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Bryan Lubeck: Midnight Sun

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Bryan Lubeck: Midnighe Sun

The electric guitar ripples over the opening phrases of “Invincible”, the synthesizers and strings pick up and swirl on “Sara Smile” and other instruments – acoustic, electric and electronic – pronounce yearning, wavering cries elsewhere on Midnight Sun, Bryan Lubeck’s dreamy tribute to the spirit. However, just because the music digs into the emotional state of being, don’t let that fool you into thinking that this is the stuff that sentimentality is made of. Far from it. Mr Lubeck’s music is much more than this.

The title of the album is something of a dead giveaway really. It shows the composer heading off the beaten track and into the countryside as he laments the loss of the simple things of life. The compositions are equal parts elegant passion and musicality, often somewhat overt embellishments oscillate between insightful amplification of emotion adding just enough, deliberately distracting distortions to make a point of stressing the emotions just that much more in order to give the backdrop a sense of fantasy. Mr Lubeck’s supple facility with dreamy passagework accentuates his communicative articulacy. He makes good use of this off and on throughout this programme bringing to such disparate tunes as “Rocket Fuel” and “If Only You Knew” a kind of theatricality that is quite affecting.

Arrangements are taut and directed with élan, a wonderful sense of pacing, detail and texture. This enables the musicians to achieve an ideally balanced sound world that appears to be quite unique to Mr Lubeck. Whether evocative of freezing nights or long, rainy days, each track takes us into some wildly unfamiliar place, yet with trusted musical friends we know that everything – albeit lonesome at times – will turn out elegant and beautiful in the end. And this is more than most music brings to the listener’s inner ear these days.

Track list – 1: Invincible; 2: Rocket Fuel; 3: Sara Smile; 4: Come Dance; 5: Road to Madness; 6: If Only You Knew; 7: Midnight Sun; 8: Sun Dress; 9: Till I’m Found; 10: Alex Arrives; 11: Adrondack

Personnel – Bryan Lubeck: lead guitar and acoustic guitar [1, 2, 4, 6 – 10], piano [10], synthesizers [2, 6, 8] and flute [5]; Neil Artwick: piano and Fender Rhodes; Richard Gibbs Jr: Hammond B3 organ; Nick Bisesi: saxophone [2 – 6] and flute [5, 10]; Jon Paul: bass; Ryan Herma: bass [9, 10], synthesizer [2, 4, 5, 7 – 11], drum machine, electric guitar [2, 4, 5, , 9, 10] and string arrangements [4, 6, 8, 9]; Felton Offard: acoustic guitar [5] and electric guitar [1, 4, 6, 7; Dave Hiltebrand: acoustic guitar [1, 3] and electric guitar [1, 2 – 8, 10]; Christian Dillingham: contrabass [9]; Jonathan Marks: drums; Rich Stitzel: percussion; Bob Garrett: percussion [2]; Eric Quinn: trombone [1, 2, 4, 6]; Katherine Hughes: violin [3 – 6, 9]; Erik Rumsa: violin [3 – 9] and string arrangements [4, 6,, 8, 9]; Matthew Agnew: cello [3 – 6, 9]; Kirk Garrison: trumpet, flugelhorn [2] and live horn arrangements [2]

Released – 2021
Label – Independent
Runtime – 43:37

Raul da Gama is a poet and essayist. He has published three collections of poetry, He studied at Trinity College of Music, London specialising in theory and piano, and he has a Masters in The Classics. He is an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep technical and historical understanding of music and literature.

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