Drummer, keyboardist and vocalist Mark Murdock's Cymbalic Encounters features eminent progressive-rock unit Brand X alumni, guitarist John Goodsall, bassist Percy Jones, and drummer Kenwood Dennard along with legendary jazz-fusion keyboardist David Sancious and other guests. Murdock shines as a renaissance man and offers a diversified set, highlighted by the largely memorable compositions and aided by a crystal clear studio production. From a progressive-rock standpoint, he displays the epitome of taste, which is a component that seeds a comprehensive musical portraiture.
Jones' slinky lines and daintily rendered harmonics frame the perimeter of the delightful "Until the Sun Is No Longer." Here, Murdock's understated and endearing vocals ride atop a spunky medium-tempo rock groove. And Goodsall reworks the tuneful theme into his jazzy solo spot as the pace slows down, then reenergizes amid Jones' limber bottom, twirling lines, and the leader's crisp drumming. But Murdock also staggers the flow to help elevate this piece from a pop-rock environment, given the tuneful hooks and wistful melody. Ultimately, this composition outlines one of many contrasting factors on a program that duly features the respective artists' commanding technical gifts, yet doesn't forsake compositional acumen.
It is wholly evident that Murdock took great care assembling the production and was intent on producing an album that would age rather well, merging classic concepts with a contemporary sheen. No doubt, his creative sparks and lucid artistic sensibilities yield an irrefutable sense of fulfillment.
Personnel: Mark Murdock: drums, vocal, synthesizers, piano, frequencies and gong; Percy Jones: fretless bass and synthesizers; John Goodsall: guitar.