Album: Uncommon Measures
Artist: Lyle Workman
Label: Blue Canoe Records
Guitarist Lyle Workman’s latest release Uncommon Measures mixes elements of jazz fusion, power pop rock, and romantic symphonies. Joined by a 63-piece orchestra of multiple instruments conducted by John Ashton Thomas that includes glockenspiel and a choir led by Aleta Braxton, Workman combines cinematic soundscapes with power rock surges. Recorded at Abbey Road Studio in London, England, Workman’s arrangements capture the musicians ever-changing state of flux, continually moving and extending, pluming and spiraling, immersing listeners in a cauldron of swirling figures and emanations.
“North Star” starts off the recording with a menagerie of jazz fusion expressions, power pop rock riffs and romantic symphonies, forming multiple streams traveling parallel and sporadically crisscrossing. Soaring strings are layered in blazing guitar chords and fiery keys, amassing a bustling cinematic score paired with jazz style trimmings. Airy violin strings provide a solemn start to “All the Colors of the World,” which build into multiple crescendos braided into Workman’s glittering guitar chords. The music moves organically, shaping clutching dynamics.
The grooving beats in the chassis of “Noble Savage” are propelled by the pop/rock tremors of Workman’s guitar as the flaring strings stencil angelic-like silhouettes. The smooth rolling beats of “Arc of Life” are paneled in cruising guitar chords that lift the arrangement by building it up with searing streaks that stroke the wavy knolls. “Imaginary Word” extends the recording into jazz-inspired hues with horns that singe the dance-funk rhythm. Workman’s charring guitar chords enhance the smoking motifs of the track. Keeping on track with a funky rhythmic strut is “Unsung Hero,” adorned in swirling strings and fuming horns, entrenched in unleashing a free spirit.
The recording proceeds with the ethereal beauty of “Labyrinth of Love,” threading smooth bluesy ethers clinging to the peaceful swells of Workman’s tender guitar chords and grazing strings. “Rise and Shine” once again lifts the recording with upbeat and breezy instrumentation, producing a sunny atmosphere. “Our Friendship,” the only track on the CD that is not composed by Workman but by John Ashton Thomas is a whirlwind of frothy guitar chords, soaring and ascending, rising and towering above the calming strings that shoot gentle sprouts along the track.
Instrument parts are layered and sewn together, making for a recording that paves new paths, sprouts new shoots, and travels without knowing its destination guided by a free spirit. His penchant for cinematic soundscapes complemented by jazz fusion and power pop rock attributes boosts Lyle Workman to the level of artistic visionary.
Lyle Workman: electric and acoustic guitar and keys
Vinnie Colaiuta: drums
Abe Laboriel Jr.: drums
Toss Panos: drums
Donald Barrett: drums
Matt Chamberlain: drums
Tim Lefebvre: bass
Dan Lutz: bass
Sam Wilkes: bass
Jeff Babko: electric piano, organ
Charlie Bisharat: violin
Wade Culbreath: vibes, marimba, glockenspiel
Katisse Buckingham: alto sax
Ron Dziubla: tenor sax
Jamie Hovorka: trumpet
Chris Bleth: oboe, flute, clarinet
Greg Leisz: pedal steel
Aleta Braxton (choir master)