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Oppy Music, Vol. I: Purple, Crayon.

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Album Review

Berklee student Chris Opperman's debut album is something of a mixed bag. It's all extremely well-played, as one would expect from a bunch of Berklee students, and there are a handful of tunes that really show Opperman's compositional and arranging abilities. There are others that sound like a music student trying on a bunch of hats to see which ones fit. "Shipped to the Sky" is a weak power ballad written on a bet he couldn't write a teenage breakup song. "Send Your Money" is a sort of protest ska tune with a great solo break, and "Ain't Got No Beef" is basically a multi-genre instrumental sandwiched by silliness. In pop song mode, Opperman is a bit clumsy lyrically, and his vocals are nothing to write home about, but some of the instrumental compositions are simply fantastic. "The 22nd Overture" and "The Park Bench Canal" show a heavy Zappa influence, with lots of marimba and polyrhythmic fun. "Sophie's Dream (Vs. Reality)" is an absolutely gorgeous tune (nearly worth the price of admission by itself), featuring one of producer Mike Keneally's finest guitar solos. "Sharel's Lullaby II" is a beautiful solo piano piece that closes the album in a fitting manner: Opperman solo, as he would appear throughout his follow-up album, Klavierstücke. Overall, Oppy Music, Vol. 1: Purple Crayon sounds like a talented young composer attempting to find his voice. For every misstep, there are a number of great musical moments, and ultimately Opperman proves to be a very talented player and composer despite the inclusion of some sub-par material.


Born: November 20, 1978 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '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 featured a mixture of pop/rock stylings and some of Oppy's more challenging,...
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Oppy Music, Vol. I: Purple, Crayon., Chris Opperman
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