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Alessandro Bertoni - Keystone CD (album) cover


Alessandro Bertoni


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.81 | 29 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars This is the debut solo album by keyboard player Alessandro, who previously was with Aphelion, and for this he has been joined by guitarist Brett Garsed, Ric Fierabracci on bass and Virgil Donati on drums. The album was produced by Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater), who also gave Alessandro access to his own keyboards at Beachwood Manor Studios. The result of this is an incredibly warm fusion album that brings together four wonderful musicians, mixing jazz with progressive rock and the odd hint of metal in a manner that is seamless throughout. One of the things I really enjoyed about this is each player is a master of their craft, but they all allow the others to take centre stage when the time is right and no one person hogs the limelight. Indeed, Alessandro lets the others take so much credit that it seems much more like a band than a solo project. The way that he interacts with Brett on "Megas Alexandros pt. 3 - To the Ends of the Earth" is an example of how to use Hammond chords sparingly but to incredible effect. Ric employs fretless bass, which allows him not only to slide and play additional effects but provides an incredible warm glow to the whole album, while Virgil of course has nothing to prove. He has been at the top of his game for years and although he is content to provide some basic backing for much of the time, he also knows when to provide additional fills and power to give the music that little bit more emphasis.

Alessandro wanted to have the songwriting in the centre first and foremost, so that listeners would concentrate on that instead of the virtuosity of those involved. While of course one can never move away from the fact that these are all masters, the result is an album that is incredibly enjoyable, and much more than just a contest in "look how clever I am". Derek's production should also get a special mention as he has allowed the guys to breathe, move and meld, yet kept everything clearly separate while also bringing it all together in harmony. This is wonderful stuff.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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