Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Music Review: Karl Latham - Resonance

resonance Karl Latham's Resonance is an album of jazz music played by a group of very talented individuals. With Karl Latham on drums, Vinnie Cutro on trumpet, John Hart on guitar, and Kermit Driscoll on acoustic bass, there is no denying their technical knowledge and skills. Listening to each one of them, especially during certain parts of the music where their individual instruments are featured, you can tell they are really good at what they do.

However, while their individual skills on their instruments are obvious, the music that results doesn't seem to be as good as I expected it to be. I spent many hours listening to Resonance, feeling there was something off. Then I asked both my father, who is an audiophile and a jazz enthusiast, and my boyfriend, who is a musician, to listen to the album and give me some feedback on what they thought about it. All of us felt the same thing; there was something not completely right with the music. My boyfriend said that many of the songs were 'messy'. My father said that the arrangement wasn't well done, the music doesn't mesh, and it feels like each of the musicians are playing separately from one another.

I have to agree with both of them. The music isn't terrible, in fact, some of the tracks aren't bad at all - I particularly enjoyed "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Pagan Poetry", but you do get the feeling that the music somehow just doesn't come together. "Manic Depression" in particular, is one of the messiest song on the album. For most of the song you wonder what the musicians are doing; the sounds seem jumbled up and going in all sorts of different directions. It gets better later in the song, but it still sounds pretty messed up.

Some of the other tracks aren't bad, I quite enjoyed listening to "Higher Ground", "Spanish Castle Magic", and "Past Time Paradise" as well, but as I have said, the arrangement could have been better. Latham, Cutro, Hart, and Driscoll are all extremely talented and skilled musicians, but sometimes when musicians are too skilled individually, they may not be able to play well together as a band. Each person's sound is too distinct and different from the others', and that may be what makes the tracks in this album sound so messy.

I do think that if the musicians practice together more often, and listen to each other instead of just focusing on their own parts, they will be able to come up with an extraordinary album in the future. They've got the skills, after all. Karl Latham's Resonance showcases each of the musician's talents very well, but it may not be the best buy if you're looking for something that has great arrangements and music that flows and meshes beautifully. Hopefully, Latham's future albums will be better.


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