"The Tide's In" is a joyful, life-affirming collection of world-jazz songs and instrumentals by guitarist Brian Rolland. Rolland's 2006 release, "Dreams of Brazil," was qualified for nomination for Album of the Year in the Acoustic-Instrumental category by New Age Reporter, and I would expect similar accolades for his newest work. Of the twelve tracks, five are instrumentals and the others are vocals. All of the pieces are original except Rolland's lovely arrangements of the traditional "The Water Is Wide" and Paul Simon's "African Skies." Full of vibrant energy yet very relaxing, "The Tide's In" provides the listener with a one-hour vacation on a tropical island, sipping a cool drink and watching the ocean's lazy rhythm. Brian Rolland is an extensively-trained guitarist who draws from a very wide variety of influences ranging from classical guitar to jazz, fusion, Latin, country, blues, Brazilian, African, and rock. Along with Rolland on guitars, vocals, and piano, the band includes John Lockwood on bass; Bob Weiner and Eguie Castillo on percussion; Dave Mattacks on drums, piano, and percussion; and Hope Carpenter, Marianne Murphy, and Katy Auburn on vocals. The sound is full and rich, yet maintains a feeling of intimacy. In a phrase, this is one great album!
The title track begins the album with guitar,female vocals, and light percussion, setting a mood of laid-back bliss. "Free Fall" picks up the pace with a lively guitar-driven instrumental that includes bass and percussion that add to the exotic quality of the piece. "Doliber's Cove" is about as serene as it can be with beautiful guitar over gentle percussion. "Water Is Wide" is a traditional song that has been widely covered the past several years. Rolland's arrangement is called "Collage/Water Is Wide" and is quite different. Starting with just piano and Rolland's voice, it begins very simply and slowly. The piano starts picking up the pace, a rhythm track is added, and then it becomes almost a party song with female voices singing "Roll me along." Bass is added, and then Rolland starts the song again, continuing with a female voice behind him and the tropical rhythm building. A great arrangement! One of my favorites is "Somewhere," more of a smooth jazz piece with simple poetic lyrics and a gorgeous, sensuous melody. I also really like "Kick It," the first single from the album. Mostly an instrumental, the vocals on this piece are used as another instrument. A very strong rhythm and some tasty guitar work make this a real toe-tapper and smile-maker. "Catch Me If You Can" is another great instrumental. Slowing the pace a bit, it still has an infectious energy and some terrific guitar playing. "Moonlight Holds the Key" closes the set with intriguing lyrics about moonlight, artists, and colors in music, carried on a gentle rhythm and beautiful melodic line.
"The Tide's In" is a outstanding album for winding down, a summer party, or just pure listening pleasure. Sure to please!
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About the reviewer
Kathy Parsons (kathypiano)
I have been a private piano teacher since 1981. I have been writing reviews for a long time, and have my own review and interview site, MainlyPiano.com. I teach piano in person and online, so now I can … more
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