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McNeil, John: Sleep Won't Come

" Trumpeter, composer, and part-time insomniac John McNeil's musical portrayals of lying-awake-at-4AM-staring-at-nothing scenes, ranging from piano tone-cluster mashing tunes and ECM-like grooves to Milesish-muse, Irish traditional song, and even a demented polka "

At times soft and resigned as the opening Sleep Won't Come and at times as perky as the caffeine-inspired The Other World ; John McNeil displays a wide range of styles and influences. Extremely exploratory songs which showcase Kent McLagan (bass) and Jeff Jenkins (piano) who try to keep pace with Mr McNeil's many contradictory moods. Miles Davis seems to be the main influence ,though, as McNeil nails the lonely Harmon mute sound in an uncannily accurate hommage. The Water Is Wide is a hauntingly beautiful rendition of an Irish folk song, and contrasts starkly with the improvisational noodlings of Wired Together. Each Moment Remains returns us once again into the mellower Davis sound from his Prestige days, while the Jenkins-penned Escape From Beigeland bops along with some inspired, avant-garde ivory-tickling. We are then plunged into darker soundscapes with Penumbra , as McNeil constantly juxtaposes upbeat numbers and ballads, balancing the disc beautifully. McNeil also has a penchant for quirky off-kilter songs. Polka Party, Somnabulation, Nanotech, and the closing World Without Velcro all seem a little disjointed, yet hold together well while offering the listener some solid jazz laced with inspired improvisational moments.

A surprisingly good disc by accomplished musicians who aren't afraid to take a few risks while wearing their influences on their sleeves.

Track Listing :

  1. Sleep Won't Come (2:26)
  2. The Other World(7:42)
  3. The Water Is Wide(3:37)
  4. Wired Together(1:35)
  5. Each Moment Remains(7:18)
  6. Escape From Beigeland(6:43)
  7. Penumbra(4:24)
  8. Polka Party(3:20)
  9. Somnabulation(4:42)
  10. Nanotech(5:59)
  11. World Without Velcro(2:05)

Added: October 31st 2004
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
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Language: english

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