What Is Paragon? is a set of modern jazz/rock fusion, more in-tune with the early-to-mid 1970s model than the more recent Smooth Jazz/Quiet Storm stuff. While it’s very well played technically and has some of the irreverent bite of the best early 70s stuff (think the first two or three Billy Cobham Atlantic albums), it simply doesn’t have enough warmth. It’s afflicted with the same arch solemnity & seriousness-with-a-capital-S that crippled rock & roll in the 70s and some of the jazz avant-garde in any/every time period - the liner notes bear me out on this: a band member writes re: their "Saturday Evening Meditation": "the tenor is like steel, the guitar like holy fire, and the electric piano the calm reassurance." Oy. Paragon sound like they are trying so hard to play well and "right" that the end result is a tad distant and chilly. Plus, while younger listeners may find this of interest, the old hands at this (i.e., them recalling fusion from the 1971-1979 era) may find these fellows not doing anything that hasn’t been done many, many times before. Paragon, I collectively sentence you to five weeks of non-stop listening to albums by Hatfield & The North, Skip Heller, Matching Mole, Big John Patton, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and the first Return To Forever album (on ECM).
Artist / Group Name:Paragon
CD Title:What Is Paragon?
Musicians:Paragon: Robert Howard: guitar; Matt Baumann: tenor saxophone; Ben Langlois: electric piano; Jason Gahler: bass; Matt Schieferstrein: drums.