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Spiral Sky by David Joel Quartet

David Joel, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader, has released a new CD Spiral Sky. A studio album that is produced by Joel and Derrick Graves, who is also the sound engineer on the recording and has done a fairly good job with sound quality. The recording has a fusion of styles, blending smooth jazz with hints of Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian grooves and touching on some melodic jazz, some hard jazz-rock fusion and some blues along the way. This is the music of a talented guitarist experimenting in the influences that he has been exposed to. The other members of the band who make up the quartet are along for the ride and provide support on the road to discovery.

There are a couple of songs, "Spiral Sky" and "Little Bear," where the band really gels and everyone seems to be on the same page, playing as a cohesive unit and letting loose to provide listening pleasure on a higher level. The song "Spiral Sky," one of the jazz/rock fusion numbers, is a high energy tune with bassist Paul Gehman and guitarist David Joel sounding at their best. The song also features some pretty intense, yet tasteful synthesizer keyboard playing care of John Stenger. Drummer Dan Monaghan is performing well, an on the beat, straight ahead, driving drummer. The song builds to a grand climax and finds Monaghan letting go with some inspired playing.

"Little Bear" is a beautiful melody in a blues based groove with Stenger leading the rhythm section with a laid back feel while David Joel free flows through an enchanting guitar solo that leads into a keyboard break, sounding similar to a set of vibes. Joel comes back in for the ending and lays down some nice single note riffs before the final melodic chord.

"Other Side Of The Sun" starts out with a repeating guitar lick in a moderate tempo, it changes after four bars to an open, sustained chord that is allowed to distort, the song returns to this previously introduced rhythm and gradually builds to a song that allows drummer Dan Monaghan to break out with some more inspired drumming. Guitarist Joel and drummer Monaghan trade off in the most energetic, rock-fusion inspired track of the recording. The other members of the quartet are in support mode behind the two soloists.

If you like solid guitar playing, a powerful back up band and a fusion style, then check out Spiral Sky.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: David Joel Quartet
  • CD Title: Spiral Sky
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Tracks: the dance of life, eastern truth, western lies, as it may end, the star-spangled gospel, spiral sky, little bear prelude, little bear, other side of the sun
  • Musicians: David Joel (acoustic & electric guitars), John Stenger (keyboards), Paul Gehman (bass), Dan Monaghan (drums)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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