|Pieces Of The Sun|
Tony Levin — Pieces Of The Sun (February 12, 2002)
••• A highly respected session bassist who played with some top prog, jazz, and rock artists. Birth name: Anthony Frederick Levin
Also known as: T Lev
Born: June 6, 1946, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
♦ Chapman Stick
♦ StingRay 5
♦ Fender Precision Bass
♦ NS upright bass
Location: Boston, MA
Album release: February 12, 2002
Recorded: Applehead Studios, Woodstock, New York
Record Label: Narada
01. Apollo 6:50
02. Geronimo 3:12
03. Aquafin 5:14
04. Dog One 5:15
05. Tequila 5:20
06. Pieces of the Sun 7:20
07. Phobos 7:09
08. Ooze 4:16
09. Blue Nude Reclining 3:09
10. The Fifth Man 5:48
11. Ever the Sun Will Rise 9:08
12. Silhouette 4:38
♦ Tony Levin 1, 3, 8, 10, 11, 12
♦ Larry Fast / Jesse Gress / Tony Levin / Jerry Marotta 2, 9
♦ Peter Gabriel 4
♦ Tony Levin / Chuck Rio 5
♦ Tony Levin / Jerry Marotta 6
♦ Larry Fast 7
♣•♦ Tony Levin — Chapman Stick, Music Man StingRay Bass, cello, Bass, acoustic bass guitar, vocals
♣•♦ Larry Fast — synthesizers, vocals
♣•♦ Jesse Gress — guitars
♣•♦ Jerry Marotta — drums, tenor saxophone, acoustic guitars, Omnichord, vocals
♣•♦ California Guitar Trio — acoustic guitars on "Apollo"
♣ 2002 Pieces Of The Sun Top New Age Albums #10Credits:
♣ Chris Bittner Assistant Engineer, Digital Editing
♣ California Guitar Trio Guest Artist
♣ Larry Fast Composer, Synthesizer, Vocals
♣ Robert Frazza Engineer
♣ Peter Gabriel Composer
♣ Jesse Gress Composer, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Guitar Effects, Vocals
♣ Matt Kane Assistant
♣ Kevin Killen Engineer
♣ Bert Lams Guitar
♣ Tony Levin Bass, Cello, Composer, Omnichord, Producer, Stick, Vocals
♣ Jerry Marotta Composer, Drums, Guitar (Acoustic), Omnichord, Percussion, Saxophone, Taos Drum, Vocals
♣ Hideyo Moriya Guitar
♣ Bill Munyon Engineer
♣ Paul Richards Guitar
♣ Chuck Rio Composer
♣ Trevor Sadler Mastering
♣ Todd Voss Mixing EngineerAllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran; Score: ****
♣•♦ Best known as a legendary sideman behind such rock greats as John Lennon, James Taylor, and Paul Simon — as well as a member of King Crimson and the Peter Gabriel band — the bassist has brought his throbbing bass genius into a solo, neo–fusion context. While touring with his band in 2000, Levin wowed audiences around the country, and fans clamored for an album with the group. This is the result: an intense, highly dynamic, and mood–swinging (read: eclectic) group of tunes a la Crimson to contemporary instrumental to soundscapes of galactic proportions as only Levin could imagine. In its seven–minute span, the opening track introduces the concept of highs and lows; the first few minutes may remind the listener of Jimi Hendrix on speed, but then the tune takes a folksy, acoustic guitar–driven detour; it's schizophrenic but loads of fun. "Geronimo" is a densely percussive mix of blistering fusion and melodic corporate rock. "Aquafin" is lighthearted and folksy, with a Celtic lilt, while the previously unreleased, Gabriel–written "Dog One" returns listeners to experimental art rock with a vocal chant counting dogs behind a wall of guitar and bass. Some pieces get a little longwinded in their attempt to be esoteric, such as the title track, which varies tempos and moods throughout even as the powerful drumbeats drive the tune along. Best enjoyed by hardcore rockers and fusion–lovers, and of course musicians who worship great energy and technique.Product description/Review
♣•♦ Like John Paul Jones and Jeff Beck, Tony Levin is a musician's musician whose collaborations sparkle (in Levin's case with such eclectics as Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, and Lou Reed), but it's his solo stuff that really sails off the chart. And like the aforementioned players, Levin is anything but an oldies machine; he uses each new recording as a way of further juxtaposing his primary instruments (bass and Chapman stick) against the weirdest, most challenging stuff he can score. Consequently, Pieces of the Sun is, predictably, wholly unpredictable, with Levin and his 2001 touring band lighting into a set of headphone–melting instrumentals best described as pulsing prog–rock built on the kind of awesome playing that, in a concert setting, attracts packs of drooling amateurs to the stage to watch the musician's hands. "Dog One" — an unreleased recording with Gabriel — appears rerecorded here as a jittery, piano–and–guitar speckled opus with muffled call–and–response vocals, while the percussive "Tequila" shines the spotlight on a mournful tenor sax before turning things over to ambient synth and lazy electric guitar. With the exception of the languid and loose closing track, "Silhouette," everything on Pieces of the Sun feels urgent, with Levin once again acquitting himself and his generation of charges of stagnation. Review
♣•♦ After an e–mail about Levin having been nominated for a Grammy I got a discussion going with Phyllis Wald who sent me a copy of the album in question. Levin needs no introduction being one of the best and most prolific bass players around, having played both in King Crimson and with Peter Gabriel and of course a huge amount of session work.
♣•♦ Apollo opens rather lightly, but turns into quite a plodding pounding piece with rather active dissonant guitar work. The synths remind of Art Of Noise, the darkness to the music more of King Crimson. The middle of the track includes some soft acoustic guitars from the California Guitar Trio, formerly on Discipline, currently on Inside Out. The guitar solo at the end rounds it off in the anthemic way of opening.
Geronimo is a more up–beat track, with the accent on rhythm and groove. There is plenty of melody in this one as well, but that is certainly not the strongest part of it. The main melody is played by the guitar by the way. The bass rumbles deeply, the repetitiveness reminds of King Crimson. Aquafin on the other hand is a light opener with plenty of beautiful acoustic guitar. The melody is in my ears quite similar to Seal's Kiss From A Rose. The final part includes the same theme but played on electric guitar, a bit easy that.
♣•♦ Dog One is a previously unreleased song written by Peter Gabriel. It is a very percussive track with spoken words in them, plenty of groove. It is quite a typical Gabriel track, although on the modern and cold side for him. Quite nice.
♣•♦ With Tequila we move to even more percussive areas, the Carribean in fact. On the other hand the haziness of some of the parts, is more in the line of Japan, while the guitar touches on rowdy blues at times. I am not that fond of this one. It simply comes and goes.
♣•♦ I like Pieces Of The Sun a lot better with its opening of pounding African drums, and the sharp guitar sound that follows. A song unleashed it is a heavy piece but not without melody in even its inaccessible parts. These more melodic parts are alternated with the funky drum and bass sections. The guitar lines return again towards the end.
♣•♦ Phobos is an old Synergy (aka Larry Fast) track, with a good dark drive in it. Ooze is a lazy bass riddled piece with reversed sounds everywhere. The melodic side of it has a definite Arabic tinge. A repetitive piece, but full of atmosphere.
♣•♦ Blue Nude Reclining is a comparatively short piece, a mellow one with sax and easy soft rhythms. The Fifth Man is a repetitive piece, opening with plenty of Stick and including some fuller rounded passages as well. Although the booklet refers to King Crimson, I can not see it like that, the melody is too ehm anthemic. The music could be used, if with a little more restraint, as soundtrack anthem for a major movie. A very good track.
♣•♦ Ever The Sun Will Rise is the longest track on the album. The opening has Stick and piano and is moody. A bit like Gordian Knot's cover of the Bach piece on the debut album. However, then the beat sets in and we get a meandering guitar set on a heavy beat. We close down with Silhouette, a piano and a fretless bass, are dominant on this moody and mellow piece.
♣•♦ This is quite a good instrumental album. Of course, we kind of expect that from players such as these, although it always remains to be seen what kind of compositions we get. The playing and recording is bound to be at least good. In the composition department there is plenty of variation, plenty of melody as well, something which is probably a necessity for a label such as Narada. At times, the melodies can be a bit too mellow, but this does not change my overall positive opinion much. Best tracks are in my opinion the rowdier ones, such as The Fifth Man and Pieces Of The Sun, while Tequila comes out as the weakest in my book.
© Jurriaan Hage
STICK MEN WORLD TOUR:
♦ Sept 29 Il Giardino / Verona, Italy
♦ Sept 30 Il Giardino / Verona
♦ Oct 01 Club Music Jam / Sofia, Bulgaria
♦ Oct 02 Centre Culturelle Regional / Delemont, Switzerland
♦ Oct 03 Rockland / Sala, Sweden
♦ Oct 05 Buckley's / Oslo, Norway
♦ Oct 06 Moriska Pavijongen / Malmo, Sweden
♦ Oct 07 Nefertiti / Goteborg
♦ Oct 09 Sardinen USF / Bergen, Norway
♦ Oct 10 Dom Expo / Opole, Poland
♦ Oct 11 Zaklete Rewiry / Wroclaw, Poland
♦ Oct 12 Lucerna Bar / Prague, Czech
♦ Oct 13 Bergkeller / Reichenbach, Germany
♦ Oct 15 Harmonie / Bonn, Germany
♦ Oct 16 Cultuurpodium Boerderij / Zoetermeer, Netherlands
♦ Oct 17 Hot Jazz Club / Muenster, Germany
♦ Oct 18 W2 Poppodium / Hertogenbosh, Netherlands
♦ Oct 20 Spirit of 66 / Verviers, Belgium
♦ Oct 21 Substage / Karlsruhe, Germany
♦ Oct 22 Kulturzentrum FranzK / Reutlingen, Germany
♣•♦ Levin has played on about five hundred records as session musician or guest artist.
♦ World Diary (1995)
♦ Waters of Eden (2000)
♦ Pieces of the Sun (2002)
♦ Double Espresso (2002)
♦ Resonator (2006)
♦ Stick Man (2007)_____________________________________________________________
|Pieces Of The Sun|