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I can't believe that I haven't heard of James Robinson before. He has released three albums independently, Colours being the third (released in 2003). After hearing Robinson's music, Steve Vai didn't have to ponder whether to sign him or not. It's quite easy to endorse Vai's opinion of Robinson: "He's phenomenal!". Since this album is so extraordinary, Favored Nations re-releases it (and hopefully it will get all the recognition it deserves).
The music on Colours varies from Latin and Brazilian to Middle Eastern rhythms and tonalities. With the cultural diversity found in the San Fransico Bay Area (where Robinson grew up), it's quite clear that James Robinson's music is strongly influenced by his surroundings. Robinson's music is mainly a combination of flamenco and jazz with a strong foundation on groovy rhythms, compelling melodies and beautiful harmonies. Colours appeals to fans of Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucia, Allan Holdsworth, Ralph Towner and Larry Carlton, since there's a fair amount of each player's style on it.
Production-wise Colours has been done rather well... The sounds are nicely full and clear without losing atmosphere. The tone of James Robinson's 15-year-old concert classical guitar, Takamine Hirade 9, is really good. Actually the guitar cracked in the middle of recording Colours, but Robinson continued to use the same guitar to finish this album (since it has such a good tone).
I haven't come across too many guitarists that have sense of melody, harmony, rhythm and tone... Robinson has it all, and that is really creditable. Colours is a must-have for every listener of instrumental acoustic guitar music.
Release date: 08.02.2005
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- MAGE (07.02.2005)
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