Monday, July 08, 2013

Lawson Rollins - "Full Circle" - Release on Infinita Records, July 16th #jazz

Rollins has enthralled YouTube viewers with his jaw-dropping classical guitar prowess that has generated over 7.5 million views, which is massive for an instrumental artist. Those views were registered for his three clips and video attempts by ambitious guitarists trying to emulate his astonishing technique.
   
“Full Circle,” Rollins’ fourth album, reflects his artistic journey. On earlier releases, he traversed the world on a quest to amass interesting styles to incorporate into his sonic collages that mine world music, jazz, rock, classical, folk and reggae. Along the way, he unearthed a fondness for Latin, Middle Eastern, African and Japanese sounds and instrumentation. He recorded with the finest native musicians to maintain authenticity. On “Full Circle,” Rollins decided to travel with a smaller suitcase thus pack less layers into the still lush tracks, which places the focus on his ensnaring melodies and body moving grooves. Rollins was accompanied by the same core ensemble that played on his three previous releases: Camardella (keyboards, piano), Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat, bassist Randy Tico, percussionist Dave Bryant and saxophonist/flutist Richard Hardy. The more direct path led Rollins back home creatively to his recordings from over a decade ago when he was a member of the hybrid world music duo Young & Rollins that favored flamenco, samba and rumba rhythms.          
     
It’s a forward motion march into the melody and a driving groove on “Momentum,” the album opener and first radio single highlighted with hints of Japanese folk music that has consistently been one of the most added tracks on the Billboard BDS and SmoothJazz.com charts over the past month. A sultry tango setting makes “Point of Attraction” a sensual guitar, piano and string section tryst. Thumping bass and a pulsating drum beat propel the frenetic “Pursuit” into a runaway rumba that surprises with an Appalachian fiddle and an exotic sax and accordion interlude. In order to get the pure and powerful guitar tone heard on the soaring bossa nova “Flight,” Rollins utilized a new custom Lester Devoe guitar along with sophisticated vintage microphones and pre-amps combined with cutting edge technology. “Horizon” floats alluring world jazz hues over samba rhythms. Rollins’ guitar is vividly fragrant on “Bloom,” another bossa nova/samba blossom.

The title track is a reflective salsa number. Middle Eastern nuances cast a mystical spell on “Serpent’s Tale,” which shuffles along a potent reggae beat. “The Offering” is a beguiling beauty – delicate, vulnerable and emotional. The sprawling “Gone From Here” clocks in at close to 9 minutes. On the majestic passage that swirls rock and rumba, behold the unusual sound of Rollins on electric guitar (he doesn’t own one so he borrowed it from Camardella). Another piece that Rollins also describes as a “journey piece” that incorporates 4 songs into one ambitious composition, “Shifting Seasons” is one of the most diverse cuts on the record. It seamlessly stitches folk motifs, Asian elements, and rumba and bolero rhythms. The tender “Promise” is an elegant dialogue between Rollins’ nimble six-string and lyrical string section swatches from Bisharat’s graceful violin and Cameron Stone’s yearning cello.

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