Monday, September 5, 2011

CD Review – Journey Around the Sun: A Mayan Odyssey, by Bill Wren and Frank Ralls

Just in time for the end of the world comes the second collaboration from composers Bill Wren and Frank Ralls, inspired by the ancient Mayan prophecy regarding 2012.

Judging by the sunny disposition of the music on this sophomore disc, it’s clear that the duo subscribes to the positive view of the legendary prognostication, that of hope-filled change for the better, a promising transition, rather than doom and destruction.

As with their debut CD, Wren and Ralls have created an upbeat collection of bright, poppy melodies layered with rich instrumentation and brought to life by virtuosic performances. The musicianship is of very high caliber. Each instrumentalist is at the peak of his or her powers, beautifully complementing each other without overshadowing each other and yet maintaining his or her unique talents. All of this comes together seamlessly under the creative and technical guidance of Wren and Ralls.

One of the highlights of the album is the evocative and poignant “Mayan Moonlight,” with its soulful violin melody draped by single-strummed, widely spaced velvet guitar chords.

Mayan prophecy or not, this album is worth your time if you enjoy slick jazz-rock fusion.

--Raj Manoharan

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