Josh Nelson

The Sky Remains

origin 82741

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Kirk Silsbee, Downbeat

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Pianist Josh Nelson thinks big. His own projects, showcased so far in clubs only, are multi-media affairs with scenery and video projections to live music The music for these phantasmagoria is equally expansive, often revolving around Los Angeles history, science fiction and things celestial. The son of a Disney imagineer, he sees the town as the ultimate thrill ride. Nelson's triumph is essaying his personal obsessions in ways so musically pleasing that his songs and compositions stand on their own.

Nelson's light touch piano and attractive writing on The Sky Remains denote his extensive classical background. Songs and themes are lyrical; the ensembles and the vocals breathe and lfow naturally, with canny spacing and thematic development. The "Bridges And Tunnels" and "On The Sidewalk" motives gently roll, and Anthony Wilson's guitar acts as a fine second voice to the soloists.

The program hints at a fair amount of tragedy in Nelson's program notes and composing. Brian Walsh's desultory clarinet amid the carny rhythms of "Pacific Ocean Park" and Kathleen Grace's poignant vocal on "The Sky Remains" underplay frustration and broken dreams. But the sunlight of the piano rondo of "the Architect" and the optimism of the clean horn writing on "Ah, Los Angeles" indicate optimism.

Nelson has composed a soundtrack for a movie yet to be made, but the music provides more than enough content or private mental projections.






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