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The Tri-Tone Fascination

Shawn Lane

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Album Review

Tri-Tone Fascination sounds a bit like a grab bag of leftover tracks, but does give an indication of the range of talents possessed by Shawn Lane. Lane recorded all the tracks himself, with other musicians appearing on only a handful of tunes. Some seem to be leftovers from the Powers of Ten sessions ("The Way It Has to Be," "Tri-7/5"), others seem like experiments ("Art Tatum,") and there are a couple collaborative efforts. One of the DDT recordings (Lane's band with Luther and Cody Dickinson, now of the North Mississippi Allstars) finally sees the light of day, and he turns in a scorching version of Jimi Hendrix's "Peace in Mississippi." "Kaiser Nancarrow" is a crazy Buckethead-esque fusion piece that tips its hat to two of Lane's favorite musicians: guitar genius Henry Kaiser, and player-piano madman Conlon Nancarrow. "Art Tatum" sounds a bit out of place with its programmed beats and general wackiness, but ultimately serves notice that Lane was far from being just a fusion guy. The end of "Song for Diane" showcases Lane's piano playing, and his reading of the Bach piece highlights his arranging abilities, but it's his guitar playing that really amazes. Tri-Tone Fascination shows Shawn Lane stretching out beyond the confines of his Powers of Ten-style fusion, but it's still a bit weak compositionally. His real abilities are more manifest when playing with Jonas Hellborg, where his prodigious technique and boundless musical imagination were really free to fly. But since he passed away in late 2003, any solo glimpses of the under appreciated Shawn Lane are welcome.

The Tri-Tone Fascination, Shawn Lane
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