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Tony Levin - Resonator CD (album) cover


Tony Levin


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.80 | 37 ratings

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4 stars Tony Levin is easily one of the very best, most recognizable and sought-after bassists working today, and perhaps my overall favourite in the world of progressive rock. His recording and stage resume includes stellar work for Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, Liquid Tension Experiment, Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman & Howe, Steve Hackett, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, Paul Simon and a host of others much too long to list here. Whether masterfully wielding his Chapman Stick, standing tall behind the upright, or using the percussive "funk fingers" extensions (which he invented) on a regular electric, Levin always stands out in the mix, providing a rock-solid foundation, while yet bringing his distinctive floor-shaking sounds to the fore.

In addition to his extensive work with other respected musicians, Tony Levin has also released a few solo albums over the years. 2006's RESONATOR is the first I have heard, and it provides a very strong inducement for me to check out more of his albums. Yes, RESONATOR is a fine disc: by turns 80s Crimson-like "pop prog," jazz fusion, and pure prog, this diverse, ever-engaging effort will certainly not disappoint his numerous fans. This is also the first of Levin's recordings where he takes on the lead vocal duties, and I'm pleased to report that though he may not win any "best singer" polls, "Uncle Tony" has a very likeable and workmanlike singing voice: he does a fine job, and sounds like the nice, charismatic guy he always comes across as on stage, in interviews and in print.

Each of the ten tracks is worthwhile, but my especial favourites include "Places to Go," which takes us from Mars, to Levin's Boston hometown, to heaven via some humourous yet deep lyrics. "Throw the God a Bone" is a frantic rave-up that features Crimson band mate Adrian Belew, and Tony's dog Lilly. 100% fun! "Utopia" is thoughtful, majestic and moving in its yearning, and the instrumental "Shadowland" is five minutes of sometimes soaring, sometimes menacing pure prog bliss. "Crisis of Faith," in Levin's own words, is "the wild piece of the album," and downright scary with its wall-razing bass, twelve "somewhat atonal' voices, and some powerful drumming from Jerry Marotta. "What Would Jimi Do" features a fittingly wicked guitar solo from Jesse Gress (Todd Rundgren) and some terrific Hammond from brother Pete Levin. "Sabre Dance" is Levin's rocking, almost metallic take on the old Khachaturian classic, while "Fragile As a Song" is a tender piano, bass and voice ballad about connections, which brings the album to a beautiful close.

RESONATOR is a great CD, and heartily recommended to all Levin fans -- and I would assume that means all of us! Four enthusiastic stars!

Peter | 4/5 |


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