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New Age Jazz Fusion Review: Christopher James-The Sad Waltz

Release Date: 2017
Label: Vai Gardena Music

There is one word that can explain what you will hear on the new Christopher James release The Sad Waltz, diversity!

Listening to instrumental music is a wonderful thing and at times it becomes similar, then I crave for something fresh and different. Well I got just what the music doctor ordered with The Sad Waltz.

The list of contributors on this recording is quite impressive. This is the reason the 14 tracks sound so complex and different. There is brass, percussion, acoustic bass, different layers of keyboards and many other sounds that make for a symphony of sound. This beautiful work is a real journey for the artist. James wanted to explore harmonics and different approaches to every track. The result is a constant flow of change with perceptions and colors that only music such as this can provide.
The opening track is very exciting and it sets the tone for the entire album. “Consequence of Intention” has some excellent guitar lines provided by the guitar maestro David Torn. While listening I was sincerely appreciating the sound and particularly the guitar. I nodded my head in recognition of Mr. Torn, whose name I recognized instantly. He is well a respected musician in the world of jazz rock fusion.

Where the album goes from there is hard to explain but I can tell you it is very good! The changing sounds and textures in each track is like watching different scenes in a movie. The movie playing is the thought patterns and feelings the music will create for each individual listener. For my listening pleasure, this is what makes this recording so special. And speaking of soundtracks, the bonus track is an alternate take of “How Can I Change Your Mind?” And it is a fantastic way to close the curtains on this amazing listening experience.

I found nothing sad about this music as the title may indicate. Of course, this can be interpreted by some as the word sad in literal sense or it can mean different things dependent upon your own perception. The album title and track was inspired by Randy Newman’s “Ragtime Theme.” The simplicity of the main theme was the core of the track but fair warning, to expect simplicity consistently with this music is way off base. The title track invites you to listen some more. The balance is finite and focused and what you will discover is an inventive and refreshing sound throughout the entire listen.

This is pure creativity and energy coming together to form a super nova of sounds. The Sad Waltz just made it into my top 10 instrumental albums for 2017.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
August 3, 2017
Founder of:

Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews

Tracks: 
01. Consequence of Intention
02. The Steppes of Mora
03. Ostinato Piano, Percussion, Strings and Electronics
04. I Can See It Now
05. Intremezzo Simpatcico
06. The Mighty Quinn (Martin)
07. Claude’s Clouds
08. The Sad Waltz
09. How Can I Change Your Mind?
10. Reverie
11. One Last Time
12. Close Your Eyes
13. Guardian Angel
Bonus Track:
14. How Can I Change Your Mind? (alternate take)


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