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Derek Sherinian - The Phoenix CD (album) cover


Derek Sherinian

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars Derek Sherinian is just back with his new solo album, sharing credits with drummer Simon Phillips and many other top-notch musicians guesting around. "The Phoenix" serves as opener and title track of the album, beginning with a synthesizer solo by Sherinian himself asserting the energic tone to prevail in the proceedings. Then joins Simon Phillips' drums contributing the necessary feel of groove. On "Clouds of Ganymede", we find fusion guitar virtuoso Steve Vai bringing his characteristic sound and powerful touch to the fore. "Dragonfly" features Sherinian exclussively on acoustic piano, and backed only by Ernest Tibbs' bass, and Phillips' tasteful drumming, a rather intimate instrumental environment bringing a welcomed relaxation after the initially strong vibe. Buddy Miles' "Them Changes" steers straight towards bluesy territory, where Joe Bonamassa takes the lead on vocals and, of course, guitar too. For a hard-prog track here, you should check "Octopus Pedigree"
Report this review (#2448531)
Posted Thursday, September 17, 2020 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars It has been some years since I last came across an album by keyboard maestro Derek Sherinian, as the last one I reviewed was 2006's 'Blood of the Snake', and it transpires that this is his first solo album since 2011. Given that he has been rather busy in the likes of Black Country Communion and Sons of Apollo I guess he can be forgiven, but I am pleased that as soon as I put this on it took me straight back to his earlier albums. Sherinian is very unusual when it comes to keyboard players, in that I am convinced he does not think of himself as a keyboard player at all, but instead is a guitarist who produces his sounds in a different fashion to those around him. On all his albums surrounds himself with great guitarists, lets them go for broke and he keeps up with them, either providing support or duelling. While on this album he provides all keyboards, and drum legend Simon Phillips sits behind the kit, and he again brings in collaborators old and new. Returning are the likes of bassists Tony Franklin, Jimmy Johnson and Billy Sheehan (Sherinian's bandmate in Sons Of Apollo) as well as guitarists Joe Bonamassa and Zakk Wylde. Then there are others who are playing on one of his solo albums for the first time, including Steve Vai, Sons Of Apollo bandmate Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal and Kiko Loureiro (Megadeth).

That is a lot of power on the frets, with each guitarist adding their own particular styles, but while Vai stands out a mile on "Clouds of Ganymede" it is still very much a Sherinian song although he allows Steve a great deal of latitude. Towards the end Derek finally breaks free with a blistering run, which Vai responds to, showing they are both masters of their own instruments as they duel yet musically it all makes sense with the overall theme. I could have done without the fadeout at the end but that is just down to personal preference. "Dragonfly" commences with complex staccato piano alongside Simon, until they are joined by a warm bass, but it is a great example of Sherinian's skill and its simplicity and complexity make for a great combination, very jazz in its nature.

Sherinian has a definitive style, and it is wonderful to hear a new solo album from him after so long. Let us hope it is not another 9 years until the next one.

Report this review (#2539704)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2021 | Review Permalink

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