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Grand Tour Alignment by Solar Wind

Prepare to blast off with Sean Mason and the band as they take you on a funkified trip of wicked bass playing, tightly arranged songs, and some great chops from guitarist Frank Gambale and sax player Eric Marienthal. From the cosmic introduction of "Grand Tour Alignment", one gets the impression that they are indeed in for a musical cosmic adventure.

"Paradise" is a melodic piece featuring some tight bass playing from Sean Mason. Eric Marienthal carries the first few bars before Eric Robeson's guitar adds some flavorful guitar. Then Eric Marienthal takes off with his trademark sound picking up the beat with some rhythmic fireworks. This one is sure to be a hit with listeners. Eric drives the piece home with more wailing sax.

Fireworks happen when listening to "Pacific Strut". Sean again lays the foundation with solid bass work, as the band plays on top grooving along. Guitarist Frank Gambale is right there all along playing his searing brand of guitar. This is a scorcher of a piece that begs repeated listening.

More on the mellow side, "Summer Day" features Eric Robson's gentle acoustic guitar, with the band playing along. The pace picks up slightly into a warm summer day's groove. Laid back, bouncy, and mellow at the same time. Nice to have a break before getting back to the high powered "Sun Coast". Sean is again featured on bass with a solid bottom end. Sean also doubles on keyboard offering lilting keyboard work that adds a smooth yet stark dimension.

"Light Speed" ends this musical journey, carrying with it the funky themes prevalent throughout the album. If funkified electric sounds are your cup of tea, this recording comes highly recommended. After listening to it a few times, the enjoyment increases, and you end up wanting to hum your way along with the tunes. Solid bass, excellent playing from both Eric's and the rest of the group all add up to a ride you will never forget.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Solar Wind
  • CD Title: Grand Tour Alignment
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Record Label: Chartmaker Jazz
  • Musicians: Frank Gambale: Guitar; Marc Hugenberger: Keyboards; Eric Marienthal: Alto Sax; Sean Mason: Keyboards; Tony Moore: Drum Programming; Gary Novak: Drums; Eric Robson: Guitars
  • Rating: Five Stars
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