Daryll Dobson: Healing Intentions (1997)
Fusion guitarist Daryll Dobson released Healing Intentions in 1997, following up his previous light fusion record Studio 21 and his electric fusion record The Mind Electric, which featured L. Shankar and Kenny Kirkland. Healing Intentions regroups some of the less famous members of the band on The Mind Electric, including Delmar Brown, Kenwood Dennard, and Rael Grant, to play electric fusion with subtle ethereal touches over a driving backbeat.
Despite the pseudo-metaphysical framing of Healing Intentions by the liner notes as a journey into space, the driving yet melodic fusion still retains relevance for listeners who aren't interested in those mystic trappings. The music includes driving pieces, like "With My Wings" and "We Cannot Hear... The Killing Noise," framing more subdued songs like "Peace of Mind" and "Be the Light," moving thematically between the harder style and the softer one. Dobson includes two cover songs, Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man" and a slowly building, twelve minute version of the Hendrix classic "Third Stone from the Sun." These songs fit musically, and they fit the album theme as the work of deceased visionaries Dobson suggests are still watching down on the earth, much like the celestial viewpoint suggested by "Third Stone" and described in the metaphysical journey in the liner notes.
The drums sound crisp and alive, and Gerry Brown lays down thick grooves reminiscent of Dennis Chambers through the entire record, including the tastefully short drum solo "Wings of Rhythm." The bass purrs with a wooden growl, adding a wide sonic foundation that Dobson's older CD Studio 21 lacks. The clean piano, and especially the organ on "End of Time" and "Third Stone," colorfully back the guitar. Dobson's electric guitar shines at singing leads like "With My Wings" and "We Cannot Hear... The Killing Noise," and at plucked clean passages like "Peace of Mind," complimented by acoustic guitar. Most of Dobson's synth work subtly compliments the playing by the live musicians, such as the chords on "We Cannot Hear...," but the unnecessary and poorly voiced synth horn accents in "With My Wings" detract from the crisp, natural tones of all the real instruments. Fortunately, Dobson uses better placement and sound with the synth parts in the other up-tempo songs, and the tasteful one minute synth solo track "Our Journey Within," providing a better showcase for the playing and sound of the live instruments and musicians.
Healing Intentions grooves with mystic intensity through driven vamps and mellow ebbs, and Dobson's talents shine when surrounded by skillful guest musicians.
Record Label: Midnight Lamp Cybermedia Arts
Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock