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Rachel Flowers

От Michael Baryshnikov (2:5023/24.3243) к All

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Hello All!

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Третий альбом Рашель Флауэрз. Предыдущие два я не слышал, но теперь думаю послушать.
Слепая калифорнийская мульти-инструменталистка - Рашель, создаёт свой собственный прогрессивный мир, в котором кроме неё живут Дрим Театр, Фрэнк Заппа и Кейт Эмерсон.
Очень интересная музыка, простирающаяся от поп-рока до сложнейшего прогрессива. Но всё чертовски интересно!
Rachel Flowers biography

Rachel Flowers is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from California working in several different branches of rock music. Despite having been permanently blind from an early age, she has gained a reputation for being an impressive keyboard virtuoso as well an accomplished flute, guitar, bass, saxophone and Chapman Stick player. Her star in the progressive rock community rose swiftly from 2011 onward, after she began publishing solo piano and synthesizer recordings of songs by Emerson, Lake & Palmer on YouTube, which even gained her the attention of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake themselves. Since then, she has released three solo albums and has performed with Herbie Hancock, Dweezil Zappa, Rick Wakeman, Arturo Sandoval, Michael Sadler and Terje Mikkelsen, among many others. She also played piano at Keith Emerson's tribute concert in 2016.

Her debut album "Listen" was released in 2016 and consisted mostly of instrumental jazz fusion pieces, in tribute to Flowers's long-standing admiration of the music of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Ella Fitzgerald. She played every instrument on the album by herself. Her follow-up album, 2017's "Going Somewhere", showed more influence from rock and pop music and featured her vocals for the first time. With the release of her third album "Bigger On The Inside" in 2021, she has continued her musical trajectory into harder-hitting progressive rock music while retaining the characteristic optimism and listener-friendly nature of her earlier output.

(c) Mirakaze, PA

Bigger on the Inside
Rachel Flowers
Eclectic Prog, 2021
(c) Review by moshkito, PA

I have, for at least 60 years of my life heard a lot of music. Some is great, some is OK, and some did not really grab my inner mind. But one thing that has always been there and it is something that is hard to speak about, is that somehow, a lot of it had a visual sense for me, which was always the clue about the music, I think. History discusses classical music as a real important visual thing, and this goes way back to the great symphonies and concertos. Rock music, sadly, has replaced a lot of its musical lyricism with lyrics and (sometimes) senseless solos, that supposedly tell you what the music is about ... and then you hear something that is not "visual" per se, but the lyricism in it, drives it well ... until you hear Rachel Flowers ... "I feel I could fly ... " and see the music take off, you know that what you have here is special and far out. Not to say that the rest of the album is not as good, it is and then some. The whole things stands out.

I have, for a long time, appreciated Rachel Flowers' work, and specially for me is her acoustic versions of Keith Emerson's works, with TARKUS on the piano being the special one, that I wish was available as a CD, and not just on the tube, and folks realize what a magnificent piano concert it really was, and how the heck was our beloved Keith Emerson going to show it to his mates, so they could figure out how to present it in their own style and ability ... and they did, as well as they did a lot of other works.

This album, I suppose that it is easier to say that it is a very personal album, and she sings it with a conviction that is very strong, and the music is not afraid to show it even more. So in the piece "The Darkness", another very personal song, she unleashes a metal edge here and there, and the funny thing ... it's not out of place, and shows very clearly how one can illustrate a lot of words and not fail to create something that could easily be thought of as just a solo. According to info on it and her interview, it is a sort of take on Dream Theater's guitar work. If that is not enough, the following piece "Feel" or even more far out, and I suppose that I could easily tell you that ... goodness is that Frank on the guitar? ... but it's not. It's Rachel, and the quality of how it is used and the orchestrated style with which these two pieces are done, make it a fundamental and incredible listen for those that love music that really flies, instead of expecting it to tell you that it supposedly flies. Here, the music lives and the amazing thing is that you get the feeling that George Martin is the one that put this stuff together, because the way that each piece is presented is so well done, and it flows from the keyboards as an orchestra to just a piano, or voice, and then something else ... a combination that is a treat for one's ears, if we want to hear something special, instead of just a hit song.

It's a very personal album, and you can tell, and she speaks of it on an interview, that she did all the mixing, and it also shows that she has a very clear idea of what she wants to do with a piece of music, instead of relying on simple lyrics to tell you ... she sings well, and it is easy to flow on it, but the music itself, lives so beautifully with her words, that it's hard to think of them separately.

One thought came to my mind, that the next step is probably going to be a concerto or a symphony of some sort, because what she does with the music, and eventual mix is super special, and I think it will stand up for a long time.

A long time ago, Guy Guden (Space Pirate Radio) made another one of his funny comments, that sometimes things are so heavy they are weightless ... and if I have a comment about this album it is just that. It is super progressive, in that it does not conform to any cookie cutter form and instead stuck to the quality of the music. And sometimes, this is confusing, because a lot of the "progressive" thoughts and fans, tend to stick to a definition that does not even conform to the very word it professes to be and follow ... but in the hands of Rachel Flowers I can tell you, that "progressive" is in good hands and you and I can only hope that we will hear a lot more, for this is special and something that you will not hear every day ... well, when I get done hearing "Feel" for the umpteenth time, I will let you know, but its appreciation is still as strong as the first time ... you can really FEEL this album if you are not conditioned by "forms" of something or other. And I'm not sure that an artist can ask more or give you more than that ... and present it so beautifully.

A very special album and highly recommended.

WBR, Michael Baryshnikov.

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