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Hackett, Steve: Under A Mediterranean Sky

With recent years finding guitarist extraordinaire Steve Hackett revisiting his past with Genesis to great acclaim as he also celebrated the more progressive end of his solo catalogue, the obvious move to make was to record an instrumental classical guitar album! Never one to be constrained by expectation, thus has it ever been for Mr Hackett and hopefully long will it continue to be. This, however, isn’t the guitarist’s first foray into this kind of territory, with the most recent being the 2008 album Tribute, which was Hackett’s fifth classical creation. For me though, Under A Mediterranean Sky may well be the furthest reaching of all of the prog master’s compositional collections in the configuration. With glorious arrangements and a sumptuous mix of everything from flute and violin to tar and oboe employed in places, not only is the atmosphere intricate and crafted but on the likes of the Eastern tinged “The Dervish And The Djin”, it’s positively heady and conjures up the imagery of its title quite beautifully.

Counterpointing that with the more Spanish flavoured string work of “Lorato” not only shows Hackett’s diversity within this setting but truly alters the mindset as it captures the imagination, with the album going from expansive and atmospheric to playful and precise in just a few short moments. It’s a theme throughout, “The Memory Of Myth” pensive and stark as it paints an evocative scene, while “The Call Of The Sea” uses strings to alter the mood of a structure that follows similar ideals to give completely different results. The interplay between Hackett and his cast of helpers - Roger King on keyboards, programming and orchestral arrangements, John Hackett on flute, Malik Mansurov on tar, Arsen Petrosyan on duduk, Christine Townsend violin and viola, Rob Townsend flute and soprano saxophone and Franck Avril oboe - adds a huge array of textures, confirming that Hackett is more interested in making the music speak for itself than ensuring we all know how stunningly talented his is in this setting (and many others), although that aspect also shines brightly. As a result, in the same way that the previous classical guitar interludes from this guitarist often have been, Under A Mediterranean Sky is a wonderful diversion from Hackett’s main course; whatever that may be.

Track Listing
1. Mdina (The Walled City)
2. Adriatic Blue
3. Sirocco
4. Joie de Vivre
5. The Memory of Myth
6. Scarlatti Sonata
7. Casa del Fauno
8. The Dervish and The Djin
9. Lorato
10. Andalusian Heart
11. The Call of the Sea

Added: March 5th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Steve Hackett online
Hits: 1086
Language: english

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