Jazz Review: Val Gardena-Across The Divide

Release Date: March 20, 2020
Label: Val Gardena Music

Val Gardena’s Across The Divide is just what the doctor ordered for these crazy times in which we are living. Out of control viruses, stock markets crashing, businesses closing, people in quarantine, there is so much stress and uncertainty that we all need something to take the edge off.
There is nothing like some good jazz to relax you and set your mind at ease.

The main people involved in this recording are Christopher James (composer) John Patitucci (bass), Gene Lake and Nate Smith (drums), Taylor Eigsti (piano) and the exquisite trumpet from Chris Botti on “Back in Time” and “Two of One.” (I have listed all the credits below)

This is a very satisfying recording from beginning to end and it starts with the gorgeous and picturesque title track. All the tracks are smooth and flowing except for “Why Not” which serves as their funky upbeat track with colorful keys and stinging guitar lines. To be honest, I could take an entire album of that even though I love the peace all the other tracks brought me. I still like to jump and jive just as much. That was good to hear that this talented group could flip a switch and take such a wide turn in the road to change direction. To me, that is pure talent and command, and greatly respected and appreciated by this listener.

I have a deep enduring reverence and love for jazz and I need to hear more. I drift off into other genres but can be easily pulled back after listening to superb outings such as Across The Divide. It all went by much too quick for me. I loved the way the curtain closed with “The Voice I Hear The Face I See,” which seamlessly allows you to flow right back to the opening track and hear it all again.

Music like this is timeless and I never tire of it or feel complacency, it is quite the opposite. I am captivated with the quality musicianship and production. It is like looking into a pond of crystal-clear water and watching all the fish or perhaps seeing your reflection in the placid coolness.

Jazz is movement, spirit and precision all wrapped into one amazing package and Across The Divide is an exceptional example of musical perfection that can be rare with all the technologies available to make it sound that way. This is the real deal with the latest in production methods I am sure, but you need the best of the best to make music like this, and with that I have no doubt.

All songs written by Christopher James
(1,4,5,7,9) written by Christopher James and Andy Snitzer

Drums - Graham Hawthorne (1,2,3,4,7,9); Nate Smith (6.8); Gene Lake (5)
Percussion - Graham Hawthorne
Bass - John Patitucci (5,6,8); Zev Katz (1,3,4,7,9); Tim Lefebvre (2)
Guitar - Bernd Schoenhart, Adam Rodgers (5)
Piano -  Mike Ricchiuti, Taylor Eigsti (6,8)
Keyboards / Synthesis - Andy Snitzer
Wurlitzer, B3 - Brian Charette (5)
Trumpet - Chris Botti (6,8); Tatum Greenblatt (1,4); Kent Smith (7)
Saxophone - Andy Snitzer (1,5)
Vocals - Andy Snitzer (4)
Vocals - Jo Lawry (1,2,4,9)

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
March 21, 2020

Review Provided By MuzikMan.net


1. Across The Divide
2. Take Me With You 2
3. What I Meant To Say
4. Do You Know The Way
5. Why Not
6. Two of One
7. Nazare
8. Back In Time
9. The Voice I Hear The Face I See

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