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Tony Levin - Pieces of the Sun CD (album) cover


Tony Levin

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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3 stars A mix between the technical "World Diary" and the emotional "Waters of Eden". Songs are heavier with a more present electric guitar. A good album, but "Waters of Eden" is better.

The opener "Apollo" starts with bass/electric guitar before an acoustic break with The California Guitar Trio and a softer ending with synth. "Geronimo" is a classic technical piece with Tony's bass in front. "Aquafin" is a beautiful mostly acoustic track with a soft emotional electric guitar to finish. "Dog One" is a Peter Gabriel track (unreleased?) - the weak track on the album (no melody and repetitive vocals). "Tequila" is a good remix from Chuck Rio's classic song (good saxophone here). "Pieces Of The Sun" is a good rocker - somewhere between 90s King Crimson and the ProjeKcts era. "Phobos" is a heavier track - with synth/electric guitar - in the vein of Satriani/Vai. "Ooze" is a bass/cello track with the use of the Taos drums, which give a strange oriental feeling. "Blue Nude Reclining" is probably the most emotional song on the album, with the saxophone in front, in the vein of the songs on "Waters of Eden". "The Fifth Man" is again heavier and more technical. "Ever The Sun Will Rise" starts very simply with a synth then Tony joins with the Stick followed by Jesse with electric guitar to build an epic catchy melody - then again before the end the rhythm slows down. "Silhouette" is a great ending track - beautiful piece very reminiscent of the title track on "Waters of Eden".

Rating: 70/100

Report this review (#68699)
Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Some of the electric noises sound very dated, and many of the tracks are too long than they could be, but overall this album ain't bad. Songs like Phobos and Ever the Sun Will Rise are very well written jazzy rockers. And of course, there is fantastic musicianship with Bruford-like drumming and Levin's signature bass sound. Very much enjoyed, but not a favourite.
Report this review (#105209)
Posted Monday, January 1, 2007 | Review Permalink

One of the characteristics that gives Tony Levin world recognition is his knowledge and high skills for playing bass and specially the Chapman Stick. And in this recording you can hear that clearly. This is his third output and is more varied and 'heavier' than WATERS IN EDEN, with some jazz elements, a Crimsonesque touch here and there and also a clear Peter Gabriel feeling, being that an obvious thing because TL band include Jerry Marotta and Larry Fast, both, along with Tony, regular members of the PG band.

"Apollo" opens the album in a magnificent way, with many variations during the song and including heavy riffs and drumming a la KC and an interesting collaboration from the guys of California Guitar Trio. "Geronimo" is a shorty with great guitar and tons of bass (upright and stick). "Aquafin" is a nice semi-acoustic track with Omnichord by Tony and Jerry Marotta, and the acoustic guitars played by Jesse Gress and. Jerry too!! "Dog One" is a remake of an out-take of Peter Gabriel, and it seems that they enjoyed doing the vocals..'Dog two. dog three..' "Tequila" is another experiment done with a familiar song, that is different from the original, except for the word 'Tequila'. Interesting track with good sax played by-guess who?- Jerry again! "Pieces Of The Sun" is one of the best and darkest of the album, with excellent drumming, very good guitar and funk-fingered bass. "Phobos" is yet another remake of a song from Larry Fast own project Synergy and is an electronic track with great drumming and stick playing. "Ooze" is a simple but interesting piece with middle- east flavor and Tony playing his funk finger guitar and cello. "Blue Nude Reclining" is another short easy song with nice guitar and sax. "The Fifth Man" is a favourite of mine with an obvious Crimson style and masterfully played by all the musicians. "Ever The Sun Will Rise" is the larger track with a long Stick and Piano introduction to later start with a rhythmic section that reminds me of "I Don't Remember" by PG. The closer "Silhouette" is a beautiful piece in the WATERS OF EDEN vein. A nice and peaceful way to end a great journey that took us near the SUN.

Another excellent album by an excellent artist. Recommended to. everybody.

4 stars

Viva el Prog!

Report this review (#134681)
Posted Friday, August 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
4 stars Jazz fusion, Levin style

Tony Levin is well known as a bass virtuoso in progressive music. Whether it's his insane work with King Crimson, his great work with Peter Gabriel, or his genius contributions to the more recent supergroup Liquid Tension Experiment, Levin has certainly left his mark as one of the more influential bassists today. Another addition to his impressive resume is his prolific solo career, whether it is with his 'band,' his side project 'Stick Men,' or any of his other bass-heavy projects. On this album, Pieces of the Sun, Levin exemplifies the eclectic style he has shown throughout all of his various bands and projects, with each song featuring a different flair of his unique career. From the dark to the peppy to the jazzy to the funky, the album contains a huge blend of great features.

The most obvious characteristic that stands out about this album is the eclectic blend of styles Levin uses to craft his songs. Whether it's the almost metallic yet upbeat and jazzy opener 'Apollo' or the pop inspired but still dark 'Dog One' (which is taken from a Peter Gabriel session he played in), the album has a huge blend of styles to make this album truly unique. The album has an overall very jazzy feel, with his obvious fusion influence, inspired by his various jazzy projects such as Bruford Levin Upper Extremities and others, really shine through to give it a nice funky feel.

Musically, the album truly shows that Levin knows his stuff. His masterful control over melody, harmony and overall communicatory instrumentation is truly fantastic all over the album. His use of a wide variety of instruments, from an acoustic guitar trio to his numerous basses to numerous stringed and synthesized instruments really adds a nice harmonious touch to the music. I find it great how he incorporates so many of his influences into each individual track, from funk in 'Tequila' to eclectic rock like his days in King Crimson into 'Blue Nude Reclining' (which I believe is a reference to his side project BLUE as well). Overall, his mastery of the music he plays truly makes this album a gem, with cinematic touches adding an exciting flair and melodic grace truly accenting the album to make it a great progressive jazz showing.

My absolute favorite track on the album and probably one of my favorite jazz rock tracks is the title track of this album, which is actually how I found this album (thank you YouTube). Musically, this is easily the most genius track on the album. Highly syncopated, the rhythms compliment the melody in an almost dissonant way, as a tribal feel rotates around screeching guitar solos and pulsing bass lines (in which he uses his epic 'funk fingers,' which are essentials drumsticks he attaches to his fingers). The song is a slow build, and when it releases, it transforms into a LTE-esque funk marathon, with bass exploding forth from the speakers and the whole band conforming around him to make a truly amazing song.

Overall, this album is truly great. With fantastic instrumental performance (well, the whole thing is basically instrumental) and a superb mastery of an eclectic style, Levin has output a fine album, full of memorable tracks and wonderful moments. In the end, this is truly a gem of jazz rock music. 4 stars.

Report this review (#455457)
Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | Review Permalink

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