Jacaranda is the first solo release from former Yes member Trevor Rabin since 1989's Can't Look Away, and for many will be the one they've been waiting for from him for decades. Almost entirely instrumental, Jacaranda is filled with fiery electric & acoustic guitar, majestic keyboards, and clever arrangements that bridge the gap between rock, jazz, prog rock, classical, avant-garde, pop, and metal. In short, there's a little something for everyone here, and top to bottom it's all pretty magical.
Along with Rabin on Jacaranda are drummers Vinnie Colaiuta, Lou Molino III, and son Ryan Rabin, bassist Tal Wilkenfeld (Jeff Beck/Herbie Hancock), and guest vocalist Liz Constintine, though Rabin himself plays all the guitars, keyboards, and the majority of the bass. The two opening tracks, "Spider Boogie" and "Market Street", show off Rabin's love for countrified boogie fusion, which will instantly appeal to fans of the Dixie Dregs, and there are plenty of nimble guitar solos that will leave your jaw hanging on the floor. Add some jazz & classical flavors to that formula and you have the wonderful "Amerley Road", one of the wildest tracks here, and alongside Trevor's Steve Morse inspired fretwork and majestic piano you have Wilkenfeld's silky lead bass lines which are just stunning. This is perhaps one of my favorite pieces here, and it's just classy and majestic all the way, with Rabin running the gamut from acoustic to electric. Think the Dregs meets Weather Report meets Return to Forever.
Another textured number follows in the form of "Through the Tunnel" which starts off with a Southern fusion twist like something off of High Tension Wire from Steve Morse, before Rabin's blazing lead electric lines blast info the mix with metallic fury. "The Branch Office" is a gorgeous classical/country ditty, complete with some amazing picking, and "Rescue" is a soaring new age styled number with beautiful crooning from Constintine. Look for some incredible classical piano from Trevor on the stunning solo piece "Killarney 1 & 2", and then he switches to some hollowbody jazz sounds alongside piano on the brief "Storks Bill Geranium Waltz". After setting a tranquil pace on those two tracks, Rabin jolts the listener into arena rock heaven with the grand "Me and My Boy", a duet with his son Ryan on drums. Those who loved his heavy guitar riffs on the three Yes albums he recorded on will love his lethal licks here.
Rabin shows his inner Wes Montgomery on the bouncy jazz track "Freethought", mixes country and jazz flavors on the majestic yet somber "Zoo Lake", and fires off some classical, bluegrass, and prog on the wild closer "Gazania", which features some of his finest acoustic guitar work on the album, along with a little banjo, dobro, electric guitar, piano, and fretless bass. A tour de-force for sure!
It's hard to believe that Trevor Rabin has waited this long to put out a solo album of this nature, but I guess better late than never. Though he's contributed some amazing guitar and keyboard work throughout his career with Rabbitt and Yes, as well as on the many film score and movie soundtracks he's worked on since leaving Yes back in the mid-'90s, never has this type of musicality been recorded from the virtuoso. Let me just say...wow.
1 Spider Boogie
2 Market Street
3 Anerley Road
4 Through The Tunnel
5 The Branch Office
7 Killarney 1 & 2
8 Storks Bill Geranium Waltz
9 Me And My Boy
11 Zoo Lake