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Flashbacks by Barney McAll

With his fifth album as a leader, Australian composer/keyboardist Barney McAll continues his extraordinary fusing of the jazz vernacular into a unique voice. In 1997, he relocated to New York City and joined sax great Gary Bartz’s quartet while partaking in the area’s downtown scene activities among other music-based endeavors. Here, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel provides a significant ingredient to McAll’s multilateral compositional structures that often spawn a sense of wonderment.

The keyboardist looks at the big picture here. His works span odd-metered pulses, sprinkled with streaming EFX and ethereal treatments amid changeable flows and punishing jazz-rock grooves. Yet, McAll is a consummate melody-maker, where memorable hooks often serve as the core factor.

On "Flashback," Rosenwinkel and tenor saxophonist Jay Rodriguez execute a complex series of choruses that give way to multiple, integrated themes. However, McAll augments many of these movements with delicate piano phrasings while weaving intricate motifs and highly-emotive sentiment into various passages. As his broad scope and vision includes the Latin element via Rosenwinkel’s, Wes Montgomery-like chord clusters during the endearing piece, "New Eyes."

Regardless of whatever stylizations the artist embeds into the program, he manages to impart a mark of authenticity into the grand schema. For example, McAll injects a vintage King Crimson, prog-rock vibe into a jazz-fusion mindset on the powerful comp titled "Red and Black Shifts." Here, Rosenwinkel renders crunching licks while the leader dapples the heavy pulse with airy ornamentations.

McAll’s "Costello," is a drifting ballad dedicated to bassist Gary Costello, so its not all about soaring guitar lines and complex metrics. On the contrary, McAll engineers a string of aural portraitures that do indeed, go straight to the heart, in various colors and forms. (Exuberantly recommended.... )

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Barney McAll
  • CD Title: Flashbacks
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: An Extra-Celestial/Scrootable Labs Production
  • Musicians: Barney McAll (piano, chucky & keyboards), Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Drew Gress (bass), Jonathan Maron (electric bass), Matt Pavola (bass), Obed Calvaire (drums), George Schuller (drums), Pedrito Martinez (bata and percussion), Jay Rodriguez (tenor sax), Joshua Roseman (trombone), Tiger Rex (alto sax)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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