Monday, September 12, 2016

CD Review: Jerry Goodman's Violin Fantasy (2016)

Jerry Goodman's Violin Fantasy
Violinist Jerry Goodman was the best part of late ‘60s/early ‘70s sonic experimenters the Flock, the talented instrumentalist wailing away on the catgut, long locks flying wildly. Goodman went on to an acclaimed solo career, as well as abundant session work with folks like Joe Cocker, Nektar, Dream Theater and many others after serving ground-breaking stints with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the Dixie Dregs.  

Violin Fantasy is Goodman’s first solo effort since 1987’s It’s Alive, the album a fine collection of twelve instrumental tone poems, mostly well-worn rock ‘n’ roll covers, with his imaginative playing at the eye of the hurricane.

Goodman’s extraordinary chops breathe new life into songs like Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” (pure magic recorded with prog-rock pals Nektar); the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” is provided a lush soundtrack that reveals the wistful yearning beneath the lyrics; while “The Laws of Nature,” with guests Tony Levin (King Crimson) and Billy Sherwood (Yes), is a fluid, funky, proggish joy ride. Europe’s “The Final Countdown” is provided an epic grandeur that even the original couldn’t muster while Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” takes on a dark majesty when surrounded by Goodman’s supple orchestration.

The violinist’s original title track is simply hauntingly beautiful. Mixing elements of classic rock, prog-rock, and jazz-fusion, Goodman has delivered in Violin Fantasy an exhilarating, breathtaking showcase for his unique artistic vision. Grade: A (Purple Pyramid Records, released July 1, 2016)

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