Jacaranda

Trevor Rabin

It's been way too long since Trevor Rabin has released a solo album. His last one, 1989's Can't Look Away, showed a lot of promise and was somewhat reminiscent of his work with Yes. Perhaps after years of working in the soundtrack medium, Rabin's tastes have become far more refined, less pop-oriented. So it's little wonder Jacaranda, his first solo album in over 20 years, is a bit of a departure, and more of a tapestry of textures, layers, disciplines and pure virtuosity.

It sounds like Rabin is warming up on "Spider Boogie" before he tackles the multi-layered "Market Street." The ever-so-slight "Anerley Road" snakes throughout the melody (with a subtle bass undertow courtesy of Tal Wilkenfeld), while "Through The Tunnel" starts out slow enough before exploding into a flurry of notes that Rabin rips through with ease and finesse.

If you're a fan of Rabin's guitar playing, be prepared for a smorgasbord of stylistic turns on this album — classical, jazz, blues, rock and the indescribable. "Storks Bill Geranium Waltz" touches on bits of all of the above, while the inspired riffing between Rabin and his son Ryan on "Me And Boy" whimsically hops from heavy to light and back again. Elsewhere, the jazzy feel of "Freethought," the classical influence on "Zoo Lake," a myriad of virtually everything Rabin can play on "Gazania" — it's a steaming hybrid of everything that's good and right about being an accomplished musician.

But don't get too comfortable with his guitar playing, because when Rabin sits down behind the piano for "Kilarney 1 & 2," he is suddenly an ivory tickler on par with the likes of Emerson, Wakeman and beyond. Indeed, you'd have to be familiar with Rabin's extensive musical roots and background in not only rock, but classical as well, to realize his capabilities.

While Rabin does not sing on the record, the lone vocal from Liz Constantine doesn't even have lyrics; rather, her voice is a powerful and moving instrument that drives the cinematic-like "Rescue," inspired by the film The Guardian. As out of place as it may seem, this is where the man is at today. To sum it all up, that's pretty much where and what Jacaranda is — a random slab of musical ideas from Trevor Rabin, all nicely wrapped together and topped off with a bow. Let's hope there's a follow-up as alluring.

~ Shawn Perry

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