Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

88

Geoffrey Downes / Christopher Braide - DBA: Skyscraper Souls

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Track review of "Skyscraper Souls"

Christopher Braide maintains a ubiquitous presence within the global music industry. He's a songsmith and singer for cinema and TV, and he produces works for pop acolytes such as vocalists Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé and Christine Aguilera among many other projects, spanning multiple genres. With Braide's third and finest co-led outing with famed British keyboardist Geoffrey Downes, known for his work with Yes, Asia and others, the duo hits that sweet spot, bridging the gap between conventional rock and articulately arranged progressive rock. They also summon the services of an all-star cast such as vocalist, guitarist Andy Partridge (XTC), vocalists Marc Almond, Kate Pierson (B52s) and other notable musicians, appearing on select tracks to round out this highly melodic production. It's consummated with hummable themes, robust instrumentation and poignant solos.

Legendary artist Roger Dean designed the cover art, reminding us of his colorful wraithlike illustrations for Yes, Uriah Heep and many other prog bands that helped blaze new frontiers in the 1970s. So, the table is set for this highly accessible program sparked by Braide's youthful vigor and heartfelt vocal delivery, capped off by his near perfect diction. Yet the magnum opus is the title track, which clocks in at 18-minutes. Here, Downes' majestic piano voicings and blossoming mellotron notes pave the way for a multifaceted piece that kindles fond memories of prog's glory days but framed with a modern uplift.

Braide's wondrously radiant choruses ride above Downes' circular synth patterns, contrasted by guitarist Dave Colquhoun's clean and expressive leads, as the musicians intertwine memorable hooks amid changeable flows throughout. Moreover, Pierson's angelic refrains infuse a sacredness that transitions the ensemble back to the primary theme via stately sub-motifs and wistful dreamscapes, executed with various modes of intensity. Downes also employs vocoder-based background voices and somber synth strings passages, complementing a few thunderous movements, as Braide adds some reverb to his vocals to project an imposing vibe with spiritual underpinnings. Nonetheless, Skyscraper Souls is a superlative effort on many musical fronts and an essential listen by just about anyone who digs Indie, prog or archetypal rock formats.

Personnel: Geoffrey Downes: vocoder, piano, keyboards, programming; Christopher Braide: lead vocals, piano, keyboards, programming; Dave Colquhoun: lead guitars; Andy Hodge: bass guitars; Ash Soan: drums, percussion; Andy Partridge: background vocals, lead and acoustic guitars, mandolin and sleigh bells (1,3,8 & 9); Kate Pierson: vocals (2); Matthew Koma: vocals (4); David Longdon – vocals & flute (5); Tim Bowness: background vocals (6); Marc Almond: lead vocals (7); Patrick Howley: lead guitar solo (4); Elijah and Sascha Braide: vocals (2, 3, 5, 6); Matt Bourne Jones: trumpet; Barney Ashton Bullock: narrator.

Title: Skyscraper Souls | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Cherry Red Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk CD/LP/Track Review
Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Pardes CD/LP/Track Review
Pardes
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Music for a Free World CD/LP/Track Review
Music for a Free World
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Rats Live on No Evil Star CD/LP/Track Review
Rats Live on No Evil Star
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 9, 2018
Read "Heaven & Earth" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven & Earth
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 15, 2018
Read "Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics" CD/LP/Track Review Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 2, 2018
Read "Stanley Clarke Band: The Message" CD/LP/Track Review Stanley Clarke Band: The Message
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 26, 2018
Read "Alleviation" CD/LP/Track Review Alleviation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Atody Man" CD/LP/Track Review Atody Man
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 5, 2018
Read "Deuce" CD/LP/Track Review Deuce
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 2, 2018