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CD REVIEW: George Mason & Friends - "Life & Colors "
By Gian F - 01/16/2004 - 10:17 PM EST

Artist: George Mason & Friends
Album: "Life & Colors "
CD Review: Genre: Progressive Jazz
Sounds Like: ?
Technical Grade: 7
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7
Commercial Value: 7
Overall Talent Level: 8
Songwriting Skills: 7
Performance Skill: 7
Best Songs: Dancing on The Wall, Little Brown Girl, Modern Art Song
Weakness: Repertoire lacking depth
CD Review: I received this abstract jazz project from George Mason of Glenwood, Minneapolis that was backdated to 1993. I almost didn't review it. That would have been a mistake. The beauty of jazz music (abstract jazz in this particular case) is that it doesn't get dated. That's the good news...the bad news is that it's rarely deemed commercially viable. But commercial viability is not (and should not) be the focus of such creative and ecclectic music.

The project's best single, "Dancing On The Wall," is a slick, layered collage of instruments that dazzle your ears with unique arrangements and rapid fire perscussion that sustains your interest without overwhelming you. The songs "Life Colors," and the Miles Davis cover of "All Blues," are more rugged tunes with funkier under tones, but they don't keep pace with the sizzling intensity and artistry of "Dancing On The Wall, " and "Little Brown Girl."

All songs on the CD were recorded in one sitting with no overdubs, making this a highly ambitious project that courageously tackles an abstract art form and distinguishes George Mason and Friends as progressive jazz players who are bold enough to take the path less chosen. Though the second half of this CD suffers from a mysterious muzak feel that disrupts the quality of the project (and lowered the scores), they still achieved their goal of achieving musical chemistry through impulsive, creative improvisation.

Advice: Keep up the good work! Add some contemporary production on your future projects to broaden your audience.

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