CLEVER GUITAR IDEAS…Horace Bray: Dreamstate, Hazmat Modine: Extra-Deluxe-Supreme

Fresh and clever use of six strings.

Horace Bray uses his guitar in some rich settings with a team of Colin Campbell/key, Mike Luzecky/b, Matt Young-Connor Kent/dr and a mix of voices and strings on a collection of originals. Many of the pieces here have a Pat Metheny vista of sounds; The Mind As A Brittle Object” with its modern swing and collection of climaxes as well as the  laconic spaciousness of “Living With Imperfection” display a strong influence, while the wordless voice and reflective guitar on”345” create a chant like liturgical environment. The drums get busy with an underlying tension as a mixture of melody and popping ideas veer in and out of guitar and keyboard solos on “Sooth” and the pastoral “Laumeier.” Strings and synthesizers deliver rich pastoral atmospheres on “Semantic Satiation” and the keyboards create mellow moods on the soundtracky “Dirge For Mary Mallon.”  A nice forward direction.

Hazmat Modine collects sounds of early jazz, vaudeville, country blues, gospel and even Tin Pan Alley on this quirky and personal album. He  mix and matches with Erik Della Penna/g, Steve Elson/reeds, Michaela Gomez/g, Pam Flaming/tp, Rachelle Garniez/acc , Tim Keiper/dr and Joseph Daley who uses the tuba to deliver the bass pulse. His voice is a bit like Leo Sayer, but the moods can be rootys and cabaret folk at the same time, as on “Another Day,” with a deep voice twang and horns on a vaudevillian “Plans.” He casually tells stories like a minstrel on “Up and Rise” and snarls on the back porch while the guitar is strummed on “Arcadia (Coffee, Salt & Laces).” The pickings are easy on the ominous riffs of “End of Sweet Dreams” and hints of The Band deliver a casual guitar strum on “Al Of My Days” Sort of like that uncle of yours that is real interesting and fun to be with but you never quite know what he’ll do next.

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