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The fourth album by Jan Lievaart (AKA Long Tall J) titled 'Solidarity’ is in all respects a musical feast in which Jan utilises a cohesive gathering of fellow musicians  in support of his assembly of this album.

Right from the off (at track 1) you are presented with an album full of colour, bright dynamics and musical arrangements that integrate  multitudes of  twists and turns incorporating subtle changes of direction. Long Tall’s creative guitar patterns constantly provide the listener with interesting streams of clever note combinations. In turn, such note combinations, firmly draw the focus of attention to these subtle changes in direction.

 

Furthermore, although not immediately apparent, the atmosphere of the music is constantly changing as the score progresses ever forward. This creates an interesting variety of different rock stylisations in swinging from rock, to heavy blues, musical theater,  and even forays into country tinged rock. The impact of this multiplex of musical variations providing a creative  canvas of many musical colours, indeed a preverbal kaleidoscope of moods and a complete diversity of audio delights.

The overall musical concepts of this album are further enhanced by Jan’s choice of fellow musicians in particular the vocalists, Peh Hong Ip and Mariia Arkhipova. They are a wonderful pairing. Not only do they both have magnificent purity of tone but have clear and resonant voices which meld well together in their two duets featured on the album. Their individual performances too are superb and expand the exquisiteness of the music greatly. Jan has informed me that whilst he writes all of the basic music lines, the six vocal tracks were co-written together with the vocalists, meaning that whilst he writes the music, the vocalists actually composed  their own  melody lines. With respect to the vocals Peh Hong Ip writes  the lyrics for his parts.

 

However With Mariia it is slightly more complicated requiring a home studio interface of her ‘voice over’s’ to which Jan then eventually adds his  lyrics. The system Jan has for both vocalists obviously works really well for him because despite the complexities of the overall musical arrangements the composite parts come together perfectly with both interesting and well performed vocal accompaniments.

And then of course the nucleus of the studio support band assembled by Jan comprising seven Ukrainian and 2 Dutch musicians

The keyboards, driven by Eugene Moiseienko, whilst seemingly playing second string behind the exploits of the guitar, is no doubt the glue that holds everything in place, the preverbal  lynchpin foundation to the proceedings. The enterprising Kyiv Horns adding sparkle and flavouring of jazz. Wow! A superb compliment to the overall sound. Sadly, the violin maestro ‘ Julien Heroim’  only features on the first track, a Celtic flavouring to the proceedings. 

Summary: An album tending towards the progressive rock side of the spectrum with a multitude of hidden depth revealing such intricacies with subsequent plays. It is indeed an album with hidden charm that can be appreciated over and over again. It is fair to say though that although there are many deviations and different musical paths that followed by the music, the overall sound is not over complicated. It is just good honest composite rock with a distinctly melodic edge and superb vocals.

The underlying theme and catalyst for a good portion of this work is the obscene ludicrousness of war.

LONG TALL J. is a Dutch Prog Rock Guitarist living in London, but he is also a captain flying airplanes all over the world. The past 4 years he has picked up his music career again after a long pause throughout the 2000s and 2010s. He started composing his own material in early 2020, then recording songs with the help of guest singers and musicians, and now he brings us already his 4th CD titled Solidarity.

 

He is a gifted guitarist and on this new CD we welcome the fantastic guest singer MARIIA ARKHIPOVA (originally from Kyiv, Ukraine), who sings on 6 songs. 2 of those songs also feature guest vocalist PEH HONG lp and the remaining 4 songs on the CD are instrumentally. Opener Your Soul is a beautiful calmer piece featuring Mariia’s wonderful vocals for the first time. However, things get absolutely sensational during the following Ukraine, which is a superb piece of uptempo classic AOR/melodic rock with amazing lead vocals of Mariia that reminds me actually of acts like HEART, VIXEN, MEGHAN, ENVY, LANA LANE and such, so with a clear female fronted 80s AOR approach. The melodies are stunning and the screaming in the end has probably everything to do with the horrible war at the moment in Ukraine.

 

The music during the following 8 songs are a melting pot of various styles, but I guess progressive rock might be the best description, especially during the longest tracks on the album, which are Turandot and the instrumental closing track Floydian Blues. I also love the uptempo melodic hardrocksong Long Tall Boots, which again has the VIXEN / LAOS / IF ONLY similarities! Definitely worth checking out and LONG TALL J has the potential to become much bigger, especially with Mariia on vocals.

 

This new CD of LONG TALL J. (which was mastered by THE PINEAPLE THIEF keyboardplayer STEVE KITCH by the way) is really good and for more info please go to: https://www.longtallj.com/

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