned, there are some layers that suspiciously sound like Mellotrons on this baby.

Tibbett's guitar work ranges from the acoustic folk to an almost guitar-shredder (check the closing of Ur), but one of the guiding line throughout the album are the ethnic percussions which ranges from Anderson's congas and drums to Weinhold's bongos and bells, but also two tabla drums giving an instantaneous Indian feel to some tracks.

Along with his debut album, Yr is definitely the album to discover this adventurous and almost-ambient guitarist. Much surprises ahead of you if you are to investigate these two albums.

Report this review (#99753)
Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second and most accomplished album from this under estimated essential jazzrock artist. The music is extremely sophisticated thanks to a huge studio work and instrumental research (on certain pieces, Steve plays not less than 20 different kinds of guitars). First album released on ECM, the music is ethereal and aerial, dominated by sublime guitars supported by percussions, with a slight eastern flavour sometimes. "Three primates" is a lively tune featuring a catchy melody. Without doubt the best Tibbett's album along with the first one, less experimental and psychedelic but more refined than the latter. This album is from 1980, but the music is timeless and is one of the best progressive efforts from the whole 1980's.
Report this review (#112247)
Posted Thursday, February 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars YR is the most charming Steve Tibbetts album I've discovered so far. Although it's similar in concept to THE FALL OF US ALL, which I reviewed earlier (bass and Indian-style percussion lay down repetitive rhythms over which Tibbetts plays solos on both acoustic and electric guitars), the mood is much mellower and dreamier. The first half of THE FALL OF US ALL sounds terribly hectic and the second half sounds despondent; YR, on the other hand, contains quite a few passages that will remind you of early Genesis at their most romantic (think of the opening sections of 'Musical Box' or 'The Cinema Show') without ever getting sentimental. It seems inconceivable that Tibbetts was unfamiliar with Genesis' music. He also includes passages where he plays solos against a lovely background of kalimba and vases (!) and fortunately he's wise enough not to see virtuosity as an end in itself.

YR has far more in common with sophisticated instrumental rock than with any kind of jazz. It should appeal to anyone who enjoys guitar-playing that's poetic as well as energetic; I can imagine it will be liked by admirers of Steve Hillage, David Torn, Brand X, Jade Warrior and (early) Mike Oldfield. Strongly recommended!

Report this review (#133505)
Posted Friday, August 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yr has such an intimate and refined sound, yet allows plenty of room for improvisation. Yr has a very mature sound for and album from the 80s. 80s fusion was plagued by the plastic sound of albums like Future Shock (Herbie Hancock) and music from artists like Yellowjackets. The album is similar to the folk/jazz fusion sound of Pat Metheny, but with far more warmth and soul. It is hard to believe that a guitarist can achieve this. Most fusion artists, or most artists who are planted firmly in the traditions of western music, cannot accurately portray the music of other cultures this well, but somehow Tibbetts does.

It is also very unusual that a fusion album has such an original and magnificently composed atmosphere. Tibbetts used techniques such as overdubbing so much that it is said a single song could have as many as 50 different layers to it. That is truly astounding. Despite this, the sound still manages to retain its warmth and intimacy. When recording this many layers it is too easy to go overboard, like many over produced prog albums.

It may be a stretch to call this fusion, because it relies on a slightly different language, but nonetheless it is a truly monumental Masterpiece (with a capital M), because it is so expressive and warm in a cold and calculated era of plastic music. Hats off to Steve Tibbetts.

Report this review (#372983)
Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | Review Permalink

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