Nelson, Paul - Look

Year of Release: 2001
Label: BigWaveBuz Records
Catalog Number: BW0079
Format: CD
Total Time: 22:16:00

Paul Nelson is a name I have come across several times. An accomplished shredder, alumnus of prog-mecca Berklee College and former student of guitar deity Steve Vai, he has a wide and varied discography to his name which includes several band albums (Liege Lord), as well as appearances on compilations, tributes, and the Wacken 2000 DVD. I first experienced Nelson's work in the form of tributes - he appears on Lion Music's Warmth In The Wilderness tributes to Jason Becker and the Uli Jon Roth tribute (on which he rips out a casually expeditious rendition of Roth's "Paganini Paraphrase"). He has also created a solo EP titled LOOK, a short five-track instrumental which I jumped at the chance to review.

On first examination, this is very Satriani. It immediately brought to mind several other albums I have here which follow the Satch style, such as Plectrumhead from the English guitarist Edward Box, and The Master Plan by independent Australian artist Chris Brooks. It's a modern sounding, experimental breed of jazz-fusion, featuring flawless shredding yet remaining unpretentious - mainly due to the deceptively easy-going accompanying rhythms which breeze alongside the guitars. This is highly intelligent and infectious music; it features relaxed swinging percussion, walking bass lines, jazz pianos and soft-toned synths, with Nelson's guitar work taking its place as lead and soloist. I've found it to be a real toe-tapper.

LOOK begins with "Diagonal Blue," and an opening riff which is total bar-lounge jazz. Its laid-back tempo and hip-swinging groove is beguiling, an attitude which continues through "Complicated" - slightly cheeky, ever-groovy and very very stylish. Nelson combines catchy riffs with infectious rhythms, showing off an intelligent and likeable songwriting style.

"Rocking Chair" brings about a change of style. Here we have an almost country atmosphere, with sliding riffs and easy beats, but the accompanying synthesiser feels more tropical - this is lazy and contented, speaking of hot days and relaxation. That's interrupted by "Full Blast"- something upbeat! For the first time the percussion drives the tempo forward, and the guitar line answers eagerly. Still mischievous of riff, this is a song where the soloing is self-indulgent and the mood is jubilant. "Out Of Nowhere" is back to the booty-shaking jazz tempo of the first track, and despite being a bit like a game show theme song at times, is still mighty likable. It sends us out on a rolling series of bluesy chromatic chords - beautiful.

At only 5 tracks and just over 22 minutes, this is a really good length for a solo instrumental album. It's enough to whet an appetite, but short enough that I'm left wanting to hear more. For people who like their prog seasoned with a good dose of jazz, this is a winner; fans of other successful jazz-rock fusion artists such as Stramonio, The Flower Kings and Frank Zappa will get a lot out of LOOK. Check it out.

Similar to: Satriani, Vai

Also released by Orchard (800939)

[This review originally appeared February 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Diagonal Blue (3:47) / Complicated (5:00) / Rocking Chair (4:13) / Full Blast (4:13) / Out Of Nowhere (5:02)

Paul Nelson - guitar
Mike Mancini - keyboards

Leige Lord - Burn To My Touch (1986)
Metal Blade Vol lll (comp., w/Liege Lord) (1988)
Liege Lord - Master Control (1988)
PV/Paul Nelson
Fernando Pierreia - Live From New York (guest artist)
PV - Create Your Lover (guest artist)
Wendy Reno - Matter Of Perception (guest artist)
Guy Vali - Mediterranean Love Affair (guest artist)
Return To Fantasy (Uriah Heep trib., contrib. ''Too Scared To Run'')
Powermad 2001 (2001) (comp. cd, contributed track)
Warmth In The Wilderness (2001) (trib. cd, contrib. track)
Look (2001)
Wacken 2000 - Special Report (VHS/DVD)

plus guitar work and music for the [then called] World Wrestling Federation''s XFL-NBC/TNN/UPN

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: November 27th 2004
Reviewer: Karyn Hamilton
Artist website:
Hits: 1109
Language: english


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