It’s been a long time between drinks for one-time South African born AOR hero Trevor Rabin. 2012’s ‘Jacaranda’ is Trevor’s first true solo album since 1989’s ‘Don’t Look Away’.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Trevor Rabin
LABEL: Varese Sarabande
SERIAL: 302 067 140-2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Trevor Rabin – all instruments * Vinnie Colauita, Lou Molino III, Ryan Rabin – drums * Tal Wilkenfeld – bass (3) * Liz Constantine – vocals (6)
TRACK LISTING: 01 Spider Boogie * 02 Market Street * 03 Anerley Road * 04 Through The Tunnel * 05 The Branch Office * 06 Rescue * 07 Killarney 1 & 2 * 08 Storks Bill Geranium Waltz * 09 Me And My Boy * 10 Freethought * 11 Zoo Lake * 12 Gazania
WEBLINKS: Site Link
It’s been a long time between drinks for one-time South African born AOR hero Trevor Rabin. 2012’s ‘Jacaranda’ is Trevor’s first true solo album since 1989’s ‘Don’t Look Away’. These days Rabin is heavily committed to film soundtrack work based out of Los Angeles, it seems a sense of mental outpouring was required to offload thoughts, musical ideas and assorted offerings before being lost to the ravages of time.
I would guess also that many of the ideas bought forward on ‘Jacaranda’ had their origins during soundtrack work, but for South African fans, the numerous references to Johannesburg street names and locations must read like a road and history map of the past, as I’m sure it was for Rabin, reflecting on his formative years as a youngster growing up in the suburb of Parktown all those years ago.
I must say from the very start that ‘Jacaranda’ is not a melodic romp in the vein of his previous four solo albums; it is to be fair, a jazz-fusion oriented album with interesting parts, a load of melody and some sharp twists and turns.
Bypassing the brief intro ‘Spider Boogie’, closing one’s eyes you can try to imagine where all these musical snippets come from and how they are integrated. If one thinks back to Rabin’s Yes years, then it’s easy to understand how a track like ‘Market Street’ has been constructed. It’s tight, regimented, mathematical in design even.
You have to appreciate ‘Anerley Road’ with an eye toward fusion based material and a near impromptu sounding performance. It sounds instinctive, Rabin’s guitar parts takes on a dobro like quality (or even a sitar like tone which is Trevor’s trademark sound after all), the whole thing coming together eventually like a jigsaw.
The near six minute escape that is ‘Through The Tunnel’ is broken down into three distinct passages. The first section ups the ante with Rabin and Colauita going all out in a sonic blast, with guitars flying all over the soundscape and Colauita putting on his ‘demented drummer’ helmet. The second section cools down for a breather, before setting off again on another escape.
Then we break out for a belter of a third section. Though only brief (compared to the first two sections), Rabin sends his guitar into complete overdrive whilst Vinnie is giving his drum-kit a right seeing to. ‘The Branch Office’ features some fast picking routines played in a modern cowpoke style. It’s something fellow studio session guitarist Tim Pierce did on his solo album ‘Guitarland’ a few years back.
The sixth track ‘Rescue’ features singer Liz Constantine, and is derived from the 2006 movie ‘The Guardian’ featuring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. It’s very soundtrack oriented, the vocal from former Idle Tears singer Liz Constantine is very ethereal and new age sounding. The piece is very dreamy and melancholy, reflecting the sad mood of the song.
‘Killarney 1 & 2’ is a complete change of pace and character; particularly for those of you who have only known Rabin as a guitarist. His classical piano playing is quite beautiful to hear. Glad to see Tony MacAlpine is not the only six-string shredder who has a command of the fleet fingered ivories.
For the brief section that is ‘Part 2’, Rabin lifts the tempo to double time, with an acoustic guitar joining in on the action. ‘Storks Bill Geranium Waltz’ might have a strange title, but it is a brief jazz guitar and piano interlude that goes by far too quickly.
‘Me And My Boy’ features Trevor with his son Ryan Rabin – a drummer and producer in his own right, who evidently has picked up a trick or three from his Dad. There’s more percussive elements on display plus a syncopated pattern shining throughout. Sort of like what Toto used to do in their live moments.
‘Freethought’ is one for the jazz ensemble fan. Hearing this takes you back a few decades, but in reality it’s only Rabin and Molino working the instruments.
‘Zoo Lake’ continues the traditional jazz arrangement, a slower piece with brushes, stand up bass, with guitar and piano used in the foreground. It’s a very laid back number, imagine a jazz club, smokey room, 1940’s era, you get my drift. The finale ‘Gazania’ is kind of hard to pigeon-hole. It uses a variety of styles, is all over the map musically with lead piano and guitar solos inter-changing to good effect.
So there you have it. It’s the sort of album you can have playing in the background without giving it too much direct attention. ‘Jacaranda’ should wash over your aural senses easily. It’s good to see Rabin back in the muse again with a solo album that’s doesn’t have too much to do with his film score work (‘Rescue’ being the one exception). Though it’s not ‘Wolf’ nor ‘Don’t Look Away’ or even remotely close to ‘90125’ era Yes, I’ll take this Jacaranda any day.
Trevor Rabin on Video
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