Project Lo — Black Canvas
(LoLo 008-2, 1997, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1998-02-01
Project Lo is essentially Bon Lozaga’s unit for more introspective work. While the material on Black Canvas is composed, it seems to be a lot more open to the creative impulses of all the musicians involved, which in this case includes Percy Jones and Hansford Rowe on bass, Caryn Lin on violin, J.Hatch on keys and vocals, Chris Farr on saxes, and numerous other guests. Some of the tunes are essentially solo guitar pieces with arrangements for other instruments — “Rajah” for example is an acoustic guitar piece with violin carrying the lead melody and some percussive backing, and it is certainly one of the most memorable pieces here, perhaps a bit reminiscent of the late Michael Hedges. Other tracks, like “Your Mind” (penned by Hatch), a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Mercy Street,” and the Lozaga composition “Perfection” feature vocals, always tastefully done, by Hatch and guest Happy Rhodes. These break up the album’s more introspective tendencies nicely and provide a degree of accessibility. “Tolerance, Acceptance and Transformation” drives a funky bottom groove with some spirited sax soloing by Farr, while some other tracks seem to have hints of world influences. Throughout, though, Lozaga’s tasteful guitar chops and compositions are the glue that hold the album together. A definite grower.
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