UNIVERSAL! Josh Nelson: Exploring Mars

LA-based Josh Nelson is one of the go-to guys for either a swinging jazz date or for tastefully backing vocalists such as Natalie Cole and Sara Gazarek. He’s got a touch born with the blues that is both sensitive and bopping. This latest album of his is a stroke of genius-The Great Mars Songbook!! What does that mean? Its songs about and dedicated to the famed Red Planet. Hey, it works!

The album starts off by Nelson reading from Ray Bradbury’s classic The Martian Chronicles” with a coffee shop gentle guitar building up to a full combo before “Sojourner” takes us to sleek chamber jazz with some tasty electrical guitar by Larry Koonse.” Kathleen Grace brings her voice to a lovely and longing balled on “How You Loved Me On Mars” as well as the lithe “Spirit.” A couple of the tunes get electrical and spacey; hints of Return to Forever are felt when Nelson plugs in on “Curiosity” and a dash of Headhunters get funky on “Opportunity.” Even better is when Nelson brings out Gustav Holst’s “Mars, The Bringer of War” and turns it into a hipper than hip jazz bolero. The mix of originality, style, harmony and a good old groove makes this a total gas, if there is gas on that planet. How is this guy going to pull this off in concert?

Origin Records


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