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Beyond the Foggy Highway

Chris Opperman

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Opinião do álbum

Every one of Chris Opperman's releases to this point has had a different focus: the first was a band effort; the second, all solo piano; and the third was nothing but duets. Beyond the Foggy Highway has solo tracks, duets, and full-band efforts, but this time out the unifying factor is that these are all live tracks, recorded between 2001 and 2004. Things start with a bang (actually, the crack of a snare) as Special Opps launch into a full-band improvisation that segues into another intense group improv, "Sad Teenager Wars," which features some nice electric cello from Jen Kuhn. One of the more amazing aspects of both Opperman and his band is that their improvisations are so well done that they're often difficult to pick out amidst fully composed material. They're all great listeners and know how to use silence and space, which is really evident on "Taro Luscious," another fully improvised piece. Opperman duets with guitarist Andre LaFosse on a couple tracks, including the exquisite composition "Miles Behind" and "In Sophia's Silent Dream." With an improvised intro, this was the first time "Miles Behind" was performed, and it's absolutely stunning. Almost worth the price of admission by itself, this is easily one of Opperman's most beautiful and haunting compositions. Another lovely piece is "Balanchine," Opperman's 100th composition, performed solo on a Triton keyboard. With its floating synth tones over beautiful electric piano and harp-like sounds, it's difficult to believe this is a live solo performance. "Theme from Failure" and "Beware the Random Factor" reveal the flip side of Opperman's playing, where he gets fiery and intense. Opperman's playing is fantastic, but the various bandmembers all get some room, too. As mentioned, Andre LaFosse turns in some great guitar solos, while "Hitchhiker (Prototype)" has a very tasteful bass solo courtesy of Isaac Slape and Jen Kuhn has some nice moments on cello. Although the album covers a three-year time span, multiple venues, and several different configurations of musicians, the tight editing and segues and the non-chronological sequencing make the album seem like it's been cut from whole cloth instead of pieced together. Beyond the Foggy Highway is one of those albums that's pitched somewhere between rock and jazz, and really shows that Chris Opperman is not only a great player and composer, but a fine improviser and a talented bandleader as well.

Biografia

Nascido em: November/11/1978 em New York, NY

Gênero: Rock

Anos em atividade: '90s, '00s

Pianist/composer Chris Opperman grew up in New Jersey and attended Berklee. While at Berklee, Opperman took a chance and contacted Mike Keneally to see if Keneally would be willing to produce the album he was putting together with his band from school, Chris Opperman & the Random Factor. The answer was yes, and in April of 1998 they recorded Oppy Music, Vol. 1: Purple Crayon for Opperman's own Purple Cow label. The album...
Biografia completa
Beyond the Foggy Highway, Chris Opperman
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