With their second release titled, As On A Darkling Plain California based prog-band “Ten Jinn” surge onward while boasting strong group orientated characteristics that might parallel the modern-progressive idiom yet should also be commended for concentrating within the existing compositional framework. Hence, the soloing is implemented as a tool and not extended beyond the thrust of these rather interweaving series of works.
The theme piece titled, “As On A Darkling Plain” is a quite involved 40 minute suite featuring a Sci-Fi type into that segues into 70’s Canterbury-style motifs and bright vocals supplied by lead vocalist John Paul Strauss along with additional vocal support from various band members. Throughout, Strauss articulates the lyrics in explicit fashion atop glistening orchestrations, well-stated choruses, alternating solos, lyrical unison lines, shifting themes and tight rhythms. Guitarist Michael Matier along with guest artist and ex-“Happy The Man” guitarist Stan Whitaker provide the sharp leads and poignant lines while Bob Niemeyer presumably handles most of the keyboard chores; although, these fellows apparently operate as a multitasking unit as several of the band members are also credited with performing various keyboards..........The composition, “Lost In The Money” will keep you humming thanks to the memorably melodic and rather whimsical hook as the band melds lighthearted motifs with solid backbeats and Strauss’ expressive vocalizing. “Tomorrow” conveys a mystical or otherworldly atmosphere that skirts the fringes of what some might classify as - “Gothic-Rock”.
To some extent, “Ten Jinn’s” mission statement may read something like; focus on the compositions, easy on the bravado and pyrotechnics while maintaining a balanced approach that aims to entertain. Therefore, As On A Darkling Plain is a fine effort from a group of musicians who clearly devised the concepts and executed the material while keeping the listener or perhaps their faithful audience in mind! * * * *
John Paul Strauss; Lead & Backing Vocals, Piano, Keyboards: Mark Wickliffe; Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar, Bass: Matt Overholser; Electric & Acoustic Basses, Stick: Bob Niemeyer; Keyboards & Backing Vocals: Michael Matier; Electric, Acoustic & Midi Guitars:
Guest Musicians: Stan Whitaker; Electric Guitars: Kenneth Francis; Electric Guitars & Backing Vocals (Beautiful Marquise)
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I was first exposed to jazz as a child in Boston and at a Sun Ra concert.
I met Jaco Pastorius as a teenager in NYC.
The best show I ever attended was The Gap Band.
The first jazz record I bought was Heavy Weather.