Bruce Von Stiers
For the second time within a week, I've come across a jazz album that isn't easy to describe. It isn't your traditional jazz and certainly doesn't fall into the smooth jazz category. The album is titled Transcend and is by guitarist Justin Piper.
According to a press release for the album, Justin's music could be classified as acid jazz. I'm not familiar with that styling of jazz. But when I see the term acid I think of the hard hitting guitar of ‘70's acid rock. But that is not this kind of music. Justin has a more sedate styling that fast and furious guitar. Not to say that the guitar playing isn't fast in some of the songs. But it is gentler than the hard rock that the term acid made me think of.
On the album Justin plays all of the instruments. Not only does he play nylon and steel acoustic guitars, he plays the lap steel. Also included in the repertoire is the oud, banjo and bass. Justin did all of the programming and composed all of the songs on the album. Being a bit of a jack of all trades, Justin arranged, produced, mixed and mastered the album himself. The album has fifteen songs and play time of almost fifty minutes.
Like an afternoon picnic on the shore, Lakeside is a moderately gentle piece. But it does have some interesting guitar that picks up the pace during parts of the song.
Through Composed shows fairly well how good that Justin is on guitar. The song made me think of the music that came from some of the guitar based albums on the Windham Hill record label.
Camels has a somewhat South American styling, something that critics had noted Jason for. It reminded me a bit of Russ Freeman.
Rondo is a mellower tune.
Lenny Three has almost orchestral background music complement nice guitar work.
Getting back to a Middle Eastern sound is Falling Through The Dark. Like the title suggests, it is a bit dark, but not too dark. About halfway through the pace picks up.
Mahavishnu's Lullabye seems to be a nod towards the 70's group Mahavishnu Orchestra. It definitely has some of the same unique styling as that band.
Peace Three is a fast and smile effecting tune.
Fayetteville Honey has a touch of country music in it. It is different pace for the album.
Newly Arriving is a little bit heavier, going back to that South American styling.
Other songs on the album include Snow Shower, Bugs and Stutter Steps.
The Line has an almost Middle Eastern tone to it, evoking visions of belly dancers or perhaps a hookah tent at an ashram.
The last song on the album is Bobbing. It has a somewhat sad, almost haunting sound. Like a broken heart that needs mending.
Transcend is definitely an interesting album. It showcases Justin's guitar playing very well along with the uniqueness of the compositions that he wrote for the album.
You can hear songs from the album on Justin's whttps://www.facebook.com/justinpiperguitar/eb site. The site is https://www.justinpiper.com/
Justin also has a band page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/justinpiperguitar/
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© 2018 Bruce E Von Stiers