Multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/composer Neal Morse once again conveys his spirituality, set to progressive rock music, on this multifaceted presentation. He's an eloquent storyteller, regardless of whether he's being dogmating or simply dishing out a good-natured vibe. And there's no doubt about it: Morse's conviction cannot be reproached. Together with the ensemble's knotty time signatures and flair for the dynamic, the leader also gets his word across via sanguine intervals and appealing melodies. Think of classic Yes mixed with a contemporary progressive rock stylization, awash with propulsive rhythms, weighty crunch chords, and layered keys. Morse also implements the now ancient, but still popular mellotron to garner a grandiose wall of sound effect to complement a few pop/rock choruses.
Heavy hitters such as Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess and ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett lend an additional element of professionalism to the project. Along with other notables, Morse plies his talent in various ways, blending acoustic-electric movements, strings, and horns to complement gloriously executed motifs. Naturally, it would be easy to refer to this session as a rock-opera jaunt. Yet in the past, these characterizations sometime reduce music to a status that belittles its intentions, suggesting that an artist engages in superfluous nonsense. Thankfully, that is not the case here.
It's a heady but analogously comprehensive showing that stands rather mightily compared to much of the mindless drivel inundating the market. But the key to Morse's success is not easily attainable for many others in this business, where general know-how, technical acumen, and a clearly-stated message all culminate in a idiosyncratic manner. The artist also manages to have fun during the process, an attribute that translates into a substantial foundation for this exceptional production.
Track Listing: The Temple of the Living God; Another World; The Outsider; Sweet Elation; In the Fire;
Solid as the Sun; The Glory of the Lord; Outside Looking In; 12; Entrance; Inside His
Presence; The Temple of the Living God.
Personnel: Neal Morse: lead and backing vocals, keyboards, guitars; Mike Portnoy: drums and
percussion; Randy George: bass guitar;
Guests: Jordan Rudess: keyboards; Roine Stolt, Alan Morse, Steve Hackett, Mark Leniger:
With Chris Carmichael: violin, cello; Michael Thurman: French horn; Rachel Rigdon: violin;
Jim Hoke: saxophone;
Debbie Bresee: background vocals; Jay Dawson: bagpipes; Revonna Cooper, Joey and Amy
Pippin, Debbie Bressee, Wade Brown: choir.
I fell in love with jazz through my dad Bobby Hirst who was a jazz pianist for over 50 years around the UK and Europe. He was such a modest man but an incredible musician. I tinkered with piano but found myself drawn to guitar after listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell
I fell in love with jazz through my dad Bobby Hirst who was a jazz pianist for over 50 years around the UK and Europe. He was such a modest man but an incredible musician. I tinkered with piano but found myself drawn to guitar after listening to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Kenny Burrell. Misty by Erroll Garner is one of my favourite tracks. My current choice of guitars are Gibson ES335 & ES175 although I only own Epiphone copies at present. I also play classical guitar and love to play jazz on them. I have recently moved to Leeds from York and hoping to meet new friends in the jazz community.