After so many successful years working with other influential musical persons such as Wayne Shorter and The Manhattan Transfer, Yaron Gershovsky decided it was time to do make his own musical statement as a form of self portrait. He has succeeded in this album.
All of the compositions are Gershovsky's own creation, except for Jobim's "Modinha" and Teddy Powell's "Unchain My Heart", and in each chart we see a different part of his statement, a different influence. The opener, "Bliss", starts us off with a strong back-beat that drives with the essence of East Coast Jazz. The straight ahead melody is followed by several horn solos, and a very funky organ solo by Gershovsky. Many of the songs, such as "Devotion", are a la Wayne Shorter compositions, especially in the bouncing bass lines that end in downward scales and layered horn lines. Other songs such as "Mellow Mood" are more funk-based in rhythmic style, although Gershovsky's solo ideas are more fusion in nature. "Modinha" is done with sparse instrumentation, yet it still feels a bit heavy at times. The addition of strings helps to lighten the piece when needed. "Prelude In 'E' " is a solo work with some very cool harmonization. It helps in a way to sum up the whole thought behind the album.
Some of the pieces are rather whimsical and the listener can get lost in the repetitive lines and synthesized sound. For the most part, however, the music is interesting simply because of the great deal of color Gershovsky provides, even when backing up horn soloists. All three bass players featured on the album give very good performances, both as rhythm players and as melodic instruments. The horns featured on various pieces play very much in the style of Wayne Shorter or Freddie Hubbard.
Overall, this album was a blast to listen to, and is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys funk, fusion, or stylistic piano.