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Haklar, Dennis: Lizard's Tale

Dennis Haklar was introduced to jazz guitar by Harry Leahey, the famous jazz guitarist. He studied electronic music at Rutgers University and used to love discovering sounds and mastering the modular Arp 2600 synth, in the labs. He joined the Improvising Structures Ensemble which was an Avante Garde outfit which performed the music of John Cage, Terry Riley, as well as original compositions. This is where he met Eric Kloss, (best known for his work with Pat Martino) who played sax in the ensemble.

A few years ago he began collaborating with Jon Anderson over the internet. As a fan of Yes, he had also grown up listening to Jon Anderson sing. He always had loved jazz as well as prog rock. He has studied guitar with jazz maestro Larry Coryell over the past few years. Coryell opened Haklar's mind to thinking about music in visionary ways.

"Lizard's Tale" brings Haklar full circle working with some of his favorite artists like Jon Anderson, on vocals, Larry Coryell, on electric and acoustic guitar; Mark Egan, on bass; and Thierry Arpino, on drums.

"Lizard's Tale", the title and opener kicks the album off well with excellent drums, bass, and wonderful jazz guitar. It is full of ambition and a cool tempo and rhythm. An excellent way to get things started.

"Low-Lee-Tah" is another superb jazz, acoustic and electric guitar masterpiece. This time the synths sounds takes this track over the edge as one of the best tracks on the album. K. S. Resmi's echoing vocals only add to the song's epic grandeur.

As a Jon Anderson/Yes fan it was his appearance that made me initially interested in this album. "Leap of Faith" is one of the wonderful deep centerpieces which anchor this album. Ok, Jon never disappoints, so his singing along with the guitars, synths and drums are perfect. But, Haklar's lead guitar and Egan's soft, soothing bass more than provide a nice backdrop for Anderson's voice. They shine brightly above on this track. Haklar's guitar brings back memories of the virtuosity we all remember from Stewart's "Year of the Cat". Now imagine that with Jon singing. Yah…I think you know what I mean. Out of this world, and so good for the ears. ;^)

"Prelude to Dawn". Great title. Dawn is one of my favorite times of the day. The moment before the sun welcomes us back to a new day. The last chance for reflection and hopefully thanksgiving. With Jon Anderson adding his vocals to this track and the perfect bass and rhythm being delivered I know this will accompany many more of my pre-dawns in the future. Coryell and Haklar ramp it up well with their incredible guitar variations.

"Dawn of an Era". Yah…epic title and the music does not disappoint. Anderson joins in again with supporting vocals, guaranteeing its splendor. But the guitar work is even more intricate and well timed. "Love is all"…yes Jon. The teamwork and playing between the intricate guitars and drumming is something you expect from veterans, but more often from bands that have been together for years. Like a seasoned band, this team moves perfectly with the rhythms they create. The 70's style jazz guitar sounds I remember from so many albums of the past…dance through the air.

"A Message" is a solid solo track that opens slow and tender and slowly works its way through the paces with shimmering escort.

"Swift Messenger "is another slow and beautiful ride down a soft river full of excellent guitar, soft drums and loads of dreams.

On the other hand…"Angels in Bahia" gets the ocean road trip off to a very cool percussion and drum start. The guitar work is excellent and puts you in the perfect mood for exploration.

"Crossing Over" is a slow, moodier piece which continues the fantastic virtuoso guitar work, mixed well with excellent drumming. The bass play is exceptional on this track. Jon Anderson brings his voice for the last appearance on the album. All is well.
With "Jaywalkin'", all I could keep hearing repeated in my mind was "Diamond Girl…you sure do shine". I know the tone and the harmony were not the same, but the beats were. But this track is another excellent guitar wanderer.

"Naima" is full of rich tones and themes and another cool jazz inspired anthem. Nothing is missing here. Perfect for a relaxing evening inside or while relaxing on headphones by the oceanside. The perfect tonic for sun or fireside. Well balanced and full of well-planned and timed solitude.

Track Listing:

1. Lizard's Tale
2. Low-Lee-Tah
3. Leap of Faith
4. Prelude to Dawn
5. Dawn of an Era
6. A Message
7. Swift Messenger
8. Angels in Bahia
9. Crossing Over
10. Jaywalkin'
11. Naima

Added: November 20th 2012
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
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Language: english

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