Gill, Michael: Blues for Lazarus
Michael Gill is a talented pianist from the San Francisco area and is debut album Blues for Lazarus on ProgRock Records should be out momentarily. Gill incorporates jazz, blues, progressive rock and fusion all stamped with his excellent piano and keyboard work. Gill has enlisted plenty of musicians to help him along the way so this is far from a one man band, although his piano work is often the star of the show. Gill has composed some well crafted melodic songs that should appeal to a wide range of people.
A few of these songs were inspired by some of Gill's favourite fiction novels including Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough For Love and Frank Herbert's Dune among others. Having not read any of the books I cannot comment on the connection to his music but it is an interesting concept nonetheless.
Gill's piano and keyboards are an integral part of Blues for Lazarus and the album's best tunes provide a showcase for his skill, whether it's the smoky blues of the title track, the instrumental prog fusion of "Arrakis", probably my favourite song on the album, or the instrumental piano of the heartfelt "Memory of a Dream". Other notables include the mellow prog sound of "Merlin's Journey" featuring the fine cello of Amy Brodo and a moving rendition of the Peter Gabriel tune "Here Comes the Flood" where Gill's piano and the voice of Callie Lou Thomas stays true to the somber mood of the piece.
For me, the album's only real blemish is the ballad "Stay the Night" where the sappiness runs a little too deep. Other than that, this was an enjoyable CD of well crafted songs crossing a variety of styles. That being said, I would like to see Gill explore more of the progressive fusion style on his next album as songs like "Arrakis" were very successful. Still, this is a solid album and varied enough to hold my interest for future listens.
1. Merlin's Journey
2. Blues for Lazarus
4. Tomorrow's World
5. Here Comes the Flood
6. Memory of a Dream
8. Stay the Night
Added: February 13th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: ProgRock Records
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