A series of essays wherein I explore the numerous musical identities of my favorite musician: from child prodigy to teen idol to guitar hero to singer/songwriter to award-winning in-demand film composer.
Featuring news/updates and commentary/analysis of Trevor's career and associated projects.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A year with Jacaranda

How time flies when you're having fun...

Trevor at the Jacaranda release party held at the Gibson Museum on 6/6/12.
(photo by Elyse Glickman)

Exactly one year ago today those of us considered ardent patient optimistic Rabinites experienced the excitement of finally seeing and hearing a long-awaited new release, Trevor's fifth solo album Jacaranda, a recording which is one of the best examples of fusion I've ever heard.  And now, after a year of living with it, loving it, and allowing it to soak deep into my consciousness there are some additional impressions I can relate.

I will state that when I was first allowed to preview the album - roughly a month-and-a-half prior to release via a secure online location - I can perfectly recall my attitude as I listened to this music for the first time: my face hurt from smiling, and I laughed out loud several times.  I was grateful to hear the proof of Trevor's artistry delivering him into new territories and attitudes.  But I couldn't absorb it all with just one listen, much less organize my thoughts.  Although I wrote my review of the album (which is available on the blog) a day or two after my first listen, over the next month I would listen to the album numerous times strictly for the pleasure of having a dream realized.  As I stated in my essay "Fusion Furor," I am a fan of the genre and had long-wished for Trevor to record a fusion record.  And yet, knowing what he is capable of, I was still surprised and stunned with the result, with all the colors and textures and emotions rendered within.

And the prevailing emotion is joy.  Think about how many works of art grant you just that feeling, as simply as a single motif happily performed by the one who composed it.  And I cannot express how wonderful it was to be able to articulate that emotion directly to the creator, for whom it seems a simple "thank you" could never be enough.

I suppose what is most interesting to me in regards to the evolution of my admiration and enjoyment of the work is pondering the layers and shifting textures of each track, the way the mix reveals the relationships in the arrangements, the twisting tangled path of all those references and chromatic touches, the way Trevor's playing is presented as both a voice by turns raucous, emotive and intricate and as the engine which drives the compositions through a dramatic gambit of dynamic presentation.

I had favorites when I began the journey and I still do, but they've changed a bit.  Now it's the last three tracks which hold my attention tightly, loving their jazz pedigrees and the considered artistry of their arrangements..."Freethought" is a gleefully mischievous melding of bop and shred, "Zoo Lake" is a dreamy recreation of a trad jazz big band with lovingly rendered piano and stand-up bass and guitars voicing a vocal line as well as the horn parts just as expressively as they would have with actual brass, "Gazania" is a rococo aural sculpture of audacious fusion references.  Although I had given the nod to Johnny Mac in terms of inspiration in regards to that composition, I now understand it's also a mash note to classic forms; as much The Incredible Jazz Guitar as Extrapolations.

This is an album which lives and breathes and evolves to continue the dialogue of aesthetic understanding; it is not a static statement, it is rather more like its packaging: a snapshot and an impressionistic portrait of someone who can only be pinned down for the briefest of moments, a quicksilver flash of inspiration and expression.  But Jacaranda is also a work which endures outside of that moment - a perennial of creativity - to be enjoyed for as long as any listener wishes to step inside the world where it is always in bloom.