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Julian Priester - Polarization CD (album) cover

POLARIZATION

Julian Priester

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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js (Easy Money)
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars When I stumbled on Polarization in a record shop I was hoping I had found a continuation of Priester's psychedelic electronic fusion sound-scapes on Love Love, unfortunately Polarization isn't all that, gone are most of the electronics and echo machines, in their place we get a sound that is closer to classic late 70s ECM jazz., in other words, dry, intellectual and sometimes kind of boring. In smaller doses I think this album has very good moments, but taken as a whole it can drag sometimes.

The album opens nicely with the song Polarization, that features a double tracked spacey Preister trombone duet. This is very nice concert hall ambience and leads into Rhythm Magnet that has the band riding an abstract syncopated groove similar to Herbie Hancock, but where is the drummer? The mix is terrible, the kick and snare are in the other room and only the cymbals cut through, too bad. Side one closes with Wind Dolphin which opens with neo-classical horn/sax arrangements that recall Herbie again. This opening is followed by one of those avant-jazz free-for-alls that we have all heard before, eventually the quieter opening theme returns.

Side two opens with Coincidence by guitarist Ray Obiedo. It's a nice Spanish flavored instrumental featuring acoustic guitar and trombone that sits somewhere between mid- 20th century neo-classical and sophisticated lounge music. Scorpio Blue features a lengthy trombone pro-loge whose abstract rambling nature and ECM reverb end up sounding like modern music week at the local college recital, empty room reverb ambience and everything. When the rest of the band kicks in the song eases into more Debussy/lounge jazz. The album closes with Anatomy of a Longing that once again tries to bring on the Herbie avant-space funk, but once again the drums are lost except this one crash cymbal. Despite the bad mix this one has some nice moments when spaced out quiet orchestrations fill in when the rhythm section drops out. Ray Obiedo also turns in a blazing hard fusion guitar solo, his only one like it on the album.

I think fans of Julian Preister could find a lot to like here, but this album could have been a lot better if someone had remembered where the fader for the snare was.

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Send comments to js (Easy Money) (BETA) | Report this review (#263369)
Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 | Review Permalink

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