Shadows in the Air
First Appeared at The Music Box, January 2002, Volume 9, #1
Written by John Metzger
Since the break-up of Cream, Jack Bruce has increasingly turned away from powerhouse blues, instead choosing to explore jazzier terrain. His latest release Shadows in the Air continues in this vein, melding airy piano arrangements with his own lofty vocals and impeccable bass. Bruce has lost none of his abilities over the years as evidenced by his dreamy remake of Out into the Fields.
Interestingly enough, Bruce turned to his past for six of Shadows in the Air's fifteen tracks, recasting each with mixed results. Most notable are two of Bruce's best-known compositions — Sunshine of Your Love and White Room — on which he reunites with former bandmate Eric Clapton. Both are intriguingly fitted with scintillating Latin percussion, but both also fall flat due to their disjointed arrangements and Clapton's lackadaisical contributions. Evidently, Clapton recorded his parts separately from the rest of the band, which accounts for the out-of-synch nature of the tracks — particularly White Room.
Faring far better is the gentle Heart Quake and the succinct Boston Ball Game 1967. On the former — a new track — the emotion in Bruce's voice is mirrored by the vibrant, powerful expressions of former Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore. While on the latter, a horn section colors the remake with a sunny playfulness. Despite these highlights, most of Shadows in the Air drags on, and although professionally done, it ultimately wallows uneventfully in its subdued ambience.
Shadows in the Air is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2001 The Music Box