Title - 'MAP'
Artist - Moraz Alban Project
If you are not aware of just who the two components of the Moraz Alban Project actually are, well, here's a quick synopsis of both guys: Swiss born Patrick Moraz, is best known as an official member and keyboardist for the progressive rock bands Yes from 1974 to the end of 1976 and The Moody Blues from 1978 to 1991.
He was classically trained at the Conservatory of Lausanne, but having a keen interest in jazz and world rhythms he decided early on to pursue composing and playing in these genres of music as well. This led to Patrick and his own trio and quartet, opening for major jazz artists and famous rock bands throughout Europe in the mid-sixties.
Greg Alban, originally from Columbus, Ohio, attended Ohio University and moved to Los Angeles in 1974 to pursue a career in music. Greg has studied with some of the great drummers and teachers such as Richard Wilson, Joe Morello and Joe Porcaro. Patrick Moraz first heard Greg Alban play drums when he was head of his own band ICE. They were performing at the famous Red Onion in Marina Del Rey, CA.
And so, here today, Patrick Moraz and Greg Alban are finally releasing their first album together, MAP. The album features renowned bass player John Avila, former member of Oingo Bongo, with other featured artists being Lenny Castro on percussion, bass player Matt Malley (founder and former member of The Counting Crows), who here actually plays the Indian slide guitar, another bass player in the form of Swiss virtuoso, Patrick Perrier, and multi-instrumentalist, Dave VanSuch.
We begin this musical adventure into the world of upbeat world fusion with the breezy gem, 'Jungle Aliens,' before taking a much more frenetic approach on the free flowing, 'Strictly Organic.' Next up is the Kenny G-esque 'Canyon Afternoon,' which in turn is followed by both the trippy delights of 'Jazz in the Night' and the self explanatory 'The Drums Also Solo.'
This first album from the Moraz Alban Project is a beauty, a real gem, and so it's hard to believe that it has taken the duo so long to come musically together. They continue onward here with the ballad, if you will, 'The Real Feel,' and back that with the bass funky slappin' sounds of 'Alien Intelligence.' The worldly, far away sounds of another culture, that Moraz does oh so well come to the fore on 'Mumbai-Mantra,' before the entire album is stunningly rounded out by the subtle, pensive, aural-pleasing 'Alien Species.' The album also has a FREE poster included!
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk