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Shawn Lane

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Shawn Lane The Tri-Tone Fascination album cover
3.02 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1."Kaiser Nancarrow (Lane/Rickman) - 4:42
2."Peace in Mississippi" (Hendrix) - 3:54
3."Minarets" (Lane/Dickinson) - 3:30
4."The Way It Has to Be" (Lane) - 4:38
5."Nine=101" (Lane/Hellborg) - 4:26
6."Art Tatum" (Lane) - 2:03
7."Hardcase" (Lane/Eatman) - 4:58
8."Trois Sept Cinq" (Lane) - 4:19
9."The Hurt, the Joy" (Ward/Lane) - 3:59
10."One Note At a Time" (Lane) - 3:30
11."Maria" (Lane) - 5:41
12."Song For Diane (World Keeps Spinning)" (Lane) - 5:24
13."Ich Ruf Zu Dir Herr Jesu" (Bach; Arr. Edward Artemiev) - 2:29

2000 reissue:

1."Kaiser Nancarrow" - 4:42
2."Peace in Mississippi" - 3:54
3."Minarets" - 3:30
4."The Way It Has to Be" - 4:38
5."Tri-7\5" - 4:19
6."Art Tatum" - 2:03
7."The Hurt, the Joy" - 3:59
8."Maria" - 5:41
9."One Note At a Time" - 3:30
10."Song For Diane" - 5:24
11."Epilogue, Bach (Ich Ruf Zu Dir)" - 2:29

Line-up / Musicians

Shawn Lane - guitar, vocals, keyboard, drums, drum machine, bass guitar, producer
Luther Dickinson - guitar on tracks 3, 5
Buddy Davis - guitar on track 9
Tom Ward - keyboard on track 9
Sean Rickman - drums on track 1
Cody Dickinson - drums on tracks 3, 5
Paul Taylor - bass guitar on tracks 3, 5
Eric Phillips - bass guitar on track 9

Releases information

CD: Eye Reckon Records (US)

Re-released in 2000 with different track list

Thanks to snobb for the addition
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SHAWN LANE The Tri-Tone Fascination ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(12%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SHAWN LANE The Tri-Tone Fascination reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gerinski
3 stars I already gave an extensive introduction of Shawn Lane and his music in my review of his first album "The Powers of Ten" so I'm not gonna repeat myself here, to those who would like to have some background I suggest to check that one first. This second solo album is usually rated higher than the first by most reviewers, but for me it's slightly inferior.

Once again, this is not prog-rock in the common sense of the term, and this album even a bit less than the first, since the most experimental and classical side has disappeared, this album is more straight and easier to listen to. I have the edition with 11 tracks. Again we recognize two distinct sets of songs but different from the first album, here the first half contains the hardest and more rocking tracks and the second half the soft tracks. There is not such a clear distinction anymore between "guitar tracks" and "piano-keyboards tracks", here Shawn combines both instruments more evenly although obviously the harder tracks are more guitar oriented. He was supported by a few other musicians in some tracks (most notably some real drums) and it sounds more like a band even if Shawn still played most of the instruments.

The first track "Kaiser Nancarrow" sounds like the good pieces of Steve Vai, upbeat and hard but not too heavy, with drums sounding a bit like Terry Bozzio's. Excellent guitar but a bit too simple rythmic base.

"Peace in Mississippi" is pure 70's hard rock, reminding us of Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Purple or the instrumental parts of early Rush.

"Minarets" is frenzy heavy-fusion, a very good track.

"The way it has to be" is instrumental rock in the style of Steve Morse or the soft tracks from Steve Vai.

"Tri-7/5" is more fusion and uses more keyboards but it's still a rocker.

"Art Tatum" marks the equator or the album dividing the hard and the soft tracks, and is itself none of either, a strange beast with a drum machine which makes it sound nearly like dance acid-jazz and some insane piano and guitar scales.

As from here the album gets soft (not necessarily meaning worse), with "The Hurt, The Joy" being a slow tempo melodic track, fine but dangerously approaching cheesy territory.

"Maria" is even softer, without drums, something like the quiet tracks of Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays or the 90's new age music like Lito Vitale, Shadowfax etc.

"One note at a time" is more upbeat, again with Metheny flavour and a more interesting time signature.

"Song for Dianne" is again a melodic slow tempo tune, and the final "Epilogue Bach" is a very soft adaptation of a J.S. Bach chorale.

Compared to his first album, this one has better drumming and better sound in general, and will appeal more to the harder guitar lovers (the first half), to those who found the most experimental half of "The Powers of Ten" difficult to swallow, and to soft melodic music lovers (the second half). However for my personal taste I find the melodies here less memorable, it's more commercial, and given that both albums are strongly polarized in two different styles, I prefer the polarization in "The Powers of Ten" than the polarization in "The Tri-Tone Fascination". In any case still a very good album, testament of the excellent musicianship of Shawn Lane, and as I said I may be an exception because most people seem to like this one better.

Review by Negoba
3 stars Uneven Mix from the Fusion Shred Demigod

Shred guitar has come in and out of style several times since the invention of the electric guitar, and still boasts a devoted community worldwide. Few, if any, hold the exalted status among that group than Shawn Lane. His pick speed and hand synchronization are simply jaw-dropping. He can pick lines that require two hands even for the likes of Paul Gilbert. At a legendary gathering of Ibanez' fastest guns on stage (including Vai, Satriani, et al) Lane simply left the entire group aghast. Some of the players following him wouldn't even play. He was also a savant of sorts in multiple areas of expertise, having a habit of completely immersing himself in a subject without the light of day. His piano skills were nearly as amazing as his guitar skills. He certainly didn't have the look of a rock star, as long time steroid use for his psoriatic arthritis continually added weight until it was almost incapacitating by the time of his early death in 2003.

TRI TONE FASCINATION sounds like a collection of demos rather than a unified album. There are some great tracks such as "Minarets" and "Tri-75." The first is a fusion feast that would certainly please fans of Lane's work with Jonas Hellborg. The second is a more composed piece that is probably the "proggy" of the lot. The album's opening track, "Kaiser Nancarrow" contains some very dated electronica that for me is a bit of a head scratcher. "Art Tatum" also interweaves hip-hop??? keyboard moments and a badly programmed drum machine with some interesting piano comping and a blazing guitar run. "Peace in Mississippi" is Lane's take on long time love Hendrix. While I appreciate the notion, I'm not sure it adds anything to either Hendrix or Lane's legacy. "The Way It Has to Be" is one of the better Lane ballads. Seemingly simpler than it actually is, Lane brings his fine sense of phrasing and articulation to the forefront with some fireblazing flourishes over an odd rhythm and harmony. I actually enjoy Lane's version of this style of soft jazz than Allan Holdsworth's, though Chris Poland does it better.

But absolutely no one can play simultaneously as fast and tasteful as Lane. There are very very few who can match his speed at all, and every single one I've heard clearly has neither the depth of musical knowledge or expressive ability. Lane sounds like Eric Johnson at double speed. The others sound like computer simulations. Similarly, though Lane's compositions are beds for soloing, they are constructed with a jazz sensibility. Virtually all have clear melodic "heads" and a good sense off tension and release. None are simply vehicles for showing off.

Unfortunately, I don't know if there really is a perfect Shawn Lane album. So many discs have flashes, but many (especially this one) are really uneven. I think every guitar fanatic needs to have some of Lane's work in their music library, and there are least three songs on this album that would work well. All of it is pretty good fusion, and certainly the variety makes it easy to listen all the way through the album. But for newcomers, I'd look through Lane's work with Jonas Hellborg first.

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