UK-based trio Lifesigns combines expressive soloing, stately overtones and heart-pumping opuses via impressive progressive-pop sensibilities and multi-tiered compositions, hardened by classic prog virtuosity. The band acquires compassionate support from icons, guitarist Steve Hackett (Genesis) and flautist Thijs VanLeer (Focus). Guitarists Jakko M. Jakszyk and Robin Boult (Fish) contribute, yet the listings do not identify the guest musicians on a per-track basis, other than what may appear to be obvious.
"Carousel" showcases the artists' holistic capabilities, featuring John Young's majestic and layered keys. With alternating rhythmic currents and Young's profound vocals, the musicians bridge temperate interludes with chunky and thrusting chord voicings. However, Hackett's unmistakable sustain lines and extreme note-bending sprees launch the piece atop a robust backbeat. During the midsection, Van Leer's patented, breathy flute lines add another lyrical component to the grand mix, complemented by Young's tenderly designed Moog solo.
Shifting cadences underscore the soloists' sonorous riffing and the band's ethereal interludes. Passive, reflective, and badass tonal swashes are neatly wrapped into a cohesive whole, abetted by resilient melodies and occasional nods to prog's glory days. Make no mistake about it: the musicians impart a prevailing sense of confidence on this auspicious debut, residing on that opaque line where technical acumen and sustainable compositions yield a favorable outcome, enhanced by a glistening audio production that serves the music well.
Personnel: John Young: keyboards, vocals; Martin “Frosty” Beedle: drums,
percussion; Nick Beggs: bass guitar, Chapman Stick, vocals). Guest
musicians - Steve Hackett; guitar; Robin Boult: lead and acoustic
guitar; Jakko Jakszyk: lead and acoustic guitar; Thijs Van Leer: flutes.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.