First Thoughts on Steve Lawson’s Latest: 11 Reasons Why 3 Is Greater Than Everything

OK, I have a queue of music to listen to right now and tons of work on. I’m learning tunes for Delicatessen, I have the new Hiromi album queued up; I haven’t checked out the new The Fierce and the Dead record and I’m fascinated by Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic project. So, this record by one of my favourite musicians, Steve Lawson, has sat awaiting listening for a while.

But now I’ve listened and I love it! The sound is lush, the playing is luscious and the first impression is that it goes deeper into several areas of musical Steveness. I love Grace and Gratitude and Behind Every Word’s song based flights of fancy; this record gets deep into the improvised melodies, the lyrical fretless expressionism and the mood creation, the ambient, even the free jazz!

OK, I listened first without reading the track titles of the extensive notes Steve provides so first impressions could be noted. These were types straight onto digital post-its while listening and have not been put into sentences or even English! The fact that later tracks have more notes merely reflects that I had more time while listening to type rather then more to say!

1 One Year Afloat: wistful – 1st chords deceptive as it hints at a more straightforward style than the track eventually heads down – beautiful melody
2 Travelling North: contemplative chordal style – gtr influenced – great distorto solo – fabulousity
3 Small Marvels: fretless melodic wonder gets space-age, great effects
4 This Merican Life: spacious…ambience – ultimate slow build – textures and clipped beats entering halfway – where range of voices enter – sometimes Tornguitarlike – sometimes trumpetlike – always bass, gorgeous melodic fretless finally lyrical as epilogue
5 Take Your Time, Choose Your Route, Pick Your Tunes: carpet of more trad multitrack bass with fretless solo – lovely – great track – headnoddingness – great sounds
6 I Will Fix it Tonight by Dining on Artichokes -sparse intro – experisounds – freestyle fretless melodic fragments, varied voices – more freeform improv ratther than single narrative,
7 I Could Get Used to This: more conventional, uplifting chord sequence – more fretless soliloquising – distroted/processed voice enters serves to emphasise beauty of background lines as much as anything
8 Moon Landing on What: atmosphere, electronics, soundscape, ambient, fun
9 The Time it Takes: passionate melodising
10 Minor Miracles: 1/8 note rhythm, strong chord sequence, wistful tune – great use of repitition -as Prince once said – there’s joy in repition – led me to sing along (to my wife’s disapproval) understated but strong with delicious refelctive ending – like protracted echoes
11 Nothing Can Prepare: beautiful, intense melodic playing over wistful soundsacpe

OK< interesting to see what the second listen will bring!

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