STRUMMIN': The ace musician dazzles on his stellar new album.
Samuele Vivian has all the requisite talking points to promote his sophomore album, Dubwise, an ethereal mix of Mediterranean-style guitar and instrumental reggae distilled to a pure essence and served as easy listening ideal for Sunday morning meditation or, better yet, an afternoon road trip to the countryside.
Even before you press play on this transporting record, you can't help but take note of such evocative song titles as "Midsummer Waltz," "Aurora," "La Canzone di Marinella" and "Almeno Tu Nell'Universo." And that's only from the CD's first half; the second portion features cuts from Vivian's Venice Acoustic Sessions. There are twelve tracks in total.
An artist who has performed for audiences in some of the most far-flung locales on the planet, the Italian-Jamaican guitarist paints his music with colours taken from all over, and incorporating these disparate elements into a rhythmic tapestry, equal parts reflective and peaceful, he produces sounds that both soothe and seduce.
Listeners are bound to repeat his version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song", and cuts like the sublime "Crossroads" are best enjoyed with the eyes closed. The leading man's impressive guitar work and original score (he composed all the tracks save for one) aside, some of the credit for the album's success must also go to a top-notch supporting cast made up of collaborators Antonio Sanchez on drums, Federico de Vittor (piano), Steve Wood (double bass), Alvis Reid (electric guitar) and percussionist Robert Malcolm.
The Jamaican entertainment scene du jour doesn't lack for tour-de-force instrumentalists who consistently pack a punch with their creative output, if only they had the resources to release records with greater regularity and of a quality akin to Vivian's Dubwise, a classy project that wins you over with its simplistically gorgeous melodies and sparkling grooves. Tyrone's Verdict: B+