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Mac, Peter: Tightly Wrapped

Masterful multi-instrumentalist Peter Mac returns to his progressive and jazz roots on Tightly Wrapped, an instrumental CD from the man who has gigged with everyone from Kansas and Jeff Healey to Al Jarreau and Dave Koz. Currently a member of (get this) the Milwaukee Bucks house band Streetlife, Mac has released six solo CDs, and Tightly Wrapped is the second one issued within the past year, following 2004's Submarine. Mac displays no shortage of musical ideas, and each of his songs pulls listeners into memorable mood rooms swirled with lush surroundings.

Playing all guitars and keyboards - plus bass on 11 of 12 tracks - Mac's fluid style is at once impressively technical and immediately accessible. (Even my wife, not known for her musical passion, found the mellow grooviness of opener "In Sleep" intriguing.) Whether playing soaring electric solos that would electrify an arena ("That Was Then"), indulging in introspective acoustic melancholy ("Pastel Doorway"), blazing with all-out sonic blitzes ("Kelly's Blackbirds") or revving up jazzy funk-rock that wouldn't sound out of place at a Bucks game ("Twang This"), Mac seems to draw from influences as diverse as Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, Pat Metheny and George Benson, and he's not afraid to mix genres. In fact, he does so almost seamlessly - so much so that it's difficult to classify this record as either prog or jazz. Clearly, it's both -- and so much more. Mac's bass line on "3 Faces," for example, conjures sonic images of smoky nightclub fusion, while his guitar passages move from blues-rock to Tex-Mex/flamenco in the course of four minutes.

Intensity and devotion to craft are vital elements of Mac's music, and he never sounds as if he's wasting a melody, a lick or even a note. Smart drums and percussion courtesy of Brian Stiemke and Greg Smith add dimension to these already fully formed songs, and Mac's own keyboards complement rather than dominate. Tightly Wrapped, released on the small Milwaukee-area label RockIt Records & Recording, may be one of instrumental music's most tightly wrapped secrets. But it shouldn't be for long.

Track Listing:
1) In Sleep
2) Guitar Lab
3) That Was Then
4) Twang This
5) For You
6) Pastel Doorway
7) Mary's Song
8) Andrea
9) 3 Faces
10) Modern Cowboy
11) Kelly's Blackbirds
12) Sand and Wind

Added: May 11th 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: RockIt Records & Recording
Hits: 3238
Language: english

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