First off, on a lark I went hunting this down on iTunes, and like so many albums that are extremely expensive on the open market, got if for a fraction of the cost. This album came out in 1982, and was a return of sorts by Michel Colombier outside the world of classical music and into the jazz, rock, R&B, gospel, (and whatever else you can possibly think of) realms. There is a full orchestra and a host of players on this album: Abe Laboriel, bass; Alex Acuna, Paulimho Da Costa, percussion; Patti Austin, Alex Ligertwood (who does a wonderful job on a couple of tracks he's on), James and Philip Ingraham all on vocals; Ernie Watts, sax; Chester Thompson (ex-Zappa, Weather report, and Genesis touring drummer) drums…and a whole bunch of others. This album is a mix of just about any style of music you can think of, but the wonderful piano and occasional synthesizers of Michel Colombier lead the way. He also (of course!) did the superb arrangements that put this all together into a spectacular piece of music. It is some type of musical concept album, but what that is I have no idea…all I know is that I have been looking for this album for ages. If you are looking for something different to listen to; something of pure and incredible majestic beauty…moments of clear passion…moving and spiritual vocals that go straight to the heart…lush orchestral breaks…sweet and special piano passages…and an album that plays as one continuous piece of music like a modern symphony, than this is an album for you.
I discovered this remarkable album when it was first released in 1982 (give or take a year; my memory's going as I'm 51, LOL) when it came into my college radio station. We used to listen to the new releases as they came in and put a review sticker on the outside of the album cover pointing out which were highlight tracks, style of music etc. My review said "Just play the whole thing!" I have been looking for this album on CD for the longest time, and they finally released it in 2002, but I missed the boat. Of course it's hard to find and ridiculously expensive when you do. Finding it on iTunes just made my year so far! It is unlike anything you've heard all in one place musically before, all spread across the equivalent of two discs. The sound quality is absolutely superb. The musicianship and caliber of the playing is off the charts stunning. I cannot recommend the album more highly than the words I used 30 years ago: Just play the whole thing!
It never went away or grew old
I played the double album to death in the early 80s after hearing it on college radio jazz programs. The whole package was so much fun with all the illustrations and journey like concept stringing it all together. Since I have been wrapped up in various musical genres and subcultures, but this one album never grew out of style for me, even in my industrial music phase. I even did an industrial cover version of Alone in my more prolific songwriting days. If anything it has only gotten better, and the opening strains of any one of these songs beckons me with welcoming arms for me to jump in and make the journey all over again.
As the vinyl version became scratched and my turn table broke, I was excited to get the CD in the early 2000s. When downsizing my collection I foolishly copied it to my computer without backing it up and then had my drive wiped by my girlfriend. Not realizing how rare the disc became I must have sold it for a song. Thank you iTunes for making it available to me one again. I have a musical journey to make now so I take my leave and invite you to join in any time with Michel and I.