Dave Bainbridge — Celestial Fire
(Open Sky CD 18, 2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-03-31One can probably use the old metaphor about the acorn not falling far from the tree when describing this latest effort by Dave Bainbridge, probably better known to many as a founding member of Iona, where he plays a good number of instruments (keyboards, all sorts of things with strings) and is responsible for much of that band’s compositions. Celestial Fire is his second solo album, the first since 2004’s excellent Veil of Gossamer, and it’s fairly safe to say that anyone who enjoyed that, and the many albums by Iona will find plenty to enjoy herein. This is a long disc, double album length at around 74 minutes, with lengthy symphonic pieces that work together as an extended epic with recurring themes, featuring angelic voices, spiritual Christian lyrics, Celtic folk-rock, and a stronger nod to the classic adventurous progressive rock sound than Iona might normally provide. While Bainbridge does sing some of the backing vocals, he has brought in a number of different singers to handle lead vocal duties, including Yvonne Lyon, Damian Wilson (Landmarq, Threshold), Sally Minnear, and Julia Malyasova, track depending. All of the former plus more contribute backing vocals as well on other cuts, plus a large cast of players contribute on all the instruments that Bainbridge doesn’t play himself (that would include bass, Moog Taurus pedals, drums, percussion, violin, viola, cello, uillean pipes, tin whistle, flute, saxes and more) including many of his colleagues from Iona. From beginning to end this is a continuum of ever-evolving compositions and stunning arrangements, making for a powerful and panoramic production that pulls out all the stops and pulls the listener in. It’s clear that a lot of work went in to creating this, and it succeeds on every level.
Related artist(s): Dave Bainbridge
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more