Marc Seales

American Songs, Volume 3: Time & Place



iTunes - $7.92

MUSIC REVIEW BY Chris Lunn, Ancient Victorys


Seales, from our 1970's jazz sessions at the Other Side of the Tracks, continues with the third in a series of jazz music interpretations. Fred Hamilton is on guitar, the amazing bass of Jeff Johnson or the electric bass of Dave Captein, and drums by Gary Hobbs. Seales has taken Americana or created his own songs from blues, funk, highway, and country. Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman" has a Chicago feel mainly in the bass and sharp piano stomps. It is funky, with the Hamilton guitar hankering back to 80s jazz fusion ala McGlaughlin and others. He attacks, flying over the rhythmic pulse, of each solo line until he is tearing it up in a barrage of hard-struck notes. Hobbs' drum accents with slaps, pounding, and rolls. The bass is all fusion jazz. The sound starts to work off and then relaxes its way out.

"Wichita Lineman," the Jimmy Webb tune, is done here as a floating, very melodic, loving ballad with Jeff Johnson bringing his incredibly lyrical acoustic bass to the work that leads Hamilton into a melodic, warm field of extended notes. Seales' solo falls right off the warm notes cascading through the lines. Gorgeous arrangement and one of my favorite tunes on this CD. "Freddies's Dead," another Mayfield tune with the back-slap of drums and rumbling electric bass leads into Seales' melodic head playing. It ends up a jazzy, funky swing. Just enough delicate, warm melodic motif and enough move and bite on the beat to keep the bluesy funk. Great balance, and Seales tears into and builds his solo.

Stevie Wonder's "Looking for Another Pure Love" again has Johnson lifting with a warm bass on the electronic keyboard lines. Seales keeps it very melodic, round, warm and on the very edge of pop/jazz with originality. Seales has a tiny note clustering solo run to nail the song. Hamilton again has superb guitar runs, inventive and lined up with Johnson's full bass work. "Maddie at the Getty" is a Seales tune for his daughter with keyboard and bass talking in parallel. Easy-going ballad that floats into Seales' easy, again melodic attack, where even the quick shots of notes flow into your ear effortlessly. Seales gathers steam then releases to Hamilton's guitar which also delivers clusters of warm, round, effortless sounds. The ever accenting and emphasizing Hobbs on percussion fills this out nicely. Captein's bass is more subtle here, underplayed, letting the guitar and keyboard voices work.

"I Really Don't Think That" by Seales is a hesitating, catchy bluesy romp with solid drums and bass from Hobbs and Captein supplying the foundation. It is modern funk/boogie dancing in great time signatures. This is complicated get-down music. The almost ten-minute tune gives them plenty of room to explore, and you are left with a great appreciation of how jazz can reopen the funk/soul romp swamp. Seales is very imaginative in using his improvisation to reference the roots of the music. His solo is long and includes a call-and-response with Hobbs' percussive missiles. Then they release to Hamilton's slightly echoed guitar, moving again in many notes well strung, both quick and high and low, but with little extension. Bass and drums handle the foundation. A real blast by Hamilton. "Remember Why" by Seales has a very quiet bass toch, a high lyrical piano, and easy, extended warm guitar. Lyricism and melodic flow lead you to the edge of the pop/jazz of the 70s, and then begins delving into melodic harmonies, interesting lines, and a bass that doesn't just support but counters and runs its own line. Hamilton solos and flows as the rhythm starts swinging. The guitar solo is round, warm, and leads Seales into quick lyrical solo lines, again clusters, handfuls of crisp notes that hold your swinging and imaginative sides together effortlessly. Love again Jeff Johnson's warm melodic support on this song. They swing hard then release into explorations. Hobbs accents, drills to push parts to perfection.

"Love's Question," the last song, and again by Seales, is a quiet ballad with guitar and electric bass acting as the voicing and foundation for keyboard line. Gorgeous and loving melody. The conversation between piano and bass after Seales first solo is exquisite. Then Seales develops an more complex group of improvisational lines, still with holds and melodic ascensions and just touching the swing part of the ballad. Lyrical wonderment.

Seales delivers another diverse set of Americana-based music in both his own songs and those we associate with the pop music world. Packaging is in a jewel case with six-panel insert, with lovely picture of Seales, some Seattle scenery, and one black and white panel of pictures of all the other artists. Who is on what tunes is clearly identified. Song titles and lengths are both on inside insert and the back panel but not on the CD. Jewel Case binding clearly has the artist, title, and other info printed for fast file retrieval. Top Americana musical tour by a master of the piano from our Northwest heritage.





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